Prelude and Fugue in B-flat minor, BWV 867

The Prelude and Fugue in B-flat minor, BWV 867, is a keyboard composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is the 22nd prelude and fugue in the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, a series of 48 preludes and fugues by the composer. It was composed in 1722 or earlier.[1]



The prelude is in the style of an arioso, with up to seven nominal voices manifesting in only three distinct strands. The prelude's structure is bipartite, divided in half by a cadence. British music critic John Alexander Fuller Maitland compared it with the St Matthew Passion.[2]

Below are the opening bars of the prelude:




Among the fugues in The Well-Tempered Clavier's first book, BWV 867's fugue is the closest to stile antico. The fugue is in five voices, and its subject stands out for its use of a wide minor ninth interval[3] and "rhetorical" pause. Instead of substantial episodes, there are only two canonic bridges. The fugue climaxes in a five-part stretto before ending on a Picardy third.[4]

Below are the first two statements of the subject in the fugue's opening:





  • Ledbetter, David (2008). Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier: The 48 Preludes and Fugues. Yale University Press. pp. 222–226. doi:10.12987/9780300128987. ISBN 978-0300128987. S2CID 246101671.
  • Schulenberg, David (1992). The Keyboard Music of J.S. Bach. Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 9780028732756. LCCN 91039348.
  • "The Well-Tempered Clavier I No. 22 in B-flat minor". Netherlands Bach Society. Retrieved April 23, 2021.