ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bach, in a Minute

Updated on November 6, 2007

Johann Sebastian Bach, in a nutshell

Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany. He was a composer of western music from 1725 to 1750, which places him firmly in the Baroque era of western classical music.

Johann Sebastian was the youngest child of Johann Ambrosius Bach and his wife Maria Elisabetha. Johann came from a very musical family. His father was a court musician and his uncles were all professional musicians for the church and town.

Johann Sebastian Bach did not introduce any new forms as other composers have become known for. According to most accounts, Bach's inventive genius was almost entirely focused on working within the musical structures that existed at the time. He is best known for perfecting the contrapuntal (two or more simultaneous melodies) technique. Indeed, it is the contrapuntal technique that is a defining characteristic of much of the music from the Baroque period.

Bach was a prolific composer. He composed more than 1,000 works in his life. He wrote both sacred and secular works for choir and orchestra. Perhaps his greatest impact was his works for solo instruments that combined aspects of the Baroque period and ultimately brought it to its maturity.

Interestingly, Johann Sebastian Bach was considered to be "old-fashioned" in his time, but he has come to be considered one of the best and most influential composers of all time. In fact, composers since Bach's death have acknowledged his mastery of the genre.

Big names like Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin were some of his most avid admirers. There's an excellent story of Mozart hearing a performance of Bach's motets (BWV 225) and exclaiming, "Now, here is something one can learn from!" Beethoven is known to have referred to Bach as the "Urvater der Harmonie" ("Original father of Harmony"). And Chopin would sequester himself away and play Bach's music before performing a concert. Pretty Heady stuff!

Some of Johann Sebastian Bach's most famous pieces are the Goldberg Variations; the English Suites and French Suites; the Brandenburg concertos; the Well-Tempered Clavier; Cello Suites; and a number of organ works, including Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

The first movement of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. and his "Gavotte en rondeaux" from the Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin were sent into space on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977 as a kind of time capsule.

Bach was prolific in his self reproduction as well as his composition. He fathered twenty children, but only seven survived infancy. Two of his children that survived to adulthood were Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, both of whom became prominent composers in their own right in the ornate Rococo style (the style that followed the Baroque).

By Bach's 55th birthday, in 1740, his eyesight was failing. This led to his having two eye operations that resulted in his complete blindness. There has been speculation that these operations damaged his health and hastened his death from a stroke a decade later in 1750.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Bostonian Banter 

      11 years ago

      Nice examination of JS. Thanks!

    • Nickny79 profile image


      11 years ago from New York, New York

      "Bach was prolific in his self reproduction as well as his composition." I love this fact about Bach. They say the greatest creative geniuses have a highly charged sexuality.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)