Musical Musings

Sharing musical thoughts and ideas.

Baroque Compoer - Johann Sebastian Bach

Monday, October 4, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Music History

Johann Sebastian Bach

So much has been written about Bach. His music and his life is well known. He was born in what is now Germany during a time when many princes ruled over the area. He worked for a few of the Princes and made a living writing music for their courts and for the church as well as playing the organ and teaching. 

Click here for a more detailed history to read on J.S. Bach

Here is a video for kids on the life of J.S. Bach



Prelude in C Major BVW 846 from The Well Tempered Clavier

Most students will recognize the Prelude in C Major. Many students also get to play this piece! This recording is played by Lang Lang, a very well known pianist today throughout the world. Lang Lang began playing piano when he was three and began his full-time professional music career at age 17. This recording has an interesting twist. Lang Lang wants to share classical music and make it more interesting with everyone. Watch this to see one way he does it.


Fugue no. 1 in C major [BWV 846]

In the Book The Well Tempered Clavier, Bach wrote a Prelude and a Fugue that went together. This is the fugue. Fugues are more difficult, they have three or four parts that play. Watch this version of the fugue and see the four colors they use to show each of the parts. Each color comes in playing the main theme, can you hear it?


Flute Sonata in E minor

Here are two of the four movements of the Bach Flute Sonata. When Bach was alive, they did not have a piano yet, only a harpsichord. The flute was also made of wood. These two recordings are made from instruments they would have played during Bach's time. The first is just harpsichord and flute, but the second video you will notice more instruments. These sonatas for flute may have been performed with just a harpsichord, or could have been performed with other instruments. Bach wrote a flute solo and for Continuo - which was an accompaniment like the one on the right with a line of music and numbers under. The Continuo part was to play the harmony and improv based on the numbers, called figured bass.



I hope you enjoy this month's listening!