Bach Pioneers Modern Music (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Bach pioneers modern music, creating a vast library of compositions for keyboard and stringed instruments and ushering in technical innovations that influence later generations.
Summary of Event
Johann Sebastian Bach lived and died almost unnoticed, but he has since come to represent a keystone in understanding the structure of Western music. Regarded as antiquated even during his lifetime, he was called “Old Bach” or “Papa Bach” by his enormous family, his patrons, his few musical acquaintances, and his ever-critical employers. Yet historically, his innovative genius has proven to be the greatest event in musical history. Many basic factors in music were initiated or actually invented by Bach. Good examples are the use of the tempered scale and his introduction of a much-needed new keyboard technique, which has become standard. Bach composed a great many of the definitive foundation works, not only for keyboard but also for violin and cello. Chronologically, he can be said to mark the end of the prolific and variegated Baroque Era, which extended roughly from 1600 to the year of his death, 1750.
In the view of most early music historians Bach was, first of all, a church musician and teacher. He looked upon composing and performing on the organ as nothing more than part of his working routine. According to such historians, no thought of musical immortality or even of enjoying...
(The entire section is 1556 words.)
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