Partita for keyboard No. 6 (Bach)

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Autograph manuscript (1725) of Allegro for solo harpsichord from first version of Bach's sixth sonata for obbligato harpsichord and violin, BWV 1019a, later published as the Corrente in BWV 830

The Partita for keyboard No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830, is a suite of seven movements written for the harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was published in 1731 both as a separate work and as part of Bach's Clavier-Übung I.


Prior to publication, two movements of BWV 830 formed part of the first version of the sixth sonata in E minor for obbligato harpsichord and violin, BWV 1019: the Corrente as a harpsichord solo; and the Tempo di gavotta as a duo for violin and harpsichord. The surviving manuscript, largely written by Bach's nephew Johann Heinrich Bach, has been dated to 1725; the harpsichord parts for these two movements were written by Bach himself. BWV 830 is the last suite in Bach's Clavier-Übung I, the first music published by Bach within his lifetime. The partitas were initially published separately, starting in 1726; the title page of the collection of six, published together in 1731, carries the designation "Opus 1". [1][2] [3]

Musical structure[edit]

This partita consists of seven movements all in E minor.

  1. Toccata
  2. Allemande
  3. Corrente
  4. Air
  5. Sarabande
  6. Tempo di gavotta
  7. Gigue

Reception and legacy[edit]

David Schulenberg describes this partita: "The Sixth Partita is the crowning work of the set and Bach's greatest suite. The allemande and sarabande contain some of the most audacious and dramatic melodic embellishment ever written, and the work opens and closes with two particularly ambitious contrapuntal movements." Peter Williams, however, considers that some movements from Clavier-Übung I that were composed earlier than others, such as the Gigue from BWV 830, have a "grinding quality that is totally absent from the elegant and novel No. 1."[4][5]

American composer George Rochberg's harpsichord fantasia Nach Bach contains direct quotes from this partita.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Schulenberg 2006
  2. ^ Jones 2013, pp. 101–102
  3. ^ Williams 2013, p. 318–322
  4. ^ Schulenberg 2006, p. 340
  5. ^ Williams 2013, p. 319


Selected published editions
  • Bach, J.S. (2004), Klaus Engler, ed., 6 Partiten, BWV 825–830, Wiener Urtext Edition, Schott/Universal Edition (contains detailed preface by Engler)
  • Bach, J.S. (2008), Richard D. Jones, ed., Six Partitas, BWV 825-830, First Part of the Clavier Übung, Bärenreiter, ISMN 9790006465835 (contains detailed preface by Jones together with facsimiles of publications 1726–1731)
Books and journal articles

External links[edit]