Many composers come to mind when I think of the Baroque era in music history, the time period covering 1600-1750 AD. But perhaps one of the most well-known and diverse of the Baroque composers is the one known as J.S. Bach. Even now, more than 300 years after his birth, his music continues to top the charts of enthusiasts around the world.
An interesting quote by Bach,… “It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.” = Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer and musician (1685-1750) = what does that quote mean in your mind? Do you find yourself encouraged or discouraged to read it? A great article by a fellow teacher, LaDona, addresses “Rules for Playing Bach“.
As we embark on another great year of piano learning, I have a special task and plan for my students… to study the life, works, and influence of Bach. I finished assembling the first group of activities earlier today – reproducible – coloring sheets, worksheets, crosswords, word searches, mazes, fill-in-the-blanks, reading comprehension, and fact sheets. Also included are copies of public domain sheet music he composed.
How many composers today imagine the music he did, and have the ability to sit and just write… without making changes – to more than 1000 masterpieces? Not many. My guess is… none. How many works/pieces do you believe he wrote/composed during his lifetime? We’ll find out in your lessons, and we’ll be able to examine some of his handwritten editions (photocopies, of course).
I spent the last couple hours searching for youtube videos of fascinating interpretations of his pieces. Since Bach lived so long ago, we have no way of knowing exactly how he would have liked his music to sound… but as clear as he could be in his writing & composing, we try our best to follow. Enjoy the following videos, and please share your thoughts below – or share others you have enjoyed (works composed by J.S. Bach, but perhaps performed in all styles, interpretations, and with a very interested arrangement of instruments – as you will see here).
Some of the youtube videos have ads that come up first… just wait through those (it is entirely worth the time). :)
Great audio explanations of “Bach” facts & music history related to his life…
For more indepth investigation into Bach & the styles of music surrounding his life in the days of the Baroque era… http://homehearts.com/johann-sebastian-bach-a-mini-unit/ Follow the great links farther down on that blog page. She does a wonderful job gathering those resources! :)