Who Composed J.S. Bach’s Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach?

The Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach from 1725 is a collection of Baroque keyboard pieces that Johann Sebastian Bach presented to his wife, Anna Magdalena. The collection contains a variety of Baroque dances like the minuet, gavotte, musette, march, rondeau, and polonaise that are used as terrific introductions to Baroque-style, two-voice counterpoint.


J.S. Bach

The pieces found in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena are composed by not only Johann Sebastian Bach but also by many other Baroque composers like Johann Christian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Gottfried Bernhard, Johann Gottfried Heinrich, Christian Petzold, Georg Böhm, and François Couperin. There are also many pieces in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena that still remain anonymous to this day.

Perhaps the most famous work from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena is the Minuet in G Major, BWV Anh. 114. It was originally thought that Johann Sebastian Bach wrote this short minuet, but in 1970 scholars identified that this piece was actually written by Christian Petzold, a German organist.


The famous Minuet in G Major was apparently not composed by J.S. Bach.

Another very popular work from the collection is the Musette in D Major, BMV Ahn. 126. While the piece is currently credited as being composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, this has not been conclusively proven and the piece’s true authorship still remains unknown.

Despite many of the pieces being by other composers (and a few anonymous works as well), the Notebook for Anna Magdalena does contain a large number of very famous works by J.S. Bach himself. Bach’s Prelude in C major, BWV 846 from the Well-Tempered Clavier (Book 1) is in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena and the famous aria which starts the Goldberg Variations appears in the collection as Keyboard aria in G Major, BWV 988/1.

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