You Gotta Try This Toccata | “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach

A blue lobster

Ethan Bernier, Writer/Volunteer

There is a quote that’s been attributed to many greats in both comedy and music, but belongs to none that goes, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” To attempt to describe the emotive effect of this song or even describe what it’s about would be futile. But to recognize its influence and staying power is necessary. This piece directly informed the western classical music canon for centuries, inspiring things in every genre from baroque pop to trap. Most artists would kill to have even one-tenth the staying power, and yet Bach has influenced millions for centuries with this piece he wrote to warm up on organ prior to his concertos. 

For the curious, a toccata is a piece designed to highlight the performer’s virtuosity of keyboard style instruments. Toccatas often make use of large chords, rapid runs and high harmonies. And a fugue is a piece that introduces a melodic theme then is repeatedly integrated throughout, in this piece it’s the opening melody you may recognize from a certain vampire film.