J.S. Bach master .MID menu — BACHWARE @ BACHWARE.COM
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), portrait by Hauser. Bach was from a highly musical extended family that had served as court and church musicians for generations. He started his career early at Arnstadt, from where he walked a considerable distance to Hamburg at one time (incurring severe displeasure from his employer) to hear the organ playing of the famous Dano-German composer/organist Dietrich Buxtehude. He subsequently had a short stint at Mühlhausen, then settled in for a long time at the court of the Duke of Anhalt-Cöthen, where he wrote much of the lively, youthful music for which he is known to most people today. Then, toward the latter part of his life, he moved to Leipzig and took the post as kapellmeister and cantor at its cathedral-school, where he served to the end of his life. It is here that he wrote a cantata a week for years (no mean feat!) and toward the end of his life, some of his loftiest music: the Musical Offering and Art of Fugue.
His music is characterized by fluid counterpoint (simultaneously sounding melodies) supported by a harmonically-figured bass to hold the polyphony solidly together. He’s fond of turning melodic shapes upside down (inversion) and using unusual wedge-shaped forms in them. He loves chromaticism, and isn’t reluctant to modulate daringly while using it — especially in his keyboard works.
He was the greatest organist of his day (as well as an accomplished violinist), and wrote what is indisputably the greatest music for organ ever. He was especially an expert on (and remains the most prominent compositional exemplar of) the fugue .
“Cycles” means works such as Well-Tempered Clavier, Musical Offering, and Art of the Fugue. If you don’t find what you’re looking for in one place at this site, try another. The “LITTLE” FUGUE IN g MINOR, an organ work (a “standalone” fugue), but many people wouldn’t think of looking for it as that.
Each piece will have a hyperlink which, when clicked on, presents a short section of the score — an “earlobe” , (the audio equivalent of a thumbnail), a sampler to let you identify what piece it is, will be played if you click on this. Note that your system must be set up to play .MID files (spawning link: read contents and close to resume here) for this to work; if not, you will hear nothing, or get an error from your browser or operating system.