I am trying to buy a copy of Well-Tempered Clavier. What is the difference between the two formats: paperback vs sheet music?


2 Answers 2


The "paperback" and "sheet music" are identical; the sellers just labeled them differently.

ABRSM only offers one edition of the WTC I as see in their online store. However, note that there are two editions of WTC II, with one being double the cost of the other. Given the price difference in the Amazon listings, it's possible there is also a no-longer-available WTC I edition similarly priced.

  • 1
    It could be hard covered for the more expensive one. It looks like Steve has a different answer below.
    – John Smith
    Nov 28, 2020 at 21:05
  • @JohnSmith Possible, but I see no evidence that a hardcover edition exists (it would be extremely unusual). SteveMansfield answer is also a possibility, but again unusual, particularly for that publisher, and wouldn't justify the remarkably higher cost. (Also odd it's not mentioned in the description of the items.)
    – Aaron
    Nov 28, 2020 at 21:08
  • hardcover from a different publisher: ficksmusic.com/products/…
    – John Smith
    Nov 28, 2020 at 21:12
  • @JohnSmith Yes, hardcovers do exist; they're just the exception.
    – Aaron
    Nov 28, 2020 at 21:52
  • @Aaron they are less common, but they are not "extremely unusual."
    – phoog
    Nov 29, 2020 at 0:15

I would suspect that the sheet music edition will be loose leaf so that it can be put on the stand of the keyboard instrument, whereas the paperback will be bound so it has a spine (like a paperback book).

They’ll be for different usages: the sheet music for playing from, the paperback for studying.

  • 1
    I've never seen a loose leaf edition of a large keyboard work such as the WTC.
    – phoog
    Nov 29, 2020 at 0:16

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