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Toccata and Fugue in D minor (tr Nowlin)

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (tr. Ryan Nowlin)

This work bears the designation BWV 565.

General Info

Year: c. 1705 / 2015
Duration: c. 8:55
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Neil A. Kjos Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I
Bassoon II/Contra-Bassoon
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
String Bass


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is one of the greatest of the masterpieces which Bach wrote for the organ. A brilliant slow/fast introduction is followed by the fugue, the subject of which is a short figure in sixteenth notes. From the free and showy style of the toccata and the huge climax at the end, it is evident that the work was conceived as a virtuoso concert pieces rather than a work for a church service.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Bach’s most popular organ work was supposedly composed shortly after his arrival at Weimar in 1708, when he already had earned a reputation as an organist. It belongs to Bach’s early composition exercises as he was still assimilating his predecessor’s styles. This Toccata and Fugue not only illustrates Bach’s exceptional composition technique, but also the extensive possibilities of the organ. The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, originally written for organ, has since been arranged for virtually every musical performance medium from symphony orchestra to jazz band. Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Luciuen Cailliet, and Sir Henry Wood all have made their own arrangements for orchestra, and no less than seven arrangers have created transcriptions for band. John Philip Sousa, Erik Leidzén, Denis Wright, and Hans Felix Husadel, among others, have provided band arrangements of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 (c. 1708) is a two-part musical composition for organ, probably written before 1708. It is known for its majestic sound, dramatic authority, and driving rhythm. This piece is perhaps most widely known by its appearance in the opening minutes of the 1940 Disney classic, Fantasia, in which it was adapted for orchestra by the conductor, Leopold Stokowski. It also has a strong association in Western culture with horror films.

The first part of this work is a toccata; the name of which is derived from the Italian toccare, meaning “to touch.” It represents a musical form for keyboard instruments that is designed to reveal the virtuosity of the performer. Bach’s approach to the toccata is typical in that it has many fast, arpeggiated sections (notes of a chord played in a series rather than simultaneously) and scalar passages up and down the keyboard. Otherwise, it is generally free form and gives the composer much latitude for personal expression. During this time period, toccatas often served as introductions for fugues, setting the stage for the complex and intricate composition to follow.

The fugue—a technique characterized by the overlapping repetition of a principal theme in different melodic lines (counterpoint)—is the second part of this composition. It reflects the particular popularity of the form during the late 1600s and early 1700s. Bach utilized the fugue in many of his compositions but most famously in solo organ pieces, instrumental works, and choral cantatas. This particular work is not only the best known of Bach’s fugues, but also the most famous of any composer.

- Program Note from Encyclopedia Brittanica

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA


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