University of South Carolina
School of Music

The Counterpoint of J.S. Bach

Summer 2022

MUSC 726C | Blackboard | Listening/Analysis

C O U R S E   M O D U L E S
1. Counterpoint &
2. Canon
3. Invention

Harvard Dictionary

Grove Music Online



Thanks for a great summer term!


Left quote
Bach's music is the process of sounding mathematics.
Right quote

—  Lorenz Christoph Mizler

Course Description

Analysis of contrapuntal techniques in the music of J.S. Bach with a focus on canon, invention and fugue.

Prerequisite: Undergraduate tonal harmony and voice leading

Reference Text

Benjamin, Thomas. 2003. The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge. {Full text: EBSCOHost; Ebook Central}

Course Documents

  1. Syllabus (pdf)
  2. Listening/Analysis
    Worksheets, worksheet solutions, recordings, and analytical media
  3. Digital Anthology {DA}
  4. Course Topics
  5. Handouts
  6. Bibliography
  7. Asynchronous Thursday Activities
  8. Projects

Analytical Resources and Digital Scores

    • For study:
      • The Four-Part Chorales of J.S. Bach {Dahn 2021}
  2. CANON
    • For study:
      • 14 canons, BWV 1087 {BD}
      • Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 {BD}
      • The 10 canons of the Musical Offering, BWV 1079 {BD}
      • See also:
      • The 5 canonic variations on Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, BWV 769 {BD}
      • The 4 canons of The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (see FUGUE)
    • For study:
      • Inventions, BWV 772-87 {BD; WP}
  4. FUGUE

Research Tools

  1. FindIt @ UofSC
  2. Dictionaries: Harvard Dictionary | Grove/Oxford
  3. Articles: JSTOR
  4. E-books: Ebook Central | EBSCOhost | Hathi Trust
  5. Scores: CPDL; IMSLP; Alexander Street
  6. Recordings: Naxos | Spotify | YouTube

Archives, Catalogues, Editions and Sources

  1. Bach Archiv Leipzig {WP}
  2. Bach Digital {BD; WP}
  3. Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV) {WP}
  4. Collected Works


  1. BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute {JSTOR}
  2. Bach Perspectives
  3. Understanding Bach Web Journal
  4. Music Theory Online {MTO}

Online Resources

  1. Algomus, Computational Analysis of Bach Fugues
  2. Ambrose, Texts of the Complete Vocal Works with English Translation and Commentary
  3. Cope, Experiments in Music Intelligence (EMI)
  4. Cuthbert, music21: A Toolkit for Computer-Aided Musicology
  5. Dahn, The Four-Part Chorales of J.S. Bach
  6. Edwards, Puzzle Canon
  7. Emmanuel Music
  8. Gjerdingen, Monuments of Partimenti {}
  9. Gran, YouTube Channel {YouTube Channel}
  10. Humdrum Data Format
  11. Kerman, The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750 {Open JSTOR; Luminos}
  12. Ishizaka
  13. Lawrence, Bach and Friends
  14. Oron, Bach Cantatas Website
  15. Malinowski, Music Animation Machine
  16. Netherlands Bach Society, All of Bach
  17. Rotem, Early Music Sources
  18. Rother, An 'open source' open score edition of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier {OpenUCT}
  19. Smith, The Canons and Fugues of J.S. Bach


  1. See BAIN MUSC 726C Bibliography & Articles
  2. Dahn, Chorale Scholarship Bibliography
  3. Tomita, Bach Bibliography


BD -
Bach Digital; BCW - Bach Cantatas Website; DA - Digital Anthology; EMS - Early Music Sources
GB - GoogleBooksGrove - Grove/Oxford Music Online; HD - Harvard Dictionary of Music; SF - Score Follower

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Updated: January 15, 2023

Reginald Bain | University of South Carolina | School of Music