Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, is a piece of organ music
Organ repertoire
The organ repertoire consists of music written for the organ. Because it is one of the oldest musical instruments in existence, written organ repertoire spans a time period almost as long as that of written music itself. The organ's solo repertoire is among the largest for any musical instrument...

 attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

. It is one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire, and has been used in a variety of popular media ranging from film, video games, to rock music, and ringtones. The attribution of the piece to Bach is doubtful and it has been challenged since the 1980s by a number of scholars.


As with most Bach organ works, no autograph manuscript of BWV 565 survives. The only near-contemporary source is a copy by Johannes Ringk
Johannes Ringk
Johannes Ringk, or Ringck, was a German composer and organist.He was born in Frankenhain, Thuringia, and studied organ with Johann Peter Kellner in Gräfenroda and Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel in Gotha. From 1740 he was a music teacher in Berlin, and in 1754 he was appointed organist of the...

, which is undated. Ringk was a pupil of Johann Peter Kellner
Johann Peter Kellner
Johann Peter Kellner was a German organist and composer. He was the father of Johann Christoph Kellner.-Biography:...

. Several compositions by him survive, and he is also notable today for his copies of numerous keyboard works by Georg Böhm
Georg Böhm
Georg Böhm was a German Baroque organist and composer. He is notable for his development of the chorale partita and for his influence on the young J. S. Bach.-Life:Böhm was born in 1661 in Hohenkirchen, near Ohrdruf...

, Johann Pachelbel
Johann Pachelbel
Johann Pachelbel was a German Baroque composer, organist and teacher, who brought the south German organ tradition to its peak. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most...

, Johann Heinrich Buttstett
Johann Heinrich Buttstett
Johann Heinrich Buttstett was a German Baroque organist and composer...

, Dieterich Buxtehude
Dieterich Buxtehude
Dieterich Buxtehude was a German-Danish organist and composer of the Baroque period. His organ works represent a central part of the standard organ repertoire and are frequently performed at recitals and in church services...

, and other important masters. The title of the piece is given in Ringk's manuscript as Toccata Con Fuga, which is rendered as Toccata and Fugue today. It is most probably a later addition, similar to the title of Toccata, Adagio and Fugue
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564
Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major is an organ composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. Similar to most other organ works by Bach, the autograph score does not survive. The earliest manuscript copies were probably made in 1719–1727...

, BWV 564, because in the Baroque era such organ pieces would most commonly be called simply Prelude (Praeludium, etc.) or Prelude and Fugue. Ringk's copy abounds in Italian tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

 markings, fermata
A fermata is an element of musical notation indicating that the note should be sustained for longer than its note value would indicate...

s (a characteristic feature of Ringk's copies) and staccato
Staccato is a form of musical articulation. In modern notation it signifies a note of shortened duration and separated from the note that may follow by silence...

 dots, all very unusual for pre-1740 German music. The piece also survives in several 19th-century copies, all of which originate directly or indirectly with Ringk's manuscript.

Historical background

BWV 565 exhibits a typical simplified north German
German organ schools
The 17th century organ composers of Germany can be divided into two primary schools: the north German school and the south German school...

 structure with a free opening (Toccata
Toccata is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections, with or without imitative or fugal interludes, generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer's fingers...

), a fugal section (Fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

), and a short free closing section. The connection to the north German organ school was noted early by Bach biographer Philipp Spitta
Philipp Spitta
Julius August Philipp Spitta was a German music historian and musicologist best known for his 1873 biography of Johann Sebastian Bach.-Biography:...

 in 1873. However, the numerous recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

 stretches are rarely found in the works of northern composers and may have been inspired by Johann Heinrich Buttstett
Johann Heinrich Buttstett
Johann Heinrich Buttstett was a German Baroque organist and composer...

, whose few surviving free works, particularly Prelude and Capriccio in D minor, exhibit similar features. In addition, a passage from the fugue of BWV 565 (bars 36–37) closely resembles one of the sections from Johann Pachelbel's Fantasia in D minor, Perreault 125. Pachelbel's work also may have been the inspiration behind Bach's fugue subject. It was common practice at the time to create fugues on other composers' themes, and a number of such pieces by Bach are known (BWV 574, 579, 950, etc.); moreover, the bass pattern of the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor is an organ piece by Johann Sebastian Bach. Presumably composed early in Bach's career, it is one of his most important and well-known works, and an important influence on 19th and 20th century passacaglias: Robert Schumann described the variations of the...

, BWV 582, is borrowed from André Raison
André Raison
André Raison was a French Baroque composer and organist. During his lifetime he was one of the most famous French organists and an important influence on French organ music. He published two collections of organ works, in 1688 and 1714. The first contains liturgical music intended for monasteries...

's organ passacaglia
The passacaglia is a musical form that originated in early seventeenth-century Spain and is still used by contemporary composers. It is usually of a serious character and is often, but not always, based on a bass-ostinato and written in triple metre....



As indicated by the accepted title of the piece, the Toccata and Fugue is in D minor. The Toccata begins with a single-voice flourish in the upper ranges of the keyboard, doubled at the octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

. It then spirals toward the bottom, where a diminished seventh chord
Diminished seventh chord
A diminished seventh chord is a four note chord that comprises a diminished triad plus the interval of a diminished seventh above the root. Thus it is , or enharmonically , of any major scale; for example, C diminished-seventh would be , or enharmonically...

 appears (which actually implies a dominant chord with a minor 9th against a tonic pedal), built one note at a time. This resolves into a D major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 chord, taken from the parallel major mode.

This is followed by three short passages, each reiterating a short motif, and each doubled at the octave. The section ends with a diminished seventh chord which resolved, through a flourish, into the tonic
Tonic (music)
In music, the tonic is the first scale degree of the diatonic scale and the tonal center or final resolution tone. The triad formed on the tonic note, the tonic chord, is thus the most significant chord...

, D minor. The second section of the Toccata a number of loosely connected figurations and flourishes; the pedal switches to the dominant
Dominant (music)
In music, the dominant is the fifth scale degree of the diatonic scale, called "dominant" because it is next in importance to the tonic,and a dominant chord is any chord built upon that pitch, using the notes of the same diatonic scale...

 key, A minor. This section segues into the third and final section of the Toccata, which consists almost entirely of a passage doubled at the sixth
Sixth can refer to:* The ordinal form of the number six* Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution* A keg of beer equal to 5 U.S. gallons or 1/6 barrel of beer.* A fraction, such as 1/6-Music:*Interval*Major sixth*Minor sixth...

 and comprising reiterations of the same three-note figure, similar to doubled passages in the first section. After a brief pedal flourish, the piece ends with a D minor chord.


The subject of the four-voice fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

 is made up entirely of sixteenth note
Sixteenth note
thumb|right|Figure 1. A sixteenth note with stem facing up, a sixteenth note with stem facing down, and a sixteenth rest.thumb|right|Figure 2. Four sixteenth notes beamed together....

s, with an implied pedal point
Pedal point
In tonal music, a pedal point is a sustained tone, typically in the bass, during which at least one foreign, i.e., dissonant harmony is sounded in the other parts. A pedal point sometimes functions as a "non-chord tone", placing it in the categories alongside suspensions, retardations, and passing...

 set against a brief melodic subject that first falls, then rises. The second entry starts in the sub-dominant key rather than the dominant key. Although unusual for a Bach fugue, this is a real answer and is appropriate following a subject that progresses from V to I and then to V below I by a leap. A straightforward dominant answer would sound odd in a Baroque piece.

After the final entry of the fugal melody, the composition resolves to a held B♭ major chord. From there, a coda is played as a cadenza much like the Toccata itself, resolving to a series of chords followed by arpeggio
An arpeggio is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than ringing out simultaneously...

s that progress to other paired chords, each a little lower than the one preceding, leading to the signature finale that is as recognizable as the Toccata's introduction.


In a 1981 paper, musicologist Peter Williams outlined a number of stylistic problems present in BWV 565. These included, but were not limited to, the following, all either unique or extremely rare for organ music of the period the toccata is allegedly from:
  • Parallel octaves throughout the opening of the toccata (unique)
  • True subdominant answers in the fugue (extremely rare)
  • A pedal statement of the subject, unaccompanied by other voices (unique)
  • Primitive harmonies throughout the piece, with countersubjects in the fugue frequently moving through thirds and sixths only (extremely rare in Bach)
  • Conclusion of the piece on a minor plagal cadence (extremely rare)

Because some of these features (simplistic harmonies, or the solo pedal statement of a theme, etc.) are typical for post-1750 music, Williams suggested that the work may be an exercise by a later composer, who tried to imitate Baroque idioms. Or, because other features (parallel octaves, for instance) are sometimes encountered in Bach's transcriptions—although in a more limited way—the piece may have been a (badly transmitted) transcription by Bach of a lost violin piece. This is corroborated by the fact that the subject of the fugue, and certain passages (such as bars 12–15), are evidently inspired by string music. Williams places this original violin work a fifth higher, in the key of A minor, so that the work begins on a high E and descends almost to the lowest note on the instrument:

Williams put his theory into practice by writing a reconstruction of the conjectured original violin work, which has been performed (by violinists Jaap Schröder
Jaap Schröder
Jaap Schröder or Jaap Schroeder is a Dutch violinist, conductor, and pedagogue.He studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory and at the Sorbonne in France. He has served as the director and concertmaster of the Academy of Ancient Music, and in 1982 he was appointed the visiting music director of the...

 and Simon Standage
Simon Standage
Simon Andrew Thomas Standage is an English violinist and conductor best known for playing and conducting music of the baroque and classical eras on original instruments.- Biography and career :...

) and published. The violinist Andrew Manze
Andrew Manze
Andrew Manze is an English violinist and conductor.As a guest conductor Manze has regular relationships with a number of leading international orchestras including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Munich Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra,...

 subsequently produced his own reconstruction, also in A minor, which he has performed widely and recorded. Finally, yet another violin version was suggested by scholar Bruce Fox-Lefriche. Bach is known to have transcribed solo violin works for organ at least twice. The Prelude first movement of the Partita in E major for solo violin, BWV 1006, was converted by Bach into the solo organ part of the opening movement of the Cantata Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29. Bach also transcribed the Fugue movement of his Sonata in G minor for solo violin BWV 1001 as the second half of the Prelude and Fugue in D minor for organ, BWV 539.

Williams's views have been endorsed by a substantial number of scholars. The theory has been expanded into a book-length study by the musicologist Rolf-Dietrich Claus. Among the numerous examples of scholars referring to the work as one of doubtful attribution are the 1997 Cambridge Companion to Bach, edited by scholar and performer John Butt and aimed at the wider public, as well as recent monographs on Bach's music by harpsichordist and musicologist David Schulenberg and Richard Douglas Jones. Since Williams, other scholars have put forward different theories about the piece. For example, David Humphreys suggested that BWV 565 originated with Johann Peter Kellner
Johann Peter Kellner
Johann Peter Kellner was a German organist and composer. He was the father of Johann Christoph Kellner.-Biography:...

, who had close ties with Bach. The designation of BWV 565 as a work of doubtful attribution is not supported by the renowned Bach scholar Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff is a German-born musicologist, presently on the faculty of Harvard University. Born and educated in Germany, Wolff studied organ and historical keyboard instruments, musicology and art history at the Universities of Berlin, Erlangen, and the Music Academy of Freiburg, receiving a...

, who, writing about BWV 565 in his seminal Bach biography, Johann Sebastian Bach - The Learned Musician, does not address most of the specific problems of the piece, instead maintaining that any and all problematic passages are explained by the fact that BWV 565 must be an early work. The parallel octaves, Wolff writes, must be explained by the deficiencies of Bach's Arnstadt
Arnstadt is a town in Ilm-Kreis, Thuringia, Germany, situated on the Gera River. It is one of the oldest towns in Thuringia and is nicknamed Das Tor zum Thüringer Wald, The Gate to the Thuringian Forest....

 organ, which the composer sought to rectify. However, although numerous composers throughout the centuries played on small organs, the parallel octaves of the opening of BWV 565 remain unique in organ literature, including the entire Bach oeuvre.

Arrangements and transcriptions

This popular work has been transcribed
Transcription (music)
In music, transcription can mean notating a piece or a sound which was previously unnotated, as, for example, an improvised jazz solo. Further examples include ethnomusicological notation of oral traditions of folk music, such as Béla Bartók's and Ralph Vaughan Williams' collections of the national...

 many times. Around the end of the 19th century a "second wave" Bach revival occurred (the first having been the one launched earlier in the 19th century by Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 among others). In the second wave, much of Bach's instrumental music was adapted to resources that were available in salon settings (for example solo piano, or chamber ensembles). The composer and pianist Ferruccio Busoni
Ferruccio Busoni
Ferruccio Busoni was an Italian composer, pianist, editor, writer, piano and composition teacher, and conductor.-Biography:...

 was a leader of this movement, and wrote many piano transcriptions of Bach compositions, which often radically alter the original. Among them was a virtuosic version of the Toccata and Fugue, which tries to replicate the spirit of the original organ sound. An earlier virtuoso piano transcription also once much in vogue was by Carl Tausig
Carl Tausig
Carl Tausig was a Polish virtuoso pianist, arranger and composer.-Life:Tausig was born in Warsaw to Jewish parents and received his first piano lessons from his father, pianist and composer Aloys Tausig, a student of Sigismond Thalberg. His father introduced him to Franz Liszt in Weimar at the...

; pianist Marie Novello
Marie Novello
Marie Novello was a Welsh pianist. She was one of Theodor Leschetizky's last students and performed in public from childhood. Her early death from throat cancer cut short a promising career just as she began to record for one of the major English labels, having already amassed a considerable...

 chose it for what one source claims to be the Toccata and Fugues first recording. Among other arrangements that have appeared on record are those by Percy Grainger
Percy Grainger
George Percy Aldridge Grainger , known as Percy Grainger, was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist. In the course of a long and innovative career he played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century. He also made many...

, Ignaz Friedman
Ignaz Friedman
Ignaz Friedman Ignaz Friedman Ignaz Friedman (also spelled by languages Ignace or Ignacy; exactly Solomon (Salomon) Isaac Freudman(n), (February 13, 1882January 26, 1948) was a Polish pianist and composer. Critics (e.g. Harold C. Schonberg) and colleagues (e.g...

 and Louis Brassin
Louis Brassin
Louis Brassin was a Belgian pianist, composer and music educator. He is best known now for his piano transcription of the Magic Fire Music from Wagner's Die Walküre.-Career:...


The wind organ medium translates readily to the concert band and wind ensemble. Such band versions include transcriptions by Donald Hunsberger
Donald Hunsberger
Donald Hunsberger was the conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble from 1965 until 2001. He also held the position of Professor of conducting at Eastman...

 (Alfred Publ.), Mark Hindsley (Hindsley Publ.), and Erik Leidzen (Carl Fischer).

Stokowski's first 78rpm disc of 1927 was an international best-seller which introduced the music to many record collectors. He recorded it several more times in subsequent years. Others who have transcribed the Toccata and Fugue for orchestra include Lucien Cailliet
Lucien Cailliet
Lucien Cailliet was an American composer, conductor, arranger and clarinetist.-Biography:Born at Dijon, in France, Cailliet studied at the Conservatory in his native city before migrating to the United States in 1918....

, René Leibowitz
René Leibowitz
René Leibowitz was a French composer, conductor, music theorist and teacher born in Warsaw, Poland.-Career:...

, Leonidas Leonardi, Alois Melichar, Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist.-Early life:Born Jenő Blau in Budapest, Hungary, Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music at the age of five...

, Fabien Sevitzky
Fabien Sevitzky
Fabien Sevitzky was a Russian-born American conductor. He was the nephew of Serge Koussevitsky....

, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, and Sir Henry Wood.

The Canadian Brass
Canadian Brass
The Canadian Brass is a brass quintet founded by Dr. Charles Daellenbach and Gene Watts in 1970. In addition to maintaining a heavy international touring schedule, the Canadian Brass have recorded over 80 CDs and DVDs...

 ensemble performed an arrangement of BWV 565 arranged by former member Fred Mills
Fred Mills (musician)
Fred Mills was University of Georgia music professor from 1996–2009, and a 1992 Grammy nominee who made more than 40 records as a trumpeter with the Canadian Brass quintet from 1972-1996....

, which appeared on the album The Pachelbel Canon and Other Great Baroque Hits, released in 1980. In 1993, Salvatore Sciarrino
Salvatore Sciarrino
Salvatore Sciarrino is an Italian composer of contemporary classical music.-Biography:In his youth, Sciarrino was attracted to the visual arts, but began experimenting with music when he was twelve. Though he had some lessons from Antonino Titone and Turi Belfiore, he is primarily self-taught as a...

 made an arrangement for solo flute of BWV 565. This transcription was recorded in the early 21st century by Mario Caroli. A version for solo horn was made by Zsolt Nagy and has been performed by Frank Lloyd
Frank Lloyd (horn player)
Frank Lloyd is a virtuoso horn player and teacher, Professor of Horn at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany and formerly professor of horn at both the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Trinity College of Music in London....

 and others.

In popular culture

The piece was used prominently in the 1975 film Rollerball (as mentioned above) to establish a foreboding mood at the beginning of the film and reinforce the dystopic emotions of the end of the film. The Disney film Fantasia
Fantasia (film)
Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. The third feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski, seven of which are...

, released in 1940, opens with Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Anthony Stokowski was a British-born, naturalised American orchestral conductor, well known for his free-hand performing style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from many of the great orchestras he conducted.In America, Stokowski...

's 1927 transcription for large orchestra of the Toccata and Fugue.

The piece has also been used multiple times in popular music and cultural settings:
Keith Emerson
Keith Emerson
Keith Noel Emerson is an English keyboard player and composer. Formerly a member of the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown's Bodies, The T-Bones, V.I.P.s, P.P. Arnold's backing band, and The Nice , he was a founder of Emerson, Lake & Palmer , one of the early supergroups, in 1970...

 performed the Toccata section as part of the song Rondo
Rondo, and its French equivalent rondeau, is a word that has been used in music in a number of ways, most often in reference to a musical form, but also to a character-type that is distinct from the form...

 performed by The Nice
The Nice
The Nice were an English progressive rock band from the 1960s, known for their blend of rock, jazz and classical music. Their debut album, The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack was released in 1967 to immediate acclaim. It is often considered the first progressive rock album...

 and later in live shows with Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are an English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson , Greg Lake and Carl Palmer...

. Emerson would play this on his Hammond organ
Hammond organ
The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company. While the Hammond organ was originally sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, in the 1960s and 1970s it became a standard keyboard...

 upside down.

The English classical
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 fusion band Sky
Sky (band)
Sky was a British instrumental group that specialised in fusing a variety of musical styles including light rock, progressive rock, classical and jazz. The group's best known members were classical guitarist John Williams, bass player Herbie Flowers Sky was a British instrumental group that...

 (featuring renowned classical guitarist John Williams
John Williams (guitarist)
John Christopher Williams is an Australian classical guitarist, and a long-term resident of the United Kingdom. In 1973, he shared a Grammy Award win in the 'Best Chamber Music Performance' category with Julian Bream for Julian and John .-Biography:John Williams was born on 24 April 1941 in...

 and classical percussionist Tristan Fry) scored a Top 10 pop hit with their 1980 arrangement of BWV 565. It reached number 24 on the Billboard charts
Billboard charts
The Billboard charts tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs or albums in the United States. The results are published in Billboard magazine...

. English Hard rock band Deep Purple
Deep Purple
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although some band members believe that their music cannot be categorised as belonging to any one genre...

 has used the piece as an introduction to their song "Highway Star" at various live shows.

English alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 band Muse
Muse (band)
Muse are an English alternative rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The band consists of school friends Matthew Bellamy , Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard...

 has used toccata of this song in their guitar riff for the song "Plug in Baby
Plug In Baby
"Plug In Baby" is a song by English alternative rock band Muse, featured on their 2001 second studio album Origin of Symmetry. Released as the lead single from the album on 5 March 2001, "Plug In Baby" became the band's highest-charting single when it peaked at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart,...

", which Total Guitar
Total Guitar
Total Guitar is a monthly magazine based in the United Kingdom. The magazine is the best selling guitar magazine in Europe.The magazine is owned by Future Publishing, who publish many other magazines ranging from drums and video games to mountain bikes and knitting magazines.Total Guitar regularly...

 readers voted as the 13th best of all-time. The song "Bach Onto This
Before I Forget (album)
Before I Forget is a 1982 album by Jon Lord, featuring a largely conventional eight-song line-up, no orchestra. The bulk of the songs are either mainstream rock tracks or, specifically on Side Two, a series of very English classical piano ballads sung by mother and daughter duo, Vicki Brown and...

", an instrumental rock track on ex-Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord
Jon Lord
Jonathan Douglas "Jon" Lord is an English composer, pianist and Hammond organ player.Jon Lord, also known as 'Hammond Lord', is a classically trained piano player. He is recognised for his Hammond organ blues-rock sound and for his pioneering work in fusing rock and classical or baroque forms...

's 1982 album "Before I Forget
Before I Forget (album)
Before I Forget is a 1982 album by Jon Lord, featuring a largely conventional eight-song line-up, no orchestra. The bulk of the songs are either mainstream rock tracks or, specifically on Side Two, a series of very English classical piano ballads sung by mother and daughter duo, Vicki Brown and...

", uses extensive sections of both the Toccata and the Fugue. The intro is also used in part for the introduction of Last Rites/Loved to Deth by the American thrash metal group Megadeth
Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California which was formed in 1983 by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine, bassist Dave Ellefson and guitarist Greg Handevidt, following Mustaine's expulsion from Metallica. The band has since released 13 studio albums, three live albums, two...

. American glam metal band Mötley Crüe
Mötley Crüe
Mötley Crüe is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1981. The group was founded by bass guitarist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, who were later joined by lead guitarist Mick Mars and lead singer Vince Neil...

 has used the piece as an introduction to their gigs at their three first world tours. Blondie
Blondie (band)
Blondie is an American rock band, founded by singer Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band was a pioneer in the early American New Wave and punk scenes of the mid-1970s...

 interpolated BWV 565 with rock and rap music for the track "No Exit"
No Exit (song)
"No Exit" is a song by the American new wave band Blondie. It was the title track from their seventh studio album in 1999 and was released as a single in the U.S. and parts of Europe, but not the U.K.....

 on a 1999 album of the same name. Norwegian music group Ulver
Ulver is a musical group from Norway. Since their first, folklore-influenced black metal release entitled Bergtatt – Et eeventyr i 5 capitler , Ulver’s musical style has been fluid and increasingly eclectic, blending genres such as rock, electronica, symphonic and chamber traditions, noise and...

 incorporated parts of BWV 565 into the song "It Is Not Sound" featured on their 2005 album Blood Inside.

This piece in played in various video games such as Battle Arena Toshinden
Battle Arena Toshinden
is a weapons-based fighting game for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC in 1994. It was one of the first fighting games to boast polygonal characters in a 3D environment, and it is credited for taking the genre into "true 3-D" due to its introduction of the sidestep maneuver.It was an early killer...

 (the theme of Sho) or Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All (prologue), as well as movies like 7 Faces of Dr. Lao
7 Faces of Dr. Lao
7 Faces of Dr. Lao is a Metrocolor 1964 film adaptation of the 1935 fantasy novel The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney. It details the visit of a magical circus to a small town in the southwest United States, and the effects that visit has on the people of the town...

 (during the destruction of Woldercan). It is also played along with the "wonder movie" for J.S. Bach's Cathedral in the computer game Civilization II
Civilization II
Sid Meier's Civilization II is a turn-based strategy computer game designed by Brian Reynolds, Douglas Caspian-Kaufman and Jeff Briggs. Although it is a sequel to Sid Meier's Civilization, neither Sid Meier nor Bruce Shelley was involved in its development.Civilization II was first released in...


Lady Gaga
Lady GaGa
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta , better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to...

 played the beginning of the piece as an interlude in the song "Born This Way
Born This Way (song)
"Born This Way" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga, from her second studio album, Born This Way. Written and produced by Gaga, Fernando Garibay, Jeppe Laursen and DJ White Shadow, "Born This Way" was developed while Gaga was on the road with The Monster Ball Tour...

" at the 53rd Grammy Awards
53rd Grammy Awards
The 53rd annual Grammy Awards were held on February 13, 2011, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. They were broadcast on CBS with a rating of 26.6 million viewers. Barbra Streisand was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year two nights prior to the telecast on February 11. Nominations were...

 and during her Monster Ball Tour
The Monster Ball Tour
The Monster Ball Tour was the second worldwide concert tour by American recording artist Lady Gaga. Staged in support of her album The Fame Monster and comprising a set list of songs from that and her debut album The Fame , the tour visited arenas and stadiums from 2009 through 2011...


External links

  • "A haunting tune, but is it really Bach's?" (Andrew Druckenbrod, October 30, 2005) from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, also known simply as the "PG," is the largest daily newspaper serving metropolitan Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.-Early history:...

    . Summary of the authorship issue for the layperson.

Sheet music
  • BWV 565 at the Werner Icking Music Archive
    Werner Icking Music Archive
    The Werner Icking Music Archive , is a web archive of liberally-licensed sheet music of public domain music. The scores are electronically typeset by volunteers and distributed in PDF, often accompanied by their typesetting files. WIMA continues the defunct GMD Music Archive and is named after...

    . - with a Solo Piano Transcription by Busoni.

  • Free download of BWV 565 recorded by James Kibbie
    James Kibbie
    James Kibbie is an American concert organist, recording artist and pedagogue. He is Professor of Organ at the University of Michigan.- Biography :James Kibbie was born in 1949 in Vinton, Iowa, USA...

     on the 1724–30 Trost organ in the Stadtkirche, Waltershausen, Germany
  • Free download of BWV 565 recorded by Frederik Magle
    Frederik Magle
    Frederik Magle is a Danish composer, concert organist, and pianist. He studied composition and music theory with Leif Thybo and attended the Royal Danish Academy of Music where he studied composition and organ...

     on the 1882-83 Walcker organ in Riga Cathedral
    Dome Cathedral Pipe Organ
    Dome Pipe Organ is the second largest pipe organ in Latvia, is located in Riga Cathedral. The largest mechanical pipe organ in Latvia is located in Liepāja Holy Trinity Cathedral- History :...

    , Latvia.
  • Animated version on YouTube
  • Fantasia (1940), Stokowski's Transcription

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