Johann Sebastian Bach

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Johann Sebastian Bach
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{{Redirect|Bach|Bach's grandson|Johann Sebastian Bach (painter)|other uses|Bach (disambiguation)}}{{pp-semi-indef}}{{short description|German composer}}{{Use dmy dates|date=February 2018}}{{Use British English|date=September 2012}}

Old Style and New Style dates>(O.S.)31 March 1685 (N.S.)| birth_place = Eisenach1750283df=y}} | death_place = Leipzig| signature = Johann Sebastian Bach signature.svgList of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach>List of compositions}}Johann Sebastian Bach{{efn|{{IPA-de|ˈjoːhan zeˈbasti̯an ˈbax|lang|De-Johann Sebastian Bach.ogg}}. The last name appears as {{IPAc-en|lang|b|ɑː|x}} on"Bach, Johann Sebastian {{webarchive|url= |date=11 May 2016 }}" entry at {{url|}}. Retrieved 3 May 2016. and in the Random House Unabridged Dictionary."Bach" entry at Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 3 May 2016.}} ({{OldStyleDate|31 March|1685|21 March}}{{spaced ndash}}28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Western art musical canon.BOOK,weblink The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians and Their Art, 2008, T. C. W., Blanning, T. C. W. Blanning, 272, And of course the greatest master of harmony and counterpoint of all time was Johann Sebastian Bach, 'the Homer of music'., 9780674031043, no,weblink 15 May 2015, dmy-all, The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After being orphaned at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph Bach, after which he continued his musical development in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar—where he expanded his repertoire for the organ—and Köthen—where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Thomas) in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard music. In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65.Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular.Wolff (1997), p. 5 He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and sacred songs. He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Many of his works employ contrapuntal genres such as fugue.Throughout the 18th century Bach was mostly renowned as an organistweblink while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities.Vlahopol, Gabriela. "THE SET OF 24 PRELUDES AND FUGUES–DIDACTIC INTENTION OR CONSTRUCTIVISM?." Review of Artistic Education 7–8 (2014): 115–120. The 19th century saw the publication of some major Bach biographies, and by the end of that century all of his known music had been printed. Dissemination of scholarship on the composer continued through periodicals exclusively devoted to him, and publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV, a numbered catalogue of his works) and new critical editions of his compositions. His music was further popularised through a multitude of arrangements, including the Air on the G String.{{TOC limit|3}}


(File:JSBWohnorte.svg|thumb|upright=1.1|Places where Bach lived)Bach was born in 1685 in Eisenach, in the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, into an extensive musical family. His father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, and all of his uncles were professional musicians. His father probably taught him to play the violin and harpsichord, and his brother Johann Christoph Bach taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much of the contemporary music.Wolff (2000), pp. 19, 46 Apparently on his own initiative, Bach attended St. Michael's School in Lüneburg for two years. After graduating, he held several musical posts across Germany, including (director of music) to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, and in Leipzig, a position of music director at the main Lutheran churches and educator at the . He received the title of "Royal Court Composer" from Augustus III in 1736.WEB, Bach Mass in B Minor BWV 232,weblink The Baroque Music Site, 21 February 2012, no,weblink" title="">weblink 7 March 2012, dmy-all, Miles (1962), pp. 86–87 Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, and he died on 28 July 1750.

Childhood (1685–1703)

(File:Johann Ambrosius Bach.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Johann Ambrosius Bach, Bach's father)(File:Eisenacher Gesangbuch Tugendlieder.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Page from the Neues vollständiges Eisenachisches Gesangbuch, the Lutheran hymnal that was in use in the Eisenach of Bach's youthJohann Günther Rörer (editor). Neues vollständiges Eisenachisches Gesangbuch: Worinnen in ziemlich bequeemer und füglicher Ordnung vermittels fünffacher Abteilung so wol die alte als neue doch mehrenteils bekante geistliche Kirchenlieder und Psalmen D. Martin Luthers und anderer Gottseeligen Männer befindlich. {{webarchive|url= |date=4 March 2016 }} Eisenach: Rörer, 1673.Geck 2003, p. 5 {{webarchive|url= |date=28 March 2017 }})(File:Lvnaeburgvm um 1682.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Lüneburg, some two decades before Bach's stay in that town: St Michael's pictured in lower right){{See also|Bach family}}Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, the capital of the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, in present-day Germany, on 21 March 1685 O.S. (31 March 1685 N.S.). He was the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of the town musicians, and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt.Jones (2007), p. 3 He was the eighth and youngest child of Johann Ambrosius,WEB, Lesson Plans,weblink Bach to School, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2013, 23 December 2014, who likely taught him violin and basic music theory.Boyd (2000), p. 6 His uncles were all professional musicians, whose posts included church organists, court chamber musicians, and composers. One uncle, Johann Christoph Bach (1645–1693), introduced him to the organ, and an older second cousin, Johann Ludwig Bach (1677–1731), was a well-known composer and violinist.Johann Sebastian Bach drafted a genealogy around 1735, titled "Origin of the musical Bach family", printed in translation in David, Mendel, and Wolff (1998), p. 283Bach's mother died in 1694, and his father died eight months later. The 10-year-old Bach moved in with his eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach (1671–1721), the organist at St. Michael's Church in Ohrdruf, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.Boyd (2000), pp. 7–8 There he studied, performed, and copied music, including his own brother's, despite being forbidden to do so because scores were so valuable and private, and blank ledger paper of that type was costly.David, Mendel & Wolff (1998), p. 299Wolff (2000), p. 45 He received valuable teaching from his brother, who instructed him on the clavichord. J. C. Bach exposed him to the works of great composers of the day, including South German composers such as Johann Pachelbel (under whom Johann Christoph had studied) and Johann Jakob Froberger; North German composers; Frenchmen, such as Jean-Baptiste Lully, Louis Marchand, and Marin Marais; and the Italian clavierist Girolamo Frescobaldi. Also during this time, he was taught theology, Latin, Greek, French, and Italian at the local gymnasium.WEB,weblink Johann Sebastian Bach: a detailed informative biography, The Baroque Music Site, 19 February 2012, no,weblink" title="">weblink 20 February 2012, dmy-all, By 3 April 1700, Bach and his schoolfriend Georg Erdmann—who was two years Bach's elder—were enrolled in the prestigious St. Michael's School in Lüneburg, some two weeks' travel north of Ohrdruf.Wolff (2000), pp. 41–43Eidam 2001, Ch. I Their journey was probably undertaken mostly on foot. His two years there were critical in exposing Bach to a wider range of European culture. In addition to singing in the choir, he played the school's three-manual organ and harpsichords. He came into contact with sons of aristocrats from northern Germany who were sent to the highly selective school to prepare for careers in other disciplines.While in Lüneburg, Bach had access to St. John's Church and possibly used the church's famous organ from 1553, since it was played by his organ teacher Georg Böhm.WEB, Stauffer, George B., Why Bach Moves Us,weblink The New York Review of Books, 20 February 2014, 10 April 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 9 April 2014, dmy-all, Because of his musical talent, Bach had significant contact with Böhm while a student in Lüneburg, and he also took trips to nearby Hamburg where he observed "the great North German organist Johann Adam Reincken".Geiringer (1966), p. 13 Stauffer reports the discovery in 2005 of the organ tablatures that Bach wrote, while still in his teens, of works by Reincken and Dieterich Buxtehude, showing "a disciplined, methodical, well-trained teenager deeply committed to learning his craft".

Weimar, Arnstadt, and Mühlhausen (1703–1708)

File:Arnstadt Bachkirche Orgeln.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|The Wender organ Bach played in Arnstadt]](File:Young Bach2.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Portrait of the young Bach (disputed)WEB, Towe, Teri Noel, The Portrait in Erfurt Alleged to Depict Bach, the Weimar Concertmeister, The Face of Bach,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 16 July 2011, 23 December 2014, )In January 1703, shortly after graduating from St. Michael's and being turned down for the post of organist at Sangerhausen,Rich (1995), p. 27 Bach was appointed court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst III in Weimar.Boyd (2000), pp. 15–16 His role there is unclear, but it probably included menial, non-musical duties. During his seven-month tenure at Weimar, his reputation as a keyboardist spread so much that he was invited to inspect the new organ and give the inaugural recital at the New Church (now Bach Church) in Arnstadt, located about {{convert|30|km|}} southwest of Weimar.Chiapusso (1968), p. 62 In August 1703, he became the organist at the New Church, with light duties, a relatively generous salary, and a new organ tuned in a temperament that allowed music written in a wider range of keys to be played.{{citation needed|date=January 2018}}Despite strong family connections and a musically enthusiastic employer, tension built up between Bach and the authorities after several years in the post. Bach was dissatisfied with the standard of singers in the choir. He called one of them a "Zippel Fagottist" ((:wiktionary:weenie|weenie) bassoon player). Late one evening this student, named Geyersbach, went after Bach with a stick. Bach filed a complaint against Geyersbach with the authorities. They acquitted Geyersbach with a minor reprimand and ordered Bach to be more moderate regarding the musical qualities he expected from his students. Some months later Bach upset his employer by a prolonged absence from Arnstadt: after obtaining leave for four weeks, he was absent for around four months in 1705–1706 to visit the organist and composer Dieterich Buxtehude in the northern city of Lübeck. The visit to Buxtehude involved a {{convert|450|km|adj=on}} journey each way, reportedly on foot.Wolff (2000), pp. 83ff {{webarchive|url= |date=28 February 2017 }}BOOK,weblink Dieterich Buxtehude: Organist in Lübeck, 2007, 2nd, Kerala J., Snyder, 104–106, 9781580462532, no,weblink 28 September 2015, dmy-all, In 1706, Bach applied for a post as organist at the Blasius Church in Mühlhausen.Wolff (2000), pp. 102–104 {{webarchive|url= |date=22 February 2018 }})Williams (2003), pp. 38–39 {{webarchive|url= |date=22 February 2018 }} As part of his application, he had a cantata performed on Easter, 24 April 1707, likely an early version of his .Bach Digital Work {{BDW|0005}} at {{url|}} A month later Bach's application was accepted and he took up the post in July. The position included significantly higher remuneration, improved conditions, and a better choir. Four months after arriving at Mühlhausen, Bach married Maria Barbara Bach, his second cousin. Bach was able to convince the church and town government at Mühlhausen to fund an expensive renovation of the organ at the Blasius Church. In 1708 Bach wrote , a festive cantata for the inauguration of the new council, which was published at the council's expense.

Return to Weimar (1708–1717)

File:BWV1001-cropped.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Bach's autograph of the first movement of the Sonata No. 1 in G minor for solo violin (BWV 1001)Sonata No. 1 in G minor for solo violin (BWV 1001){{details|Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172#Background}}Bach left Mühlhausen in 1708, returning to Weimar this time as organist and from 1714 (director of music) at the ducal court, where he had an opportunity to work with a large, well-funded contingent of professional musicians. Bach and his wife moved into a house close to the ducal palace.WEB, History of the Bach House,weblink Bach House Weimar, 10 August 2015, no,weblink" title="">weblink 26 November 2015, dmy-all, Later the same year, their first child, Catharina Dorothea, was born, and Maria Barbara's elder, unmarried sister joined them. She remained to help run the household until her death in 1729. Three sons were also born in Weimar: Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Gottfried Bernhard. Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara had three more children, who however did not live to their first birthday, including twins born in 1713.Forkel/Terry 1920, Table VII, p. 309Bach's time in Weimar was the start of a sustained period of composing keyboard and orchestral works. He attained the proficiency and confidence to extend the prevailing structures and include influences from abroad. He learned to write dramatic openings and employ the dynamic rhythms and harmonic schemes found in the music of Italians such as Vivaldi, Corelli, and Torelli. Bach absorbed these stylistic aspects in part by transcribing Vivaldi's string and wind concertos for harpsichord and organ; many of these transcribed works are still regularly performed. Bach was particularly attracted to the Italian style, in which one or more solo instruments alternate section-by-section with the full orchestra throughout a movement.WEB,weblink Baroque Music – Part One, Thornburgh, Elaine, Elaine Thornburgh, Music in Our World, San Diego State University, 24 December 2014, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 5 September 2015, In Weimar, Bach continued to play and compose for the organ and perform concert music with the duke's ensemble. He also began to write the preludes and fugues which were later assembled into his monumental work The Well-Tempered Clavier ("clavier" meaning clavichord or harpsichord),Chiapusso (1968), p. 168 consisting of two books,Schweitzer (1935), p. 331 each containing 24 preludes and fugues in every major and minor key. Bach also started work on the Little Organ Book in Weimar, containing traditional Lutheran chorale tunes set in complex textures. In 1713, Bach was offered a post in Halle when he advised the authorities during a renovation by Christoph Cuntzius of the main organ in the west gallery of the Market Church of Our Dear Lady.WEB, Koster, Jan, Weimar (II) 1708–1717,weblink J. S. Bach Archive and Bibliography, 11 April 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 28 March 2014, dmy-all, BOOK,weblink Companion to Baroque Music, 1998, Julie Anne, Sadie, Julie Anne Sadie, 205, 9780520214149, no,weblink 14 May 2015, dmy-all, In the spring of 1714, Bach was promoted to , an honour that entailed performing a church cantata monthly in the castle church.Wolff (2000), pp. 147, 156 The first three cantatas in the new series Bach composed in Weimar were , for Palm Sunday, which coincided with the Annunciation that year; , for Jubilate Sunday; and for Pentecost.Wolff (1991), p. 30 Bach's first Christmas cantata, , was premiered in 1714 or 1715.WEB, Gardiner, John Eliot, John Eliot Gardiner,weblink Cantatas for Christmas Day: Herderkirche, Weimar, 1–2, 2010, 27 December 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2015, dmy-all, WEB, Wolff, Christoph, Christoph Wolff,weblink From konzertmeister to thomaskantor: Bach's cantata production 1713–1723, 1996, 15–16, 27 December 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2015, dmy-all, (File:Leipzig Universitätskirche.JPG|thumb|upright=1.1|The in Leipzig: in 1717 Bach had tested the new organ in this church.)In 1717, Bach eventually fell out of favour in Weimar and, according to a translation of the court secretary's report, was jailed for almost a month before being unfavourably dismissed: "On November 6, [1717], the quondam concertmaster and organist Bach was confined to the County Judge's place of detention for too stubbornly forcing the issue of his dismissal and finally on December 2 was freed from arrest with notice of his unfavourable discharge."David, Mendel & Wolff (1998), p. 80

Köthen (1717–1723)

(File:Bach Seal.svg|thumb|upright=1.1|Bach's seal (centre), used throughout his Leipzig years. It contains the superimposed letters {{nowrap|J S B}} in mirror image topped with a crown. The flanking letters illustrate the arrangement on the seal.)File:St. Thomas Church, Leipzig.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|St. Thomas Church, LeipzigSt. Thomas Church, LeipzigLeopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, hired Bach to serve as his (director of music) in 1717. Prince Leopold, himself a musician, appreciated Bach's talents, paid him well and gave him considerable latitude in composing and performing. The prince was a Calvinist and did not use elaborate music in his worship; accordingly, most of Bach's work from this period was secular,Miles (1962), p. 57 including the orchestral suites, cello suites, sonatas and partitas for solo violin, and Brandenburg Concertos.Boyd (2000), p. 74 Bach also composed secular cantatas for the court, such as . A significant influence upon Bach's musical development during his years with the prince is recorded by Stauffer as Bach's "complete embrace of dance music, perhaps the most important influence on his mature style other than his adoption of Vivaldi's music in Weimar."Despite being born in the same year and only about {{convert|130|km|round=5}} apart, Bach and Handel never met. In 1719, Bach made the {{convert|35|km|adj=on}} journey from Köthen to Halle with the intention of meeting Handel; however, Handel had left the town.Van Til (2007), pp. 69, 372 In 1730, Bach's oldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, travelled to Halle to invite Handel to visit the Bach family in Leipzig, but the visit did not take place.Spaeth (1937), p. 37On 7 July 1720, while Bach was away in Carlsbad with Prince Leopold, Bach's wife suddenly died.Spitta (1899a), p. 11 The following year, he met Anna Magdalena Wilcke, a young, highly gifted soprano 16 years his junior, who performed at the court in Köthen; they married on 3 December 1721.Geiringer (1966), p. 50 Together they had 13 more children, 6 of whom survived into adulthood: Gottfried Heinrich; Elisabeth Juliane Friederica (1726–1781); Johann Christoph Friedrich and Johann Christian, who both, especially Johann Christian, became significant musicians; Johanna Carolina (1737–1781); and Regina Susanna (1742–1809).Wolff (1983), pp. 98, 111

Leipzig (1723–1750)

File:Leipzig Nikolaikirche um 1850.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|1850}} File:Zimmermannsches Caffeehaus.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Café ZimmermannCafé ZimmermannIn 1723, Bach was appointed Thomaskantor, Cantor of the at the (St. Thomas Church) in Leipzig, which provided music for four churches in the city: the and (St. Nicholas Church) and to a lesser extent the (New Church) and (St. Peter's Church).Spitta (1899a), pp. 192–193 This was "the leading cantorate in Protestant Germany",Wolff 2013, p. 253 located in the mercantile city in the Electorate of Saxony, which he held for 27 years until his death. During that time he gained further prestige through honorary appointments at the courts of Köthen and Weissenfels, as well as that of the Elector Frederick Augustus (who was also King of Poland) in Dresden. Bach frequently disagreed with his employer, Leipzig's city council, which he regarded as "penny-pinching".Wolff 2013, p. 345

Appointment in Leipzig

Johann Kuhnau had been Thomaskantor in Leipzig from 1701 until his death on 5 June 1722. Bach had visited Leipzig during Kuhnau's tenure: in 1714 he attended the service at the St. Thomas Church on the first Sunday of Advent,Spitta (1899a), p. 265 and in 1717 he had tested the organ of the .Spitta (1899a), p. 184 In 1716 Bach and Kuhnau had met on the occasion of the testing and inauguration of an organ in Halle.After being offered the position, Bach was invited to Leipzig only after Georg Philipp Telemann indicated that he would not be interested in relocating to Leipzig.British Library. On-line gallery.Bach biography. {{webarchive|url= |date=29 January 2016 }}. Telemann went to Hamburg, where he "had his own struggles with the city's senate".Wolff 2013, p. 348Bach was required to instruct the students of the in singing and provide church music for the main churches in Leipzig. He was also assigned to teach Latin but was allowed to employ four "prefects" (deputies) to do this instead. The prefects also aided with musical instruction.Wolff 2013, p. 349 A cantata was required for the church services on Sundays and additional church holidays during the liturgical year.

Cantata cycle years (1723–1729)

Bach usually led performances of his cantatas, most of which were composed within three years of his relocation to Leipzig. The first was , performed in the on 30 May 1723, the first Sunday after Trinity. Bach collected his cantatas in annual cycles. Five are mentioned in obituaries, three are extant. Of the more than 300 cantatas which Bach composed in Leipzig, over 100 have been lost to posterity. Most of these works expound on the Gospel readings prescribed for every Sunday and feast day in the Lutheran year. Bach started a second annual cycle the first Sunday after Trinity of 1724 and composed only chorale cantatas, each based on a single church hymn. These include , , , and .Bach drew the soprano and alto choristers from the school and the tenors and basses from the school and elsewhere in Leipzig. Performing at weddings and funerals provided extra income for these groups; it was probably for this purpose, and for in-school training, that he wrote at least six motets.WEB, Motets BWV 225–231,weblink Bach Cantatas Website, 31 December 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2015, dmy-all, As part of his regular church work, he performed other composers' motets, which served as formal models for his own.WEB, Works of Other Composers performed by J.S. Bach,weblink Bach Cantatas Website, 31 December 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 17 July 2014, dmy-all, Bach's predecessor as cantor, Johann Kuhnau, had also been music director for the , the church of Leipzig University. But when Bach was installed as cantor in 1723, he was put in charge only of music for festal (church holiday) services at the ; his petition to also provide music for regular Sunday services there (for a corresponding salary increase) went all the way to the Elector but was denied. After this, in 1725, Bach "lost interest" in working even for festal services at the and appeared there only on "special occasions".Boyd (2000), pp. 112–113 The had a much better and newer (1716) organ than did the or the .Spitta (1899a), pp. 288–290 Bach was not required to play any organ in his official duties, but it is believed he liked to play on the organ "for his own pleasure".Spitta (1899a), pp. 281, 287Bach broadened his composing and performing beyond the liturgy by taking over, in March 1729, the directorship of the Collegium Musicum, a secular performance ensemble started by Telemann. This was one of the dozens of private societies in the major German-speaking cities that were established by musically active university students; these societies had become increasingly important in public musical life and were typically led by the most prominent professionals in a city. In the words of Christoph Wolff, assuming the directorship was a shrewd move that "consolidated Bach's firm grip on Leipzig's principal musical institutions".Wolff (2000), p. 341 Year round, Leipzig's Collegium Musicum performed regularly in venues such as the Café Zimmermann, a coffeehouse on Catherine Street off the main market square. Many of Bach's works during the 1730s and 1740s were written for and performed by the Collegium Musicum; among these were parts of his (Keyboard Practice) and many of his violin and keyboard concertos.

Middle years of the Leipzig period (1730–1739)

In 1733, Bach composed a Missa (Kyrie and Gloria) which he later incorporated in his Mass in B minor. He presented the manuscript to the Elector in an eventually successful bid to persuade the prince to give him the title of Court Composer. He later extended this work into a full mass by adding a , , and , the music for which was partly based on his own cantatas and partly original. Bach's appointment as Court Composer was an element of his long-term struggle to achieve greater bargaining power with the Leipzig council. Between 1737 and 1739, Bach's former pupil Carl Gotthelf Gerlach held the directorship of the Collegium Musicum.In 1735 Bach started to prepare his first publication of organ music, which was printed as the third Clavier-Ãœbung in 1739.{{nowrap|US-PRu M 3.1. B2 C5. 1739q}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website From around that year he started to compile and compose the set of preludes and fugues for harpsichord that would become his second book of The Well-Tempered Clavier.{{nowrap|GB-Lbl Add. MS. 35021}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website

Final years and death (1740–1750)

From 1740 to 1748 Bach copied, transcribed, expanded or programmed music in an older polyphonic style (stile antico) by, among others, Palestrina (BNB I/P/2),{{nowrap|D-B Mus. ms. 16714}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website Kerll (BWV 241),{{nowrap|D-Cv A.V,1109,(1),}} 1a {{webarchive|url= |date=18 November 2016 }} and 1b {{webarchive|url= |date=18 November 2016 }} at Bach Digital website Torri (BWV Anh. 30),{{nowrap|D-B Mus. ms. Bach P 195}} {{webarchive|url= |date=18 November 2016 }} at Bach Digital website Bassani (BWV 1081),{{nowrap|D-B Mus. ms. 1160}} {{webarchive|url= |date=4 March 2016 }} at Bach Digital website Gasparini (Missa Canonica){{nowrap|D-WFe 191}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website ({{RISM|250000899}}) and Caldara (BWV 1082).{{nowrap|D-Bsa SA 301,}} Fascicle 1 {{webarchive|url= |date=18 November 2016 }} and Fascicle 2 {{webarchive|url= |date=18 November 2016 }} at Bach Digital website Bach's own style shifted in the last decade of his life, showing an increased integration of polyphonic structures and canons and other elements of the stile antico.Neuaufgefundenes Bach-Autograph in Weißenfels {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at {{url|}} His fourth and last Clavier-Ãœbung volume, the Goldberg Variations, for two-manual harpsichord, contained nine canons and was published in 1741.{{nowrap|F-Pn Ms. 17669}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website Throughout this period, Bach also continued to adopt music of contemporaries such as Handel (BNB I/K/2){{nowrap|D-B N. Mus. ms. 468}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} and {{nowrap|Privatbesitz C. Thiele, BWV deest (NBA Serie II:5)}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website and Stölzel (BWV 200),{{nowrap|D-B N. Mus. ms. 307}} {{webarchive|url= |date=8 December 2015 }} at Bach Digital website and gave many of his own earlier compositions, such as the St Matthew and St John Passions and the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes,{{nowrap|D-B Mus. ms. Bach P 271,}} Fascicle 2 {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website their final revisions. He also programmed and adapted music by composers of a younger generation, including Pergolesi (BWV 1083){{nowrap|D-B Mus. ms. 30199,}} Fascicle 14 {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} and {{nowrap|D-B Mus. ms. 17155/16}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital website and his own students such as Goldberg (BNB I/G/2).{{nowrap|D-B Mus. ms. 7918}} {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} at Bach Digital websiteIn 1746 Bach was preparing to enter Lorenz Christoph Mizler's {{illm|Correspondierende Societät der musicalischen Wissenschaften|de|lt=Society of Musical Sciences}}., III.2 [1746], 353 {{webarchive|url= |date=16 January 2013 }}, Felbick 2012, 284. In 1746, Mizler announced the membership of three famous members, , III.2 [1746], 357 {{webarchive|url= |date=16 January 2013 }}. In order to be admitted Bach had to submit a composition, for which he chose his Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her", and a portrait, which was painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann and featured Bach's Canon triplex á 6 Voc.Musikalische Bibliothek, IV.1 [1754], 108 and Tab. IV, fig. 16 (Source online); letter of Mizler to Spieß, 29 June 1748, in: Hans Rudolf Jung und Hans-Eberhard Dentler: Briefe von Lorenz Mizler und Zeitgenossen an Meinrad Spieß, in: Studi musicali 2003, Nr. 32, 115. In May 1747, Bach visited the court of King Frederick II of Prussia in Potsdam. The king played a theme for Bach and challenged him to improvise a fugue based on his theme. Bach obliged, playing a three-part fugue on one of Frederick's fortepianos, which was a new type of instrument at the time. Upon his return to Leipzig he composed a set of fugues and canons, and a trio sonata, based on the Thema Regium (theme of the king). Within a few weeks this music was published as The Musical Offering and dedicated to Frederick. The Schübler Chorales, a set of six chorale preludes transcribed from cantata movements Bach had composed some two decades earlier, were published within a year.US-PRscheide BWV 645-650 {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} (original print of the Schübler Chorales with Bach's handwritten corrections and additions from before August 1748 – description at Bach Digital website)Breig, Werner (2010). "Introduction {{webarchive|url= |date=22 February 2018 }}" (pp. 14, 17–18) in Vol. 6: Clavierübung III, Schübler-Chorales, Canonische Veränderungen {{webarchive|url= |date=11 September 2017 }} of Johann Sebastian Bach: Complete Organ Works. {{webarchive|url= |date=5 September 2015 }} Breitkopf. Around the same time, the set of five canonic variations which Bach had submitted when entering Mizler's society in 1747 were also printed.JOURNAL, Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel, Agricola, Johann Friedrich, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Friedrich Agricola, y, Bach's Nekrolog, Nekrolog, {{interlanguage link, Musikalische Bibliothek, de, |location=Leipzig|language=de|publisher=Mizlerischer Bücherverlag|volume=IV.1|page=173|year=1754}}Two large-scale compositions occupied a central place in Bach's last years. From around 1742 he wrote and revised the various canons and fugues of The Art of Fugue, which he continued to prepare for publication until shortly before his death.Hans Gunter Hoke: "Neue Studien zur Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080", in: Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 17 (1975), 95–115; Hans-Eberhard Dentler: "Johann Sebastian Bachs Kunst der Fuge – Ein pythagoreisches Werk und seine Verwirklichung", Mainz 2004; Hans-Eberhard Dentler: "Johann Sebastian Bachs Musicalisches Opfer – Musik als Abbild der Sphärenharmonie", Mainz 2008.Chiapusso (1968), p. 277 After extracting a cantata, BWV 191, from his 1733 Kyrie-Gloria Mass for the Dresden court in the mid 1740s, Bach expanded that setting into his Mass in B minor in the last years of his life. Stauffer describes it as "Bach's most universal church work. Consisting mainly of recycled movements from cantatas written over a thirty-five-year period, it allowed Bach to survey his vocal pieces one last time and pick select movements for further revision and refinement." Although the complete mass was never performed during the composer's lifetime, it is considered to be among the greatest choral works in history.CONFERENCE, Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor: The Greatest Artwork of All Times and All People, Markus, Rathey, The Tangeman Lecture, New Haven, 18 April 2003,weblink no,weblink" title="">weblink 15 July 2014, dmy-all, In January 1749, Bach's daughter Elisabeth Juliane Friederica married his pupil Johann Christoph Altnickol. Bach's health was, however, declining. On 2 June, Heinrich von Brühl wrote to one of the Leipzig burgomasters to request that his music director, Johann Gottlob Harrer, fill the and posts "upon the eventual ... decease of Mr. Bach".Wolff (2000), p. 442, from David, Mendel & Wolff (1998) Becoming blind, Bach underwent eye surgery, in March 1750 and again in April, by the British eye surgeon John Taylor, a man widely understood today as a charlatan and believed to have blinded hundreds of people.JOURNAL, Zegers, Richard H.C., The Eyes of Johann Sebastian Bach, Archives of Ophthalmology, 2005, 123, 10, 1427–1430, 10.1001/archopht.123.10.1427,weblink no,weblink" title="">weblink 1 July 2015, dmy-all, Bach died on 28 July 1750 from complications due to the unsuccessful treatment.WEB, Hanford, Jan, J.S. Bach: Timeline of His Life,weblink J.S. Bach Home Page, 8 March 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 26 February 2012, dmy-all, David, Mendel & Wolff (1998), p. 188Spitta (1899b), p. 274 An inventory drawn up a few months after Bach's death shows that his estate included five harpsichords, two lute-harpsichords, three violins, three violas, two cellos, a viola da gamba, a lute and a spinet, along with 52 "sacred books", including works by Martin Luther and Josephus.David, Mendel & Wolff (1998), pp. 191–197 The composer's son Carl Philipp Emanuel saw to it that The Art of Fugue, although still unfinished, was published in 1751.WEB, Did Bach really leave Art of Fugue unfinished?,weblink The Art of Fugue, American Public Media, 28 March 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 8 December 2013, dmy-all, Together with one of the composer's former students, Johann Friedrich Agricola, the son also wrote the obituary ("Nekrolog"), which was published in Mizler's {{illm|Musikalische Bibliothek|de|lt=Musikalische Bibliothek}}, the organ of the Society of Musical Sciences, in 1754.JOURNAL, Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel, Agricola, Johann Friedrich, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Friedrich Agricola, y, Bach's Nekrolog, Nekrolog, Musikalische Bibliothek, Leipzig, de, Mizlerischer Bücherverlag, IV.1, 158–173, 1754, Printed in translation in David, Mendel & Wolff (1998), p. 299.

Musical style

File:Bach Calov-Bibel 2 Chr 5,13.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|A handwritten note by Bach in his copy of the Calov Bible. The note next to {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=2 Chronicles|chapter=5|verse=13}} reads: "NB Bey einer andächtigen Musiq ist allezeit Gott mit seiner Gnaden Gegenwart" ({{nobreak|N(ota) B(ene)}} In a music of worship God is always present with his grace).]]File:Bach Matthäuspassion O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|"(O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden]]": the four-part chorale setting as included in the St. Matthew Passion){{listen|type=music|header=Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue BWV 903 performed by Kevin MacLeod |filename=Chromatic Fantasia (Bach BWV 903).ogg|title=1. Fantasia|description=title2=2. Fugue|description2=Bach re-interpreting older genres tied to the modal system|help=no}}File:Bach-ornamentguide.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|Bach's guide on ornaments as contained in the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann BachKlavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach(File:Aria.png|thumb|upright=1.35|"Aria" of the Goldberg Variations, showing Bach's use of ornaments – {{Audio|Bach.Aria.Goldberg-Variationen.WerckmeisterIII.Harpsichord.ogg|Audio|help=no}}){{listen|type=music|header=Sonata No. 3 in G minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord BWV 1029 performed by John Michel| filename =CELLO_LIVE_PERFORMANCES_JOHN_MICHEL-J_S_Bach_Gamba_Sonata_in_g_1st_mvt.ogg| title = 1st movement| description =| filename2 =CELLO_LIVE_PERFORMANCES_JOHN_MICHEL-J_S_Bach_Gamba_Sonata_in_g_2nd_mvt.ogg| title2 = 2nd movement| description2 =| filename3 =CELLO_LIVE_PERFORMANCES_JOHN_MICHEL-J_S_Bach_Gamba_Sonata_in_g_3rd_mvt.ogg| title3 = 3rd movement| description3 =Continuo instruments moving to the front (here performed on cello and piano)| help=no}}{{listen|type=music|header=Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052 performed by the Fulda Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Schindler with Johannes Volker Schmidt (piano)
| filename = Johann Sebastian Bach - Klavierkonzert d-moll - 1. Allegro.ogg
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}}{{listen|type=music|header=Chaconne, 5th movement of Partita for Violin No. 2, BWV 1004| filename =Johann Sebastian Bach - Chaconne for violin alone.ogg| title = performed by Ben Goldstein as written down by Bach| description = written for violin like no other...| filename2 =Bach Brahms Chaconne.ogg| title2 = Brahms' piano version performed by Martha Goldstein| description2 = ...not less impressive as a piano piece| help=no}}(File:Title page of The Art of Fugue.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|The Art of Fugue (title page) – Performed by Mehmet Okonsar on organ and harpsichord: {{Audio|ArtofFugue-Part1of2-1to12.ogg|Nos. 1–12|help=no}} • {{Audio|ArtofFugue-Part2of2-13to20.ogg|Nos. 13–20|help=no}}){{listen|type=music|header=Double Violin Concerto in D minor BWV 1043 performed by the Advent Chamber Orchestra with David Perry and Roxana Pavel Goldstein (violins)|filename=Johann Sebastian Bach - Concerto for Two Violins in D minor - 1. Vivace.ogg|title=1. Vivace|description=|filename2=Johann Sebastian Bach - Concerto for Two Violins in D minor - 2. Largo ma non tanto.ogg|title2=2. Largo ma non tanto|description2=|filename3=Johann Sebastian Bach - Concerto for Two Violins in D minor - 3. Allegro.ogg|title3=3. Allegro|description3=A strictly contrapuntal composition (the two violins playing in canon throughout) in the guise of an Italian type of concerto|help=no}}{{Listen|header=Analysis of the counterpoint of the chorale prelude Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend', BWV 632 (Orgelbüchlein)50px)| help = no| filename = Anàlisi contrapuntística fragment BWV 632 Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend'.ogv| alt = BWV 632 (extract)| title = BWV 632 (extract)Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend'3=Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wendHerr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend.midhelp=no}})}}{{See also|List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach}}From an early age, Bach studied the works of his musical contemporaries of the Baroque period and those of prior generations, and those influences were reflected in his music.Wolff (2000), p. 166 Like his contemporaries Handel, Telemann and Vivaldi, Bach composed concertos, suites, recitatives, da capo arias, and four-part choral music and employed basso continuo. Bach's music was harmonically more innovative than his peer composers, employing surprisingly dissonant chords and progressions, often with extensive exploration of harmonic possibilities within one pieceweblink hundreds of sacred works Bach created are usually seen as manifesting not just his craft but also a truly devout relationship with God.Herl (2004), p. 123ENCYCLOPEDIA, J.A., Fuller Maitland, John Alexander Fuller Maitland, Johann Sebastian Bach, Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1,weblink 1911, Macmillan Publishers, New York, 154, He had taught Luther's Small Catechism as the in Leipzig, and some of his pieces represent it.Leaver (2007), pp. 280, 289–291 The Lutheran chorale was the basis of much of his work. In elaborating these hymns into his chorale preludes, he wrote more cogent and tightly integrated works than most, even when they were massive and lengthy.{{citation needed|date=November 2015}} The large-scale structure of every major Bach sacred vocal work is evidence of subtle, elaborate planning to create a religiously and musically powerful expression. For example, the St Matthew Passion, like other works of its kind, illustrated the Passion with Bible text reflected in recitatives, arias, choruses, and chorales, but in crafting this work, Bach created an overall experience that has been found over the intervening centuries to be both musically thrilling and spiritually profound.WEB, Huizenga, Tom, A Visitor's Guide to the St. Matthew Passion,weblink NPR Music, National Public Radio, 25 February 2012, no,weblink" title="">weblink 27 February 2012, dmy-all, Bach published or carefully compiled in manuscript many collections of pieces that explored the range of artistic and technical possibilities inherent in almost every genre of his time except opera. For example, The Well-Tempered Clavier comprises two books, each of which presents a prelude and fugue in every major and minor key, displaying a dizzying variety of structural, contrapuntal and fugal techniques.WEB, Traupman-Carr, Carol, The Well Tempered Clavier BWV 846–869,weblink Bach 101, Bach Choir of Bethlehem,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2013, 23 December 2014,

Four-part harmony

Four-part harmonies predate Bach, but he lived during a time when modal music in Western tradition was largely supplanted in favour of the tonal system. In this system a piece of music progresses from one chord to the next according to certain rules, each chord being characterised by four notes. The principles of four-part harmony are found not only in Bach's four-part choral music: he also prescribes it for instance for the figured bass accompaniment.Spitta III (1899b), Appendix XII p. 315 The new system was at the core of Bach's style, and his compositions are to a large extent considered as laying down the rules for the evolving scheme that would dominate musical expression in the next centuries. Some examples of this characteristic of Bach's style and its influence:
  • When in the 1740s Bach staged his arrangement of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, he upgraded the viola part (which in the original composition plays in unison with the bass part) to fill out the harmony, thus adapting the composition to his four-part harmony style.Clemens Romijn. Liner notes for Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden BWV 1083 (after Pergolesi's Stabat Mater). Brilliant Classics, 2000. (2014 reissue: J.S. Bach Complete Edition. "Liner notes" {{webarchive|url= |date=22 November 2015 }} p. 54)
  • When, starting in the 19th century in Russia, there was a discussion about the authenticity of four-part court chant settings compared to earlier Russian traditions, Bach's four-part chorale settings, such as those ending his Chorale cantatas, were considered as foreign-influenced models. Such influence was deemed unavoidable, however.Jopi Harri. St. Petersburg Court Chant and the Tradition of Eastern Slavic Church Singing. {{webarchive|url= |date=20 February 2016 }} Finland: University of Turku (2011), p. 24
Bach's insistence on the tonal system and contribution to shaping it did not imply he was less at ease with the older modal system and the genres associated with it: more than his contemporaries (who had "moved on" to the tonal system without much exception), Bach often returned to the then-antiquated modi and genres. His Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, emulating the chromatic fantasia genre as used by earlier composers such as Dowland and Sweelinck in D dorian mode (comparable to D minor in the tonal system), is an example of this.


Modulation, or changing key in the course of a piece, is another style characteristic where Bach goes beyond what was usual in his time. Baroque instruments vastly limited modulation possibilities: keyboard instruments, prior to a workable system of temperament, limited the keys that could be modulated to, and wind instruments, especially brass instruments such as trumpets and horns, about a century before they were fitted with valves, were tied to the key of their tuning. Bach pushed the limits: he added "strange tones" in his organ playing, confusing the singing, according to an indictment he had to face in Arnstadt,Eidam 2001, Ch. IV and Louis Marchand, another early experimenter with modulation, seems to have avoided confrontation with Bach because the latter went further than anyone had done before.Eidam 2001, Ch. IX In the "Suscepit Israel" of his 1723 Magnificat, he had the trumpets in E-flat play a melody in the enharmonic scale of C minor.BOOK, Don O., Franklin, Robert L., Marshall, On the Origin of Bach's Magnificat: a Lutheran composer's challenge,weblink Bach Studies, 1989, Cambridge, 978-0-521-34105-9, 3–17, no,weblink 29 April 2016, dmy-all, The major development taking place in Bach's time, and to which he contributed in no small way, was a temperament for keyboard instruments that allowed their use in all available keys (12 major and 12 minor) and also modulation without retuning. His Capriccio on the departure of a beloved brother, a very early work, showed a gusto for modulation unlike any contemporary work this composition has been compared to,Eidam 2001, Ch. III but the full expansion came with the Well-Tempered Clavier, using all keys, which Bach apparently had been developing since around 1720, the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach being one of its earliest examples.Klavierbüchlein für W. F. Bach {{webarchive|url= |date=18 November 2015 }} at {{url|}}


The second page of the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is an ornament notation and performance guide that Bach wrote for his eldest son, who was nine years old at the time. Bach was generally quite specific on ornamentation in his compositions (where in his time much of the ornamentation was not written out by composers but rather considered a liberty of the performer),Donington (1982), p. 91 and his ornamentation was often quite elaborate. For instance, the "Aria" of the Goldberg Variations has rich ornamentation in nearly every measure. Bach's dealing with ornamentation can also be seen in a keyboard arrangement he made of Marcello's Oboe Concerto: he added explicit ornamentation, which some centuries later is played by oboists when performing the concerto.Although Bach did not write any operas, he was not averse to the genre or its ornamented vocal style. In church music, Italian composers had imitated the operatic vocal style in genres such as the Neapolitan mass. In Protestant surroundings, there was more reluctance to adopt such a style for liturgical music. For instance, Kuhnau, Bach's predecessor in Leipzig, had notoriously shunned opera and Italian virtuoso vocal music.{{citation| first= Johann |last= Kuhnau| author-link=Johann Kuhnau| title=Der musicalische Quack-Salber| location=Dresden |year= 1700}} Bach was less moved. One of the comments after a performance of his St Matthew Passion was that it all sounded much like opera.Eidam 2001, Ch. XVIII

Giving soloist roles to continuo instruments

In concerted playing in Bach's time the basso continuo, consisting of instruments such as organ, viola da gamba or harpsichord, usually had the role of accompaniment, providing the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of a piece. From the late 1720s, Bach had the organ play concertante (i.e. as a soloist) with the orchestra in instrumental cantata movements,André Isoir (organ) and Le Parlement de Musique conducted by Martin Gester. Johann Sebastian Bach: L'oeuvre pour orgue et orchestre. Calliope 1993. Liner notes by Gilles Cantagrel. a decade before Handel published his first organ concertos.George Frideric Handel. (scores:6 Organ Concertos, Op.4 (Handel, George Frideric)|6 Organ Concertos, Op. 4) at IMSLP website Apart from the 5th Brandenburg Concerto and the Triple Concerto, which already had harpsichord soloists in the 1720s, Bach wrote and arranged his harpsichord concertos in the 1730s,Peter Wollny, "Harpsichord Concertos," {{webarchive|url= |date=22 September 2015 }} booklet notes for Andreas Staier's 2015 recording of the concertos, Harmonia mundi HMC 902181.82 and in his sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord neither instrument plays a continuo part: they are treated as equal soloists, far beyond the figured bass. In this sense, Bach played a key role in the development of genres such as the keyboard concerto.Schulenberg (2006), pp. 1–2


Bach wrote virtuoso music for specific instruments as well as music independent of instrumentation. For instance, the sonatas and partitas for solo violin are considered the pinnacle of what has been written for this instrument, only within reach of accomplished players. The music fits the instrument, pushing it to the full scale of its possibilities and requiring virtuosity of the player but without bravura. Notwithstanding that the music and the instrument seem inseparable, Bach made transcriptions for other instruments of some pieces of this collection. Similarly, for the cello suites, the virtuoso music seems tailored for the instrument, the best of what is offered for it, yet Bach made an arrangement for lute of one of these suites. The same applies to much of his most virtuoso keyboard music. Bach exploited the capabilities of an instrument to the fullest while keeping the core of such music independent of the instrument on which it is performed.In this sense, it is no surprise that Bach's music is easily and often performed on instruments it was not necessarily written for, that it is transcribed so often, and that his melodies turn up in unexpected places such as jazz music. Apart from this, Bach left a number of compositions without specified instrumentation: the canons BWV 1072–1078 fall in that category, as well as the bulk of the Musical Offering and the Art of Fugue.WEB, Did Bach intend Art of Fugue to be performed?,weblink The Art of Fugue, American Public Media, 28 March 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 3 December 2013, dmy-all,


{{See also|List of fugal works by Johann Sebastian Bach}}Another characteristic of Bach's style is his extensive use of counterpoint, as opposed to the homophony used in his four-part Chorale settings, for example. Bach's canons, and especially his fugues, are most characteristic of this style, which Bach did not invent but contributed to so fundamentally that he defined it to a large extent. Fugues are as characteristic to Bach's style as, for instance, the Sonata form is characteristic to the composers of the Classical period.Eidam 2001, Ch. XXXThese strictly contrapuntal compositions, and most of Bach's music in general, are characterised by distinct melodic lines for each of the voices, where the chords formed by the notes sounding at a given point follow the rules of four-part harmony. Forkel, Bach's first biographer, gives this description of this feature of Bach's music, which sets it apart from most other music:Forkel/Terry 1920 pp. 73–74{{quotation|If the language of music is merely the utterance of a melodic line, a simple sequence of musical notes, it can justly be accused of poverty. The addition of a Bass puts it upon a harmonic foundation and clarifies it, but defines rather than gives it added richness. A melody so accompanied—even though all the notes are not those of the true Bass—or treated with simple embellishments in the upper parts, or with simple chords, used to be called "homophony." But it is a very different thing when two melodies are so interwoven that they converse together like two persons upon a footing of pleasant equality. In the first case the accompaniment is subordinate, and serves merely to support the first or principal part. In the second case the two parts are not similarly related. New melodic combinations spring from their interweaving, out of which new forms of musical expression emerge. If more parts are interwoven in the same free and independent manner, the apparatus of language is correspondingly enlarged, and becomes practically inexhaustible if, in addition, varieties of form and rhythm are introduced. Hence harmony becomes no longer a mere accompaniment of melody, but rather a potent agency for augmenting the richness and expressiveness of musical conversation. To serve that end a simple accompaniment will not suffice. True harmony is the interweaving of several melodies, which emerge now in the upper, now in the middle, and now in the lower parts.From about the year 1720, when he was thirty-five, until his death in 1750, Bach's harmony consists in this melodic interweaving of independent melodies, so perfect in their union that each part seems to constitute the true melody. Herein Bach excels all the composers in the world. At least, I have found no one to equal him in music known to me. Even in his four-part writing we can, not infrequently, leave out the upper and lower parts and still find the middle parts melodious and agreeable.}}

Structure and lyrics

Bach devoted more attention than his contemporaries to the structure of compositions. This can be seen in minor adjustments he made when adapting someone else's composition, such as his earliest version of the "Keiser" St Mark Passion, where he enhances scene transitions,Bach Digital Work {{BDW|1677}} at {{url|}} and in the architecture of his own compositions such as his Magnificat and Leipzig Passions. In the last years of his life, Bach revised several of his prior compositions. Often the recasting of such previously composed music in an enhanced structure was the most visible change, as in the Mass in B minor. Bach's known preoccupation with structure led (peaking around the 1970s) to various numerological analyses of his compositions, although many such over-interpretations were later rejected, especially when wandering off into symbolism-ridden hermeneutics.Williams, Peter F. (1980). The Organ Music of J. S. Bach, Volume 1: Preludes, Toccatas, Fantasias, Fugues, Sonatas, Concertos and Miscellaneous Pieces (BWV 525–598, 802–805 etc). Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|978-0-521-21723-1}}, p. 217Alberto Basso (1979). Frau Musika: La vita e le opere di J. S. Bach, Volume 1 (of 2): Le origini familiari, l'ambiente luterano, gli anni giovanili, Weimar e Köthen (1685–1723). Turin, EDT. {{ISBN|88-7063-011-0}} p. 493The librettos, or lyrics, of his vocal compositions played an important role for Bach. He sought collaboration with various text authors for his cantatas and major vocal compositions, possibly writing or adapting such texts himself to make them fit the structure of the composition he was designing when he could not rely on the talents of other text authors. His collaboration with Picander for the St Matthew Passion libretto is best known, but there was a similar process in achieving a multi-layered structure for his St John Passion libretto a few years earlier.Don O. Franklin. "The Libretto of Bach's John Passion and the Doctrine of Reconciliation: An Historical Perspective", pp. 179–203 {{webarchive|url= |date=31 January 2016 }} in Proceedings of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Vol. 143 edited by A. A. Clement, 1995.


{{see also|List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach|List of fugal works by Johann Sebastian Bach}}(File:Lama asabthani.tif|thumb|upright=1.35|Bach's autograph of the recitative with the gospel text of Christ's death from St Matthew Passion ({{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=Wikisource|book=Matthew|chapter=27|verse=45|range=–47a}}))(File:BWV 248 Libretto.JPG|thumb|upright=1.35|Christmas Oratorio: printed edition of the libretto){{listen|type=music|header=Cantata Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140 performed by the MIT Concert Choir conducted by W. Cutter| help=no| filename =Bach - cantata 140. 1. chorus.ogg| title =1. Chorus "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"| alt =1. Chorus "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"| description =| filename2 =Bach - cantata 140. 2. recitative.ogg| title2 =2. Recitative "Er kommt, er kommt, der Bräut'gam kommt"| alt2 =2. Recitative "Er kommt, er kommt, der Bräut'gam kommt"| description2 =| filename3 =Bach - cantata 140. 3. duet.ogg| title3 =3. Duet "Wenn kömmst du, mein Heil?"| alt3 =3. Duet "Wenn kömmst du, mein Heil?"| description3 =| filename4 =Bach - cantata 140. 4. chorale.ogg| title4 =4. Chorale "Zion hört die Wächter singen"| alt4 =4. Chorale "Zion hört die Wächter singen"| description4 =| filename5 =Bach - cantata 140. 5. recitative.ogg| title5 =5. Recitative "So geh herein zu mir"| alt5 =5. Recitative "So geh herein zu mir"| description5 =| filename6 =Bach - cantata 140. 6. duet.ogg| title6 =6. Duet "Mein Freund ist mein!"| alt6 =6. Duet "Mein Freund ist mein!"| description6 =| filename7 =Bach - cantata 140. 7. chorale.ogg| title7 =7. Chorale "Gloria sei dir gesungen"| alt7 =7. Chorale "Gloria sei dir gesungen"| description7 = Cantata text}}{{listen|type=music|header=from Mass in B minor| help=no| filename =Johann Sebastian Bach - Mass in B minor - Agnus Dei.ogg| title =Agnus Dei| alt =Agnus Dei| description =performed by Solomija Drozd (voice), Petro Titiajev (violin) and Ivan Ostapovych (organ)}}{{listen|type=music|header=Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 performed by Noah Horn on the 1974 Dirk A. Flentrop organ at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music| help=no| filename =BWV 543-prelude.ogg| title =Prelude| alt =Prelude| description =| filename2 =BWV 543-fugue.ogg| title2 =Fugue| alt2 =Fugue| description2 =}}(File:Bach-wtc1-title-ms.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|Title page of The Well-Tempered Clavier, book 1 – {{Audio|Bach C Major Prelude Werckmeister.ogg|Prelude No. 1 in C major BWV 846 performed on harpsichord by Robert Schröter|help=no}}){{listen|type=music|header= Italian Concerto BWV 971 performed by Martha Goldstein
| filename = Johann Sebastian Bach - Italian Concerto - F Major - 1st movement.ogg
| title = 1st movement
| description =
| filename2 = Johann Sebastian Bach - Italian Concerto - F Major - Andante.ogg
| title2 = 2nd movement
| description2 =
| filename3 = Johann Sebastian Bach - Italian Concerto - F Major - Presto.ogg
| title3 = 3rd movement
| description3 =| help=no
}}(File:Goldberg-titlepage.png|thumb|upright=1.35|Title page of the Goldberg Variations – performed by Mehmet Okonsar, piano: {{Audio|GoldbergVariations MehmetOkonsar-1of3 Var1to10.ogg|{{nobreak|Aria and Variation 1–9}}|help=no}} • {{Audio|GoldbergVariations MehmetOkonsar-2of3 Var11to23.ogg|{{nobreak|Variation 10–22}}|help=no}} • {{Audio|GoldbergVariations MehmetOkonsar-3of3 Var23to32END.ogg|{{nobreak|Variation 23–30 and Aria da capo}}|help=no}})File:Frontespizio Cello Suite.png|thumb|upright=1.35|Title page of Anna Magdalena Bach's copy of the cello suites – (BWV 1007|Cello Suite No. 1 BWV 1007]] performed by John Michel: {{Audio|JOHN MICHEL CELLO-J S BACH CELLO SUITE 1 in G Prelude.ogg|1. Prelude|help=no}} • {{Audio|JOHN MICHEL CELLO-J S BACH CELLO SUITE 1 in G Allemande.ogg|2. Allemande|help=no}} • {{Audio|JOHN MICHEL CELLO-J S BACH CELLO SUITE 1 in G Courante.ogg|3. Courante|help=no}} • {{Audio|JOHN MICHEL CELLO-J S BACH CELLO SUITE 1 in G Sarabande.ogg|4. Sarabande|help=no}} • {{Audio|JOHN MICHEL CELLO-J S BACH CELLO SUITE 1 in G Minuets.ogg|5. Minuets|help=no}} • {{Audio|JOHN MICHEL CELLO-J S BACH CELLO SUITE 1 in G Gigue.ogg|6. Gigue|help=no}}){{listen|type=music|header= Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major, BWV 1049title=1. Allegrotitle2=2. Andantetitle3=3. Presto|help=no}}{{Listen|type=music|header=Some of Bach's most popular melodies are, more often than not, heard in various arrangements:| filename =Wiki naxos 8.550194 01 13.ogg| title =Air on the G String (excerpt)BWV 1068>Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068, performed in a Air on the G String adaptation by Capella Istropolitana conducted by Oliver von Dohnányi (courtesy of Naxos)| filename2 =Sheep May Safely Graze BWV 208.ogg| title2 ="Sheep May Safely Graze" (instrumental version)| description2 =The aria "Schafe können sicher weiden" (Sheep May Safely Graze), No. 9 from the Hunting Cantata, BWV 208: composed for soprano, recorders, and continuo, the music of this movement exists in a variety of instrumental arrangements.|help=no}}In 1950, Wolfgang Schmieder published a thematic catalogue of Bach's compositions called the (Bach Works Catalogue).WEB, Bach Works Catalogue,weblink Bach Digital, 29 September 2015, no,weblink" title="">weblink 30 September 2015, dmy-all, Schmieder largely followed the , a comprehensive edition of the composer's works that was produced between 1850 and 1900. The first edition of the catalogue listed 1,080 surviving compositions indisputably composed by Bach.Wolfgang Schmieder (editor). Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1950. Unaltered through its eighth printing in 1986.{| class="wikitable"! BWV Range !! CompositionsList of Bach cantatas>CantatasList of motets by Johann Sebastian Bach>MotetsList of Masses, Mass movements and Magnificats by Johann Sebastian Bach>Liturgical compositions in LatinList of Passions and Oratorios by Johann Sebastian Bach>Passions and oratoriosList of chorale harmonisations by Johann Sebastian Bach>Four-part choralesList of songs and arias by Johann Sebastian Bach>Small vocal worksList of organ compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach>Organ compositionsList of solo keyboard compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach>Other keyboard worksList of solo lute compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach>Lute compositionsList of chamber music works by Johann Sebastian Bach>Other chamber musicList of orchestral works by Johann Sebastian Bach>Orchestral musicList of canons by Johann Sebastian Bach>CanonsList of late contrapuntal works by Johann Sebastian Bach>Late contrapuntal worksBWV 1081–1126 were added to the catalogue in the second half of the 20th century, and BWV 1127 and higher were still later additions.{{Wikicite|ref={{harvid|Schmieder, Dürr, and Kobayashi|1998}}|reference=Schmieder, Wolfgang, Alfred Dürr, and Yoshitake Kobayashi (eds.). 1998. Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis: Kleine Ausgabe (BWV2a). {{webarchive|url= |date=31 October 2016 }} Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel. {{ISBN|978-3765102493}}.}}Bach Digital Work {{BDW|1307}}Joel H. Kuznik. "BWV 1128: A recently discovered Bach organ work" pp. 22–23{{dead link|date=November 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} in The Diapason, Vol. 99 No. 22. December 2008. (weblink" title="">archived July 21, 2011)

Passions and oratorios

{{See also|List of masses, passions and oratorios by Johann Sebastian Bach#Passions and oratorios}}Bach composed Passions for Good Friday services and oratorios such as the Christmas Oratorio, which is a set of six cantatas for use in the liturgical season of Christmas.Leaver (2007), p. 430Williams (2003), p. 114WEB, Traupman-Carr, Carol, The Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248,weblink Bach 101, Bach Choir of Bethlehem, 29 March 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2014, dmy-all, Shorter oratorios are the Easter Oratorio and the Ascension Oratorio.

St Matthew Passion

{{see also|St Matthew Passion}}With its double choir and orchestra, the St Matthew Passion is one of Bach's most extended works.

St John Passion

{{see also|St John Passion}}The St John Passion was the first Passion Bach composed during his tenure as Thomaskantor in Leipzig.


{{See also|Bach cantata|List of Bach cantatas}}According to his obituary, Bach would have composed five-year cycles of sacred cantatas, and additional church cantatas for weddings and funerals, for example. Approximately 200 of these sacred works are extant, an estimated two thirds of the total number of church cantatas he composed.WEB, Traupman-Carr, Carol, Bach, Master of the Cantata,weblink Bach 101, Bach Choir of Bethlehem,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2013, 24 December 2014, The Bach Digital website lists 50 known secular cantatas by the composer,Bach's secular cantatas in BWV order, each followed by a link to the Bach Digital Work (BDW) page of the cantata at the Bach-Digital website: {hide}flatlist|
  1. {{nobreak|BWV 30a (BDW {{BDW|0039{edih})}}
  2. {{nobreak|BWV 36a (BDW {{BDW|0049}})}}
  3. {{nobreak|BWV 36b (BDW {{BDW|0050}})}}
  4. {{nobreak|BWV 36c (BDW {{BDW|0051}})}}
  5. {{nobreak|BWV 66a (BDW {{BDW|0083}})}}
  6. {{nobreak|BWV 134a (BDW {{BDW|0166}})}}
  7. {{nobreak|BWV 173a (BDW {{BDW|0211}})}}
  8. {{nobreak|BWV 184a (BDW {{BDW|0223}})}}
  9. {{nobreak|BWV 193a (BDW {{BDW|0235}})}}
  10. {{nobreak|BWV 194a (BDW {{BDW|0239}})}}
  11. {{nobreak|BWV 198 (BDW {{BDW|0246}})}}
  12. {{nobreak|BWV 201 (BDW {{BDW|0251}})}}
  13. {{nobreak|BWV 202 (BDW {{BDW|0252}})}}
  14. {{nobreak|BWV 203 (BDW {{BDW|0253}})}}
  15. {{nobreak|BWV 204 (BDW {{BDW|0254}})}}
  16. {{nobreak|BWV 205 (BDW {{BDW|0255}})}}
  17. {{nobreak|BWV 205a (BDW {{BDW|0256}})}}
  18. {{nobreak|BWV 206, first version (BDW {{BDW|0257}})}}
  19. {{nobreak|BWV 206, second version (BDW {{BDW|0258}})}}
  20. {{nobreak|BWV 207 (BDW {{BDW|0259}})}}
  21. {{nobreak|BWV 207a (BDW {{BDW|0260}})}}
  22. {{nobreak|BWV 208, first version (BDW {{BDW|0261}})}}
  23. {{nobreak|BWV 208, second version (BDW {{BDW|0262}})}}
  24. {{nobreak|BWV 208a (BDW {{BDW|0263}})}}
  25. {{nobreak|BWV 209 (BDW {{BDW|0264}})}}
  26. {{nobreak|BWV 210 (BDW {{BDW|0265}})}}
  27. {{nobreak|BWV 210a (BDW {{BDW|0266}})}}
  28. {{nobreak|BWV 211 (BDW {{BDW|0267}})}}
  29. {{nobreak|BWV 212 (BDW {{BDW|0268}})}}
  30. {{nobreak|BWV 213 (BDW {{BDW|0269}})}}
  31. {{nobreak|BWV 214 (BDW {{BDW|0270}})}}
  32. {{nobreak|BWV 215 (BDW {{BDW|0271}})}}
  33. {{nobreak|BWV 216 (BDW {{BDW|0272}})}}
  34. {{nobreak|BWV 216a (BDW {{BDW|0273}})}}
  35. {{nobreak|BWV 249a (BDW {{BDW|0318}})}}
  36. {{nobreak|BWV 249b (BDW {{BDW|0319}})}}
  37. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 6 (BDW {{BDW|1314}})}}
  38. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 7 (BDW {{BDW|1315}})}}
  39. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 8 (BDW {{BDW|1316}})}}
  40. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 9 (BDW {{BDW|1317}})}}
  41. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 10 (BDW {{BDW|1318}})}}
  42. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 11 (BDW {{BDW|1319}})}}
  43. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 12 (BDW {{BDW|1320}})}}
  44. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 13 (BDW {{BDW|1321}})}}
  45. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 18 (BDW {{BDW|1326}})}}
  46. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 19 (BDW {{BDW|1327}})}}
  47. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 20 (BDW {{BDW|1328}})}}
  48. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 195 (BDW {{BDW|1506}})}}
  49. {{nobreak|BWV Anh. 196 (BDW {{BDW|1507}})}}
  50. {{nobreak|BWV deest (BDW {{BDW|1536}})}}
}} about half of which are extant or largely reconstructable.For instance, Helmut Rilling's box set of the complete secular cantatas {{webarchive|url= |date=19 August 2016 }} contains 22 works

Church cantatas

{{See also|Church cantata (Bach)}}Bach's cantatas vary greatly in form and instrumentation, including those for solo singers, single choruses, small instrumental groups, and grand orchestras. Many consist of a large opening chorus followed by one or more recitative-aria pairs for soloists (or duets) and a concluding chorale. The melody of the concluding chorale often appears as a cantus firmus in the opening movement.{{Citation needed|date=April 2019}}Bach's earliest cantatas date from his years in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen. The earliest one with a known date is , for Easter 1707, which is one of his chorale cantatas.An Easter cantata, "one of Bach's better-known early works", writes David Schulenburg in Boyd, ed., 1999 , also known as , is a funeral cantata from the Mühlhausen period."perhaps the most admired of Bach's compositions presumed to date from before his appointment in Weimar (1708)", David Schulenburg in Boyd, ed., 1999. Around 20 church cantatas are extant from his later years in Weimar, for instance, ."justifiably considered among Bach's finest contributions", writes Nicholas Anderson in Boyd, Ed., 1999After taking up his office as in late May 1723, Bach performed a cantata each Sunday and feast day, corresponding to the lectionary readings of the week. His first cantata cycle ran from the first Sunday after Trinity of 1723 to Trinity Sunday the next year. For instance, the Visitation cantata , containing the chorale that is known in English as "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", belongs to this first cycle. The cantata cycle of his second year in Leipzig is called the chorale cantata cycle as it consists mainly of works in the chorale cantata format. His third cantata cycle was developed over a period of several years, followed by the Picander cycle of 1728–29.Later church cantatas include the chorale cantatas (final version)"Especially in its opening chorus, it is one of Bach's contrapuntal masterpieces": Robin A. Leaver in Boyd, ed., 1999 and ."one of Bach's best-known church works" wrote David Schulenberg in Boyd, ed., 1999 Only the first three Leipzig cycles are more or less completely extant. Apart from his own work, Bach also performed cantatas by Telemann and by his distant relative Johann Ludwig Bach.

Secular cantatas

{{see also|List of secular cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach}}Bach also wrote secular cantatas, for instance for members of the royal Polish and prince-electoral Saxonian families (e.g. Trauer-Ode),Bach Digital Work {{BDW|0246}} at {{url|}} or other public or private occasions (e.g. Hunting Cantata).Bach Digital Work {{BDW|0261}}, {{BDW|0262}} at {{url|}} The text of these cantatas was occasionally in dialect (e.g. Peasant Cantata)Bach Digital Work {{BDW|0268}} at {{url|}} or Italian (e.g. Amore traditore).Bach Digital Work {{BDW|0253}} at {{url|}} Many of the secular cantatas were lost, but for some of them the text and occasion are known, for instance when Picander later published their librettos (e.g. BWV Anh. 11–12).Bach Digital Work {{BDW|1319}}, {{BDW|1320}} at {{url|}} Some of the secular cantatas had a plot involving mythological figures of Greek antiquity (e.g. Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan),Bach Digital Work {{BDW|0251}} at {{url|}} and others were almost miniature buffo operas (e.g. Coffee Cantata).WEB, Traupman-Carr, Carol, Cantata BWV 211, Coffee Cantata,weblink Bach 101, Bach Choir of Bethlehem, 31 March 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2015, dmy-all,

A cappella music

Bach's a cappella music includes motets and chorale harmonisations.


Bach's motets (BWV 225–231) are pieces on sacred themes for choir and continuo, with instruments playing colla parte. Several of them were composed for funerals.WEB, Traupman-Carr, Carol, Choral Works,weblink Bach 101, Bach Choir of Bethlehem, 31 March 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 30 March 2014, dmy-all, The six motets definitely composed by Bach are , , , , , and . The motet (BWV 231) is part of the composite motet (BWV Anh. 160), other parts of which may be based on work by Telemann.BOOK,weblink J. S. Bach and the German Motet, 1995, Daniel R., Melamed, 90–94, 9780521418645, no,weblink 15 May 2015, dmy-all,

Chorale harmonisations

{{see also|List of chorale harmonisations by Johann Sebastian Bach}}Bach wrote hundreds of four-part harmonisations of Lutheran chorales.

Church music in Latin

{{See also|Bach's church music in Latin}}Bach's church music in Latin includes the Magnificat, four Kyrie–Gloria Masses, and the Mass in B minor.


{{see also|Magnificat (Bach)}}The first version of Bach's Magnificat dates from 1723, but the work is best known in its D major version of 1733.

Mass in B minor

{{see also|Mass in B minor}}In 1733 Bach composed a Kyrie–Gloria Mass for the Dresden court. Near the end of his life, around 1748–1749, he expanded this composition into the large-scale Mass in B minor. The work was never performed in full during Bach's lifetime.WEB, The Mass in B Minor, BWV 232,weblink Bach 101, Bach Choir of Bethlehem, 29 March 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 30 March 2014, dmy-all, Herz (1985), p. 187

Keyboard music

Bach wrote for the organ and other keyboard instruments of his day, mainly the harpsichord but also the clavichord and his personal favourite, the lute-harpsichord (the compositions listed as works for the lute, BWV 995-1000 and 1006a were probably written for this instrument).

Organ works

{{see also|List of organ compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach}}Bach was best known during his lifetime as an organist, organ consultant, and composer of organ works in both the traditional German free genres (such as preludes, fantasias, and toccatas) and stricter forms (such as chorale preludes and fugues). At a young age, he established a reputation for creativity and ability to integrate foreign styles into his organ works. A decidedly North German influence was exerted by Georg Böhm, with whom Bach came into contact in Lüneburg, and Dieterich Buxtehude, whom the young organist visited in Lübeck in 1704 on an extended leave of absence from his job in Arnstadt. Around this time, Bach copied the works of numerous French and Italian composers to gain insights into their compositional languages, and later arranged violin concertos by Vivaldi and others for organ and harpsichord. During his most productive period (1708–1714) he composed about a dozen pairs of preludes and fugues, five toccatas and fugues, and the Little Organ Book, an unfinished collection of 46 short chorale preludes that demonstrate compositional techniques in the setting of chorale tunes. After leaving Weimar, Bach wrote less for organ, although some of his best-known works (the six trio sonatas, the German Organ Mass in from 1739, and the Great Eighteen chorales, revised late in his life) were composed after leaving Weimar. Bach was extensively engaged later in his life in consulting on organ projects, testing new organs and dedicating organs in afternoon recitals.WEB, 19 May 2008,weblink Bach, Johann Sebastian, GMN ClassicalPlus, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 19 June 2008, WEB, Smith, Timothy A., Arnstadt (1703–1707),weblink The Canons and Fugues of J. S. Bach, 11 April 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 5 February 2014, dmy-all, The Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her" and the Schübler Chorales are organ works Bach published in the last years of his life.

Harpsichord and clavichord

{{see also|List of solo keyboard compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach}}Bach wrote many works for harpsichord, some of which may have been played on the clavichord. The larger works are usually intended for a harpsichord with two manuals, while performing them on a keyboard instrument with a single manual (like a piano) may present technical difficulties for the crossing of hands. Many of his keyboard works are anthologies that encompass whole theoretical systems in an encyclopaedic fashion.
  • The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2 (BWV 846–893). Each book consists of a prelude and fugue in each of the 24 major and minor keys, in chromatic order from C major to B minor (thus, the whole collection is often referred to as "the 48"). "Well-tempered" in the title refers to the temperament (system of tuning); many temperaments before Bach's time were not flexible enough to allow compositions to utilise more than just a few keys.Schweitzer (1935), p. 333WEB, Kroesbergen, Willem, Cruickshank, Andrew, y, 18th Century Quotes on J.S. Bach's Temperament,weblink, November 2013, no,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2014, dmy-all,
  • The Inventions and Sinfonias (BWV 772–801). These short two- and three-part contrapuntal works are arranged in the same chromatic order as The Well-Tempered Clavier, omitting some of the rarer keys. These pieces were intended by Bach for instructional purposes.WEB, Tomita, Yo, J. S. Bach: Inventions and Sinfonias,weblink 22 February 2012, no,weblink" title="">weblink 20 January 2012, dmy-all,
  • Three collections of dance suites: the English Suites (BWV 806–811), French Suites (BWV 812–817), and Partitas for keyboard (, BWV 825–830). Each collection contains six suites built on the standard model (–––(optional movement)–). The English Suites closely follow the traditional model, adding a prelude before the and including a single movement between the and .WEB, McComb, Todd M., Bach: English Suites,weblink Early Music FAQ, 10 December 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 27 February 2014, dmy-all, The French Suites omit preludes but have multiple movements between the and .WEB, Traupman-Carr, Carol, French Suites 1–6,weblink Bach 101, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2013, 23 December 2014, The partitas expand the model further with elaborate introductory movements and miscellaneous movements between the basic elements of the model.WEB, McComb, Todd M., Bach: Partitas, BWV 825–30,weblink Early Music FAQ, 10 December 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 22 February 2014, dmy-all,
  • The Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), an aria with 30 variations. The collection has a complex and unconventional structure: the variations build on the bass line of the aria rather than its melody, and musical canons are interpolated according to a grand plan. There are 9 canons within the 30 variations; every third variation is a canon.WEB, Libbey, Ted, Gold Standard for Bach's 'Goldberg Variations',weblink NPR Music, National Public Radio, 22 February 2012, no,weblink" title="">weblink 19 February 2012, dmy-all, These variations move in order from canon at unison to canon at the ninth. The first eight are in pairs (unison and octave, second and seventh, third and sixth, fourth and fifth). The ninth canon stands on its own due to compositional dissimilarities. The final variation, instead of being the expected canon at the tenth, is a quodlibet.
  • Miscellaneous pieces such as the Overture in the French Style (French Overture, BWV 831) and the Italian Concerto (BWV 971) (published together as ), and the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue (BWV 903).
Among Bach's lesser known keyboard works are seven toccatas (BWV 910–916), four duets (BWV 802–805), sonatas for keyboard (BWV 963–967), the Six Little Preludes (BWV 933–938), and the (BWV 989).

Orchestral and chamber music

{{see also|List of chamber music works by Johann Sebastian Bach|List of orchestral works by Johann Sebastian Bach}}Bach wrote for single instruments, duets, and small ensembles. Many of his solo works, such as the six sonatas and partitas for violin (BWV 1001–1006) and the six cello suites (BWV 1007–1012), are widely considered to be among the most profound in the repertoire.WEB, Bratman, David, Shaham: Bold, Brilliant, All-Bach,weblink San Francisco Classical Voice, 23 February 2012, no,weblink" title="">weblink 11 February 2012, dmy-all, He wrote sonatas for a solo instrument such as the viola de gamba accompanied by harpsichord or continuo, as well as trio sonatas (two instruments and continuo).The Musical Offering and The Art of Fugue are late contrapuntal works containing pieces for unspecified instruments or combinations of instruments.

Violin concertos

Surviving works in the concerto form include two violin concertos (BWV 1041 in A minor and BWV 1042 in E major) and a concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043, often referred to as Bach's "double concerto".

Brandenburg Concertos

{{details|Brandenburg Concertos}}Bach's best-known orchestral works are the Brandenburg Concertos, so named because he submitted them in the hope of gaining employment from Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721; his application was unsuccessful. These works are examples of the concerto grosso genre.

Keyboard concertos

{{details|Keyboard concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach}}Bach composed and transcribed concertos for one to four harpsichords. Many of the harpsichord concertos were not original works but arrangements of his concertos for other instruments, now lost.WEB, Baroque Music,weblink Music of the Baroque, 27 December 2014, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 27 December 2014, A number of violin, oboe, and flute concertos have been reconstructed from these.

Orchestral suites

In addition to concertos, Bach wrote four orchestral suites, each suite being a series of stylised dances for orchestra, preceded by a French overture.WEB, Traupman-Carr, Carol, A compendium of works performed by the Bach Choir,weblink Bach 101, Bach Choir of Bethlehem,weblink" title="">weblink 19 July 2013, 23 December 2014,

Copies, arrangements and works with an uncertain attribution

{{see also|BWV Anh.}}In his early youth, Bach copied pieces by other composers to learn from them.Forkel/Terry 1920 pp. 10–11 Later, he copied and arranged music for performance or as study material for his pupils. Some of these pieces, like "Bist du bei mir" (copied not by Bach but by Anna Magdalena), became famous before being dissociated with Bach. Bach copied and arranged Italian masters such as Vivaldi (e.g. BWV 1065), Pergolesi (BWV 1083) and Palestrina ((scores:Missa Sine nomine (Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da)#Arrangements and Transcriptions|Missa Sine nomine)), French masters such as François Couperin (BWV Anh. 183), and, closer to home, various German masters including Telemann (e.g. BWV 824=(scores:Suite in A major, TWV 32:14 (Telemann, Georg Philipp)|TWV 32:14)) and Handel (arias from Brockes Passion), and music from members of his own family. He also often copied and arranged his own music (e.g. movements from cantatas for his short masses BWV 233–236), as his music was likewise copied and arranged by others. Some of these arrangements, like the late 19th-century "Air on the G String", helped in popularising Bach's music.Sometimes "who copied whom" is not clear. For instance, Forkel mentions a Mass for double chorus among the works composed by Bach. The work was published and performed in the early 19th century, and although a score partially in Bach's handwriting exists, the work was later considered spurious.Forkel/Terry 1920 pp. 140–141 In 1950, the design of the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis was to keep such works out of the main catalogue: if there was a strong association with Bach they could be listed in its appendix (German: Anhang, abbreviated as Anh.). Thus, for instance, the aforementioned Mass for double chorus became BWV Anh. 167. But this was far from the end of the attribution issues. For instance, Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53, was later attributed to Melchior Hoffmann. For other works, Bach's authorship was put in doubt without a generally accepted answer to the question of whether or not he composed it: the best known organ composition in the BWV catalogue, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, was indicated as one of these uncertain works in the late 20th century.Zehnder, Jean-Claude (2011) Toccatas and Fugues / Individual Works. {{webarchive|url= |date=23 November 2015 }} Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel. Introduction p. 20.


{{See also|List of transcriptions of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach}}{{more citations needed|section|date=July 2017}}File:Mizler1754p158-BachNekrologFirstPage.pdf|thumb|upright=1.1|First page of Bach's NekrologBach's Nekrolog(File:Altes Bachdenkmal (Leipzig) - Holzstich.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Image of the {{interlanguage link|19th century Bach memorial (Leipzig)|de|3=Altes Bach-Denkmal in Leipzig|lt=Bach memorial}} erected by Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig in 1843)(File:Statue of J.S. Bach in Leipzig.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|1908 Statue of Bach in front of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig)(File:Arnstadt Bachkirche außen Chor 03.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|The church in Arnstadt where Bach had been the organist from 1703 to 1707. In 1935 the church was renamed to "Bachkirche".)(File:Fotothek df roe-neg 0002806 004 Besucher der Messe in der Thomaskirche zu Ehren Bachs.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|28 July 1950: memorial service for Bach in Leipzig's Thomaskirche, on the 200th anniversary of the composer's death)File:Bosehaus Leipzig Straßenfront 1.jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Bosehaus in Leipzig where the Bach ArchiveBach ArchiveFile:De Matthäus-Passion (5643090418).jpg|thumb|upright=1.1|Mark RutteMark RutteFile:Grave of Johann Sebastian Bach and altar Leipzig.JPG|thumb|upright=1.1|Bach's grave and altar in the St. Thomas Church, LeipzigSt. Thomas Church, LeipzigThroughout the 18th century, the appreciation of Bach's music was mostly limited to distinguished connoisseurs. The 19th century started with publication of the first biography of the composer and ended with the completion of the publication of all of Bach's known works by the Bach Gesellschaft. A Bach Revival had started from Mendelssohn's performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1829. Soon after that performance, Bach started to become regarded as one of the greatest composers of all times, if not the greatest, a reputation he has retained ever since. A new extensive Bach biography was published in the second half of the 19th century.In the 20th century, Bach's music was widely performed and recorded, while the Neue Bachgesellschaft, among others, published research on the composer. Modern adaptations of Bach's music contributed greatly to his popularisation in the second half of the 20th century. Among these were the Swingle Singers' versions of Bach pieces (for instance, the from Orchestral Suite No. 3, or the chorale prelude) and Wendy Carlos' 1968 Switched-On Bach, which used the Moog electronic synthesiser.By the end of the 20th century, more classical performers were gradually moving away from the performance style and instrumentation that were established in the romantic era: they started to perform Bach's music on period instruments of the baroque era, studied and practised playing techniques and tempi as established in his time, and reduced the size of instrumental ensembles and choirs to what he would have employed. The BACH motif, used by the composer in his own compositions, was used in dozens of tributes to the composer from the 19th century to the 21st. In the 21st century, the complete extant output of the composer became available on-line, with several websites exclusively dedicated to him.

18th century

In his own time, Bach's reputation equalled that of Telemann, Graun and Handel.Geck & Bell (2003), p. 141 {{webarchive|url= |date=24 February 2017 }} During his life, Bach received public recognition, such as the title of court composer by Augustus III of Poland and the appreciation he was shown by Frederick the Great and Hermann Karl von Keyserling. Such highly placed appreciation contrasted with the humiliations he had to cope with, for instance in his hometown of Leipzig.Johann Sebastian Bach. Letter to Augustus III of Poland. 27 July 1733; Quoted in Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel, The Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents. W. W. Norton & Company, 1945, p. 128; Quoted in David, Mendel & Wolff (1998), p. 158. {{ISBN|978-0-393-04558-1}} Also in the contemporary press, Bach had his detractors, such as Johann Adolf Scheibe, suggesting he write less complex music, and his supporters, such as Johann Mattheson and Lorenz Christoph Mizler.Johann Adolf Scheibe. pp. 46–47 in Critischer Musicus VI, 14 May 1737. Quoted in Eidam 2001, Chapter XXII.Johann Mattheson. Das Beschützte Orchestre, oder desselben Zweyte Eröffnung, footnote p. 222 Hamburg: Schiller, 1717.Lorenz Christoph Mizler. Musikalische Bibliothek. Volume I, Part 4, pp. 61–73. Leipzig, April 1738. Includes a reprint of Johann Abraham Birnbaum's Unpartheyische Anmerckungen über eine bedenckliche stelle in dem Sechsten stück des Critischen Musicus. {{webarchive|url= |date=1 February 2014 }} published early January of the same year.After his death, Bach's reputation as a composer at first declined: his work was regarded as old-fashioned compared to the emerging galant style.Bach was regarded as "passé even in his own lifetime". (Morris 2005, p. 2) Initially, he was remembered more as a virtuoso player of the organ and as a teacher. The bulk of the music that had been printed during the composer's lifetime, at least the part that was remembered, was for the organ and the harpsichord. Thus, his reputation as a composer was initially mostly limited to his keyboard music, and that even fairly limited to its value in music education.Bach's surviving family members, who inherited a large part of his manuscripts, were not all equally concerned with preserving them, leading to considerable losses.Wolff (2000), pp. 456–461 Carl Philipp Emanuel, his second eldest son, was most active in safeguarding his father's legacy: he co-authored his father's obituary, contributed to the publication of his four-part chorales,Forkel/Terry 1920, pp. 85–86. staged some of his works, and the bulk of previously unpublished works of his father were preserved with his help.Listing of manuscripts of Bach compositions once in the possession of C. P. E. Bach{{dead link|date=April 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} at {{url|}} Wilhelm Friedemann, the eldest son, performed several of his father's cantatas in Halle but after becoming unemployed sold part of the large collection of his father's works he owned.Peter Wollny. "Chapter twelve: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's Halle performances of cantatas by his father", pp. 202–228 in Bach Studies 2 edited by Daniel R. Melamed. Cambridge University Press 2006. {{ISBN|9780521028912}}Forkel/Terry 1920, p. 139Wolff 2013, p. 459 Several students of the old master, such as his son-in-law Johann Christoph Altnickol, Johann Friedrich Agricola, Johann Kirnberger, and Johann Ludwig Krebs, contributed to the dissemination of his legacy. The early devotees were not all musicians; for example, in Berlin, Daniel Itzig, a high official of Frederick the Great's court, venerated Bach.Christoph Wolff. "A Bach Cult in Late-Eighteenth-Century Berlin: Sara Levy’s Musical Salon" {{webarchive|url= |date=4 March 2016 }} in Bulletin of the American Academy. Spring 2005. pp. 26–31. His eldest daughters took lessons from Kirnberger and their sister Sara from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, who was in Berlin from 1774 to 1784.Applegate, 2005, p. 14 Sara Itzig Levy became an avid collector of works by Johann Sebastian Bach and his sons and was a "patron" of CPE Bach.While in Leipzig, performances of Bach's church music were limited to some of his motets, and under cantor Doles some of his Passions.Spitta 1899a, pp. 518–519, 611 A new generation of Bach aficionados emerged: they studiously collected and copied his music, including some of his large-scale works such as the Mass in B minor and performed it privately. One such connoisseur was Gottfried van Swieten, a high-ranking Austrian official who was instrumental in passing Bach's legacy on to the composers of the Viennese school. Haydn owned manuscript copies of the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Mass in B minor and was influenced by Bach's music. Mozart owned a copy of one of Bach's motets,A-Wgm A 169 b (III 31685) {{webarchive|url= |date=8 December 2015 }} at {{url|}} transcribed some of his instrumental works (K. 404a, 405),{{IMSLP2|work=Preludes and Fugues, K.404a (Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus)|cname=Preludes and Fugues, K.404a}}BOOK, Breitkopf & Härtel, Köchel, Ludwig Ritter von, Ludwig Ritter von Köchel, Chronologisch-thematisches Verzeichniss sämmtlicher Tonwerke Wolfgang Amade Mozart's, Leipzig, 1862,weblink 3309798,weblink 29 April 2016, German, no, dmy-all, , No. 405, pp. 328–329 and wrote contrapuntal music influenced by his style.WEB,weblink Bach, Mozart and the 'Musical Midwife', no,weblink" title="">weblink 4 November 2015, dmy-all, Brown, A. Peter, The Symphonic Repertoire (Volume 2). Indiana University Press ({{ISBN|025333487X}}), pp. 423–432 (2002). Beethoven played the entire Well-Tempered Clavier by the time he was 11 and described Bach as (progenitor of harmony).McKay, Cory. "The Bach Reception in the 18th and 19th century" {{webarchive|url= |date=2 February 2010 }} at {{url|}}Schenk, Winston & Winston (1959), p. 452Daniel Heartz. Mozart, Haydn and Early Beethoven: 1781–1802, p. 678. W. W. Norton & Company, 2008. {{ISBN|9780393285789}}Kerst (1904), p. 101Edward Noel Green. Chromatic Completion in the Late Vocal Music of Haydn and Mozart: A Technical, Philosophic, and Historical Study, p. 273 New York University. {{ISBN|9780549794516}}

19th century

{{see also|Bach Revival|St Matthew Passion#19th century}}In 1802, Johann Nikolaus Forkel published Ueber Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke, the first biography of the composer, which contributed to his becoming known to a wider public.Geck (2006), pp. 9–10 (excerpt {{webarchive|url= |date=6 December 2012 }}) In 1805, Abraham Mendelssohn, who had married one of Itzig's granddaughters, bought a substantial collection of Bach manuscripts that had come down from C. P. E. Bach, and donated it to the Berlin Sing-Akademie. The Sing-Akademie occasionally performed Bach's works in public concerts, for instance his first keyboard concerto, with Sara Itzig Levy at the piano.The first decades of the 19th century saw an increasing number of first publications of Bach's music: Breitkopf started publishing chorale preludes,Schneider 1907, p. 94 Hoffmeister harpsichord music,Schneider 1907, pp. 96–97 and the Well-Tempered Clavier was printed concurrently by Simrock (Germany), Nägeli (Switzerland) and Hoffmeister (Germany and Austria) in 1801.Schneider 1907, p. 100 Vocal music was also published: motets in 1802 and 1803, followed by the E{{flat}} major version of the Magnificat, the Kyrie-Gloria Mass in A major, and the cantata Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (BWV 80).Forkel/Terry 1920, p. xvii In 1818, Hans Georg Nägeli called the Mass in B minor the greatest composition ever. Bach's influence was felt in the next generation of early Romantic composers. When Felix Mendelssohn, Abraham's son, aged 13, produced his first Magnificat setting in 1822, it is clear that he was inspired by the then unpublished D major version of Bach's Magnificat.Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Magnificat, MWV A2 edited by Pietro Zappalà. Carus, 1996. Foreword, p. VIFelix Mendelssohn significantly contributed to the renewed interest in Bach's work with his 1829 Berlin performance of the St Matthew Passion, which was instrumental in setting off what has been called the Bach Revival. The St John Passion saw its 19th-century premiere in 1833, and the first performance of the Mass in B minor followed in 1844. Besides these and other public performances and an increased coverage on the composer and his compositions in printed media, the 1830s and 1840s also saw the first publication of more vocal works by Bach: six cantatas, the St Matthew Passion, and the Mass in B minor. A series of organ compositions saw their first publication in 1833.Johann Sebastian Bach's noch wenig bekannte Orgelcompositionen (auch am Pianoforte von einem oder zwei Spielern ausführbar), three volumes, edited by Adolph Bernhard Marx. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1833 Chopin started composing his 24 Preludes, Op. 28, inspired by the Well-Tempered Clavier, in 1835, and Schumann published his Sechs Fugen über den Namen B-A-C-H in 1845. Bach's music was transcribed and arranged to suit contemporary tastes and performance practice by composers such as Carl Friedrich Zelter, Robert Franz, and Franz Liszt, or combined with new music such as the melody line of Charles Gounod's Ave Maria.Kupferberg (1985), p. 126 Brahms, Bruckner, and Wagner were among the composers who promoted Bach's music or wrote glowingly about it.In 1850, the (Bach Society) was founded to promote Bach's music. In the second half of the 19th century, the Society published a comprehensive edition of the composer's works. Also in the second half of the 19th century, Philipp Spitta published Johann Sebastian Bach, the standard work on Bach's life and music.Spitta 1992, 1899a, 1899b (first publication in German, in two volumes: Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel 1873 and 1880) By that time, Bach was known as the first of the three Bs in music. Throughout the 19th century, 200 books were published on Bach. By the end of the century, local Bach societies were established in several cities, and his music had been performed in all major musical centres.In Germany all throughout the century, Bach was coupled to nationalist feelings, and the composer was inscribed in a religious revival. In England, Bach was coupled to an existing revival of religious and baroque music. By the end of the century, Bach was firmly established as one of the greatest composers, recognised for both his instrumental and his vocal music.

20th century

During the 20th century, the process of recognising the musical as well as the pedagogic value of some of the works continued, as in the promotion of the cello suites by Pablo Casals, the first major performer to record these suites.WEB, Robert Johnson and Pablo Casals' Game Changers Turn 70,weblink NPR Music, National Public Radio, 22 February 2012, no,weblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2012, dmy-all, Leading performers of classical music, such as Herbert von Karajan, Arthur Grumiaux, Helmut Walcha, Wanda Landowska, Karl Richter, I Musici, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Glenn Gould, recorded his music.A significant development in the later part of the 20th century was the momentum gained by the historically informed performance practice, with forerunners such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt acquiring prominence by their performances of Bach's music. His keyboard music was again performed more on the instruments Bach was familiar than on modern pianos and 19th-century romantic organs. Ensembles playing and singing Bach's music not only kept to the instruments and the performance style of his day but were also reduced to the size of the groups Bach used for his performances.WEB, McComb, Todd M., What is Early Music?–Historically Informed Performance,weblink Early Music FAQ, 2 January 2015, no,weblink" title="">weblink 6 January 2015, dmy-all, But that was far from the only way Bach's music came to the forefront in the 20th century: his music was heard in versions ranging from Ferruccio Busoni's late romantic piano transcriptions to jazzy interpretations such as those by The Swingle Singers, orchestrations like the one opening Walt Disney's Fantasia movie, and synthesiser performances such as Wendy Carlos' Switched-On Bach recordings.Bach's music has influenced other genres. For instance, jazz musicians have adopted Bach's music, with Jacques Loussier, Ian Anderson, Uri Caine, and the Modern Jazz Quartet among those creating jazz versions of his works.WEB, Shipton, Alyn, Alyn Shipton, Bach and Jazz,weblink A Bach Christmas, BBC Radio 3, 27 December 2014, no,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2013, dmy-all, Several 20th-century composers referred to Bach or his music, for example Eugène Ysaÿe in Six Sonatas for solo violin, Dmitri Shostakovich in 24 Preludes and Fugues and Heitor Villa-Lobos in Bachianas Brasileiras. All kinds of publications involved Bach: not only were there the Bach Jahrbuch publications of the Neue Bachgesellschaft, various other studies and biographies by among others Albert Schweitzer, Charles Sanford Terry, John Butt, Christoph Wolff, and the 1950 first edition of the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, but also books such as Gödel, Escher, Bach put the composer's art in a wider perspective. Bach's music was extensively listened to, performed, broadcast, arranged, adapted, and commented upon in the 1990s.Rokus de Groot (2000). "And Nowhere Bach. Bach Reception in a Late Twentieth-Century Dutch Composition by Elmer Schönberger" pp. 145–158 in Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, Volume 50, No. 1/2. Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis. Around 2000, the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, three record companies issued box sets with complete recordings of Bach's music."Bach Edition" {{webarchive|url= |date=10 November 2016 }} at {{urlweblink}} 1 December 2001Teldec's 1999 Bach 2000 Box set, Limited Edition {{webarchive|url= |date=12 October 2016 }} at {{url|}}Bach-Edition: The Complete Works (172 CDs & CDR) {{webarchive|url= |date=29 September 2015 }} at the Hänssler Classic websiteBach's music features three times{{mdash}}more than that of any other composer{{mdash}}on the Voyager Golden Record, a gramophone record containing a broad sample of the images, common sounds, languages, and music of Earth, sent into outer space with the two Voyager probes.WEB,weblink Golden Record: Music from Earth, 26 July 2012, NASA, no,weblink" title="">weblink 1 July 2013, dmy-all, Tributes to Bach in the 20th century include statues erected in his honour and a variety of things such as streets and space objects being named after him.Bach {{webarchive|url= |date=23 October 2011 }}, USGS Gazetteer of Planetary NomenclatureWEB,weblink JPL Small-Body Database Browser, no,weblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2017, dmy-all, Also, a multitude of musical ensembles such as the Bach Aria Group, Deutsche Bachsolisten, Bachchor Stuttgart, and Bach Collegium Japan adopted the composer's name. Bach festivals were held on several continents, and competitions and prizes such as the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition and the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize were named after the composer. While by the end of the 19th century Bach had been inscribed in nationalism and religious revival, the late 20th century saw Bach as the subject of a secularised art-as-religion ().

21st century

In the 21st century, Bach's compositions have become available online, for instance at the International Music Score Library Project.(scores:List of works by Johann Sebastian Bach|List of works by Johann Sebastian Bach) and (scores:Category:Bach, Johann Sebastian|Category:Bach, Johann Sebastian) at IMSLP website High-resolution facsimiles of Bach's autographs became available at the Bach digital website.{{url|}}21st-century biographers include Peter Williams and the conductor John Eliot Gardiner.Williams 2003Williams 2007Gardiner 2013 Also in this century, overviews of what is best in classical music typically include a great deal of Bach. For example, in The Telegraph's list of the 168 best classical music recordings, Bach's music is featured more often than that of any other composer."The 168 best classical music recordings" {{webarchive|url= |date=5 October 2015 }} in The Telegraph. 2009, revised by Ivan Hewett in 2014.On 21 March 2019, Bach's 334th birthday was honored by a Google Doodle. Google replaced its logo with a game allowing users to create compositions and harmonise them in Bach's style with the help of AI. A machine learning algorithm trained on 306 Bach chorale harmonisations layered a four-part harmony on a 2-bar player-created melody."Who was Johann Sebastian Bach? Google Doodle's AI music game celebrates the Baroque composer" by Kyle Macdonald, Classic FM, 22 March 2019 The Doodle was shown in most of the world, except in parts of central and south-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand."21 March 2019 – Celebrating Johann Sebastian Bach", Google Doodles

Burial site

Bach was originally buried at Old St. John's Cemetery in Leipzig. His grave went unmarked for nearly 150 years, but in 1894 his remains were located and moved to a vault in St. John's Church. This building was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II, so in 1950 Bach's remains were taken to their present grave in St. Thomas Church. Later research has called into question whether the remains in the grave are actually those of Bach.JOURNAL, Are the alleged remains of Johann Sebastian Bach authentic?, Zegers, Richard H.C., Maas, Mario, Koopman, A.G., Maat, George J.R., Ton Koopman, y, The Medical Journal of Australia, 2009, 190, 4, 213–216,weblink no,weblink 2 December 2013, dmy-all,

Recognition in Protestant churches

The liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church remembers Bach annually with a feast day on 28 July, together with George Frideric Handel and Henry Purcell; on the same day, the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church remembers Bach and Handel with Heinrich Schütz.



Works cited

{{Wikipedia books|Johann Sebastian Bach}}Biographies{{see also|Biographies of Johann Sebastian Bach}} Other
  • BOOK, Applegate, Celia, Bach in Berlin: Nation and Culture in Mendelssohn's revival of the St. Matthew Passion, Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press, 2014,
  • BOOK, Baron, Carol K., Bach's Changing World: Voices in the Community, Rochester, New York, University of Rochester Press, 2006, 1-58046-190-5,
  • Boyd, Malcolm, Ed., Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • BOOK, Bach's World, Jan, Chiapusso, Jan Chiapusso, Indiana University Press, Scarborough, Ontario, 1968, 0-253-10520-X,
  • BOOK, Donington, Robert, Robert Donington, Baroque Music: Style and Performance: A Handbook, 1982, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 0-393-30052-8,weblink
  • BOOK, Dörffel, Alfred, Alfred Dörffel, Thematisches Verzeichnis der Instrumentalwerke von Joh. Seb. Bach, de, Leipzig, Edition Peters, C.F. Peters, 1882,weblink N.B.: First published in 1867; superseded, for scholarly purposes, by Wolfgang Schmieder's complete thematic catalog, but useful as a handy reference tool for only the instrumental works of Bach and as a partial alternative to Schmieder's work.
  • BOOK, Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism: Choir, Congregation, and Three Centuries of Conflict, Joseph, Herl, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004, 0-19-515439-8,
  • BOOK, Herz, Gerhard, 1985, Essays on J.S. Bach, Ann Arbor, Michigan, UMI Research Press, 978-0835719896,
  • BOOK, Hofstadter, Douglas, Douglas Hofstadter, (Gödel, Escher, Bach, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid), New York, Basic Books, 1999, 0-465-02656-7,
  • BOOK, Jones, Richard, Richard D. P. Jones, The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007, 0-19-816440-8,
  • BOOK, Beethoven im eigenen Wort, Kerst, Friedrich, de, 1904,weblink Schuster & Loeffler, Berlin,
  • BOOK, Basically Bach: A 300th Birthday Celebration, Herbert, Kupferberg, New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1985, 0-07-035646-7,weblink
  • BOOK, Luther's Liturgical Music, Robin A., Leaver, Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007, 0-8028-3221-0,
  • BOOK, Miles, Russell H., Johann Sebastian Bach: An Introduction to His Life and Works, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice Hall, 1962, 600065,
  • BOOK, Beethoven: the Universal Composer, Morris, Edmund, Edmund Morris (writer), 2005, HarperCollins, New York, 0-06-075974-7,
  • BOOK, André, Pirro, André Pirro, The Aesthetic of Johann Sebastian Bach, 1907, 2014, Lanham, Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield, 978-1-4422-3290-7,
  • BOOK, Rich, Alan, Alan Rich, Johann Sebastian Bach: Play by Play, San Francisco, HarperCollins, 1995, 0-06-263547-6,weblink
  • BOOK, Schenk, Erich, Winston, Richard, Winston, Clara, y, Mozart and his times, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1959, 602180,
  • {{interlanguage link|Max Schneider (music historian)|de|3=Max Schneider (Musikhistoriker)|lt=Schneider, Max}} (1907). "Verzeichnis der bis zum Jahre 1851 gedruckten (und der geschrieben im Handel gewesenen) Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach", pp. 84–113 in Bach-Jahrbuch 1906, Neue Bachgesellschaft VII (3).
  • BOOK, Schulenberg, David, The Keyboard Music of J.S. Bach, New York, Routledge, 2006, 0-415-97400-3,
  • BOOK, Stories Behind the World's Great Music, Spaeth, Sigmund, 1937,weblink Whittlesey House, New York, Sigmund Spaeth,
  • BOOK, J. S. Bach as Organist: His Instruments, Music, and Performance Practices, Stauffer, George B., May, Ernest, y, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1986, 0-253-33181-1,
  • BOOK, George Frideric Handel: A Music Lover's Guide to His Life, His Faith & the Development of Messiah and His Other Oratorios, Van Til, Marian, 2007, WordPower Publishing, Youngstown, New York, 0-9794785-0-2,
  • BOOK, Wolff, Christoph, Christoph Wolff, 1983, The New Grove Bach Family, London, Macmillan Publishers, 0-333-34350-6,
  • BOOK, Wolff, Christoph, 1997, The World of the Bach Cantatas: Johann Sebastian Bach's Early Sacred Cantatas, New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 978-0-393-33674-0,
  • Wolff, Christoph, ed. (1998), The New Bach Reader: a life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents, W. W. Norton; 1945 and 1972; edited by Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel.

External links

{{Sister project links|author=yes|wikt=no|b=no|n=no|v=no}}{{wikisourcelang|de|Johann Sebastian Bach|Johann Sebastian Bach}}
  • {{Britannica|47843}}
  • Bach Bibliography, by Yo Tomita of Queen's University Belfast—especially useful to scholars
  • Bach Cantatas Website, by Aryeh Oron—information on the cantatas as well as other works
  • {{Musopen|johann-sebastian-bach}}
  • {{Internet Archive author |sname=Johann Sebastian Bach}}
  • {{BBC composer page|bach|Bach}}
  • {{Cantorion|composers/72/Johann_Sebastian_Bach|Johann Sebastian Bach}}
  • {{ChoralWiki}}
  • {{IMSLP|id=Bach, Johann Sebastian|cname=Johann Sebastian Bach}}—the volumes split up into individual works, plus other editions
Recordings {{Johann Sebastian Bach}}{{Bach family}}{{Lutheran hymnody}}{{Baroque music}}{{authority control}}

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