Bach - Piano - The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I 0:00

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The Well-Tempered Clavier was the title J S Bach gave to a. 1722 set of 24 paired preludes and fugues, one for each of the possible major and minor keys. A further collection assembled between 1738 and 1742 also bears this name and follows the same pattern. Together they are known colloquially as 'the 48'. The title refers to a method of tuning the notes of a clavichord or harpsichord so that all keys are roughly in tune with each other. Playing Bach's work on an instrument using Just intonation (in which the intervals are acoustically pure) would result in many of the notes sounding 'out of tune'. Significantly, our modern equal temperament did not come into use until relatively recently, though piano tuners often still make small deviations from the strict values. Musically, the first book is a masterpiece of baroque style, balancing the free with the strict, and contrasting traditional slow ricercares with the most ornate and brilliant offerings of the Italian style. The opening Prelude in C with its rippling arpeggio chords is particularly popular. Comments from Playlist created by

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