Evidence from the original printed edition not only supports Philipp Spitta's theory that Bach sent the print of his Musical Offering to Frederick the Great in Potsdam in two separate installments but further suggests that the work was also printed in two distinct sections, the first in Leipzig and the second possibly in the region of Halle. In Bach's earliest concept of the work, it was to have included only the three- and six-part ricercars; he subsequently enlarged the scope of the collection. A detailed examination of the engraving suggests why this was so, and it also reveals that a third Schüübler brother was involved in the engraving of the plates. Finally, the heterogeneous makeup of the surviving exemplars of the print hints at a novel strategy adopted by Bach for the marketing of the work.
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