Homepage of WTC II MSS
London Autograph
BWV 891,2 (b.67)

Manuscript Sources of J. S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier II

Yo Tomita


List of Manuscript Sources
Genealogical Tree of WTC II Manuscripts
Traditions of WTC II
Abbreviated Sources and Groups
Title of WTC II
Mus. ms. Bach P 430
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

List of Manuscript Sources, sorted by locations

BEREA, Ohio: Riemenschneider Bach Institute (Baldwin Wallace College)

BERLIN: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz

BERLIN: Hochschule der Künste

BOLOGNA: Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale

BRUSSELS: Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Royal de Musique

BRUSSELS: Bibliotheque royale de Belgique

CAMBRIDGE: Fitzwilliam Museum

CHICAGO: Newberry Library

COPENHAGEN: Det Kongelige Bibliotek - Musikafdelingen

COPENHAGEN: Musikhistorik museum

DRESDEN: Sächsische Landesbibliothek

GÖTTINGEN: Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut

HAMBURG: Staats-und Univsersitätsbibliothek

HANOVER: (private)

LEIPZIG: Bach-Archiv

LEIPZIG: Leipziger Stadtbibliothek

LONDON: The British Library

LONDON: Royal College of Music

MAINZ/GRAZ: (private)

MUNICH: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

NEW HAVEN: Yale University, Music Library. Lowell-Mason Collection

OSLO: Universitetsbiblioteket, Norsk Musikksamling

RIGA: National Library of Latvia

RUDOLSTADT: Thuringisches Staatsarchiv Rudolstadt

ST ANDREWS, Scotland: St. Andrews University Library

STOCKHOLM: Statens musikbibliotek

STOCKHOLM: Stiftelsen Musikkulturens Främjande

VIENNA: Sammlungen der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde

VIENNA: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musiksammlung

WEIMAR: Stiftung Weimarer Klassik, Goethe- und Schiller - Archiv

WARSAW: Bibljoteka Warszawsklego Tow. Muzycznego

ZURICH: Zentralbibliothek, Handschriften Abteilung.

Manuscripts no longer extant / still to be found

The Early Editions (needs to be worked out shortly)

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Genealogical Tree of WTC II Manuscripts

MSS Diagram of WTC II

The diagram above attempts to depict a much generalised picture of the complex WTC II genealogical system. The grey line in the middle separates two sets of autograph manuscripts (L and S), from which each tradition of manuscripts derives. Immediately to the right of this line is provided a rough yearly scale by which all the sources are chronologically placed. The distance from the middle line in a horizontal direction indicates the degree of authenticity of the source. The box around the source indicates the time span of the source being revised and edited, which is attested by the presence of layers of readings.


E  Early model, originating in the pieces written in the 1720s. Eleven pre-WTC II pieces are known to have existed, namely PrFg.C, C#, d, G, Fg.c, Eb, Ab. 
B  Bach Tradition, stemming from the London Autograph (L). 
A  Altnickol Tradition, stemming from another set of Bachs autograph (S) which is no longer extant, but is attested exclusively in Altnickols two surviving manuscripts. 
K  Kirnberger circle manuscripts, formed from assembled copies deriving from various stages of L (not illustrated above, but will be given a link to further details in near future). 

Abbreviated Sources and Groups

Fuller details are can be explored under the hypertext link.
E  Early models, P804, P1089, P595, P226, etc.: Copies from the source Bach originally composed in ca. 1720-1738. Where applicable, they are divided into several subgroups according to their textual chronology. 
L  London Autograph, Add. MS 35 021: Compiled in ca. 1739-1742. PrFg.c#, D and f are missing from the collection. 
V  Vienna manuscripts of 24 Fugues only, Q 10728, Q 11731, Stockholm and Berea: Their common model originates in ca. 1741. Its text is heavily corrupt and thought to have gone through systematic revision in many layers. 
H  The model which became the basis for H1 = Hamburg with its copy, P206, and H2 consisting of P209 and Dresden (= Mus.2405-T-7), originated in ca. 1741. Apart from PrFg.C and Ab, it is derived fairly faithfully from L. Except P 209, they all have their origin in Dresden. In many instances, H2 gives an earlier text, suggesting an independent path. Apart from P 209, each source contains a complete set. 
F  Direct copy made from L in 1742, now consists of Fürstenau (lost), P 416, Add. MS 38 068 and Chicago: They are referred to as F1 when they are distinguished from their derivants. Their text is characterised by giving reading newer than H but, at the same time, the scribe of careless nature often interprets the amended symbols in a different way from what Bach intended. From it stems a group F2 (Go.S.312 and P210) which inherits an all the more confused state of reading. Someone made later amendments to the text of F based on A
Bn  Berlin Autograph, P 274: Made in ca. 1742. Fg.Ab only. 
S  A complete autograph manuscript of WTC II, thought to have existed but now lost. It first existed as a sketch on which Bach worked on up to 1739 and used as an exemplar to make L. The other evidence in the copies of S also indicates that it was a collection of revision scores. When L was completed in 1742, Bach came back to S to fill in the missing movements. 
A1  Altnickol's first copy, P430 and the copies stemming from it, consisting of StAndrews, P 204, Konwischny, P1076, P207 and others: P 430 is made under Bach's instruction in 1744. Bach is thought to have made later amendments directly onto this copy. There are other later amendments of spurious origin by several hands. One of these is F. A. Grasnick (ca. 1800 - 1877) who compared A1 with K1, edited A1, and subsequently wrote P1146, in which he listed down the noteworthy variant readings he found in K1
A2  Altnickol's second copy, P 402, made in 1755: It contains some later as well as earlier readings than A1. Altnickol did not use P 430 itself for A2, but used a common source with his earlier copy. RCM 743 also belong to this group. 
A3  Poel.33,2 and PM 5697: A branch stemming from S independently of A1 or A2. It contains valuable information that is not found in Altnickol's sources. The former is of particular interest, for it was copied in 1767 (?) by Johann Christoph Georg Bach (1747-1814), Bachs distant cousin in Ohrdruf. The credibility of the information suffers much from careless copying practices, however. 
K1  Am.B.57, so-called "Kirnbergers Handexemplar", Weyse, Am.B.49 and P211: Main-stream manuscripts of Kirnberger, stemming from various stages of L from the earliest to the latest. This group of MSS is thought to have been compared with L in Berlin. The most probable date is 1774 or soon after when W. F. Bach, in whose possession it was, moved to Berlin. 
K2  P814, P 1182, P513, RCM 26 and Cambridge: Originated in the model for K1, partly being attested by its more faithful nature to the original, and partly chara- cterised by unique variant readings that are perhaps not derived from Bach. 
K3  Ms.30386, P 414: Stemming from the earliest branch of K, characterised by containing fewer variants and errors than K1 but having its own unique ones. 
K4  P 237, RM.21.a9, Oslo and LM 4837: Farthest group from K1, characterised by corruptions of the text and by many unique variant readings, occasionally shared with K3. While the first two MSS contain a complete set of WTC II, the last, the text of which is severely corrupted, contains pieces from Pr.C to Fg.f, and Pr.G to Fg.g (up to b.20). 
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Last modified: 28-09-2003