Learning Exercise

Goldberg Variations: Module 2

Second reading (of seven) on the Goldberg Variations.


"Bach to School" is open-content curriculum that threads its way through four summative works of J. S. Bach.  Designed... see more


  1. Go to the following URL and scroll down to Module 2: http://bach.nau.edu/goldberg/gbSCHOOL.html.
  2. Watch the animation: "The Goldberg is a Line."
  3. Read the essay: "The Point of the Goldberg Variations (and their counterpoint)."
  4. Read the essay: "Why Did Bach Write This?"


  • The pattern: the variations are in groups of threes, with a character (genre) piece followed a virtuoso piece followed by a canon.
  • Speculation on the Goldbergs as Bach's response to criticism.
  • The Goldbergs as Bach's proof of renewed contrapuntal vitality in an age that rejected counterpoint.
  • The Trinitarian connotation of the Goldberg Variations and the deeper meaning of Bach's stated purpose: "for the refreshment of the soul."



  1. Answer the ten questions at:
  2. Enter your name and instructor's email at the top of the page and then click the "Send to Instructor" button.