University of South Carolina
School of Music

The Counterpoint of J.S. Bach

Summer 2018

MUSC 726C | Grove/Oxford | Harvard Dictionary | JSTOR | Naxos | USC OPAC

C O U R S E   M O D U L E S

Counterpoint &

2. Canon
3. Invention




Thanks for a great semester!



Bach's musical Credo: Harmony is constituted by accumulated counterpoint.

– Christoph Wolff

Course Description

Analysis of contrapuntal techniques in the music of J.S. Bach with a focus on canon, invention and fugue.

Prerequisite: Undergraduate tonal harmony and voice leading

Textbook (Electronic Reserve)

Benjamin, Thomas. 2003. The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge. {GB; Full-text: EBSCOhost}

Couse Documents

  1. Syllabus (pdf)
  2. Topics
  3. Bibliography
  4. Works for Study
  5. Media
  6. Related Topics
  7. Reference

Project Guidelines

  1. Due Tues., July 3
  2. Due Wed., July 11
  3. Due Wed., July 18 or Thurs., July 19

Reading, Digital Scores & Analysis

  1. CHORALE {Dahn 2018; IMSLP}
    Reading: Appendix 1 {Harmony}
  2. CANON
    Reading: Ch. 6 Imitation; Canon {EBSCOHost}
  3. INVENTION, BWV 772-786 {IMSLP; BD}
    Reading: Ch. 7 The Two-Voice Invention {EBSCOhost}

  4. FUGUE
    Reading: Ch. 10 Fugue 1 {EBSCOhost}; Ch. 11 Fugue 2 {EBSCOhost}

Archives, Catalogues, Editions and Manuscripts

  1. Bach Archiv Leipzig {WP}
  2. Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA) {WP; IMSLP}
  3. Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis {WP}
  4. Neue Bach Ausgabe (NBA) {WP; Baerenreiter}


  1. American Bach Society: Bach Perspectives
  2. Bach Network: Understanding Bach Web Journal
  3. Riemenschneider Bach Institute: BACH Journal {JSTOR}

Online Resources

  1. Algomus, Computational Analysis of Bach Fugues
  2. Dahn,
  3. Edwards, Puzzle Canon Site
  4. Emmanuel Music, Cantata Texts and Translations {}
  5. Open Goldberg & Open WTC
  6. Oron, Bach Cantatas Website
  7. Smith, The Canons and Fugues of J.S. Bach
  8. Tomita, Bach Bibliography

BD - Bach Digital; GB - Google Books; Grove/Oxford - Grove/Oxford Music Online; HDM - Harvard Dictionary of Music

Updated: August 6, 2019

Reginald Bain | University of South Carolina | School of Music