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Bach Masses Program Notes and Sheet Music

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Date of Composition: 1714-1749

Instrumentation: Solo voices, choir, and orchestra

Duration: Approximately 2 hours


Bach wrote five complete Masses, as well as several smaller settings of Mass movements. The Masses are some of Bach's most ambitious and complex works, and they are considered to be masterpieces of Baroque choral music.

Bach's Masses were written for use in Lutheran church services. The Lutheran Church does not have a set liturgy for the Mass, so Bach was free to compose the Masses in his own style.

The Masses are scored for solo voices, choir, and orchestra. The orchestra consists of strings, woodwinds, brass, and continuo. The Masses are in a variety of styles, including chorale settings, fugues, and concertos.


Bach's Masses are a showcase for his mastery of counterpoint, orchestration, and melody. The Masses are full of beautiful melodies, rich harmonies, and expressive rhythms. Bach uses a variety of musical techniques to create a sense of joy, praise, and wonder.

The Masses are a popular choice for performance by choral groups and orchestras. The Masses are also often performed in churches and other religious settings.


Bach's Masses have been praised by critics and musicians alike. They are considered to be some of the most beautiful and important works of Baroque choral music. The Masses are often performed by choral groups and orchestras around the world.

Here are some of the most notable features of Bach's Masses:

  • Use of a variety of musical styles
  • Beautiful melodies
  • Rich harmonies
  • Expressive rhythms
  • Masterful use of counterpoint, orchestration, and melody
  • Popular choice for performance by choral groups and orchestras
  • Often performed in churches and other religious settings
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