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Johann Sebastian Bach : Prelude no. 1 in C from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier

This prelude is the first and best known piece from Johann Sebastian Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues, also known as the Well-Tempered Clavier. It is in C major and perhaps the easiest prelude from the set, consisting mostly of a set of arpeggios or broken chords with the left hand playing and sustaining the bottom 2 notes and the right hand playing and repeating the top 3 notes of each chord. Towards the end there are 2 bars of extended arpeggios leading to the final chord of C major. Together with its corresponding Fugue in C major, this piece is catalogued as BWV 846. The simplicity of this piece has inspired other composers and musicians. The work was used by the French composer Charles Gounod to create his famous "Ave Maria" by adding a vocal part above Bach's chord harmonies.

Although there are some easier preludes and fugues in the set, much of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier is quite challenging to play. However the complete set has for a long time been considered a must for any serious student of piano. Some other preludes and fugues from the set are available on mfiles if you check the Bach page or Classical Sheet Music page. If you have aspirations to be a good classical pianist then we recommend getting the complete Well-Tempered Clavier which comes in two books. Here are links on "sheet music plus" to Book 1 and Book 2 of the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Bach's Prelude no.1 in C major from Book 1 - Video

Here is a video of Bach's Prelude No.1 from book 1 as a piano roll animation:

Bach's Prelude no.1 in C major from Book 1 - MP3 & Midi files

The audio controls below allow you to play the music or download Bach's Prelude No.1 from book 1 as an MP3 file.

Bach's Prelude no.1 in C major from Book 1 - Sheet Music

The image below is the first page of the sheet music, and here you can download the full sheet music for Bach's Prelude No.1 from book 1 in PDF format.

Bach's Prelude No.1 from book 1 of the WTC - sheet music 1st page
Sheet Music Plus Classical Music