Prelude & Fugue No.12

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.12 in F minor

BWV857 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude & Fugue No. 12”

About this work

This is one of Bach's most searching, questioning preludes, and imaginative use of the key gives this prelude-and-fugue pair a harmonic and textural richness. The principal melody maintains steady motion; accompaniment is sometimes chordal, but often imitative of the treble line. The slow, patient fugue begins with an eerie subject pecked out one long note at a time. This soon evolves into the true germ of the fugue, a brief, rising, three-note arpeggio, a particularly interrogatory figure that Bach almost obsessively employs.