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Bach's 14 Canons on the Goldberg Ground

March 10, 2015

Gerardo "Gerubach" has made an animation on YouTube of the 14 canons from J.S. Bach's ingenious set of puzzle canons discovered in 1974 in France. Until they were found only a few of the canons were known, in slightly different versions. One of these puzzle canons that was known was the famous 6-voice canon held in Bach's hand and legible in the famous portrait that was painted of him to commemorate his induction into the Society of Musical Science. Bach's works produced in conjunction with his membership further venerate the form of the puzzle canon. The canons are based on the same ground as Handel's Chaconne in G Major for solo keyboard, a popular ground in Bach's day. These fourteen canons in their enigmatic form were written on a single page and found on the inside cover of an original copy of the Goldberg Variations, a piece whose theme begins with the same eight bass notes. At the bottom of the page, it says "Et cetera," implying that many more such puzzle canons are possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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