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Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach
Portrait of Bach, aged 61, Haussmann, 1748
Short Name: Johann Sebastian Bach
Full Name: Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750
Birth Year: 1685
Death Year: 1750

Johann Sebastian Bach was born at Eisenach into a musical family and in a town steeped in Reformation history, he received early musical training from his father and older brother, and elementary education in the classical school Luther had earlier attended.

Throughout his life he made extraordinary efforts to learn from other musicians. At 15 he walked to Lüneburg to work as a chorister and study at the convent school of St. Michael. From there he walked 30 miles to Hamburg to hear Johann Reinken, and 60 miles to Celle to become familiar with French composition and performance traditions. Once he obtained a month's leave from his job to hear Buxtehude, but stayed nearly four months. He arranged compositions from Vivaldi and other Italian masters. His own compositions spanned almost every musical form then known (Opera was the notable exception).

In his own time, Bach was highly regarded as organist and teacher, his compositions being circulated as models of contrapuntal technique. Four of his children achieved careers as composers; Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Chopin are only a few of the best known of the musicians that confessed a major debt to Bach's work in their own musical development. Mendelssohn began re-introducing Bach's music into the concert repertoire, where it has come to attract admiration and even veneration for its own sake.

After 20 years of successful work in several posts, Bach became cantor of the Thomas-schule in Leipzig, and remained there for the remaining 27 years of his life, concentrating on church music for the Lutheran service: over 200 cantatas, four passion settings, a Mass, and hundreds of chorale settings, harmonizations, preludes, and arrangements. He edited the tunes for Schemelli's Musicalisches Gesangbuch, contributing 16 original tunes. His choral harmonizations remain a staple for studies of composition and harmony. Additional melodies from his works have been adapted as hymn tunes.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Tunes by Johann Sebastian Bach (106)sort descendingAsInstances
[A Boy was born in Bethlehem]J. S. Bach (Harmonizer)2
ACH BLEIB BEI UNSJohann Sebastian Bach, 1685 - 1750 (Arranger)8
ACH GOTT UND HERR (17655)J. S. Bach (Arranger)32
SALZBURG (Hintze)J. S. Bach (Harmonizer)75
ALLEIN ZU DIRJohann S. Bach (Harmonizer)2
ALLES IST AN GOTTES SEGENJohann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)5
ST. AUGUSTINE (51232)Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer)2
AUS TIEFER NOT (Luther)J. S. Bach (Harmonizer)4
WAS GOTT TUTJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1756) (Composer)2
BEHOLD THE LAMB (Bach)J. S. Bach (Composer)3
BREMENBach (Composer)2
CHAMBER MUSICJ. S. Bach (1685-1750) (Composer)2
CHRIST DER DU BIST DER HELLE TAGJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Harmonizer)2
CHRISTE, DER DU BIST TAG UND LICHTJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Harmonizer)1
GENEVAN 42J. S. Bach (Adapted, harmonized)8
DANK SEI GOTT IN DER HÖHEJohann Sebastian Bach (Arranger)5
DARMSTADTJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)32
DAS NEUGEBORNE KINDELEINJohann S. Bach (Harmonizer)11
DAS WALT' GOTT VATERJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)9
SCHMÜCKE DICHJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)4
DER GEISTJohann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Composer)3
EIN FESTE BURGJohann S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)24
ERHALT UNS, HERRJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)27
ERMUNTRE DICHJohann S. Bach (Harmonizer)41
LUTHER'S HYMNJohann Sebastian Bach, 1685 - 1750 (Harmonizer)3
[Eternity, O thund'rous word]J. S. Bach (Harmonizer)2
FAITHFUL (Bach)Johann S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Composer)18
FRANKFORTJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Harmonizer)1
OLD HUNDREDTHJ. S. Bach (Arranger)1
GILDASJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Adapter)1
[God, be merciful and gracious unto us]J. S. Bach (Harmonizer)2
GOTT DER VATER WOHN UNS BEIJohann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Harm. based on)1
GOTT DES HIMMELSJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)7
GOTTLOB, ES GEHT NUNMEHR ZU ENDEJohann S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)15
DE FLEURY (German)J. S. Bach (Composer)9
HEINLEINJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer (attributed to))3
HERR CHRIST, DER EINIG GOTTS SOHNJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Arranger)1
HERR, ICH HABE MISGEHANDELT (Bach)Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Composer)2
HERR JESU CHRISTJ. S. Bach (Arranger)23
HERR JESU CHRIST, DU HÖCHSTES GUTJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Harmonizer)2
BRESLAUJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)1
HERR NUN LASZ IN FRIEDEJohann Sebastian Bach (Composer)1
PASSION CHORALE (Hassler)Johann S. Bach (Adapter and Harmonizer)164
HERZLIEBSTER JESUJohann Sebastian Bach, 1685 - 1750 (Harmonizer)13
[Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts] (Bach)Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Ascribed to)2
HOSANNA (Bach)Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Composer)3
ICH HALTE TREULICH STILLJ. S. Bach (Composer (attr.))20
ICH STEH AN DEINER KRIPPENJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Composer)5
IN DIR IST FREUDEJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Adapter)2
IPSWICHI. S. Bach (O)2
JEJUNIAJohann S. Bach (Harmonizer)2
WERDE MUNTERJ. S. Bach (Arranged, harmonized)21
JESU, MEINE FREUDEJ. S. Bach (Adapted, harmonized)26
KOMM, SÜSSER TODJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Composer)2
LAUS DEOJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Composer)2
LIEBSTER IMMANUELJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)13
LIEBSTER JESUJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)23
LOBT GOTT IHR CHRISTENJohann S. Bach (Harmonizer)17
EISENACH (Gesius)J. S. Bach (Adapted, harmonized)37
MEINE HOFFNUNGJohann S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Adapter and Harmonizer)2
MEINHOLDJohann Sebastian Bach (Composer)11
MINDENJohann Sebastian Bach (Arranger)2
NEUMARKJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)6
NICHT SO TRAURIG (Bach)Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer)16
NUN DANKETJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Harmonizer)1
NUN FREUT EUCHJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)2
NUN LASST UNS GOTTJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)1
INNSBRUCKJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)49
NURNBERGJ. S. Bach (Composer)7
STEADFASTJohann Sebastian Bach (Harmonizer)11
O JESULEIN SÜSSJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Arranger)14
O HERZENSANGSTJ. S. Bach (Composer)2
O JESUS, DEIN KREUZJohann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Composer)2
OLD 113THJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Arranger)1
[Of Thee, Jehovah, is our singing]Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Composer)2
PHUVAHJohn Sebastian Bach (Composer)1
POTSDAMJ. S. Bach (Composer)20
PRESBURG (Bach)Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer (attributed to))1
RINKART (Bach)Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Melody and bass by)8
CHRISTOPHER (Peter)Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (Harmonizer)1
SEBASTIAN (Freylinghausen)J. S. Bach (Harmonizer)3
SEGNE UNSJohann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Composer)6
SO GIEBST DUJohann S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)4
ST. ANNEJ. S. Bach (Arranger)1
ST. AUGUSTINEJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Arranger)2
ST. THEODULPH (Teschner)Johann S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)12
[Chant] (Tonus Peregrinus 54654)J. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Plainsong setting)1
VATER UNSERJohann S. Bach (Harmonizer)33
KOMM, GOTT SCHÖPFERBach (1685-1750) (Composer)2
VERLEIH UNS FRIEDENJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)2
WACHET AUF (Nicolai)J. S. Bach (Adapted, haromonized)63
WAS MEIN GOTT WILLJ.S. Bach (Arranger)7
[We offer our gifts and ourselves]Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 (Composer)2
[We wait for the eternal light]J. S. Bach (Harmonizer)3
WEISSEJ. S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Harmonizer)2
WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTETJohann S. Bach, 1685-1750 (Adapter and Harmonizer)35
WEIMAR (Vulpius)Johann Sebastian Bach (Adapter)1
VOM HIMMEL HOCHJ. S. Bach (Harmonizer)19
ZUM FRIEDENJohann Sebastian Bach (Composer)5

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