J. S. Bach – Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (WTC Book 1). Piano Tutorial

J. S. Bach - Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (WTC Book 1). Piano Tutorial. PianoCareerAcademyThis lesson is a humble homage to a pre-classical piece that made history: the Prelude No. 1 in C Major from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier, written by the great J. S. Bach (1685-1750).

Sacred simplicity: these are the words that first come to my mind when I play this masterpiece that ‘opens the door’ to the monumental WTC. Like the cosmic dance of the planets, or the cycle of life itself – the Prelude is perfect in every way: harmonic, polyphonic, melodic, intellectual and spiritual.

Its serene beauty is magical; its divine balance is timeless.

Yes, I know – these are big words, and you don’t have to trust me on it. It’s much better to discover everything for yourself, as you practice the Prelude.

Because of its technical accessibility, this piece is included in our new Intermediate Course at PianoCareerAcademy. However, don’t be deceived by the apparent simplicity. Even though the Prelude is not virtuosic by any means – it is still an advanced work, and a jewel of the great repertoire. If we talk about its expressive, artistic and spiritual ‘layers’ – the mastery it requires is truly limitless. Therefore, if you are an intermediate student, this is not your only encounter with this masterpiece – it’s simply the first one.

So get acquainted with this music. Touch its beauty, experience its perfection, allow it to ‘bloom’ in your subconscious. Do your best to bring it to performance level (of course) – but be aware that there is no limit to how well one can play it. Your understanding of all its ‘layers’ (and your mastery) will keep increasing each time you come back to it.

Please begin by downloading the needed score:
J. S. Bach – Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (separate edited score of the Prelude).
J. S. Bach – Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (Mugellini edition).

J. S. Bach – Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (WTC Book 1).
Piano Tutorial

Video highlights:

00:02. A short fragment from my performance of this Prelude.
00:15. Introduction.

00:55. Taking a minute to focus on (and honor) the transcendental nature of this music.
01:36. The harmonic layer: playing each harmony as a block chord.
04:28. The polyphonic layer: understanding the 3 voices.
05:08. The melodic layer. Playing this music as one uninterrupted stream of 16 notes, while also tracking each voice with your hearing.
05:56. Technical tips for each voice: whole-arm key attach, wrist navigation, finger articulation.
07:36. Achieving rhythmical evenness.
08:07. Tips for your hands-separately practice.

09:36. Playing the piece from the beginning, with pedal, with a focus on dramaturgy, phrasing and dynamics.
09:51. Beginning our ‘journey’. A few more thoughts on artistic concept. The 1st part of the piece (bars 1-11).

11:53. Where to find the complete tutorial, the additional parts it includes – and how everything looks and works in the Members Area of our site.

Get access to the full tutorial by joining my Piano Coaching Program at PianoCareerAcademy.com! ;)

As a member of PCA, you will:

  • Learn how to play freely, expressively and brilliantly from the comfort of your home
  • Build lasting skills by following our step-by-step Courses
  • Find professional solutions to any piano problem by exploring our many hundreds of exclusive tutorials for all levels
  • Master any piece with our follow-along practice guides
  • Get teacher feedback to your playing
  • Participate in member concerts…
  • … and much much more!

It’s time to hear your playing come alive and shine! 8)

Recommended free tutorial:
J.S. Bach – Little Prelude in C Major, BWV 939. Piano Tutorial. Lesson No. 96 for Beginners.

Recommended tutorials (available on PianoCareerAcademy.com):
Studying J. S. Bach’s Works – The Methodical Order. The 5 Main Steps of Mastery.
J. S. Bach – Minuet in D Minor, BWV Anh. 132 Piano Tutorial.
J. S. Bach – Invention No. 9 in F Minor, BWV 780. Piano Tutorial.

Practice with inspiration,

P.S. Many new online piano lessons and video tutorials are coming soon on PianoCareer.com! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest to get instant updates, support and motivation! ;)

2 Responses to “J. S. Bach – Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (WTC Book 1). Piano Tutorial”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Julie Pinter says:

    I’m looking to sign up. But on instagram you offer a free complete tutorial for J. S. Bach – Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (WTC Book 1). Piano Tutorial that I would like to try before signing up.

    Where can I find that?

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Julie! Thank you for your comment! 🙂

      Only the first half of my tutorial dedicated to Bach’s Prelude in C Major is available for free (in the post above and also on YouTube). The 2nd half is only accessible in the Members Area of PianoCareerAcademy.com.

      However, on my YouTube channel (and here on PianoCareer.com) you can find many other free tutorials (some of them complete). They will give you a good understanding of my teaching style. In the videos I posted during the last 2 years you will also find a lot of screen-capture footage from the Members Area, where I demonstrate how our website works, and what is included in the membership. For example, in the video above, please pay special attention to the fragment starting at 11:53.

      You can also find a complete description of our program, its contents and functionality on our detailed FAQ page here: https://www.pianocareeracademy.com/faqs

      And, of course, if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!


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