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London Autograph
BWV 891,2 (b.67)

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

Yo Tomita

Group F Manscripts

This Group originated in a once complete copy set of L made by Bach's copyist Anon.Vr (also known as Anon.12) in 1742, most likely immediately after PrFg.C and Ab were added to collection L. F provides the evidence that the missing movements in L (viz. PrFg. c#, D and f) were here present in that year. It also attests the changes that Bach made to the text in L since H had been written in ca. 1741, as has already been discussed under H. Closer study of its text reveals that the scribe was an incompetent musician, writing note-heads imprecisely on the staves and misinterpreting musical symbols of the more obscure types, such as the ones that are affected by Bach's later revisions. There are occasionally instances when this scribe took liberal decisions at the copying stage, transcribing the notes an octave below where the space for writing them correctly was already being used by the other parts. Nonetheless, this mechanical process of copy-making turns out to be invaluable. The study of her or his habit of copying ultimately leads us to the reconstruction of the missing autograph movements, including the textual changes Bach made to the autograph as subsequent revisions.

It was most likely under WFB's ownership that the manuscript was disintegrated into four parts Fürstenau, P 416, Add. MS 38 068 and Chicago and given away separately: unfortunately, one of the largest portions, Fürstenau, kept in Dresden at the time, has been missing since World War II.

There are two surviving copies stemming from F1, viz. Go.S.312 and P 210 (which are abbreviated as F2). Their genealogy is shown in the diagram below:
Diagram of Sources, F

There are numerous cases in evidence suggesting that Go.S.312 was a mechanical copy of F1, and that P 210 stemmed from the former. There are also cases, albeit few in number, where this theory fails to accommodate the fact that Go.S.312 contains either unique variant readings and errors or corrected readings of F1. Thus it is safe to infer that there was a lost intermediate source, F1', which was almost a duplicate of F1. By recognising the existence of F1', we can also explain easily the discernible difference in character of F2 and F1 with regard to the omission of subsequent application of accidentals within the beat in F2.

The relationship between Go.S.312 and P 210 encounters a similar problem when exposed to our initial theory (that they are related directly), and thus I propose their relation as being indirect, as shown in the above diagram. The unique character of the latter is that it occasionally gives different versions of the obvious grammatical errors given in F1 and / or Go.S.312 (which suggests that they were corrected by poor conjecture). Such grammatical corrections are restricted to the very obvious, especially those concerning note-values, and it seems no correction exemplar was used.

The later changes to the text were made to F1, which are part of an important characteristic of F. They can be classified into two types:
  1. accommodation of the variant readings of A1, the majority of which were later additions (but not by Bach);
  2. corrections of major errors, which are often also found in Go.S.312as later corrections.

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Last modified: 15 September 1996