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1. The MIDI files may be downloaded free of charge from the Downloads tab at the top of this page.  They are distributed under the Creative Commons license. 

2. The CDs are for sale.  They are distributed for your enjoyment, not your commercial profit; you may not redistribute them in any way without my written permission.  For pricing and ordering, see Store at the top of this page.

3. MP3 files of selected tracks from the CDs are downloadable from the Downloads->MP3s link at the top of this page.  These are free demos of my work.  They are distributed under a Creative Commons non-commercial license.

In 1990 I began synthesizing performances of Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete works for keyboard, i.e. organ or harpsichord or clavichord. This was and is a personal mission, a spiritual obligation discharged, a crusade. It is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. The best way to love music is to make music, and I make this music with the instruments and technology I know and love best.

But it's become clear, since I began theBachWorks, that the project is larger than I can complete alone.  Constructing the MIDI files - almost 900 of them - is easily the work of a lifetime, and although I'm more than half done with the files(550), I'm considerably more than halfway through my life.

One of the purposes of theBachWorks site is to open the project to public participation under terms that can guarantee

The latter point may require some discussion.  There are important differences between 

  1. a MIDI file that merely represents the raw score of a piece of music

  2. a MIDI file that contains all the additional data that makes a performance - the tempo track with rubatos and agogic accents, decelerando and accelerando, the varying parameters for velocity, volume, panning, and other MIDI controls, and

  3. a MIDI file dedicated to controlling a particular studio setup, with its specific synthesizers, processors, mixers, recording gear, and cabling connections.

It may be that only the first sort of MIDI file can be effectivly 'free' on the Creative Commons model; or it may be that all three kinds can be 'free'.

The BachWorks Files

In the "Bach-Werke Verzeichnis", or BWV, the organ pieces begin with BWV 525 and end with BWV 771. The works for other keyboard instruments begin at BWV 772 and end with BWV 994. So there are 470 numbered works for one kind of keyboard or another.

Some of these are not by Bach. And some indisputably authentic pieces have actually been discovered since 1950, so the Bach Werke Verzeichnis has had to be extended beyond number 1080. Anyway, when you subtract out the doubtful or spurious pieces, you're left with (by my count) 396 works.

Many of these works are themselves collections of separate movements. The Goldberg Variations, for example, are 31 distinct performable things, each with its own tempo and texture; and each of the French and English Suites, and the Partitas, is a collection of from five to ten or more individual dance movements. In the Well-Tempered Clavier, each prelude and fugue pair has a single BWV number; the C major prelude and fugue in WTC I are BWV 846, and the b minor pair in WTC II are BWV 893.

I keep each separate movement in its own file. So how many files will I have by the time I'm done? Around 850. The exact number is uncertain because some things, such as the keyboard toccatas, can be broken up several different ways.

Copyright © Jim Michmerhuizen 2005    Contact