Starting September 14 and through the next 48 days, 92Y invites you to explore one of Bach’s biggest works, The Well-Tempered Clavier, one prelude & fugue at a time.

  • Click on the labeled keys below for a video of that day's prelude & fugue plus Bach news to use and amuse
  • Follow us on Twitter using #WTClavier

As we celebrate The Well-Tweeted Clavier, don’t miss pianist András Schiff live on stage as he plays the complete The Well-Tempered Clavier over two concerts, Oct 27 and Nov 1.

Why are the keys different colors?

The colored keys are actually András Schiff’s idea. In an article on The Well-Tempered Clavier, he writes:

"To me, Bach’s music is not black and white; it’s full of colours. In my imagination, each tonality corresponds to a colour. The Well-Tempered Clavier, with its 24 preludes and fugues in all the major and minor keys, provides an ideal opportunity for this fanciful fantasy.

Let’s imagine that in the beginning there was innocence, and therefore C major (all white keys) is snow-white. The last piece of both books is in B minor, which is the key to death. Compare the fugue of Book 1 to the Kyrie of the B-minor mass. This has to be pitch-black. Between these two poles, we have all the other colours: first the yellows, oranges and ochre (between C minor and D minor), all the shades of blue (E-flat major to E minor), the greens (F major to G minor), pinks and reds (A-flat major to A minor), browns (B-flat major), grey (B major) and finally black."

To read the full article, “Without the pedal but with plenty of colours,” click here.