Skip to main content Accessibility help
Bach: The Goldberg Variations
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 2
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Stawiarski, Marcin 2012. (Ré)écrire Goldberg : musicalisation, transtylisation et variation chez Gabriel Josipovici. Polysèmes, p. 227.

    CENCIARELLI, CARLO 2010. Bach and Cigarettes: Imagining the Everyday in Jarmusch's Int. Trailer. Night. twentieth-century music, Vol. 7, Issue. 02, p. 219.


Book description

Many listeners and players are fascinated by Bach's Goldberg Variations. In this wideranging and searching study, Professor Williams, one of the leading Bach scholars of our time, helps them probe its depths and understand its uniqueness. He considers the work's historical origins, especially in relation to all Bach's Clavierübung volumes and late keyboard works, its musical agenda and its formal shape, and discusses significant performance issues. In the course of the book he poses a number of key questions. Why should such a work be written? Does the work have both a conceptual and a perceptual shape? What other music is likely to have influenced the Goldberg and to what extent is it trying to be encyclopedic? What is the canonic vocabulary? How have contemporaries or musicians from Beethoven to the present day seen this work and, above all, how has its mysterious beauty been created?


Peter Williams manages to pack in an extraordinary amount of information about the work's background, compositional techniques and structures, and reception history. His consideration of the work's relationships to a large amount of other music is particularly remarkable. The writing style is fresh and engaging and the material presented clearly and concisely. We can safely say that Williams's book will be the fundamental work on its subject for years to come.'

Source: Eighteenth-Century Music

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive
  • Send content to

    To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to .

    To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

    Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

    Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

    Please be advised that item(s) you selected are not available.
    You are about to send

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Alain, Olivier, ‘Un supplément inédit aux Variations Goldberg de J. S. Bach’, Revue de musicologie 61/2 (1975), pp. 243–94
Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel, Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, 2 (Berlin, 1753, 1762)
Beisswenger, Kirsten, ‘An Early Version of the First Movement of the Italian Concerto Wolfgang Schmieder, Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis. 2. überarbeitete und erweiterte Ausgabe (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1990) 971 from the Scholz Collection?’, in Daniel R. Melamed, ed., Bach Studies 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 1–19
Bloom, Harold, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994)
Breig, Werner‘Bachs Goldberg-Variationen als zyklisches Werk’, Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 32 (1975), pp. 243–65
Butler, Gregory, ‘The Engraving of J. S. Bach's Six Partitas’, Journal of Musicological Research 7 (1986), pp. 3–27
Butler, Gregory ‘Neues zur Datierung der Goldberg-Variationen’, Bach-Jahrbuch 74 (1988), pp. 219–23
Butler, Gregory Bach's Clavier-Übung III: The Making of a Print (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1990)
Dähnert, Ulrich, Der Orgel-und Instrumentenbauer Zacharias Hildebrandt (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1962)
Elster, Peter, ‘Anmerkungen zur Aria der sogenannten Goldbergvariationen Wolfgang Schmieder, Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis. 2. überarbeitete und erweiterte Ausgabe (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1990) 988. Bachs Bearbeitung eines französischen Menuetts’, in Winfried Hoffmann and Armin Schneiderheinze, eds., Bericht über die Wissenschaftliche Konferenz zum V. Internationalen Bachfest 1985 (Leipzig: DVfM, 1988), pp. 259–67
Emery, Walter, in Neue Bach-Ausgabe. Johann Sebastian Bach. Neue Ausgabe sämt licher Werke. Herausgegeben vom Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut Göttingen und vom Bach-Archiv Leipzig (Leipzig/Kassel: DVfM/Bärenreiter, 1954–) vol. V/2 Johann Sebastian Bach Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke vol. V/2 (1981), Kritischer Bericht, ed. Walter Emery and Christoph Wolff, pp. 137ff., 141, 143f
Forkel, J[ohann] N[ikolaus], Über Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke. Für patriotische Verehrer echter musikalischer Kunst (Leipzig: Hoffmeister & Kühnel, 1802)
Hawkins, John, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, III (London: Payne, 1776), pp. 256–58
Hilgenfeldt, C[arl] L[udwig], Johann Sebastian Bach's Leben, Wirken und Werke (Leipzig: Hofmeister, 1850), appendices
Humphreys, David, ‘More on the Cosmological Allegory in Bach's Goldberg Variations’, Soundings 12 (1984–5), pp. 25–45
Jerger, Wilhelm, ed., The Piano Master Classes of Franz Liszt 1884–1886 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996)
Kindermann, William, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987)
Kindermann, William, ed., ‘Bach und Beethoven’, in Michael Heinemann and Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen, eds., Bach und die Nachwelt, I (Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 1997), pp. 351–77
Kobayashi, Yoshitake, ‘Zur Chronologie der Spätwerke Johann Sebastian Bachs. Kompositions-und Aufführungstätigkeit von 1736 bis 1750’, Bach-Jahrbuch 74 (1988), pp. 7–72
Plantinga, Leon B., Schumann as Critic (New York: Da Capo, 1976)
Quantz, Johann Joachim, Versuch einer Anweisung, die Flöte traversière zu spielen (Berlin, 1752)
Rosen, Charles, The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (New York: Norton, 1972)
Schulenberg, David, The Keyboard Music of J. S. Bach (New York: Schirmer, 1992)
Schulze, Hans-Joachim, ‘Melodiezitate und Mehrtextigkeit in der Bauern-kantate und in den Goldbergvariationen’, Bach-Jahrbuch 62 (1976), pp. 58–72
Schulze, Hans-Joachim ‘Notizen, zu Bachs Quodlibets’, Bach-Jahrbuch 80 (1994), pp. 171–5
Spitta, Philipp, Johann Sebastian Bach, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1873, 1880)
Street, Alan, ‘The Rhetorico-musical Structure of the “Goldberg” Variations: Bach'sClavierübung IV and the Institutio oratoria of Quintilian’, Music Analysis 6 (1987), pp. 89–131
Tomita, Yo, ‘Bach and his Early Drafts’, BACH Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute 30/2 (1999), pp. 49–72
Tovey, Donald Francis, ‘Bach: Goldberg Variations’, Essays in Musical Analysis: Chamber Music, ed. Hubert J. Foss (London: Oxford University Press, 1944), pp. 28–73
Vickers, Brian, In Defence of Rhetoric (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988)
Williams, Peter, The Organ Music of J. S. Bach, vol. I: Preludes [etc.] (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980)
Wolff, Christoph, ‘Bach's Handexemplar of the Goldberg Variations: A New Source’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 29 (1976), pp. 224–41
Wolff, Christoph, Bach: Essays on his Life and Music (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp. 162ff., 189ff., 347ff
Zenck, Martin, ‘“Bach, der Progressive”. Die Goldberg-Variationen in der Perspektive von Beethovens Diabelli-Variationen’, Musik-Konzepte 42 (1985), pp. 29–92


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed