Ich bin ein guter Hirt

The inherent perfection of Bach’s music, both spiritually and aesthetically, is a topic I find quite puzzling. What exactly makes even his most ‘minuscule’ (*gasp* but nothing by Bach is mundane!) compositions sound still so wonderful?

I’m not going to be exploring exactly that topic for this final paper, but I want to look at ways that Bach shows his imperfections, and struggles within his music.

Of the listed cantatas, Ich bin ein guter Hirt (BWV 85) seems the most-fitting to explore this subject. I aim to analyze features of the text, harmony, and orchestration that arguably embody Bach’s many struggles with life; namely, being a good shepherd.

My introduction should bring to the table sufficient evidence that shows the universal perception that Bach’s music is perfect and that he was wholly devout, and then introduce scholarship that challenges this notion. My thesis, hopefully, should be the following: Ich bin ein guter Hirt has strong allegories that show Bach’s inner turmoil with faith. 

After my analysis, I hope to conclude by showing: While we deify Bach for his inspirational and timeless music, he was just as human as any of us. Searching for elements that portray his ‘human’ side adds to the profundity of the experience for the listener (Bach may have even wanted this?).

I’m wondering if I should also explore the topic of how Bach’s ‘deification’ (I need to find a new word) goes against Luther’s ideologies? or is that too hard to address in one paragraph? Maybe its possible to insert semi-briefly within the conclusion?

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