About this work
The prelude is like a French overture, but without an embedded fugue; the dotted rhythm of the opening upper-voice melody dominates the movement. Bach manages to avoid the usual bombast of this style, though, so the arrival of the dance-like fugue doesn't seem at all trivial. It's essentially a fugal gavotte, with the three voices entering in the alto, then soprano, and finally bass. A substantial countersubject accompanies the second and third entries.