Prelude and fugue

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In classical music, the combination of prelude and fugue is one with a long history. Many composers have written works of this kind. The use of this format is generally inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's two books of preludes and fugues — The Well-Tempered Clavier — completed in 1722 and 1742 respectively. Bach, however, was not the first to compose such a set: Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer wrote a 20-key cycle in his 1702 work Ariadne musica.

A number of composers wrote sets of pieces covering all 24 major and/or minor keys. Many of these have been sets of 24 preludes and fugues, or 24 preludes.


The following works employ, sometimes loosely, the prelude-and-fugue format.


The composers listed below, who lived and composed in the 19th and 20th centuries, employed this format.

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