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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
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Johann Sebastian BachJohann Sebastian Bach is one of the most important figures in the history of music. It would be most difficult to have escaped his influence. He is chiefly responsible for the tempered tuning system that revolutionized western music. He wrote a treatise on the subject: The Well Tempered Clavier Books One and Two. Each book includes a Prelude and Fugue in all of the major and minor keys. The Art Of The Fugue, further details his use of counterpoint. After 250 years his model is still studied. It provides the foundation from which many of today's serious composers draw their inspiration. Virtually every music composition degree in this country includes a course in 18th century counterpoint ala. J.S. Bach. As for Bach, himself, he was a self-taught genius that fathered a clan of composers that achieved more commercial success than he. He was mostly unappreciated in his own lifetime.

The only guitars in Bach's time were four-course instruments. As a result, baroque guitars had a very limited range. They weren't taken as serious instruments. Bach loved the guitar's close relative, the lute. In fact, his favorite instrument has been said to be a keyboard that imitated its plucked sound, using nylon strings. While not a lutenist, he wrote serious works for the lute and even transcribed some of his other works for lute, as well.

Minuet In G should be familiar. Originally written for keyboard, it has been transcribed many times. It fits quite nicely on the guitar. It comes down to us in a notebook that he provided for his second wife Anna Magdalena.

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