3 pieces that prove Bach was a genius

Thanks to Dan Moller for sponsoring this video with his book "The Method Of Bach". It's offered in both hardback and eBook here:

Bach is frequently, and quite appropriately, pointed out as a musical genius, but what is it precisely that makes his music so smart? Well, today we're going to take a closer look at three examples of his big brain contrapuntal composing!

SOURCES:
Numberphile on Crab :
Analyzing Guitar and , Solving Puzzle 2:
GeruBach, BWV 1087 – 14 Canons:
Inside ball game, Fugues:
Fugue No. 2 in C Small, BWV 847 – :
Adam Neely, How to compose a :
Netherlands Bach Society, Concerto for 4 harpsichords
Netherlands Bach Society, Quaerendo invenietis:
Netherlands Bach Society, :
Netherlands Bach Society, I Start and fugue no. 2 in C small:

Netherlands Bach Society, WTC I Start and fugue no. 11 in F significant:

And, an extra unique thanks goes to Douglas Lind, Vidad Flowers, Ivan Pang, Waylon Fairbanks, Jon Dye, Austin Russell, Christopher Ryan, Toot & Paul Peijzel, the channel's Patreon saints!.

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0:00 Introduction.
0:36 Canon a 2 Cancrizans.
3:23 Canon a 2 Quaerendo invenietis.
5:14 Fugue.
5:58 Fugue no. 2 in C small.
8:08 The Method Of Bach by Dan Moller.
8:58 Patreon.

3 pieces that prove Bach was a genius

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37 Comments

  1. Far less distractions and noise in bachs time, his music was as intricate as nature

  2. Astonishing pieces. Virtuosic, mathematically intricate but still musical and with a sense of taking the listener on a difficult journey to a satisfying resolution.

    1. If you like these Puzzle Canons you need to check out the Videos “BWV 1087 – 14 Canons” and
      “BWV 769: Vom Himmel hoch da komm’ ich her (Deconstruction)” on the Channel “gerubach”.
      Believe me, your Mind will be blown.

  3. The chorus of “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow relies on a four-bar chord progression. The first bar uses the I chord, the second bar uses the V chord, the third bar climbs from the ii chord to the iii chord to the IV chord, and finally the fourth bar uses the IV chord again.

    This chord progression doesn’t sound too uncommon. Are there any other songs like that? If so, which ones?

    1. I didn’t know that song, so for a fresh ear it reminds me a little bit the chorus from “Tonight” by Seether. I’m not sure is this the same/similar chord progression but sound like that to me

  4. This made me think of the book: Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter. It is a very deep and challenging read.

    1. But when I was, like, 8 I still liked to read the dialogs at the start of each chapter. I didn’t read the rest of it — much more dense! — until later.

    2. Yes – an eternal golden braid! Bach shows us that truth is beauty, and beauty, truth.

    3. I tried that book like 20 years ago and couldn’t get it. I’m finally ready to try it again!

    4. @A Keithing Most people I know who have read that book have not read all of it. Good luck on your second try!

    5. @Smeggers I’ve been rereading this since the 1980s and I have a ways to go !

  5. The first piece in the video is actually a concerto composed by Vivaldi that was transcribed by Bach for 4 harpsichords

    1. I thought the same, not exactly “the” piece to present for Bach’s ingenuity

    2. Yes, the Concerto for 4 violins in B minor from L’estro armonico… one of the greatest examples of the Concerto grosso form.

  6. Loved this video, great job…would love to see more classical analysis like this

  7. When I was in music school I wrote a 12 bar chorale, in the style of Bach, based on Protestant hymns as the cantus firmus every day. I still do them as fun puzzles for the classical guitar. No easy task….

  8. Douglas Hofstadters Book „Gödel Escher Bach“ sets this genius in relation to self referential art (M.C. Escher), mathematics (Kurt Gödel) and, ultimately, the very nature of the human mind… a great read even over 40 years after it first being published!

    1. Some people debate whether Bach really portrayed a logical analogy in GEB…. the book is ultimately focused around Godel.

    2. @ño I’m a mathematician too, partly *because* I read GEB when I was a teenager. What parts sound pretentious to you? Puns and wordplay? Or the self-referentiality? In some cases the latter could be self-indulgent, but in this case self-referentiality (recursion, fractal self-similarity, logic paradoxes) are at the heart of the mathematics discussed, and also related to the art of Bach and Escher.

    3. @voltlife I guess it just sounds like another of those popular science books that try to introduce mathematics using its “cool” trivia-like aspects, I’ve come across lots of cheap literature in this genre. Sorry if I sounded snobby or dismissive, sometimes I’m a huge purist without wanting to lmao. If you say it’s a good book I’ll take your word for it, I might even check it out later

    4. @ño  I agree – the description gives me a pretty pseudo-intellectual vibe. Haven’t read the book either, so can’t really judge it, but it just gives me that kind of a vibe (similar to “Mozart effect” or music being an “universal language” or some thing that connects us to “the universe” and healing frequencies, aliens and pyramids… you get the point).

    5. @MaggaraMarine Yup. Another “golden ratio” kitsch book. Not my cup of tea but to each their own.

  9. I’ve always loved Bach. Counterpoint is fabulous. Fugues are probably my favorite musical form.

    1. If you think about it they are hugely influential. Take a melody, repeat it, transpose it, reverse it shorten it , use different instruments to play it. You could see it as the building blocks of modern pop

  10. Quite honestly, you could have chosen _any_ of the canons and fugues from The Musical Offering to make the point. The 6-part fugue (ricercar, for the pedants) is particularly astonishing.

    Also, one of the last melodies he wrote, in The Art of Fugue, contains the sequence B♭-A-C-B. However, Bach was German, so he would have spelled it B-A-C-H…

  11. Perfect timing! I’m in the middle of Hofstadter’s book “Gödel Escher Bach” and just discovered the trick in the canon cancrizan.

  12. My skills as a musician and a musical scholar are amateur-level at best, but I’ve performed enough Bach (largely choir, some on piano) to be constantly amazed by his ability to connect things both horizontally and vertically.

  13. It’s amazing too think this music is hundreds of years old. I adore Bach. I love so much classical and started listening to it at around 4 years old. I enjoy an awful lot of music, but this stuff is the work.

  14. You always do such a stellar job of illustrating the concepts you’re explaining.

  15. Even without anybody telling me how great Bach was, I already got acquainted with his music in the late 1990s as a teenager and immediately knew he was like no other ordinary composers!

  16. When I learned from my Music History master in Year 4 (aged 8) that JS Bach had over 20 children, my first reaction was to ask at class how this preeminent Baroque composer still had the time and energy to write so much great music. It amused me greatly when my 9-year old grandson asked me precisely the same question just last year. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

  17. That Prelude and Fugue in C Minor is one of my favorite works I’ve ever played. It’s really fun to play.

  18. 8:58 I love that you put the prelude in C minor in the outro after talking about the fugue. What a nice touch!

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