Bach Argumentative Essay

This essay has a total of 869 words and 4 pages.


Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the greatest composers in Western musical history. More
than 1,000 of his compositions survive. Some examples are the Art of Fugue, Brandenburg
Concerti, the Goldberg Variations for Harpsichord, the Mass in B-Minor, the motets, the
Easter and Christmas oratorios, Toccata in F Major, French Suite No 5, Fugue in G Major,
Fugue in G Minor ("The Great"), St. Matthew Passion, and Jesu Der Du Meine Seele. He came
from a family of musicians. There were over 53 musicians in his family over a period of
300 years. Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany on March 21, 1685. His
father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was a talented violinist, and taught his son the basic
skills for string playing; another relation, the organist at Eisenach's most important
church, instructed the young boy on the organ. In 1695 his parents died and he was only 10
years old. He went to go stay with his older brother, Johann Christoph, who was a
professional organist at Ohrdruf. Johann Christoph was a professional organist, and
continued his younger brother's education on that instrument, as well as on the
harpsichord. After several years in this arrangement, Johann Sebastian won a scholarship
to study in Luneberg, Northern Germany, and so left his brother's tutelage.

A master of several instruments while still in his teens, Johann Sebastian first found
employment at the age of 18 as a "lackey and violinist" in a court orchestra in Weimar;
soon after, he took the job of organist at a church in Arnstadt. Here, as in later posts,
his perfectionist tendencies and high expectations of other musicians - for example, the
church choir - rubbed his colleagues the wrong way, and he was embroiled in a number of
hot disputes during his short tenure. In 1707, at the age of 22, Bach became fed up with
the lousy musical standards of Arnstadt (and the working conditions) and moved on to
another organist job, this time at the St. Blasius Church in Muhlhausen. The same year, he
married his cousin Maria Barbara Bach.

Again caught up in a running conflict between factions of his church, Bach fled to Weimar
after one year in Muhlhausen. In Weimar, he assumed the post of organist and concertmaster
in the ducal chapel. He remained in Weimar for nine years, and there he composed his first
wave of major works, including organ showpieces and cantatas.

By this stage in his life, Bach had developed a reputation as a brilliant, if somewhat
inflexible, musical talent. His proficiency on the organ was unequaled in Europe - in
fact, he toured regularly as a solo virtuoso - and his growing mastery of compositional
forms, like the fugue and the canon, was already attracting interest from the musical
establishment - which, in his day, was the Lutheran church. But, like many individuals of
uncommon talent, he was never very good at playing the political game, and therefore
suffered periodic setbacks in his career. He was passed over for a major position - which
was Kapellmeister (Chorus Master) of Weimar - in 1716; partly in reaction to this snub, he
left Weimar the following year to take a job as court conductor in Anhalt-Cothen. There,
he slowed his output of church cantatas, and instead concentrated on instrumental music -
the Cothen period produced, among other masterpieces, the Brandenburg Concerti.
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