"Listening to Bach is like watching energy pass from gear to gear in a complicated - but perfectly aligned and synchronized individual parts" (Han-Leon, 1997). This description of Johann Sebastian Bach's music captures the essence of the Baroque period, a time when art, music, and architecture were stylistically complex, yet beautiful. Artists were experimenting with new colors, architectural designs were ornamental and extravagant, and composers such as Bach were changing the way music was structured. This paper will review the life and career of Johann Sebastian Bach, the changes in his musical style, and discuss the significance of Bach's music, which can only be described as genius.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born in the small German town of Eisenach in 1685. Bach was born into a musical family in which many of his family members held musical positions throughout the region. At an early age, Bach's father, Johann Ambrosius, the town's director of musicians, began teaching Bach the violin and harpsichord, a talent that remained with Bach throughout his life.
Although Bach's father began his musical education, it was Bach's uncle, Johann Christoph Bach, who first introduced Bach to the organ, the instrument that is associated with Bach's fame. The strong religious ties in Bach's music can be attributed Eisenach since it is the same town that Martin Luther hid from persecution while translating the New Testament into German.
Bach's early life was not all melodies; by the age of ten, he had lost a brother, sister, and both his parents. Mortality rates were high at the time so it was common for children to lose their parent early in life. This event marked the beginning of Bach's many travels. In 1695, Bach went to live with his eldest brother, Johann Christoph, in the city of Ohrdruf, who was a...