Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bach and Genealogy

Gavotte from the first notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (French suite No.5, G major, BWV 816) Taken from the Bach Gesamtausgabe (BGA), vol. 44 [B.W. XLIV]: "Joh. Seb. Bach's handschrift" (Joh.Seb.Bach's manuscripts), Originally published by the Bach-Gesellschaft in Leipzig, 1895. This image is in the public domain.
While I am writing or doing genealogical research, I like to listen to Bach. I am especially partial to the collection of pieces called the French Suite. When I was young, I was not particularly involved in music. As I grew older, I became more and more involved. At one point, I briefly considered becoming a professional musician and actually got some jobs singing and playing the guitar. I loved rock and roll and then started a lifetime interest in folk music that lingers until today. I have sung both in solo performances and choirs for nearly my entire life.

What does this have to do with genealogy? Well, for me, it turns out that it has quite a bit to do with genealogy. When I was well into my 20s, one afternoon, I was listening to the radio and heard a program of Bach organ music. Up to that point, music had been a "hobby/" I was not particularly involved in the serious technical side of music even though I had learned to play a few instruments and even taken piano, flute, and guitar lessons. The key to becoming more than casually involved was when, as I listened, really listened to the Bach pieces, I realized that I had missed a whole world of music. Music was a very complex and challenging pursuit. The complexity of Bach opened my mind to a whole new world. Here is an example of what I have found.

J.S.Bach - French Suites

Essentially, I had the same experience when I started to become involved in genealogical research. At first, if was more of a hobby than a passion. Over time, I became aware of the complexity of the research process and the challenges. My casual interest evolved into a more intense interest and then a passion. I even considered becoming a "professional" genealogist. But for some of the same reasons I did not pursue a music career, I decided against trying to make genealogy into a business or profession. So now, I listen to Bach while I am writing or doing genealogical research. However, I do find that when I really get involved in my research, I cannot have any distractions, even Bach. 

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