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Finding Jesus in Classical Music

January 14, 2012

Just a few tidbits to make up this post, both about finding Jesus in classical music. If not inspiring, at least you’ll have some trivia with which to bore impress your family and friends.

J.S.B.’s Initials

Many people recognize Johann Sebastian Bach as one of the greatest composers in history. A genius who wrote brilliant pieces of music with an ease unparalleled even by the great Mozart.

Bach was the “rock star” of his day, his music being the contemporary and popular music.

What many people do not know or realize is that the vast majority of Bach’s work was either written for, or commissioned by the church.

On many of Bach’s original compositions you will find one set of initials at the top, and another at the end of the composition. The initials at the top are “J.J.” for “Jesu Help”, where Bach asked for Jesus help in writing music that would honor, serve, and glorify Him. The initials at the end of the composition are “S.D.G.”, for “Sola Dei Gloria”, “To God alone the glory”.

The great Johann Sebastian Bach, humbly asking for Jesus help in serving Him, and then giving God all the glory for the music that was produced.

Sign of The Times?

Today the vast majority of music is written in 4/4 time, which is four beats to the bar, quarter notes getting one beat. Today that time signature is called “Common Time”, and on sheet music is signified with a “C” at the beginning of the bar. Back in the days of classical music, the vast majority of music was written in 3/4 time, which is three beats to the bar, quarter notes getting one beat. This was called “Perfect Time”, undoubtedly in reference to the Holy Trinity as Christianity was prevalent in popular art. in To signify this, a perfect circle was placed at the beginning of the bar.

Now in those days if the composer went off and composed in 4/4 time, this was called “Imperfect Time” and was signified with a broken circle, the circle having a small opening in it on the right.

As time marched on and 4/4 time became more popular, the “broken circle” became the letter “C” and “Imperfect” became “Common”.

Make your own determination of the relevance of that to much of today’s popular music.

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