Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven were two of the greatest composers in classical Western music. They were both Germans. Beethoven, a contemporary of Mozart, was born 20 years after the death of Bach. They're two of the "three Bs" of classical music - Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

Bach lived in the Baroque period while Beethonven was a crucial figure in the transition from the Classical to the Romantic era.

Beethoven was an admirer of Bach. He often played the preludes and fugues of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Beethoven called Bach the "Urvater der Harmonie" ("Original father of harmony") and, in a pun on the literal meaning of Bach's name, "nicht Bach, sondern Meer" ("not a brook, but a sea").

Both composers struggled with disability; Bach became increasingly blind towards the end of his life while Beethoven began to lose his hearing when we was 26 and became completely deaf in the ensuing decade.

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Bach versus Beethoven comparison chart
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Date of birth 21 March 1685 16 December 1770
Livelihood Court musician, organist, concertmaster, director of music Gave piano lessons, Earned income from publication of his works and from public performances, he also depended on the generosity of patrons.
Music style Contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Influenced by Haydn and Mozart in the early period. Middle period was characterized by many innovative compositions. Later work was characterized by their intellectual depth, their formal innovations, and their intense, highly personal expression.
Children With Maria 7 (4 survived to adulthood); With Anna 13 children (6 survived to adulthood) None
Spouse(s) Maria Barbara Bach (1707-1720); Anna Magdalena Wilcke in 1721 Never married
Religion Christian (Lutheran) Was attracted to the ideals of the Enlightenment.
Music teachers in early years His father taught him to play violin and harpsichord. One of his uncles taught him the organ. His eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach instructed him on the clavichord. His father; court organist Gilles van den Eeden; Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer (taught piano); Franz Rovantini (taught violin and viola); court organist Christian Gottlob Neefe (taught composition).
Nationality German German
Birth name Johann Sebastian Bach Ludwig van Beethoven
Date of death 28 July 1750 26 March 1827
Time Period Baroque Classical to Romantic
Family Background Youngest child of Johann Ambrosius Bachand and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. His father was the director of the Stadtpfeifer or town musicians. All his uncles were musicians. Second born child of Johann van Beethoven and Maria Magdalena Keverich. Beethoven's grandfather was a musician. He became the Kapellmeister (music director) at the court of the Elector of Cologne

Early Life

Bach was born in a family of musicians. His father and all his uncles were professional musicians. By the time he was ten, both his parents had died. He then moved in with his oldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach who was an organist. Here are some highlights from Bach's early life:

Beethoven was named after his grandfather, a Flemish musician named Lodewijk van Beethoven. By the age of seven it was clear that Beethoven was talented in music. His mother died when he was a teenager and his father got addicted to alcohol. Here are some highlights from Beethoven's early life:

Musical Contribution


Keyboard music was Bach's forte and he pioneered the elevation of the keyboard from continuo to solo instrument in his numerous harpsichord concertos and chamber movements with keyboard obbligato, in which he himself probably played the solo part.


Beethoven's musical contribution is generally divided into three periods:

Musical Style

This section needs expansion.

In memory

Bach is commemorated as a musician in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on 28 July. He is honored together with George Frideric Handel and Henry Purcell with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on 28 July.

A number of movies have been made about Beethoven, including

For his 75th anniversary The Beethoven Monument was unveiled in Bonn in 1845. A statue of Beethoven was unveiled in Vienna in 1880.

This section needs further expansion.


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