Reading about Voice leading on the Wikipedia I came across an example of two reductions of a part of the Preludium in C major (BWV 846a) and was puzzled to know if there is a compilation of those reductions to the whole work.

According to the article, the two reductions shown present simplified versions intended to clarify the harmony and implied voice leading, and for me they helped a lot, because I could clearly see the progression 2-5-1 in the first reduction:

Bach - Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, Prelude I (C major, BWV 846), opening bars

  • Several of the preludes from Book I and Book II can be thought of as arpeggiated or "unbuttoned" chords. One of the well-known Bach keyboardists, whose name is escaping me (she passed on a decade or so ago, maybe?), put together an edition of the WTC in which she showed these preludes in blocked chords. However, it wouldn't be so simple for many of the other preludes. Some are little fugues in and of themselves. Not that they can't be analyzed, but they wouldn't necessarily reduce so neatly in the way that the C Major does.
    – Brian Tung
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


These voice-leading reductions are an example of Schenkerian analysis.

You can find Schenker's full analysis of this C-major prelude in the Five Graphic Music Analyses collection, and you may also be interested in this scholarly article on the reduction.

But there is unfortunately no compilation with reductions for the entire Well-Tempered Clavier. This article, however, offers looks at reductions for all of the two-part inventions.

Other sources that may be of interest (this is not an exhaustive list):

I've provided Amazon links for most of these books, but a lot of them are out of print and wildly expensive; I recommend getting them from a library or finding them online if possible.

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