Do you know how to play a musical instrument? If you're like most kids, you've probably given a few different instruments a try. Whether it's banging on the drums, strumming the strings of a guitar, or tickling the ivories of a piano, it's always fun to coax sounds out of a musical instrument.
Of course, learning to play a musical instrument isn't always easy. It can take a lot of work and hard practice. Over time, though, many people learn to play an instrument like a master. Set any piece of music in front of them, and they can play it.
Then there are those rare people who can learn to play multiple instruments like a master. Rarer still are those people who can go beyond merely playing instruments to writing their own musical compositions. Have you ever tried to write a piece of music? It's not easy! It takes special talent and skill.
Today's Wonder of the Day features one of the most influential composers of all time. He created over 1,000 pieces of music, but his musical genius was largely unrecognized for over a century after his death. Who are we talking about? None other than Johann Sebastian Bach!
Born in 1685 in Germany, Johann Sebastian Bach came from a musical family. His father taught him to play the violin and harpsichord. When both his parents died when he was just nine years old, Bach went to live with his older brother, Johann Christoph Bach, who taught him to play the organ.
As a young man, Bach became a prominent organist, working as a musician for a variety of churches. He began to compose original works for all sorts of church services, including pieces for choir, organ, harpsichord, and orchestra. Unfortunately, most of this music was written to be performed only once. As a result, very little of it was published during Bach's lifetime.
Following the Renaissance Era and preceding the Classical Era, Bach is now considered the most important composer of the Baroque Era. In fact, his death in 1750 now marks the end of the Baroque Era. Other Baroque Era composers include Vivaldi and Handel.
Bach was such a prolific composer that he didn't even let a stint in jail stop him! While working as organist for the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Bach received a job offer with a better salary. When he tried to leave to pursue the new opportunity, the Duke put him in prison for a month. The Duke eventually had to let him go, but Bach composed 46 pieces of music during his time in prison, many of which are still performed today.
Although his music wasn't truly appreciated during his lifetime, Bach is now considered one of history's greatest composers. Some of his most famous works include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Well-Tempered Clavier,and Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
Bach is also known for being a family man. He married his second cousin Maria Barbara Bach in 1707. Together, they had seven children before she died in 1720. A year later, Bach married Anna Magdalena Wülcken, with whom he had 13 more children!