Today, March 21st, we are celebrating the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born in 🇩🇪 Germany in 1685. Johann Sebastian Bach would have been 332 years old today! During his lifetime, Johann Sebastian Bach was known more as a great harpsichord player and notable organist, rather than a composer. Most of the beautiful music he wrote did not become popular until many years after he died.
Johann Sebastian Bach came from a large family of musicians. More than seventy of his relatives made their livings as musicians, choirmasters, and composers. There were so many "musical Bachs" in Germany that in some areas being a "Bach" meant the same things as being a musician.
Reading J.S. Bach: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers book (buy here). As you see, the book boasts with colorful cartoon-like illustrations, making reading a biography fun and engaging even for a three year old.
Johann Sebastian Bach played and composed his music during a time know as the Baroque period. In the 1600s and 1700s, everything in Europe seemed to have a grand, fancy, and decorative feeling to it, including music, which was often filled with the sounds of voices, violins, trumpets, and flutes, each playing a different melody at the same time. Johann Sebastian Bach was an expert at making complicated Baroque pieces sound natural and pleasing. Bach's famous Brandenburg Concertos (we enjoy listening to this CD) are filled with beautiful musical sounds that are relaxing and peaceful, sometimes bursting with joy. Classical music can soothe, calm and even heal by breaking down emotional blocks. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, in particular, are known for its therapeutical effect - anyone in a grouchy mood is surely to be lifted in spirit by this best "feeling-happy" music.
During the Baroque period, new instruments were developed (particularly in the string family), so today we are exploring musical instruments with this Musical Instruments Wooden Peg Sound Puzzle. A child would hear “Old MacDonald” played on eight instruments when pieces are placed correctly in the puzzle board.
The wooden peg puzzle pieces are light-activated, and pegs promote fine-motor skills and exercise a pincer grip. As a control of error: under each puzzle piece, there is a spelling of the instrument.
In this video, Adrian is matching musical instruments, saying the name of each instrument after hearing its sound.
When Julia came home from school, she figured out the notes from the "Old MacDonald" song and played it on the Xylophone for Adrian.
The notes are:
G -C -C -C -G - A- A
Later in Johann Sebastian Bach's life, musical tastes began to change. People were tired of what they thought were big, complicated Baroque sounds. They wanted music that was simpler and lighter. However, even though Johann Sebastian Bach knew things were changing musically, he decided to stick with his favorite Baroque style. Some people criticized him for being old-fashioned. It seemed that Bach was always given a hard time, especially from his dozens of bosses, who had little understanding of music. However, Bach always stood up for his rights. He often ignored silly complaints. Johann Sebastian Bach was a remarkable composer of choral, orchestral, and keyboard works, and when he died in 1750 at age 65, he had composed some of the world's most beautiful music ever, whether his bosses liked it or not!
Happy Birthday Johann Sebastian Bach!
For more composers Birthdays, read here a post about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Birthday.