What Did Bach Do Better Than Anyone Else?

There is no doubt that Bach is one of the best composers to ever have lived. Some of that is because he was a master of musical creativity. Some of his fame is attributed to the amount of great music he produced. Over all, his greatness is due to how enjoyable his music is. 

I do want you to understand the value of listening to the same piece of music several times throughout the week. Radio stations are notorious for playing the same song over and over again until its listeners are tired of the song. Classical music is a bit different and worth hearing more than once.

First, the music is much more complex. There is a lot going on and we are all bound to miss something with just one hearing. Each time it is possible to hear something new. Second, classical music is frequently recorded by several different musicians so you can hear the ways many different people understand the piece. Each listening brings you something new.

Today I want to highlight another of Bach’s most frequently heard pieces. It’s the Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor. A concerto is a work written for soloists and an orchestra. The piece starts with the orchestra but you’ll notice when the melody is taken over by just one or two violins. 

There are a couple of important elements to listen for. First, the title describes the piece in D minor. “D” refers to the note the scale used in this piece centers around. Minor refers to what we describe as the mode of the piece. Usually, the minor mode is used to give the music a serious, scary, or angry mood. Bach’s concerto certainly sounds serious. Also, note that the work ends with a major mode at the end. It’s like the tension resolved and everything came to a happy, peaceful end. (Watch the video for examples of Major and Minor modes)

Finally, listen for how the melody weaves itself in and out of other melody lines. This is one of the things Bach did better than any other composer. Even though instruments are playing different melodies at the same time, everything still sounds great.

So, enjoy today's selections from Bach.