I read from this article that

The discovery of the Fourteen Canons (BWV 1087) on the inner side of the back cover of his own copy (hereafter referred to as the Handexemplar ) of the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) made Bach's fascination with these aspects even more apparent.

I don't really understand that. Was the back cover of Bach's copy thick enough to contain all 14 canons? Or were they written inside the copy that's near the back cover?

2 Answers 2


These pieces are really very short

This link explains it all very nicely in my view, although the video is rather long, but keep at it, from 1:36 onwards he has done a brilliant job


In Bach's times, canons were rarely written in full, the score usually consisting just in a theme and some indications or sketches as how to solve it. They were kind of riddles for other composers to solve, much like sudokus or crosswords for competent musicians. Therefore, they were very short pieces and could easily fit in sizeable numbers in a single sheet of ruled paper.

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