Resources & Databases

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Bach Chorale Indexes

Sortable General Bach Chorale Index: a table of the extant four–part Bach chorales that can be sorted by various criteria.

Sortable Chorale Sources Cross–Reference: a sortable cross–reference index listing the chorales among important 18th century collections (Dietel, Birnstiel, Breitkopf, AmB 46II, Levy–Mendelssohn, Penzel, and Fasch).

Bach Chorale Tune Index: an index of the entire extant oeuvre of Bach chorales organized by hymn tune (using scale–degree numbers). Both BWV and Reimenschneider numbers are included.

Bach Chorales–By–Date Index: an index of the chorales arranged by date and liturgical occasion. BWV, Breitkopf, Dietel and Riemenschneider numbers are included.

Bach Chorales–By–Liturgical Calendar Index: an index of the chorales arranged by liturgical occasion. BWV, Breitkopf, Dietel and Riemenschneider numbers are included.

Meter and Time Signatures in the Chorales: a listing of all chorales not in 4/4 (i.e. "c") meter. Additional meter–related information is also provided.

Keys of the Bach Chorales: an index of the chorales sortable by key and key–related criteria.

Chorales Appearing in Different Keys: an index of 23 chorales that appear in the early Bach chorale collections in different keys relative to their appearances in the large choral works from which they come.

Chorales Duplicates in the Breitkopf–Riemenschneider: an index of the 24 chorale duplicates in the Breitkopf–Riemenschneider. BWV, Breitkopf, and Riemenschneider numbers are included.

Chorales not in the Breitkopf–Riemenschneider: an index of 69 chorales that do not appear in the Breitkopf–Riemenschneider collection.

Chorales in the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch: an index that gives the location of the texts and tunes from Bach’s chorales in the 1682 Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) edited by Gottfried Vopelius.

Four–part Realizations of Two–part Schemelli Gesangbuch Chorales: an index of ten chorales from the Breitkopf–Riemenschneider collection that are essentially realizations of Schemelli Gesangbuch chorales which consist of soprano–bass counterpoint with figured bass. The two–part Schemelli settings have been assigned to BWV 439–507 in the Schmieder catalog.

Important Sources

Important Early Secondary Sources Containing Bach Chorales (Quick key) (Timeline)

The Fasch Collection (SBB 818) — a 1762 Collection of 167 Bach chorales in the hand of Carl Friedrich Fasch who worked as an assistant organist alongside C.P.E. Bach in the 1750s and 1760s in Frederick the Great’s court in Prussia. This collection was considered lost for many years until it was rediscovered in Kiev around 2001. Due to its recent discovery, the NBA commentaries on the Bach chorales (volumes III/2.1 & III/2.2) do not treat this source. Thus, the full significance of this source has not been sufficiently explored in the scholarship. However, it can certainly be said that part of its significance lies in the fact that it not only predates other collections of Bach chorales such as the Birnstiel and Breitkopf editions, but it appears to have possibly been used as a source for such subsequent collections. Bach digital source info page.

A–Wn Mus. Hs. 35150 — a collection from the second half of the 18th century containing 30 Bach chorales in the hand of an unknown copyist. This source is referenced on pages 120–121 of NBA volume III/3. Bach digital source info page.

Complete Bach Chorales Source Links for NBA Volumes III/2.1 & III/2.2
A1: R18 Dietel [NBA III/2.1; bach–digital source info page] (c.1735)
A2: SBB, Am. B 48 [available here; bach–digital source info page]
A3: SBB, Am. B 46IIa, pp. 217–334 [available source info page] (1776-83; Kobayashi 1770)
B1: Birnstiel Collection [bach–digital source info page] (1765/69)
B2: SBB, Mus. ms. Bach P 831 [bach–digital source info page] (c. 1769–89)
B3: HfM Berlin, 9462 [bach–digital source info page] (26.7.1783)
B4: MB Leipzig, II.1.2°.22a [bach–digital source info page] (c. 1790–99)
C: SBB, Am. B 46IIa, pp. 65–216 [available here; bach–digital source info page] (1776-83; Kobayashi 1770)
D: SBB, N. Mus. ms. 10492 (Levy–Mendelssohn) [bach–digital source info page] (c.1790–99)
E: Penzel Collection (US–BEm MS 1402) [NBA III/3; bach–digital source info page] (c. 1780–99)
F1: Breitkopf Collection [NBA III/2.2; available here; bach–digital source info page] (1784–87)
F2: Becker [bach–digital source info page] (1832)
F3: Wien, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde [bach–digital source info page] (c. 1790–99)
F4: Becker 1843 [selections in NBA III/3] (1843)
G1: P 291 [available here; bach–digital source info page] (c. 1800, NBA IV/7, p.162)
G2: P 312 [bach–digital source info page] (c. 1840)
G3: P 482 [bach–digital source info page] (first half of 19th c.)
G4: P 652 [bach–digital source info page] (first half of 19th c.)
G5: P 669 [bach–digital source info page] (second half of 18th c.)
G6: P 1160 [bach–digital source info page] (second half of 18th c.)
G7: Mus ms. 30195 [bach–digital source info page] (1780 at earliest)
G8: Mus ms. 38212 [bach–digital source info page] (c. 1800)
G9: Mus ms. Bach St 380 [bach–digital source info page] (1823)
G10: Mus ms. Bach 349 [available here; bach–digital source info page]
G11: Bruxelles, CRM 16083 [bach–digital source info page] (c. 1787)
H1: Marpurg, Handbuch bey dem Generalbasse und der Composition, Volume 3 (1758)
H2: Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satz, II/1 [available here] (1776–79)

Important Hymnals From Bach’s Day

Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (download) — the important 1682 hymnal edited by Gottfried Vopelius which, unlike most hymnals of Bach’s day, contained notated music and not only the hymn texts. An index giving the location of tunes and texts of Bach’s chorales in the NLGB is available here.

Geistreiches Gesangbuch of Freylinghausen (download) — the 1734 printing of Halle hymnal edited by Johann Freylinghausen (1670–1739) originally published in 1704. This influential 1158–page songbook was considered to be the most important Pietist hymnal of the day, featuring a more modern, freer style of chorale similar to those featured in the 1736 Schemelli Gesangbuch settings to which Bach was a contributor. That "the Frelinghausen" was published in 31 editions demonstrates its unprecedented lifespan as a widely–used hymnal.

Dreßdenisch Gesangbuch (download) — the 1288–page Dresden hymnal from 1656.

Melodeyen Gesangbuch (download) — the 411–page 1604 Hamburg hymnal containing 88 four–part German chorales by four organists in Hamburg. According to New Groves, this Gesangbuch "is the first German collection to specify organ accompaniment to congregational singing of chorales." Hieronymus Praetorius (1560–1629) was the chief compiler.



www.bach– — Bach digital provides high–resolution scans of 90% of Bach’s entire catalogue of works. Original manuscripts are available for both viewing and for download.

www.bach– — The comprehensive Bach Cantatas Website (BCW) provides a truly amazing amount of information not only about Bach’s choral works but just about every aspect of Bach’s life and music. — Julian Mincham’s website devoted to the cantatas of J.S. Bach. — Emmanuel Music of Boston’s complete translations and notes of the Bach cantatas.


The American Bach Society

Bach Network UK

The Riemenschneider Bach Institute