Some of Bach's Most Recognizable Songs May Have Been Written by His Wife

Illustration for article titled Some of Bach's Most Recognizable Songs May Have Been Written by His Wife

Johann Sebastian Bach is considered one of the greatest and most influential composers of all time whose work defined the Baroque period. Now, a new theory posits that some of the most iconic pieces from his repertoire were actually composed by his second wife, Anna Magdalena Bach.

Anna Magdalena was an accomplished singer in her own right and aided her husband by transcribing music for him. But Written By Mrs. Bach, a new documentary featuring testimonials from a Welsh-born professor of music, a British composer, and an American expert in document forensics makes the case that Anna Magdalena is actually responsible for some Bach's most well-known masterpieces. The pieces in question: Bach's unaccompanied cello suites, the aria that bookends "The Goldberg Variation," and a portion of "The Well-Tempered Clavier." The theory, via Washington Post:

The pieces, according to the researchers, deviate from other Bach works in significant structural and technical respects; the manuscripts appear to be in the hand of Anna Magdalena with one front page actually saying "written by Mrs Bach" in French; and there is no proof Bach actually composed the works, only the possibly groundless assumption the composer wrote everything attributed to him. He left behind few personal papers, which might aid in documenting his work.


Obviously, Bach is not a complete fraud; the man composed over 1,100 pieces for orchestras, keyboard, voice, organ, and other instruments. His technically intricate pieces are probably responsible for the lion's share of carpal tunnel syndrome until the advent of the computer keyboard. But it would still be great to recognize the accomplishments of his wife, who historically has been better known for being pregnant every single year from 1723 to 1737, bearing 13 children. #TeamAnnaMagdalena

Image via Getty.

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...being pregnant every single year from 1723 to 1737...