Prelude and Fugue in C-minor BWV 549 for clarinet quartet, J.S. Bach arr. Richard Alder


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Flexible Instrumentation:
Transposed Score (E♭, B♭, Alto, Bass)

I. E♭ or B♭ Clarinet
II. B♭ Clarinet, Basset Horn, or Alto Clarinet
III. B♭ Clarinet, Basset Horn, Alto Clarinet, or Bass Clarinet
IV. Bass Clarinet (to low D) or E♭ Contra-Alto Clarinet

Length: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced

J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue BWV 549 in C-minor is one of his earlier works, believed to be a transcription of a work originally in D-minor (BWV 549a). This arrangement has been scored for clarinet quartet using flexible instrumentation for increased accessibility. The score has been written for E♭, B♭, alto, and bass clarinet, however, any combination of the included parts is acceptable.

A B♭ clarinet part has been included for Part III to allow for one of the most common and accessible clarinet quartet settings of three B♭ clarinets and one bass clarinet, however, it required transposing some passages up an octave when it became too low, so using a basset horn, alto clarinet, or bass clarinet is preferable. The Part IV bass clarinet requires several low Ds so an extended range instrument is necessary. For a version that doesn’t require an extended range bass clarinet, BWV 549a in D-minor is available (AMA-008). This version also retains more of the original octaves in III. B♭ Clarinet.

Richard originally arranged this work for SATB saxophone quartet and I have adapted it for clarinets. The editing of this arrangement has been in consultation with the Bärenreiter (1972) and Breitkopf & Härtel (2013) Urtext editions for organ.

Dr Jason Alder, editor

Additional information

Ensemble Type

, ,

Flexible Instrumentation


Baroque Period, Classical Period

Level of Difficulty



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