Bach and the Art of Improvisation, 

Volume One, 2011

Bach's consummate musicianship through the lenses of

musicology, history, theory, and performance.

Improvisation pedagogy for professional musicians.



Bach and the Art of Improvisation, Vol. One

Table of Contents

©Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra


VOLUME ONE: Chorale-Based Works (2011)

1. Improvisation as Extemporaneous Composition

2. Tenacity, Touch, and Fingering

3. Thoroughbass and Cadences

4. Chorales and Harmonization

5. Counterpoint and Chorale Partitas 

6. Bach as Teenager: The Neumeister Collection

7. Bach at Forty-Something: Dance Suites     


VOLUME TWO: Free Works and Continuo (2017)

8. Interludes and Cadenzas

9. Preludes

10. Fantasias

11. A Thesis on Continuo Playing by J. S. Bach

12. Concerti, Cantatas, and Continuo Playing

13. Partimento Fughette

14. Bach for a Lifetime: Fugues

Bach and the Art of Improvisation, Vol. 1

Ruiter-Feenstra is a trailblazer among the small but growing number of organists who have been willing to sacrifice the time and energy necessary to build roads for the rest of us, so we can travel from our current intellectual understanding of eighteenth-century music-making over the paradigmatic gap to what should be our next collective goal: an increased and integrated experience of improvisation in teaching, in live performance, and in music-making for ourselves and for each other.”


Researcher at GOArt, Göteborg University, Sweden  

(excerpt from the Foreword)


“For more than five centuries, improvisation was the normal way of playing a keyboard instrument, particularly for organists. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra’s book, the result of years of research and experience, offers musicians the possibility to develop this art today at the school of one of the best teachers and improvisers, Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach and the Art of Improvisation is a fundamental book with a much-needed historical approach to improvisation, rife with valuable information and practical examples.”


Professor of Organ, Harpsichord, and Improvisation

Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York


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Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra