Music Appreciation: Bach

Music Appreciation – Bach

Year 1, Term 2

Parents and Teachers should print and/or read The Term’s Music – Bach PDF for the term and read the Biography ahead of the term to prep for this term’s study of Bach. The musical pieces for the term are listed below the guidelines and also linked to YouTube. Another fabulous biographical, Christian resource for teachers is A Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence by Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson – Bach is pg. 31 and they list other great listening options for him as well! You can purchase it on Amazon fairly cheaply used.

I highly recommend that before you begin Music Appreciation Lessons, that you read the entire Introduction to Mr. Glover’s book The Term’s Music.  The Term’s Music – Introduction by Cedric Howard Glover

Shorter Bach Biography for younger students or the whole family: The Book of Great Musicians, read pages 33-51, or Chapters V, VI and VII about Bach and his music.

Or feel free to read from Opal Wheeler’s: Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia

Living Biographies for Older Students to read on their own or you as a teacher to read to share with students:

Studies of the Great Composers: pg. 60-90 (Ch. 3)

Remember your Lesson Guidelines: 

  • At least 30 Minutes per week
  • If your children play an instrument, try to find pieces that are by this composer and easy enough to play.
  • The Division of your lesson:
    1. At least one quarter of the time [about 8-10 minutes] available should be devoted to Ear Training [Sol-fa – hearing pitch and rhythm or possibly things to be listening for in a particular piece of music]-Progressive lessons each term – Review Sol-fa or practice listening to some part of the song that they should listen carefully for. Maybe clap a common rhythm from the piece or sing the theme to prepare them to listen for it in the piece.
    2. After ear training, a short space of time should be devoted to acquainting the pupils with the basics of music–the meaning of common musical termsthe instruments of the orchestra. The information should be severely practical, care being taken not to burden the minds of the pupils with lists of technical terms. Attention focused on things such as the historical growth of the different musical forms, the evolution of the orchestra and the keyboard instruments, not on the names of chords or types of counterpoint. This information can be found in the PDF on Handel, online or possibly in the Biographies about him as well. You will learn more as a parent if you do a little digging yourself for some of this information.  But remember, a little digging and very short space of time given to sharing this information as the music is the “main thing”!
    3. The remainder of the time should be devoted to studying the composer of the term. The chosen biographies  (this refers to the main PDF articles I have attached from The Term’s Music) are chosen with reference to the teacher rather than the pupil. The teacher uses what she learns from the article and helps to make the composer a living personality, and the composer should be linked up as far as possible with any pre-existing facts in the minds of the pupils regarding the times in which he lived, Music should be fitted into the scheme of history-study, and not left isolated and use should be made of the history charts.
    4. Having prepared the ground, as the climax of the lesson, we turn to the actual music of the composer. Each syllabus (in The Term’s Music PDF and below with you tube videos) consists of five or six works.
  • The children must not be given too much at a time. After awhile they will stop listening, but please do listen to the same song enough times they know it, as a friend.
  • No piece must be left before the children are able to recognise it and really know it: “It is better to work thoroughly at two or three items in the syllabus than attempt to compass the whole superficially… Each piece of music should be mastered before passing on to the next… Before any attempt at a dissection of the structure of the music is made, the pupils should be familiarized with the thematic material of the movement, each tune in turn being played through several times, until the class can hum or whistle it without assistance.” TTM – Glover

This Term’s Programme of Music

Please note: The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWVlit. Bach-Works-Catalogue) is a catalogue of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach.

  1. Air in D – See Suite No. 3 in Wikipedia to learn more Air in D is the 2nd Movement of this Suite. ( If you would like to hear a choral piece which utilizes Bach’s melody check out “Lord Have Mercy”.  It’s one of my favorite choral pieces.)
  2. Anna Magdalena’s Notebooks Complete, Here is Musette, mentioned in The Term’s Music, and the sheet music to Musette, if you would like to try playing it!
  3. Prelude and Fugue in D Major
  4. English Suite No. 4 in F (First Movement)
  5. Chorales from the English Hymnal  (If you click on the hymnal you can open the pdf and try reading or singing from the book)-
  6. “My Heart that Believest” or “My Heart Ever Faithful” No. 24 of Bach’s Songs and Arias Older Version in English, Kathleen Battle in German
  7. Schemelli Hymns Nos. 31, 32 and 33 of Bach’s Songs and Arias for Soprano ( I cannot obtain this original English Book that Cedric Glover refers to in his Bach lesson, so I am un able to determine which solos were Nos. 31, 32, and 33) I have instead linked to all 69 of Bach’s Schemelli Hymns. This is over 2 hours of listening.  They are BWV 439-507. They are sacred Solos (or arias) written or improved upon with a moving bass by Bach and were included in the Schemelli’s Hymnal.  Please just select a few and listen to them.  Here is one that is rather lovely,  And Here is a modern choral version in English. And the Text below from the Hymn in German in English.
    • Komm, süßer Tod,
      komm selge Ruh!
      Komm führe mich in Friede,
      weil ich der Welt bin müde,
      ach komm!
      ich wart auf dich,
      komm bald und führe mich,
      drück mir die Augen zu.
      Komm, selge Ruh!
    • Come, sweet death,
      come blessed rest!
      Come lead me to peace
      for I am weary of the world,
      Oh come! I wait for you,
      come soon and lead me,
      close my eyes.
      Come, blessed rest!
  8. Inventions for Violin and Pianoforte:
  9. Double Concerto for two Violins and strings