Inventions and Sinfonias (Bach)

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The Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV 772–801, also known as the Two- and Three-Part Inventions, are a collection of thirty short keyboard compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): 15 inventions, which are two-part contrapuntal pieces, and 15 sinfonias, which are three-part contrapuntal pieces. They were originally written as musical exercises for his students.

Bach titled the collection:

Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only (1) to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, (2) to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition.[citation needed]

The two groups of pieces are both arranged in order of ascending key, each group covering eight major and seven minor keys.

The inventions were composed in Köthen; the sinfonias, on the other hand, were probably not finished until the beginning of the Leipzig period.[original research?]


Key Invention Sinfonia
C major BWV 772 preview.png About this sound No. 1, BWV 772 BWV 787 Incipit.png No. 1, BWV 787
C minor BWV 773 preview.png About this sound No. 2, BWV 773 BWV 788 Incipit.png No. 2, BWV 788
D major BWV 774 preview.png About this sound No. 3, BWV 774 BWV 789 Incipit.png No. 3, BWV 789
D minor BWV 775 preview.png About this sound No. 4, BWV 775 BWV 790 Incipit.png No. 4, BWV 790
E major BWV 776 preview.png About this sound No. 5, BWV 776 BWV 791 Incipit.png No. 5, BWV 791
E major BWV 777 Incipit.png About this sound No. 6, BWV 777 BWV 792 Incipit.png No. 6, BWV 792
E minor BWV 778 Incipit.png About this sound No. 7, BWV 778 BWV 793 Incipit.png No. 7, BWV 793
F major BWV 779 Incipit.png About this sound No. 8, BWV 779 BWV 794 Incipit.png No. 8, BWV 794
F minor BWV 780 Incipit.png About this sound No. 9, BWV 780 BWV 795 Incipit.png No. 9, BWV 795
G major BWV 781 Incipit.png About this sound No. 10, BWV 781 BWV 796 Incipit.png No. 10, BWV 796
G minor BWV 782 Incipit.png About this sound No. 11, BWV 782 BWV 797 Incipit.png No. 11, BWV 797
A major BWV 783 Incipit.png About this sound No. 12, BWV 783 BWV 798 Incipit.png No. 12, BWV 798
A minor BWV 784 Incipit.png About this sound No. 13, BWV 784 BWV 799 Incipit.png No. 13, BWV 799
B major BWV 785 Incipit.png About this sound No. 14, BWV 785 BWV 800 Incipit.png No. 14, BWV 800
B minor BWV 786 Incipit.png About this sound No. 15, BWV 786 BWV 801 Incipit.png No. 15, BWV 801
  To play the MIDI files (Inventions), click their titles.
For information on the MIDI files, click the speaker icon.Loudspeaker.svg
These are computer-generated representations of Bach's music,
and do not convey how a human pianist would perform them.
All Sinfonia performances above were played by Randolph Hokanson.
Additionally, here is another version of Sinfonia No. 8 (BWV 794), for clarinet, violin and cello:
and, another version of Sinfonia No. 15 (BWV 801) is About this sound here. 

External links[edit]