The Golden Mean can be measured in one of two ways: either by multiplying the total number of measures or the duration of the work by 0.62. In Bach's well-known cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden, for instance, there are a number of Golden Means: one for the entire work and separate ones for three individual movements.

Although the structure of the work appears to be straightforward—a short Sinfonia followed by seven treatments of a chorale tune—there is a more subtle underlying formal organization, as shown in the figure below.