Bach: Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

In last week’s post, I attempted to show that music (any music) is a reflection of the world it is made in. That principle holds true to any time in history as well. In fact, music is a phenomenon found in every culture and in every time period in history.

This week, and for several weeks to come, I want to focus on some of the classical composers who change the world with their music. If it weren’t for these composers, everything would be different.

The first composer to look at is Johan Sebastian Bach. He lived from 1685 through 1750 in Germany and is one of the most influential composers of all time. There are a lot of reasons why he is so important. To name a few:

  • He wrote a lot of really good music. Over 1080 pieces of music!

  • He perfected the “rules” of classical music that we still study 300 years later.

  • Even while following the “rules,” his works are enjoyable, even inspiring to listen to.

  • His works are accessible to musicians after a few years of study, yet skill musicians can still learn and grow by playing his works.

Another composer, Robert Schumann said, “We are all bunglers next to (Bach).”

To start off the week, I am adding to the playlist Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. The first movement is one of the most recognizable works from the early 1700s and worth listening to several times. Take note of the high-pitched piccolo trumpet that is used in modern recordings. It is quite a challenge to any trumpet player. Originally, Bach wrote the part for an instrument called the Clarino, which was like a trumpet, but with no values to help it change notes. The musician has to change notes all with his or her lips.

On a note of interest, Johann Sebastian Bach had 20 children! Several themselves became accomplished musicians.