An introduction to Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, the “48” – music appreciation with Roy Stratford


Ref: SWE11363

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About this course

Based on these two books of preludes and fugues, this introduction explains some of the techniques of Bach's extraordinary craft, double or triple fugue, invertible counterpoint and reveals this work as a source of permanent musical pleasure.

Course Description

An Introduction to Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, the “48”.

The idea of two books of preludes and fugues, each going through all the keys, both major and minor, may sound unpromising at first but begin to listen or play and you encounter a universe of wonders. It would probably not be going too far to say that this collection is the basis for all Western music that came after it, Hans von Bűlow called it “The Old Testament of Music”.

Bach achieves in this music a wonderful synthesis of highly cultivated technique and direct emotional utterance, the variety of styles and expression is simply breathtaking. This course is intended to introduce and explain some of the techniques of Bach’s extraordinary craft, double or triple fugue, invertible counterpoint and so on as well as to reveal this work as a source of permanent musical pleasure.

The tutor will give a recital on Saturday evening to course participants.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Notepad and pencil, if you wish.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Roy Stratford

Roy Stratford was very lucky to have had a music teacher at school who had been a student of the great Austrian modernist composer Anton Webern and who inspired in him a great love of music and a particular interest in the Austro-Germanic tradition from Bach to Stockhausen. He went on to study music at Reading University and then the Royal College of Music ( conducting with Norman del Mar) and has since developed a very varied musical career as pianist, conductor, composer and lecturer.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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