Bwv 998

We had a discussion here some four years ago on BWV 998, concerning both the instrument(s) Bach intended this piece for and the parallel fifths at the end of the Prelude.

I just came across the following digital edition of this work by André Burguete (keyboard notation + tablature):

with an interesting introduction that addresses both of these issues (and several others).

Regarding the fifths, he writes:

The later corrected spelling mistake is found in the middle voice
of the seventh eighth-note of bar 46 of the Prelude. Bach corrected the originally notated „E
flat“ to „F“ by subsequently thickening the note head upwards, since the progression of the
interval A flat–E flat to the interval B flat–F on the tenth eighth-note would have resulted in an
open parallel fifth.2 The note f, an open string, makes much more sense at this point, not only
musically but also in terms of playing technique. Regrettably, this correction has not been taken
into account in the „Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs“, nor in any previous
recordings of this work by lutenists, harpsichordists or guitarists.

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In the earlier thread Davitt already speculated that there was a manuscript error Eb for F in the tenor part - now if we look at a proper photographic reproduction of the manuscript it is much clearer that the ink ‘blob’ extends upwards.

The notes also point to an instrument called an Angélique, which is a new one for me. Basically a downsized theorbo with a large number of courses.

One thing the autograph makes clear is that it is not specifically a keyboard piece: see the ‘bariolage’ notation in the middle section of the Fugue, meaning ‘play the same note alternating between different strings’. The notation makes no sense for keyboard … of course one can play just repeated notes, but it doesn’t have the effect of alternating.

Oh, and this also shows the benefit of looking at original manuscripts in good quality … which for Bach often clarifies other questions like triplet and dotted rhythms.
And not only for Bach - I remember discussions of a Schubert song where the notation is much clearer in the autograph than in many modern ‘editions’.

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There are other strange things, keyboard-wise: the very low range in
general, the low A flat in the fugue (one of the rare occurrences in
Bach’s keyboard works, if not the only one), etc.

Le 17/04/2024 14:28, Thomas Dent via The Jackrail écrit :

Indeed. The earliest occurrences of GG sharp/AA flat in keyboard music that I know are:

Corrette, Pieces de Clavecin (1734), IIIe Suite, Prélude, both AA flat and GG sharp.
J.S. Bach: Concerto for Four Harpsichords BWV1065 (c.1736), 3rd movement, 1st harpsichord, GG sharp.

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