Johann Sebastian Bach

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    Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685.  Bach lived until July 28, 1750 when he died of a stroke.

    Bach was the youngest of eight children.  His father taught him how to play violin.  After Bach's parents died he went to live with his older brother Christoph, who was an organist.  Bach learned how to play keyboard instruments such as harpsichord and organ from Christoph.  Bach also learned to sing while he was in school. 

     Bach was an excellent violinist, harpsichord player and organist. Bach composed many organ pieces and worked as the musical director for many wealthy families and the churches in their towns. Bach also wrote music for weddings and funerals and gave music lessons.  Bach gave concerts in many different towns to earn extra money.

    Bach is one of the greatest composers of the Baroque Era.  Some of his most well known pieces include:  The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, Air for the G String, and Mass in B minor.  Bach wrote many Cantatas, Preludes and Fugues and Chorales.  Bach was the master of fugues!

    ? What is a fugue ?
        Fugues can also be known as canons.  A fugue is a piece of music with a common melody that repeats throughout the song.  The melody enters at different points within the song and overlaps.  Many young singers have performed fugues when they sing in "Rounds".  One group starts singing the melody and another group enters later starting the same melody, while the first group keeps going.  Many groups enter and so on, until all the groups are singing and the melody is heard overlapping.
           

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