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Title: Johann Sebastian Bach : The story of the boy who sang in the streets
Author: Tapper, Thomas
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Johann Sebastian Bach : The story of the boy who sang in the streets" ***

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                            CHILD'S OWN BOOK
                          _of Great Musicians_



                             THOMAS TAPPER

                          THEODORE PRESSER CO.
                          1712 CHESTNUT STREET

                         Johann Sebastian Bach

                          The Story of the Boy
                        Who Sang in the Streets

                         This Book was made by


                          Theodore Presser Co.
                           1712 Chestnut Str.

                COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY THEODORE PRESSER CO.
                         Printed in the U.S.A.


                     The Story of the Boy Who Sang
                             in the Streets

This is the house in which JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH was born.

           [Illustration: THE HOUSE IN WHICH BACH WAS BORN.]

This house stands in the town of Eisenach in Germany. It looks very much
the same today as it did when Sebastian was a little boy. Many people go
there to visit this house because the little boy grew to be a famous

In Eisenach there is a statue of Bach near the palace.

              [Illustration: STATUE OF BACH AT EISENACH.]

In the same town in which Sebastian was born there stands on the top of
a hill a very famous castle built many hundreds of years ago.

This castle is called the Wartburg.

                [Illustration: THE CASTLE AT WARTBURG.]

As a boy little Sebastian used to climb the hill with his friends, and
they, no doubt, had a happy time playing about the castle grounds. In
one of its great halls the minstrels of Germany held their Song

When Sebastian was old enough he used to travel afoot, just as the
minstrels did; his purpose was to go to hear fine organ players. Once as
he sat weary by the roadside someone threw a herring to him so that he
might eat as he rested.

                [Illustration: BACH EATING THE HERRING.]

Little Sebastian's father was named JOHANN AMBROSIUS BACH. He, too, was
a musician, as his people had been for many years.

                 [Illustration: JOHANN AMBROSIUS BACH.]

One of these was a miller who played and sang while the corn was
grinding. His name was Veit Bach, and his little boy was called Hans,
the Player, because he, too, loved to play the violin.

              [Illustration: VEIT BACH AND HIS SON HANS.]

When Sebastian was ten years old his father and mother died. So he went
to live with his brother, whose home was a few miles away.

Of this brother Sebastian had music lessons, and he improved so rapidly
that he used to beg to be allowed to play the pieces in a big book in
the library.

But the brother refused him this pleasure. However, little Sebastian was
eager to learn all the music he could find, so he used to sit up on
moonlight nights and copy these pages while his brother was asleep.

But what do you think happened when he had copied everything in that big

His brother found out what he had done and took all his precious music
away from him.

            [Illustration: BACH COPYING MUSIC BY MOONLIGHT.]

If you know any boy who is about twenty years old you may say to him,
Bach was as old as you are when Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston.

And although there was this difference of twenty years or so in their
ages, we may think of them at work in the world at the same time. You
must remember that all men like Franklin and Bach who became famous did
so by working very hard.

                   [Illustration: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.]

Franklin, too, was born very poor. Once he walked the streets of
Philadelphia with a loaf of bread under each arm. But by being faithful
in all he did he became the friend of all his countrymen and of Kings
and Queens besides.

Benjamin Franklin was quite a little younger than Sebastian Bach. But
there was a famous man who was almost exactly Sebastian's age. This man
composed an Oratorio that is loved by everybody. It is sung in cities
and towns all over the world, particularly at Christmas time.

Do you happen to know the name of this Oratorio? If not, you can surely
learn it by asking someone or by looking it up in a book.

Write in the name of the composer of this Oratorio below the picture,
and write on this line the name of the Oratorio itself.



The composer's name is


The Oratorio, the name of which you have just written, was first sung in
the Irish city of Dublin, 1742.

At that time Sebastian Bach was living in Leipsic and had been for many
years at the head of the Thomas School. He was known as its Cantor. Bach
worked very hard here to supply music for several of the Leipsic
churches, and he worked so well that his fame spread until it reached
the ears of the Emperor.

Frederick the Great was also a musician and composer. So he invited
Sebastian Bach to visit him at his castle. There were many people
present, but Sebastian Bach was the principal guest. He played on many
of the Emperor's fine pianos. When he reached home again he composed a
musical work and dedicated it to the Emperor.


The kind of a piano that Sebastian Bach played on was not called a piano
in his day. It was called a Clavier or Clavichord.

Some day you will study a collection of pieces by Sebastian Bach which
was written for this instrument and was called _The Well Tempered

This is the kind of piano, or clavichord, that Bach used.

                    [Illustration: THE CLAVICHORD.]

And here is the beginning of the very first piece in the collection of
which we have just spoken in Bach's handwriting.

                  [Illustration: BACH'S HANDWRITING.]


Sebastian Bach had a very large family, twenty children altogether. Two
of them studied music faithfully with their father.

One was Friedmann, for whom the father wrote a book called _Little
Preludes_. Friedmann's brother, Philipp Emanuel Bach, was a very fine
clavichord player. He wrote a book about music and composed many pieces.


Sebastian Bach died in 1750. He was sixty-five years of age.

Benjamin Franklin was at that time forty-four years old and George
Washington was eighteen.

This is the way Bach wrote his name.


                      FACTS ABOUT SEBASTIAN BACH.

Read these facts about Sebastian Bach and try to write his story out of
them, using your own words.

When your story is finished ask your mother or your teacher to read it.
When you have made it as perfect as you can, copy it on pages 14, 15 and

1. Full name: Johann Sebastian Bach.

2. Born 1685, died 1750.

3. As a little boy he sang in the streets, begging from door to door.

4. His father and mother died when he was ten years old.

5. He went to live with his brother.

6. He took his first position when he was seventeen.

7. He used to walk long distances to hear famous organists, one of whom
was named Buxtehude.

8. He could play the organ, clavichord, violin, and other stringed

9. He wrote music for the voice (solo and chorus).

10. And for many different instruments.

11. He never met his fellow countryman, Handel.

12. Bach copied lots of music because printed music was dear in his day.

13. He was Cantor of the Thomas School for many years.

14. Once he visited Frederick the Great at Potsdam.

15. For his little son, Friedmann, he wrote a book of _Little Preludes_.

                            SOME QUESTIONS.

1. In what year did Bach die?

2. Name an American who was alive at the same time.

3. What famous castle can be seen from the streets of Eisenach?

4. What other great German composer lived in Bach's time?

5. What instruments could Bach play?

6. For what purpose did Bach travel from place to place, as a boy?

7. What was the name of Sebastian's father?

8. Who was Hans, the Player?

9. Were any of Bach's children musical?

10. What music by Bach have you heard?


Written by................................................

On (date).................................................


                          Transcriber's Notes:

On page 10, a comma was added after "or clavichord".

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