Beethoven vs. J.S. Bach Comparison Essay by slrobin

Beethoven vs. J.S. Bach
A comparison of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No.5" and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Brandenburg Concert No. 5".
# 103565 | 1,615 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2007 | US
Published on May 21, 2008 in Music Studies (Classical and Baroque) , Music Studies (History)

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This paper compares the works of Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach. The paper points out that both musicians were great and influential men, but their styles and the way they conducted their lives and their music varied greatly. The works compared and contrasted are the first movement of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5", belonging to the classical genre of music, and the first movement of Bach's "Brandenburg Concert No. 5", belonging to the late Baroque style. The paper also addresses the composers' tragic lives. To conclude, the author of the paper praises both composers, but ultimately prefers Beethoven's works.

From the Paper:

"The Brandenburg Concertos were written by Johann Sebastian Bach between the years of 1715 and 1721. There are six different concertos, all of which individually call for a diverse group of soloists in the concertino. In the first movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, which was written in 1720 and lasts for a period of nine minutes and forty-one seconds, a brilliant use of the harpsichord can be heard by the listener. Bach's intent in writing the Brandenburg Concertos was to show off his ability to write challenging music for any instrument, which he does illustrate greatly in the first movement of the fifth concerto, as well as in all of the others. Johann Sebastian Bach lived from 1685 to 1750 and it is said that everything he did, everything that he wrote was for the glory of God. Bach's tragic life was not unlike Beethoven's in that Bach and his wife Anna had twelve children and eight of them died before they reached the age of five. This was not exactly uncommon for the time, but tragic nonetheless. Bach was the master of counterpoint, which means that he essentially mastered polyphony and the harmonious opposition of two or more independent musical lines. In this first movement of the fifth Brandenburg Concerto, the full orchestra is in competition for the attention of the listener with the concertino."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bach, Johann S. "Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, I." By Johann Sebastian Bach. Rec. 1720.
  • Beethoven, Ludwig V. "Symphony No. 5, I." By Ludwig Van Beethoven. Rec. 1804. 1809.
  • Corkin, Rodney. "Detailed Info on the 9 Symphonies." Beethoven Depot. Edepot. 15 Nov. 2007 <>.
  • Koster, Jan. "J.S. Bach: Biography, Portraits and Literature." J.S. Bach Home Page. University of Groningen. 15 Nov. 2007 <>.
  • Prevot, Dominique. "Ludwig Van Beethoven." NFrance. 15 Nov. 2007 <>.

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