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Joined: Feb 2020
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Since last summer I've been working on the easiest fugues from WTC 1, those rated level 5 at henle site, at approximately 1 per month. Now I'm running out of level 5 fugues on book 1. But on book 2 there are a bunch of them. But many people says book 2 is way more complicated than book 1. So I'm wondering what to do next. Fugues rated 6 from book 1, or fugues rated 5 from book 2?

(A few months ago by mistake i studied a level 6 fugue, and definitely is much more complicated. Not impossible to play, but beyond what i think is adecuated for me right now).

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HI Ubu. I have not yet played WTC myself, but shortly ago another user (I think it was Carey), shared this other source where a good amount of pieces have been listed and a difficulty ranking is given for each one (including single movements). A recommended edition is also listed. Maybe it can give you another idea of which piece to tackle next. I have found it very useful, and for some of the pieces I have actually played, it has provided an accurate estimation.
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I find book 2 to be more abstract and more dense in general. You can try the E flat major and the G major fugues. See if that works for you.

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Originally Posted by AndresVel
HI Ubu. I have not yet played WTC myself, but shortly ago another user (I think it was Carey), shared this other source where a good amount of pieces have been listed and a difficulty ranking is given for each one (including single movements).
Yes I did. So glad you've found it helpful.
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Yes I have :)) and also just by curiosity I like to use it sometimes to compare pieces. The small audio snippets are nice as well
Thank you for sharing it Carey smile


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Ubu Offline OP
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It's a very useful list

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Personally, I don't find Book II to be more difficult than Book I. YMMV. Each book has great selections at multiple levels, from Grade 7 up to LRSM (ABRSM levels).

I love the WTC.


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The two books are in fact very different stylistically and from a conception and formal point of view. So book 2 is not a second volume of the same, but a different set with its own perspective.

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Book 2 shows Bach's learned mastery of writing much more than book 1. For one thing, he no longer struggles with keeping things within easy reach of 2 hands. On that level alone book 2 is easier. I concentrated wholly on book 2 in school, as book one had too many weird and ungainly things going on. Tenths, which I can't reach even on harpsichord, and that pedal tone in the a minor fugue. Other compositional things seemed clumsy. (Don't ask, I don't remember).

Overall, for me, book 2 logic is perfect. Book 1, not so much.

My suggestions would be book 2, f minor and f sharp minor, a real dilly. E flat is sweet too.

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Just to update, today I started fugue 1 from book 2. Not an easy piece, but not more complicated than the average on book 1


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