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Sheet music of Bach 'Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for lute or keyboard in E flat major, BWV 998'

Royal Family Collection
Sheet music of Bach
"Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for lute or keyboard
in E flat major, BWV 998"

  • Not for sale

BACH, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750).

Autograph music manuscript, titled and signed in autograph ‘Prelude [-- Fuga – Allegro] pour la Luth. ò Cembal. Par J.S. Bach’, for the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for lute or keyboard in E flat major, BWV 998, n.d. [c.1735-1740].

COMPLETE. In keyboard notation, the conclusion of the Allegro compressed in German tablature into the lower margins of pp.4 and 1, the second and third movements titled ‘Fuga’ and ‘Allegro’ in autograph, approx. 18 autograph corrections, marked 'Fin[e]' at the conclusion; the numbering ‘nr. 22’ inked over a pencil annotation at the head (perhaps a catalogue number of the collection of the Counts von Voss of Buch), a few additional musical notes in another hand at the foot of p.1, possibly intended to be read in inverse orientation and suggesting that Bach may have reused the paper; and a few light pencil markings, apparently by an editor. Four pages, folio (approx 345 x 213mm), on a bifolium (the two leaves now separated).

The complete manuscript for one of Bach’s ‘finest solo instrumental works of the mid- to late-1730s’ (Richard D.P. Jones. The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, vol. II: 1717-1750)

An original instrumental composition, with movements in three of Bach's most characteristic forms: prelude, fugue and a dance movement.


No more than ten of Bach's complete autograph manuscripts are thought to survive in private hands: the present manuscript is one of only three for instrumental compositions.

Introduction to BWV 998

The autograph of the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E flat BWV 998 captures Bach in the moment of composition. The fluent, unhesitating calligraphy suggests his confident conception of the piece. That he was writing down the composition for the first time is shown by his various corrections and his difficulties fitting the piece onto the available paper. Normally Bach carefully planned the layout of his music manuscripts before he started writing; here he ran out of space for the final movement, and had to squeeze the last 19 bars onto the bottom of the fourth and first pages, using the concise notation of keyboard tablature.

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