List of motets by Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach's autograph of the motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 225

It is uncertain how many motets Johann Sebastian Bach composed, because some have been lost, and there are some doubtful attributions among the surviving ones associated with him. There are six authenticated motets catalogued BWV 225–230. BWV 228 appears to have been written at Weimar, between 1708 and 1717, and the other five in Leipzig, between 1723 and 1727. A seventh motet, Ich lasse dich nicht, BWV Anh. 159, which was formerly attributed to Bach's older cousin Johann Christoph Bach, appears to be one of Bach's earlier works, possibly composed during the Weimar period.

Several of the motets were written for funerals. There is some uncertainty as to the extent that motets would have been called for in normal church services - there is evidence that it was considered an archaic form. The text of Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt, BWV Anh. 160 (whether or not the piece is attributable to Bach) suggests a performance at Christmas. Another possible use is the suggestion of the scholar Christoph Wolff that some of the choral writing in the motets for example Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, would have been useful for training Bach's young singers.[1]

Bach's motets are his only vocal works that kept repertoire without interruption between his death in 1750 and the 19th-century Bach Revival.[2] In the early 19th century six motets (BWV 225, 228, Anh. 159, 229, 227, 226)[3][4] were among Bach's first printed music, after the second half of the 18th century when the only vocal music by Bach that was printed were collections of his four-part chorales.[5]

BWV 225–230

BWV 28/2a (231) and 118

BWV Anh. 159–165

BWV deest


  1. Wolff, Christoph. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, p. 249 (W. W. Norton & Company 2001).
  2. Spitta, Philipp (1899). Johann Sebastian Bach: His Work and Influence on the Music of Germany, 1685–1750 (Volume 2). London: Novello & Co., p. 611
  3. Leipzig Breitkopf und Härtel (1802/1803) Folio at
  4. OCLC 18856743 at
  5. Forkel, Johann Nikolaus, translated by Charles Sanford Terry (1920). Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life, Art, and Work. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe; London: Constable, p. xvii
  6. BWV2a p. 228
  7. 1 2 Gardiner, John Eliot. "Bach Motets" (PDF). Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  8. 1 2 Melamed 1995 pp. 89–97
  9. Bach Digital Work 0036 at
  10. Boyd, Malcolm (1999). Oxford Composer Companions: J.S. Bach. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 245. ISBN 0-19-866208-4.
  11. BWV2a p. 233
  12. Bach Digital Work 0143 at
  13. BWV2a p. 459
  14. Bach Digital Work 1470 at
  15. Bach Digital Work 1471 at
  16. Bach Digital Work 1472 at
  17. Georg Gottfried Wagner: Motet Lob und Ehre und Weisheit, BWV Anh 162 at
  18. Bach Digital Work 1473 at
  19. BR Bruxelles Ms. II 3902 Mus. at
  20. Bach Digital Work 1474 at
  21. HLB Darmstadt, Mus. ms. 521/1 and HLB Darmstadt, Mus. ms. 521/2–6 at
  22. Bach Digital Work 1475 at
  23. HLB Darmstadt, Mus. ms. 528 at
  24. Bach Digital Work 1476 at
  25. Bach Digital Work 1532 at
  26. Melamed 1995 pp. 148–149


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