German titles of the chorales are sometimes the first line of the stanza Bach used in the cantata, and sometimes the title of the modern melody of the chorale. This makes any decision about naming the melodies very difficult and arbitrary. I have used the name by which the original base melody seems to be best known in Germany, but occasionally, someone writes to me to correct a title. Unfortunately, there is always some confusion about the names, and listing all the names of each chorale in every location would not be feasible.
Here is a copy of the README found with the midi files of the chorales.
Here is a set of midi files of chorales harmonized by J. S. Bach. These short works are used in church services and in the study of the practices of harmony.
The BWV catalog numbers were created in 1950 to standardize references to Bach's work. No longer need there be confusion about WHICH fugue in g minor is being talked about.
The file names or ID numbers in the database of this web site may be understood as follows:
|0000 is the BWV #|
|xx is the movement # within the BWV. These are from the NBA edition which are indicated in Wolfgang Schmieder's _Thematic Catalog of the Musical Work of Johann Sebastian Bach_, Breitkopf and Hartel, Wiesden, 1990.|
|B means that the chorale is numbered in the BWV catalog, A in this spot would be the anhang #, C in this spot would be some other series of numbers if necessary.|
|_ is a placeholder for some other information, eg. a first or second version, S for a short or abbreviated version|
For example, for the chorale that closes BWV 42, the file name would be 004207b_.mid
For the chorale that closes the first part of BWV 36(2) the file would be 003604b2.mid
So, to interpret the file name: 024833b_.mid:
|0248 = BWV 248|
|33 = Movement #33|
|b = BWV series|
|_ = no other special info|
Most of these chorales may be found in the following two editions:
Bach, 371 Harmonized Chorales and 69 Chorale Melodies with Figured Bass, ed. Albert Riemenschneider, G. Schirmer, NY, 1941.
This is a reworking of the Bach-Kirnberger edition of 370 chorales. It contains many errors and some misleading notation.
Johann Sebastian Bach, 389 Chorales, Kalmus K06002, Belwin Inc, 15800 NW 48th Ave, Miami, FL 33014
This is a re-publication of the Richter edition of 389 chorales and is more reliable.
A tab delimited text file which can be imported into a database or formatted in a word processor is also included. The fields in the file are:
|MIDI file #|
|# of chorale in Kalmus|
|# of chorale in Barenreiter|
|# of chorale in Musica Budapest|
|# of chorale in A. Riemenschneider|
In chorales with repeats and an initial pick-up note, the repeat has been written out rather than written as a graphic repeat, and the pick-up has been included in the incomplete measure preceding the second playing of the repeat.
If possible, check the files against an original copy of the chorales, for accuracy and for preferences in writing odd measures.
These files were created on a Macintosh using Coda's Finale.
I would appreciate any messages, corrections or comments.
If you are going to use the chorales files, you can send me email. I always enjoy hearing what people are doing with the files. Thanks.