An "invention" is a short, original idea (Latin inventio) that, in musical
terms, could be thought of as a motive. Bach's Inventions for keyboard are the
best known musical works in this genre. They are short pieces based on a single
idea--the "invention"--that is subjected to various melodic and contrapuntal
manipulations. An invention is, therefore, both a musical piece and an illustration
of compositional techniques. Bach's inventions are in two voices. A companion set
of pieces in three voices are called "sinfonias."
ConstructionOpening (the Exposition)
Using Bach's keyboard inventions as models, we might categorize their beginnings as being in canon, featuring a contrapuntal "associate" against the main motive, or presenting the motive with a simple accompaniment.
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