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Lecture 12 

Instrumental Genres, the Fugue and the Church Cantata

Since the best could not be obtained, mediocre ones would have to be accepted.

—Abraham Platz, mayor of Leipzig, when appointing the under-appreciated

J.S. Bach to the post of kapellmeister, St. Thomas Church


J. S. Bach and the concerto, the fugue, the dance suite and the church cantata, C. E. 1720-1750 

At the height of the baroque, J. S. Bach shows his mastery of all genres.


Topics covered:

  • the concerto: Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5
  • the fugue: Bach's “Little” Fugue in G minor
  • the dance suite: Bach's Orchestra Suite No. 3
  • the church cantata: Bach's Cantata No. 140

Composer: J.S. Bach



Understand the genres and/or forms of:

  • the concerto
  • the fugue
  • the dance suite
  • the cantata



  • watch lecture 12 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
  • review previous chaptersm as necessary
  • read textbook, Chapters 14-15
  • As you are reading your textbook, go through the Listening Exercises in textbook sequence, listening to the examples provided.
  • regarding developing listening skills: you should be in the habit of developing your listening skills early in the game - the assignments will get more complex through the semester and you may find yourself unable to keep up. As simple as these early assignments may seem to some of you, they will help to keep you on the right track, and help you develop the skills required for a greater appreciation in listening to music, including the music that you listen to for your own enjoyment. Of course, those objectives are in total sync with the success you hope to have in this class. Remember that your ability to recognize the music on your CDs will be tested and will, of course, impact your grade.

Audio / Video lecture

  • click lecture segments below in sequence
  • presented in several segments to reduce download time
  • total lecture time: approx. one hour 15 minutes (all segments included)
  • can be downloaded for portable media players by right clicking each segment link and choosing save option. (note: older Macs and Mac notebooks with single-button mice: control-click)

Lecture 12.1

Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, part 2

Lecture 12.2 
Bach and the fugue
Lecture 12.3 
The dance suite
Lecture 12.4 
The church cantata in Germany