About this work
For inspiration for this prelude, Bach turns to the lamento of old Italian opera, but after its initial phrases he imbues it with shorter, crisper note values than would be found in the works of Monteverdi and Cavalli. This is clearly a keyboard study, not a transcribed vocal piece. Bach maintains the old Italian theme by making the fugue a lively canzonetta, but bringing to it a more modern galant style. The fugue involves three voices, entering from the top of the keyboard down.