Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western music (both liturgical and secular). It encompasses a broad period from roughly the 11th century to the present day. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.
European music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century. Western staff notation is used by composers to prescribe to the performer the pitch, speed, meter, individual rhythms and exact execution of a piece of music. This leaves less room for practices such as improvisation and ad libitum ornamentation, which are frequently heard in non-European art music and popular music.
The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, is a piece of organ music attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach. First published in 1833 through the efforts of Felix Mendelssohn, the piece quickly became popular, and is now one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire. The attribution of the piece to Bach, however, has been challenged since the 1970s by a number of scholars.
Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist of the Baroque period. He enriched many established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Mass in B minor, the The Well-Tempered Clavier, his cantatas, chorales, partitas, Passions, and organ works. His music is revered for its intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty.
Bach was born in Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach, into a very musical family; his father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, and all of his uncles were professional musicians. His father taught him to play violin and harpsichord, and his brother, Johann Christoph Bach, taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much contemporary music. Bach also went to St Michael's School in Lüneburg because of his singing skills. After graduating, he held several musical posts across Germany: he served as Kapellmeister (director of music) to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, Cantor of Thomasschule in Leipzig, and Royal Court Composer to August III. Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, and he died on 28 July 1750. Modern historians believe that his death was caused by a combination of stroke and pneumonia.
In music, the BACH motif is the motif, a succession of notes important or characteristic to a piece, B flat, A, C, B natural. In German musical nomenclature, in which the note B natural is written as H and the B flat as B, it forms Johann Sebastian Bach's family name. One of the most frequently occurring examples of a musical cryptogram, the motif has been used by countless composers, especially after the Bach Revival in the first half of the 19th century.
The Clavier-Übung III, sometimes referred to as the German Organ Mass, is a collection of compositions for organ by Johann Sebastian Bach, started in 1735–36 and published in 1739. It is considered Bach's most significant and extensive work for organ, containing some of his musically most complex and technically most demanding compositions for that instrument.
In its use of modal forms, motet-style and canons, it looks back to the religious music of masters of the stile antico, such as Frescobaldi, Palestrina, Lotti and Caldara. At the same time Bach was forward-looking, incorporating and distilling modern baroque musical forms, such as the French-style chorale.
Ariadne musica is a collection of organ music by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer, first published in 1702. The main part of the collection is a cycle of 20 preludes and fugues in different keys, so Ariadne musica is considered an important precursor to Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, which has a similar structure.
The title refers to the Greek myth in which Theseus finds his way out of Minotaur's labyrinth using a ball of thread that Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete, gave him. Similarly, the music in the collection can be said to guide the listener through a labyrinth of keys. Fischer also used Greek mythology to name the pieces in another large scale music collection of his, Musikalischer Parnassus.