Viola part from Bach 3 Part Invention no.4 for String Quartet

JS Bach
2 minutes
Classical music
Other parts

Bach’s Three part Inventions started life as keyboard exercises and studies written for his son WF Bach. They remain exquisite examples of Bach’s art in miniature, formally perfect, harmonically sure-footed and melodically charming. All these elements combine to leave timeless music that transcends the original educational intention.

No.4 is in D Minor and the tempo is allegretto moderato. The standard is for intermediate to advanced players as the music exploits the full range of the instruments and the rhythms are fairly complex. Since the music is fugal in form there is equal interest in all the parts. The original music is obviously in three parts, but since the bass part covers a very wide range it is shared between viola and ’cello. These inventions are fairly short, around two minutes each, and work well in concert with the other four Bach Inventions arranged for string quartet on my pages.

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