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14 Bach

B=2, A=1, C=3, H=8

Math and music aren’t so incompatible after all. More specifically, gematria (substituting letters for numbers) was used repeatedly in J.S. Bach’s music.

An artist might sign the bottom of a canvas, but Bach’s signature is his music. I was recently analyzing the Fugue in C major(for fun, of course) from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Replace BACH with the numbers according to their order in the alphabet and you get 2+1+3+8=14. So would you be surprised if told you that the subject from this fugue is *checks notes* 14 notes long?

Well listen for yourself…

A significant event in this piece is the first big cadence on an A minor chord. Any guesses as to which measure this occurs on? If you said 15, please kindly see yourself out.

In fact, it happens on measure 14, exactly half way through the piece.

Scholars have scoured Bach’s music for the presence of 14, and it turns out Bach is not so subtle. I could tell you all of 14s, but isn’t it more fun to discover it yourself? It’s what Bach would have wanted. And you probably should be listening to and analyzing more Bach anyways.

Check out my new composition Four Colors, available now on Sheet Music Plus!

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