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
  4. Topics (At a Glance)
  5. Bibliography

Asynchronous Thursday Activities

  1. Bach and Friends (pdf)
  2. Special Topics (pdf)
  3. Fugue Presentation Self-Reflection (pdf)

 Analysis Projects {Gallery}

  1. Chorale Project (pdf)
  2. Invention Project (pdf)
  3. Fugue Project (pdf)

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}
      • Open Edition: Contrapunctus Press  {IMSLP} (Florence 2021)
  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

Bach Journals

  1. BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute {JSTOR}
  2. Bach Perspectives
  3. Understanding Bach Web Journal

Music Theory Journals

  1. College Music Symposium {CMS}
  2. Eighteenth-Century Music {Cambridge}
  3. Intégral {}
  4. Journal of Music Theory {JMT; JSTOR}
  5. Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy {JMTP}
  6. Music Analysis {Wiley; JSTOR}
  7. Music Theory Online {MTO}
  8. Music Theory Spectrum {Oxford; JSTOR}

Online Media Resources

  1. Algomus {}
  2. Ambrose, Texts of the Complete Vocal Works with English Translation and Commentary
  3. Cope, Experiments in Music Intelligence (EMI)
  4. Christiansen, Earsense
    • 48 Jewels: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 and Book 2
  5. Cuthbert, music21: A Toolkit for Computer-Aided Musicology
  6. Dahn, The Four-Part Chorales of J.S. Bach
  7. Edwards, Puzzle Canon
  8. Emmanuel Music
  9. Gjerdingen, Monuments of Partimenti {}
  10. Gran, Counterpoint Tutorials {YouTube Channel}
  11. Humdrum Data Format
  12. Kerman, The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750 {Open JSTOR; Luminos} (Kerman 2015)
  13. Ishizaka
  14. Lawrence, Bach and Friends (Lawrence 2010)
  15. Oron, Bach Cantatas Website
  16. Malinowski, Music Animation Machine
  17. Netherlands Bach Society (NBS), All of Bach
  18. Rotem, Early Music Sources
  19. Smith, The Canons and Fugues of J.S. Bach
    • Fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier – See Digital Bach archive {YouTube Channel}


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


BA - Britannica Academic; BD -
Bach Digital; BCW - Bach Cantatas Website; DA - Digital Anthology; EMS - Early Music Sources
GB - GoogleBooks; Grove - Grove/Oxford Music Online; HD - Harvard Dictionary of Music;  MTO - Music Theory Online

Updated: September 12, 2023

Reginald Bain | University of South Carolina | School of Music