Prelude & Fugue No.8

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.8 in Eb minor

BWV877 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 2: Prelude & Fugue No. 8”

About this work

This pair of E flat minor pieces is technically in the enharmonic D sharp minor, its six sharps presumably sounding a little more sharp than if they fell under the label E flat minor. At any rate, the prelude is a substantial two-voice Allemande, a more sophisticated counterpart to Bach's earlier two-part inventions. The processional fugue is fairly hefty by Well-Tempered Clavier standards, though not as complex as some of Bach's independent organ fugues. It's a four-voice motet-style piece, with the voices entering in the order alto, tenor, bass, and soprano. A countersubject arrives along with the tenor entry and initially seems to assume some importance, although Bach allows it to drift away as the fugue progresses.