Prelude & Fugue No.16

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.16 in G minor

BWV861 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude & Fugue No. 16”

About this work

An arresting trill in the right hand extends over the first several bars of this prelude, while the bass line steps steadily if gingerly along. That enormous trill recurs several times, occasionally in the bass, but the main melodic idea is a two-note tiptoe between a triplet figure -- material that the two hands trade back and forth, or repeat one after the other, even as the motive evolves into five-note figures with a single note serving as a stepping stone between them. The fugue gets down to business with close entrances of each voice, another five-note figure immediately wandering off into free counterpoint.