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 "Praeambula" and "Fantasiae" in the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, a Clavier-booklet for his eldest son, and later rewritten as musical exercises for his students.

Bach titled the collection:

Forthright instruction, wherewith lovers of the clavier, especially those desirous of learning, are shown in a clear way not only 1) to learn to play two voices clearly, but also after further progress 2) to deal correctly and well with three obbligato parts, moreover at the same time to obtain not only good ideas, but also to carry them out well, but most of all to achieve a cantabile style of playing, and thereby to acquire a strong foretaste of composition.[1]

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?] The autograph fair copy is dated 1723.[2]


Key Invention Sinfonia
C major BWV 772 preview.png No. 1, BWV 772
BWV 787 Incipit.png No. 1, BWV 787
C minor BWV 773 preview.png No. 2, BWV 773
BWV 788 Incipit.png No. 2, BWV 788
D major BWV 774 preview.png No. 3, BWV 774
BWV 789 Incipit.png No. 3, BWV 789
D minor BWV 775 preview.png No. 4, BWV 775
BWV 790 Incipit.png No. 4, BWV 790
E major BWV 776 preview.png No. 5, BWV 776
BWV 791 Incipit.png No. 5, BWV 791
E major BWV 777 Incipit.png No. 6, BWV 777
BWV 792 Incipit.png No. 6, BWV 792
E minor BWV 778 Incipit.png No. 7, BWV 778
BWV 793 Incipit.png No. 7, BWV 793
F major BWV 779 Incipit.png No. 8, BWV 779
BWV 794 Incipit.png No. 8, BWV 794
F minor BWV 780 Incipit.png No. 9, BWV 780
BWV 795 Incipit.png No. 9, BWV 795
G major BWV 781 Incipit.png No. 10, BWV 781
BWV 796 Incipit.png No. 10, BWV 796
G minor BWV 782 Incipit.png No. 11, BWV 782
BWV 797 Incipit.png No. 11, BWV 797
A major BWV 783 Incipit.png No. 12, BWV 783
BWV 798 Incipit.png No. 12, BWV 798
A minor BWV 784 Incipit.png No. 13, BWV 784
BWV 799 Incipit.png No. 13, BWV 799
B major BWV 785 Incipit.png No. 14, BWV 785
BWV 800 Incipit.png No. 14, BWV 800
B minor BWV 786 Incipit.png No. 15, BWV 786
BWV 801 Incipit.png No. 15, BWV 801
  These (Inventions) are MIDI 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, oboe and cello:
and, another version of Sinfonia No. 15 (BWV 801) is


  1. ^ Goodfriend, James (2015). in Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection. New York: Sony Classical. p. 136.
  2. ^ 30 Inventions – RISM. Retrieved 2020-04-09.

External links[edit]