I've been working on Bach's Sonata #1 for Solo Violin (BWV 1001) and I have concluded that I would benefit from some sort of analysis of the Fugue. In particular, something that shows every point and manner in which the theme occurs, as well as its variations.

As I have listened to numerous recordings of famous violinists playing the Fugue I have noticed that some do an exquisite job of highlighting the theme and voicing the piece. One of the more striking examples occurs near the end where a variation of the theme enters strongly in the bass voice:

Section of BWV 1001 Fuga

If one plays the chords from low-to-high, as is traditional and appropriate through most of the piece, then that voice is lost – in contrast to playing the chords from high-to-low in this one section.

But this is just one small example, spanning barely two measures, in a Fugue that I imagine has been studied and dissected at length. Is there a term for the sort of analysis I am describing? Are there canonical sources for it?

  • This isn't a full answer, but you might find this: tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09298210802711660 article interesting, as well as the sources that it cites. In general, you would probably have the best bet searching for scholarly journal articles or dissertations analyzing the piece that you are interested in on Google, or on a library website.
    – margalo
    Jan 29, 2020 at 3:01
  • This is another source With technical indications and comments by George Enescu, collected and edited by Serge Blanc sergeblanc.com/files/bach-sonatas-partitas-en.pdf It says: George Enescu considered this Fugue as a model of its kind and JS Bach himself later transcribed it for organ. Enescu’s interpretation is clear from the notational point of view, but technically it is very difficult for the instrument. maybe the organ transcription will help you more. Mar 7, 2020 at 7:11

3 Answers 3


In the Royal Conservatory study of Theory - Level 9 and 10 Harmony and the ARCT level of Harmony in their textbooks they go into the Analysis of many of Bach's Fugues.


The term you are looking for might be „bwv 1001 fugue analysis“ and will give you answers by google like:


A Pedagogical and Performance Edition of J. S. Bach’s Violin Sonata I in G minor, BWV 1001, Transcribed for Guitar: Transcription, Analysis, Performance Guide, Pedagogical Practice Guide, and Recording. by Joseph Philip Felice A Research Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Musical Arts



ABSTRACT J. S. Bach’s Three Sonatas for Solo Violin exhibits formal coherence on three levels: first, through every movement; second, through the four movements in every Sonata; and third, through the three Sonatas in the set. The first issue has been treated in my previous thesis1 concerning the first statement and its development throughout the movement; this thesis will discuss the latter two subjects. The Fuga in each Sonata becomes the central movement due to its exceptional musical weight. The other movements surround the Fuga functionally: the first movement as a prelude, the third as a tension-reliever, and the fourth as a brilliant finale. Not only do the general figures on the surface support the function, the formal activities in each movement do as well. At the same time, the formal congruity between the four movements is observed in the choice of tonality, sectionalization, uses of motives, etc. After an analysis of each Sonata’s formal character based on the coherent compositional scheme, a meta-analysis is possible to determine the characteristics that shape the Three Sonatas as a whole. This thesis provides analyses of each movement, each sonata, and the entire set of Three Sonatas, concentrating on how the set is bound closely together through formal correspondences. Its chapter arrangements are: I. Introduction, II. Position and Function of 1Eun-ho Kim, “Form and Function in the Slow Movements of J. S. Bach's Three Sonatas for Solo Violin, BVW 1001, 1003, and 1005” (D.M.A. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2002).

Each Movement, III. Coherence and Individuality of Each Sonata, IV. Musical Characteristics of the Set of Three Sonatas as a Whole, and V. Summary and Conclusion.

Just to show the first two examples ...

The next is the link to your question here in this SE

and this is the 3rd link:



Your title is "Bach fugues" then your post says "THE fugue." It's not clear if you want only analysis of BWV 1001...

Siglind Bruhn, J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier: In-depth Analysis and Interpretation

Online in a few places...

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