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Johann Sebastian Bach - Research Paper Example

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Johann Sebastian Bach

The Baroque period of music stretched from the 17th to the 18th century. J.S. Bach was a contemporary of Telemann and Vivaldi. He would influence Mozart and Beethoven. This period produced the many forms of music that we know today. The music, chosen for this paper, will show the diversity of Bach's compositional abilities. It will also be shown how his music has influenced other composers. His composition gave early examples of the symphony, the cantata and the fugue. Fugues and Symphonic are forms which were carried over to the classical period. John Sebastian Bach came from a family of musicians. He was born in 1685 in Eisenach and died in 1750 in Leipzig. It is important to note that his brother Johann Christian, who was also a well established musician, had studied with Johann Pachelbel, a famous composer. His Pachelbel’s Canons are well known. J.S. Bach married two times, fathered 20 children and trained his children to be musicians. When Bach's father died, J.C. Bach took over his musical training. He studied piano, organ and violin. His first courses in composition were given by his brother when he was a child. In essence, J.C. Bach was J.S. Bach's first teacher. From 14-17 years of age, he studied in Luneber, where he sang in the school choir. It is important to note that he also had access to the large musical library where he studied the scores of manuscripts of the Dutch school of music (Grout 416). When he finished his studies in 1703, he became employed as a violinist in Weimar and then in the same year he became organist in Arnstadt. He stayed there for four years. He had left because of the lack of musical respect of his compositions. He went back to Weimar to become Concert Master which meant he supervised an orchestra and a choir. This was an excellent environment to be able to compose as he could try his music in the orchestra, within minutes from having composed it. He composed most of his Cantatas then. From 1717, he was able to concentrate upon composing during most of his time. As concert-master, he had access to the orchestra in Kothen where he composed the majority of his instrumental music. Bach wrote in the Baroque style. In the 17th century, the Catholic Church no longer controlled the music life. Composers were under the system of patronage. They either had jobs in churches or worked for courts. Germany and Holland were no longer Catholic. They had become protestant. Music had become an important part of their church service. Most music in the Catholic Church remained in the form of heavily voices with instruments. The protestant or Lutherans relied on full orchestras and voices. This period of history had much more freedom in the arts. Baroque music meant freedom in composition, style and instrumentation. Bach’s music was performed in the 19th century by Felix Mendleson. Bach would influence composers up to today. The music was much more technical in terms of polyphony. This was partly due to the type of instruments used. The harpsichord accompanying an instrument or voice did not interrupt but played in alternating with the voice. The strings were used as an accompaniment of the soloist. If the choir sang, it was the full orchestra. Compositions were orchestrated for multiple arrangements. The compositions were set to form and the form was respected. Freedom in composition meant freedom to compose following rules that didn't exist during the Middle ...Show more

Summary

Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the most influential composers of the Late Baroque German School of Music. Lutheran Church Music was at its highest in 1650-1750 (Grout 362). The Organ also was also well developed as an instrument whereas other instruments still had many transformations to go through before reaching today's standards (Grout 373)…
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