Happy Birthday, Johann Sebastian Bach!

Posted by Elizabeth Devereux

Johann Sebastian Bach would be turning 326 years old were he still alive today.  He would hear his music being played ALL over the world by student, amateur, and professional musicians.  Some of it might sound very familiar to him, like…


Some of it might sound strange to his ear…

…and stranger…

Johann Sebastian–not to be confused with his father, Johann Ambrosius, or his uncle the organist, Johann Christoph, or his sons, Johann Christoph Friedrich, Johann Christian, Johann Christoph Altnikol, or his daughter, Johanna Carolina…you get the picture!–J. S. played MANY musical instruments, like the organ, violin, viola, harpsichord, but the theremin was NOT one of them!

He also composed a tremendous amount of music over his long life.  (He lived to be 65 years old, when the average life expectancy in his time was around 35 years!  That’s like a man living to be at least 100 years old today.)  Bach composed at least one or two pieces of music each week, and often more than that.  He didn’t even stop writing music for the one month that he spent in jail!  He was thrown in jail by the Duke of Weimar for trying to quit his job as court composer and musician.  In the one month that he spent in jail, Johann wrote 46 pieces of music!  That’s more than one piece per day!

Johann Sebastian came from a family of many musicians, and he grew up to have a family of even more musicians.  J. S. had a grand total of….

20 children!!!

Can you imagine sitting down to dinner with 20 children???  or trying to practice your violin with 19 brothers and sisters running around???

Now, only 10 of Bach’s children survived to become adults, and of those 10, 4 of them were great musicians.  In Johann Sebastian’s lifetime, there were so many musicians in Germany (where J. S. lived his entire life) who were part of the Bach family that the word “bach” came to mean “musician”!

Johann Sebastian wrote beautiful, even sublime, music.  If you ask many a professional musician, especially violinists, what three composers’ music they would bring with them to a deserted island, Johann Sebastian would be among those three for almost every musician you ask.

Thank you, Johann Sebastian Bach, and happy 326th birthday!  (Good luck blowing out all of those candles!)


One response to “Happy Birthday, Johann Sebastian Bach!

  1. Pingback: Happy Birthday, J.S. Bach! | SoundStringS

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