Modern Music: Stairway To Heaven By Johann Sebastian Bach

Superior Essays
Even though, the Baroque period, dating from 1600 to 1750 was centuries ago, the music and the composers of the period are relevant and prominent still today. Per the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Johann Sebastian Bach was, “One of the greatest and most influential composers of the Western world” (“Johann Sebastian Bach”) Although, Bach was not recognized in his time as a great composer, he most definitely is recognized as such today, and has been since his compositions were reintroduced in the Romantic period via Felix Mendelssohn when he presented Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Kamian 152). One modern day band whose music was influenced by Bach is Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin, much like Bach, is considered a visionary of their time when …show more content…
“Stairway to Heaven” is slightly over eight minutes in length and can be broken down into five sections. In the first section, the medium used is a finger plucked six string guitar and three recorders. Vocals start in at 53 seconds and continue through for the first two minutes and 14 seconds. During this time, the song switches from monophonic to homophonic to polyphonic and then back to homophonic. There is a melody line which switches back and forth between the vocals and the recorders. The tempo is lento and is played at mezzo piano. In the second section, the medium used is vocals, electric guitar, and electric piano. This section lasts from two minutes 15 seconds to four minutes 17 seconds. During this section, the song stays homophonic throughout, however the melody continues to switch between vocals and guitar. The tempo has now increased to andante and the dynamics have also increased to piano. The third section of the song starts at four minutes and 18 seconds and lasts up to five minutes and 55 seconds. In this section, the medium used is vocals, guitars, electric piano, and percussion. During this section, the song remains homophonic throughout, up until a short part at the end, which is polyphonic. …show more content…
They repeatedly pushed themselves to the limit, through barriers, and past others in their field, in order to be better than others and to be different than others as well. Both Bach and Led Zeppelin were improvisionists and an influence for others in their craft. The Brandenburg concerto No. 5 and “Stairway to Heaven” are similar in a way that both pieces of music continue to speed up in tempo and increase in volume throughout the song. The pieces are also similar in the way in which the soloist changes between mediums and how the songs change from monophonic to homophonic and polyphonic several times throughout. Both pieces are also similar in the way that they change from major to minor several times within the song. Both Bach’s piece and Led Zeppelin’s piece have an ornamentation to it, they are both embellished, extravagant, and grandiose, especially when it comes to the harpsichord solo in concerto No. 5 and the guitar solo in “Stairway to Heaven.” When Bach added a three-minute harpsichord solo, he was breaking the rules, as this was something new that had never been done before. Before this piece, the harpsichord was used solely for accompaniment and as the conductor of the orchestra. This harpsichord solo was much like a rock guitar solo today. It’s been said that John

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