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Anita Carolina (1001129588)

Both Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel were Baroque composers that were born in Germany at the same year of 1685. Bach was born in Eisenach and came with musical family background over 6 generations which was based on the region of Thuringia in the Central Germany. In contrast, Handel was born in Halle and from a non-musical family. Both of them had different educational progress throughout their lives. Bach, in his early years, attended Latin School, learned violin with his short-lived father, and later on, he would study music with his older brother, Johann Christoph Bach whom was an organist himself. And afterwards, Bach took 2 years to study French Repertoire and local orchestra style in Luneberg School; nonetheless, he never completed his study. In the other hand, Handel was supposedly asked by his father to study law, but out of his interest, he played music without the knowledge of his father and later on, his father would later allowed him studied music education in organ, harpsichord, counterpoint, German and Italian idioms with Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow as his organ playing impressed even the Duke. Other than keyboard instruments, he also learned how to play oboe and violin. In 1702, he entered the University of Halle and chosen as cathedral organist. In the entire life of Bach, he had 4 different positions in different German local cities. His first position was as a church organist at Arnstadt in 1703 while he was merely 18 years old. But later on, he would move to Mulhausen in 1707 to become a church organist either. A year later, he was offered a position as initially organist and later on being promoted as the concertmaster for the duke of Weimar in Weimar. His third position was as a Kapellmeister or music director in Cothen under Prince Leopold in 1717 for around 6 years. His very last position was the most important and prominent which was as a cantor in St. Thomas and director of Leipzig Collegium Musicum in Leipzig. His job as a director in Leipzig was quite heavy as he was not expected to compose for church only but was also responsible to teach Latin and music 4 hours a day, to copy, rehearse music for church services. Other than that, he was also the one who managed to direct the top choir, supervised the other three and lastly, he needed to train his best students and directed them in church orchestra. Handel, compared to Bach was regarded as a luckier composer was free to write music according to his own wish and had the opportunity to travel to other places in Europe, as he was mainly under high-position patrons such as Marquis Fransesco Ruspoli in Italy. Handel wrote numerous Latin motets and chamber cantatas under him. In 1710, he was opposed as court music director in Hanover, north Central Germany. In London, he encountered another patron whom was James Brydges, the Earl of Carnavon and later became the duke of Chandos. At that time, Handel composed mainly Italian cantatas for church services. Other than that, he also received supports from British Royalty such as Queen Anne whom commissioned him to write some choral works by giving him 200 pound sterling annually. Later, when he was under under King George I, his wages increased double becoming 400 pound sterling and later on it was increased to the maximum 600 pound sterling in 1724 where Queen Caroline was his patron, asking him not only to compose music for British coronation, operas and oratorios but also to give lessons to her daughters. However, his jobs were considered as a very relaxing with minimum responsibilities and maximum benefits compared to Bach’s as Bach’s income was merely categorized as middle class income where he and his family lived in a apartment with personal library and room to compose music. Bach even sometimes had to earn extra money by private teaching and write music outside of church as for wedding, funeral and festive purposes. Other than their contrasting career pathway and lives they had, they had a similarity in both of them which was their way or their learning of composing. Both of them would take other composers’ works and copied their music. Bach took some music of Torelli, Vivaldi, Telemann and others to make himself familiar with their compositional techniques. Handel had different intention, not to be familiar but to directly copy, rearrange, adapt, and borrow other’s music and his own to write a new work.

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[ 1 ]. Claude V. Palisca, Donald Jay Grout, and J. Peter Burkholder, A History of Western Music (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 440, 456.
[ 2 ]. Claude V. Palisca, Donald Jay Grout, and J. Peter Burkholder, A History of Western Music (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 440-441, 456.
[ 3 ]. Claude V. Palisca, Donald Jay Grout, and J. Peter Burkholder, A History of Western Music (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 439-440, 455.
[ 4 ]. Claude V. Palisca, Donald Jay Grout, and J. Peter Burkholder, A History of Western Music (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 442, 463.

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