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A newly re-engraved piano version of Fughetta from Fantasia and Fughetta in D major was originally written for harpsichord. Once attributed among  J. S. Bach's works (and marked as 'of dubious authenticity', catalogued as BWV 908), it has more generally been attributed to Gottfried Kirchhoff (1685-1746), although recent academic study (*see source below) re-attributes the piece to Bach. 


Fullscore Publishing acknowledges both composers, as Bach is thought to have used it in his teaching of fugal composition and improvisation, showing how fugal textures could be realised ex tempore from a given figured bass.

[See The Langloz Manuscript - Fugal Improvisation through Figured Bass by William Renwick, published by OUP:]


The original engraving (with fingerings), from which the Fullscore piano arrangement has been reproduced and arranged for a more pianistic style, was first published in 1839 - edited by Czerny [1791-1857], Griepenkerl and Roitzsch - in two versions: in partimento notation and as a realisation with editorial interpretations. It was the fourth volume of a series by the Bureau de Musique de C. F. Peters, which presented all of J. S. Bach's keyboard works.


We also include a re-engraved version of that 1899 figured bass edition for those who wish for musical dexterous exercise!


It is highly recommended that the Fughetta is played with appropriate twiddly Baroque ornamentations, making this such a fun piece for both keyboard and woodwind players. Listen to Robert Hill's magnificent harpsichord recording for inspiration:


You can follow the original realised version with the animated score and overhead view of piano keyboard fingerwork (by Paul Barton) here: [duration: 1m 52s]


Version with written-down thoroughbass notation (for the Italian improvisation practice of  'partimento'), with no realisation:


Gottfried Kirchhoff (1685-1746) was one of the foremost organ composers of the 18th century. Born in Mühlbeck, near Bitterfeld (about 30 km north-east of Halle), Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, he was a 'brilliant' pupil of Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663-1712), like Georg Frideric Handel. He was Kapellmeister of the Duke of Holstein-Glücksburg in 1709; organist of the Benedictine Church in Quedlinburg in 1711; and succeeded F.W. Zachow as organist of the Liebfrauenkirche (Marktkirche) in Halle (a post that J. S. Bach had declined) from 1714, and remained there until his death. Kirchhoff wrote mainly vocal music and organ pieces for church use.  Both his Fantasia & Fughetta in Bb major and D major  for harpsichord have most often been attributed to J. S. Bach (BWV 907-908), but the jury is still out*! He died on January 21, 1746 in Halle, Germany.


* 'Once Again on the Authorship of BWV 907 and BWV 908' by Maxim Serebrennikov
Bach, Vol. 44, No. 2 (2013), pp. 52-66 (15 pages)
Published by: Riemenschneider Bach Institute
Source: (log-in required)


Fantasia, the movement prior to this piece in the Fantasia_and_Fughetta in D major, and a version of the Fughetta with piano fingering, are available in original edition here.

This newly-engraved Fullscore Publishing edition for Solo Piano is deliberately provided as an unfingered edition that may be reprinted once your fingering has been added and the piece learned. It is also available as a Fullscore edition for Flute (or Bb Clarinet) & Piano on this site, here (


Sheet music cover image: detail from the lavishly decorated soundboard of a Francis Coston (c.1700-c.1738) harpsichord 
Location: St Cecilia's Hall concert room and music museum, Edinburgh (


From the outside, this Georgian double-manual harpsichord (c.1725) was perfectly on trend. Like fashionable furniture of the time, the case has been covered with pieces of thin, fine wood arranged to produce simple geometric patterns. But under the lid, beneath the strings, is an unusual explosion of colourful decoration. This harpsichord is one of only two known English instruments from this period that feature a decorated soundboard like this. A highly important and rare instrument, it is one of the earliest extant early-18th century English double-manual harpsichords. The finely executed and exuberant soundboard painting of birds, flowers and fruit is exceptional. 

Little is known about Coston except that he worked on Brownlow Street, Drury Lane, London and tuned and maintained instruments belonging to the First Duke of Chandos (who was the patron of G.F. Handel). It is quite possible that Handel knew Coston and would have been familiar with instruments of this type. Coston was a native English maker of keyboard instruments living at a time when the design of harpsichords was changing from the native English type to the Flemish influence type.


Search for 'Early 18th century harpsichord decoration' or 'Ruckers harpsichord' for other photos of harpsichord art.


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Fughetta ~ Kirchhoff/J S Bach

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