The French Suites, BWV 812–817, are six suites which Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for keyboard between 1722-25. Although suites 1–4 are typically dated to 1722, it is possible that the first was written somewhat earlier. They were later given the name French. Likewise, the English Suites received a later appellation. The name was popularised by Bach's biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel, who mentioned they were written in the French style. This, however, is inaccurate: like Bach's other suites, they follow a largely Italian convention. There is no surviving definitive manuscript of these suites, and ornamentation varies both in type and in degree across manuscripts. Some of the manuscripts that have come down to us are titled "Suites Pour Le Clavecin", which is what probably lead to the tradition of calling them "French" Suites. Get bonus content on Patreon
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