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. Topics (At a Glance)
  5. Terms & Concepts
  6. Special Topics
  7. Bibliography

Analytical Resources

    • Cantata: Chirst lag in Todesbanden (c. 1707), BWV 4 {BD; WP}
      • I. Sinfonia {DA}
    • Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140.7 {DA}
  3. CANON
    • Puzzle canons, BWV 1072-78 {DA; BD}
    • Concordia discors, BWV 1086 {DA; BD}
    • Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741) {DA; BD; WP}
      • Ishizaka, Open Goldberg {SF: YouTube; Website}
      • The 9 canons of the Goldberg Variations
    • The 10 canons of the Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (1747) {DA; BD; WP}
    • The 5 canonic variations on Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, BWV 769 (1747) {DA; BD}
    • The 4 canons of The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (1751) {DA; BD; WP}
    • Inventions, BWV 772-87 (c. 1723) {DA; BD; WP}
      • Contrapunctus Press Edition  {IMSLP} (Florence 2021)
  5. 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. Ambrose, Text of the Complete Vocal Works with English Translation and Commentary {University of Vermont} (Ambrose 2005)
  2. Bach & AI
  3. Bruhn, J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier: In-depth Analysis and Interpretation {Edition Gorz}

  4. Christiansen, "48 Jewels" {Earsense}
  5. Computational Analysis
  6. Dahn, The Four-Part Chorales of J.S. Bach {} (Dahn 2021)
  7. Edwards, Puzzle Canon
  8. Emmanuel Music
  9. Gran, Counterpoint Tutorials {YouTube Channel}
  10. Kerman, The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750 {Open JSTOR; Luminos} (Kerman 2015)
  11. Ishizaka
  12. Lawrence, Bach and Friends (Lawrence 2010)
  13. Oron, Bach Cantatas Website
  14. Malinowski, Music Animation Machine
  15. Netherlands Bach Society (NBS), All of Bach
  16. Rotem, Early Music Sources
  17. Smith, The Canons and Fugues of J.S. Bach: Fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier (Smith 1996)
See also: BAIN MUSC 529 Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint; BAIN MUSC 726A The Art of Counterpoint


  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;
EH -
EBSCOhost; EMS - Early Music Sources
GB - GoogleBooks; Grove - Grove/Oxford Music Online; HD - Harvard Dictionary of Music;  MTO - Music Theory Online

Updated: May 7, 2024

Reginald Bain | University of South Carolina | School of Music