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Johann Sebastian Bach

How many compositions did Bach write?


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July 13, 2012 8:00PM

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) wrote over one-thousand compositions. A catalog numbering system was created in 1950 by Wolfgang Schmieder and each composition was assigned a BWV number.

BWV is the German acronym for Bach-Verke-Verzeichnis translated: Bach Work Catalog. The numbering system grouped works thematically, so they are not in any chronological order. Thus, a low number as in BWV 232 does not necessarily mean that this was an early work of JS Bach.

The present BWV catalog indicates there were 1,127 works written by Bach.

It should be noted, though, that a small number of these works are now thought to have been attributed to Bach in error, and that many of his works are known to have been lost after his death, meaning that the total number of works he actually wrote is significantly higher.