The True Life of J.S. Bach, by Klaus Eidam


Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician best known in his day as a virtuoso organist as well as a composer. Church music was very important in his day and his music had an enthusiasm and seeming freedom, despite its immense complexities. The music fit together in a way that left many amazed, but others seeing in it reinforce the idea that music is actually revealed.

Klaus Eidam wrote “The True Life of J.S. Bach” and challenges other writers’ thoughts about Bach presenting his image and music as a progressive consequence of the German Enlightenment.

Musicologist Jules Combarieu believed, much like Bach, that music is the “science of thinking in tones” and that harmony is derived from mathematics. Bach implied, and Eidam went further in his writings saying, that harmony comes from mathematics, even before it came into being in music and is defined as a hidden arithmetic movement.

Eidam was deeply moved by Bach’s organ piece, “Toccata and Fugue in D minor.” The piece opens with a toccata section, followed by a fugue that ends in a coda. It is one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire and does leave you wondering how anyone could have written it.

The book concludes discussing musical relationships and suggests that they parallel the rhythm of the cosmos within the deep structure of music.


The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.

Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.