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Learning J.S. Bach’s B minor Invention No. 15 (BWV 786) in baby steps

Both embedded videos track my step-by-step approach to learning this beautiful composition.

In the part one Instruction, I play slowly through the right hand to explore the subject, its articulation, fingering, execution of ornaments, and follow-up strand of 16th notes. Pieces of the subject, or motifs, therein, are identified along with any treatments by inversion. Modulations of the subject or its fragments are clearly mapped.

The same holds for a separate scrutiny of the left hand (Part 2 Instruction) with its tie-in to the subject stated initially in the right hand. All the strands, relationships, ideas borrowed, in part or in full from the subject and what follows, must be made conscious. An awakened ear and alert mind fuse together in this process of assimilating the piece. This is before the two voices will become interactive: independent and co-dependent at the same time. (Counterpoint)

Part One:

Part Two:

In Tempo:

Bach Invention in B minor p 1

p 2 Bach Invention in B minor

p. 3 revise Bach invention in B minro

9 thoughts on “Learning J.S. Bach’s B minor Invention No. 15 (BWV 786) in baby steps”

  1. Thank you so much for this sharing this valuable piece of knowledge, I’m working on this piece so this really helps me. Keep it up. Also, I hope I find something similar related to Chopin’s prelude op.28 no.14 🙂


  2. Very interesting. I can’t hear you alright. Maybe it would be better if you linked the talked parts to some blog. Or if you had subtitles…
    I think if you played from the start, without the talked introduction, it would be more pleasant. English is not my mother tongue.
    Please remember that everybody in the world is using Youtube and many people can’t understand spoken English so easily.
    I could read it alright and I can read music, too.
    Thank you! You had the correct idea of playing slowly, so we can catch the parts and memorize more easily.


  3. Hello. Thanks for the wonderful blog. I am an avid reader! I am learning this piece at the moment and find the ornaments in the left hand theme tricky. (E.g. bar 3) How do you/or do you use your wrist for these? Thanks


    1. Thanks for your note. It’s a challenge to write how to phrase a measure but there are two grouped wrist rolls in the LH of m. 3. The two 16ths roll from a level position to forward on the 8th note but never exaggerated in the spring forward motion. I see also a sighing pair of 8ths on beat 3 where I would lean on the ornamented D and roll slightly forward on the C#. I am going to revisit this one in the days ahead and provide more insights as I move along.


      1. Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I will try to put it into practice and I look forward to any further insights you will share!


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