Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Sixth grade students have begun their study of Baroque and Classical composers, starting with J.S. Bach. Ask a sixth grader which country Bach was from, which instruments were his specialties, where he worked for most of his life, and whether or not he was famous during his lifetime (and why). Students might also enjoy sharing some of the more quirky facts about Bach, like the fact that he was married twice and had 20 children, or that recordings of his compositions were launched into space with the Voyager space craft in 1977.

One of Bach's most notable compositions, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, is a superb example of contrapuntal music, where two or more voices or instruments share portions of the melody and weave in and out of one another. After a chance to listen to this piece, sixth grade students were asked to create a piece of artwork that allowed them to connect to the music in a meaningful way. Below you will see several examples of student artwork, accompanied by just a portion of this great masterpiece by J.S. Bach. Enjoy!