Bach piano pieces capture the heart of anyone who hears them. (By the way, I wonder what Johann Sebastian Bach would think of the Internet? Isn’t it cool to think that the master of the Baroque style of music would have an official page on the World Wide Web?)
Anyway, Bach was born in 1685 in Thuringia, which is a state in the nation of Germany. Both of his parents died during the year that he was nine.
The whole family was musical. In those days people belonged to “guilds” which designated what kind of work they were to do. The Bachs served as town musicians and cantors, who were men who led the church worship chants and music.
Bach lived with a brother until 1700, when he and a school buddy went to a Latin school for poor children. Here he learned much about music, learned to play the organ, and became quite good at it.
As he grew into a man, he held positions as church organist in several towns around Germany but his complex musical stylings bothered the religious people of the day.
That’s curious! Now we hear baroque music and think of it as rich and traditional, and certainly nothing to which people in church could object. Changing the worship music in a church always takes a bit of a rebel or pioneer, but sacred music continues to grow and change.
Be that as it may, Johann Sebastian continued to develop as a musician and as a composer. Among the famous pieces he wrote are many Bach piano pieces, and many other pieces that have since been adapted for piano.
Some of the most familiar of his works are…
- Sheep May Safely Graze
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
- Sleepers, Awake
- The Brandenburg Concertos
- Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
- Minuet in G from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach
An overview of Bach piano music would not be complete without a few words about the Baroque style of music. This form of music was in vogue from about 1600 to 1750. It followed the music of the Renaissance, and preceded the of music of the “Classical Period.”
Baroque music is characterized by a complexity of parts, counter melodies, and harmony. Opera became a musical entity during the Baroque period. If you’ve ever sung Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in a Christmas concert, you know something about counter melodies and the intricate arrangement of different parts.
Baroque music has been found to stimulate the brain for increased learning capabilities in children, particularly when they are learning math skills.
It has also been used for relaxation training with people of all sorts, including those with mental handicaps.