Johann Sebastian Bach.

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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


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...