BACH & the Art of Improvisation,

Volume Two, 2017


Interludes & Cadenzas, Preludes, Fantasias,

Continuo Playing, and Fugues


BACH & the Art of Improvisation

Volume Two (2017)

Simultaneously revolutionary and realistic, Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra resuscitates historic improvisation from relevant treatises and documentation of Bach's improvisation pedagogy in counterpoint with tried and true applications. She incrementally guides the reader from improvising cadences, chorales, partitas, and dances in Volume One to improvising interludes & cadenzas, preludes, fantasias, continuo playing, and ultimately, fugues in Volume Two of Bach and the Art of Improvisation. The chapters on continuo playing alone beckon reform of current practice. As international performer, composer, liturgical musician, scholar, and pedagogue, Ruiter-Feenstra invites those willing to immerse themselves in improvisation to embody consummate musicianship as theory, history, aural perception, and soul-communicative playing come to life in practice and performance.



  “This book combines two attributes–erudition and warmth–rare in studies that engage with Bach’s often-daunting legacy. Bach and the Art of Improvisation is both scholarly and welcoming, theoretically grounded yet vigorously practical, broad in its purview while full of specific insights and exercises. Ruiter-Feenstra’s valuable work is an invitation to explore the richness of the past in the service of creative music-making in the present.”                               


Professor of Music, Cornell University; Author of Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint, and Bach's Feet: the Organ Pedals in European Culture


“In Bach and the Art of Improvisation, we are guided step-by-step to discover the “fil rouge” that spanned centuries, reached Bach and now reaches us. And we cannot help but be surprised by the amazing consistency and effectiveness of this route.”


Associate Professor of Organ, Harpsichord and Improvisation; Affiliate Faculty, Musicology Department, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester [excerpt from the Foreword]





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Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra