Last year, on Bach’s birthday, an intrepid group of explorers began the process of re-creating the lives of J.S. Bach’s many many MANY rejected family members through the hashtag #rejectedbachs. Here’s a partial list of the collective effort, alphabetical by contributor. Feel free to email me with additions – or subtractions, if you must!
The post that began it all was this:
It’s Bach’s birthday! So I’m engaging in a little project to bring attention to some of the lesser-known scions of the Bach family. We all know about PDQ Bach, but that’s just the beginning… #rejectedbachs
Then this started to happen:
RIP Bach started decomposing at an early age.
OMG Bach wrote the most extraordinary devotional cantatas.
DOA Bach’s career was, sadly, extremely short.
TLC Bach. Such a sweetheart.
It was always best to visit NSFW Bach at home.
You just couldn’t keep FTW Bach down.
BFD Bach is, like, “whatever.”
STFU Bach was known for her excessive love of repeat signs.
We don’t know much about that daredevil YOLO Bach… Guess he was right.
QED Bach and WTF Bach are a pair of distant cousins – twins, actually – remembered largely for their opinionated tendencies.
GPS Bach and ETA Bach, husband and wife, lived in a remote village, but would always show up to Johann Sebastian’s performances right on time.
When the Dresden BFF Bach and the Potsdam BFF Bach met for the first time, the inevitable happened.
BFF Bach’s impressive compositions were overshadowed by his notoriously clingy disposition.
RSA Bach wrote cryptically. All his pieces were indecipherable gibberish until you found the right key.
BRB Bach had the annoying tendency to put pauses in his melody lines.
SSH Bach was not only very quiet, he was constantly tunnelling.
SOB Bach was a real… well… you know!
In the meantime Theodor Heinrich Christoph Bach was relaxing on the couch not caring too much about his brothers and enjoying his spaced out mind….
DVT Bach’s cantatas were in the same “vein” as JS but time has proven they just didn’t have the red blooded passion or the legs of the master.
FTD Bach wrote arias with notably florid passages.
BDSM Bach was a fan of prolonging the dominant.
MENC Bach’s compositions were fairly good, but alas, no one actually cared.
NHL Bach’s compositions are mostly forgotten as, despite his best efforts, very few fans actually cared what they sounded like.
DST Bach was fired from his church position after showing up an hour late two years in a row.
NWA Bach was the black sheep of the family.
PDF Bach was a lousy composer, but his parts were always legible and easy to distribute.
FTD Bach sent flowers to Anna Magdalena on 29 July, 1750. They never arrived.
MTA Bach was attempting to visit his sister in Chelsea or his cousin in Roxbury. He never returned.
Wilfried Theobald Freundlichmann Bach had a name so awkward that his family simply referred to him as WTF Bach.
None of AKA Bach’s works were ever correctly attributed because he always used a pseudonym.
DLDS BACH lamely chimes in the next day!
WWF Bach kept breaking the organ pedals.
SOS Bach needed a lot of help!
TED Bach liked to hold inspirational talks on ideas too big to be solved by one inspirational talk.
TBT Bach didn’t land the job as Kappellmeister because the King found all his embarrassing Facebook posts.
IPA Bach could never sit still long enough to become fluent in counterpoint; his teacher told him his lines were too hoppy.
GOP Bach thrice got re-elected as Thomaskantor by the Leipzig town council, even though all he ever did was promise not to raise the difficulty of his music and threaten to cut funding for all bassoonists, citing it as “wasteful spending.”
ROFL Bach never composed any music because he couldn’t get up off the floor.
BYOB Bach’s friends ended up trashing his place, after Anna Magdalena had warned him that his salon party invitation was, quote, “dangerously hipster.”
TMI Bach (Theodor Mathias Ignatius) was always over-sharing about his weird rashes.
Nik L. Bach has a lot of fans even though his music sucks.
BFG Bach only ever composed when sky-high on snozzcumbers.
Gerhard Ehrmann Dietrich Bach only ever wrote one-part inventions.
CPDL Bach died with zero lifetime earnings from his compositions.
DTF Bach had even more children than JS.
Bernhard Friedemann Dieter Bach is also known for early experimentation with Locrian mode. (“Did you know the C-major scale contains exactly one triad that’s neither major nor minor?” “Yeah, BFD.”)
ESL Bach is believed to be the actual composer of BWV 806-811. (This suggests the attribution of BWV 812-817 to FTL Bach, who is known to physicists for his impossibly fast tempos.)
IPA Bach didn’t write much because he was so hoppin’ sloshed, but at least we know exactly how to pronounce the texts of his vocal works.
Watch out for TNT Bach.
These days everybody’s playing CDXV Bach, though there’s no evidence that JSBach actually favored CDXV over CDXL.
OCD Bach kept recounting.
TMI Bach couldn’t shut up.
SOS Bach drowned before he could publish.
CDC Bach was a doc.
SOL Bach was disowned.
OMG Bach couldn’t believe his work was rejected!
AKA Bach published, but under a pseudonym.
SNL Bach performed only once each weekend.
FML Bach couldn’t even.
DTF Bach reigns supreme in the siring of offspring.
KFC Bach disappeared out of the restaurant trade after the failure of his Brandenburger.
MBTA Bach auditioned for various organist positions around northern Germany, but soon gained a reputation for being habitually late, truant, and unreliable, and fell into disgrace. He died in poverty on the streets.
CVS Bach supplemented his musical career with income made from dealing drugs on random street corners.
One of Bach’s children, MRI, was thought to have disappeared unexpectedly, but in the 20th century his body was discovered with severe blunt trauma to the head, thought to be caused by a fallen organ pipe.
TLDR Bach was a protégé of Georg Philipp Telemann, and the only known composer to have surpassed Telemann in sheer output and length of compositions. The Academy of Ancient Music began a project in 2003 to record the complete works of TLDR, previously entirely unknown, but they have yet to record a single movement in its entirety, due to budget cuts and union regulations limiting the maximum allotted time for a single rehearsal.
BRB Bach was an amateur tenor that took frequent breaks, but he always returned. He originally coined the phrase “I’ll be Back,” or colloquially “I’ll be Bach.”
PVC Bach: He built an organ in his basement out of plastic drainpipes. It sounded just like a chorus of Yamaha recorders.
SAT Bach and his older brother GRE Bach were always showing up their siblings on timed counterpoint exams.
BBC Bach not only knew what was going on in the world but was wildly entertaining.
JFK Bach should never ride with the top down.
DMZ Bach always sat between his fighting siblings at dinner.
BIG Bach was rather notorious.
WHO Bach was always concerned with disease outbreaks, but no one knew his identity.
LDS Bach was part of the free speech movement at Berkeley with Mr. Spock.
RMA Bach wrote a lot of pieces, but the musicians always sent them back for fixing.
Have we covered BTW Bach, whose works were always going off on tangents?
FDA Bach heartily approves of tobacco and brandy.
DMV Bach was no help in getting JS to Lübeck.
PFO Bach never got into any young artist programs. FML Bach could never catch a break. And SMH Bach was always disappointed with the world around him.
SAB Bach also wrote a lot of choral music, but disliked tenors.
FBI Bach investigated the well-known links between baroque counterpoint and organized crime.
QED Bach always had the last word.
SPF Bach did all his composing on the beach.
WMD Bach’s creations still haven’t been discovered.
HTTP Bach: 404 Error – File Not Found.
NAFTA Bach’s music is reminiscent of a giant sucking sound.
IUD Bach had an active love life but never had any children at all.
NFL Bach used a lot of passing tones.
MLB Bach composed a lot of runs.
DWI Bach used parallel fifths.
NBA Bach only composed for the court.
PVC Bach made organ pipes for cheap
CPA Bach did a lot of recording.
GMO Bach used lots of chromatically altered chords.
CIA Bach was fond of deceptive cadences.
NSA Bach had very sensitive ears.
Check out Sarah Darling’s hashtag #rejectedbachs for some pretty amusing initials. Almost gives enough to read during a protracted ride with MBTA Bach.
STD Bach’s music is nothing to clap about. (duck)
PCP Bach’s music is really trippy
The siblings, PBS Bach and NPR Bach, had great programs but kept interrupting their concerts to ask for more money.
DMZ Bach is neither here nor there.
And let’s not forget the masters of the hip-hop Baroque, Notorious B.I.G. Bach and NWA Bach.
To combat distressing trends in infant mortality, Sebastian bred GMO Bach, who was disease resistant, but none of the elites would listen to him.
TSA Bach never did figure out what a bassoon was.
UU Bach was actually an agglomeration of committees.
TLDR Bach leaves over 200 concerti grossi, all unfinished.
ER Bach was often the only option for those without counterpoint insurance.
WC Bach was indispensable, but it embarrassed people to talk about him.
TTYL Bach is going to finish this suite…sometime…
DPW Bach didn’t write garbage. He just dealt with everyone else’s.
TBS Bach was known for his colorful treatment of existing themes.
MRI Bach had tremendous insight, but had to be kept away from the silverware.
DST Bach frequently suffered from jetlag even when he hadn’t gone anywhere.
USCCB Bach wasn’t a very good Lutheran.
Ignatius Wilhelm Bernhard Bach, went by I. Will B. Bach.
BYO Bach. Teetotaler. Or cheapskate.
RSVP Bach preferred countersubjects.
LOL Bach couldn’t keep a straight face.
BYOB Bach was the life of the party.
FTW Bach wrote the best music.
SWAK Bach was known for his billets-doux.
Leopold Gerhardt Bernhard Georg Thaddeus Bach was known for his open-mindedness.
H&R Bach had a lot of work in early April.
JM&J Bach was known for invocations
FML Bach is best remembered for his exquisite settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
FB Bach knows everything about you and is a complete waste of time.
Of course, how can you forget ILB Bach (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger)?
LOL Bach was excommunicated (rare in the Lutheran church) for his constant frivolity and complete inability to compose any sacred music.
Joy Cline Phinney
HMO Bach needed to wait an average of 7-10 business days for prior authorization from the Leipzig Town Council in order to fill a commission.
Though IRS Bach only produced one cantata a year each April 15th for the Feast of the Holy Tithes and nobody really liked him, everybody grudgingly respected his place in the Bach family and the importance of him being there.
PDF Bach had a lot of potential, but seemed to struggle with simple formatting issues.
SNM Bach is a fun composer to listen to every once in a while, but he modulates to the dominant way too often and you know, you shouldn’t make it, like, a thing…
At the tender age of 19 and after only one semester, YOLO Bach was expelled from the University of Leipzig for doing something juvenile, thoughtless, and recklessly dangerous, effectively ending his career prospects at the Thomaskirche.
DIY Bach was ahead of his time, leaving most of the notes in his compositions up to the performer.
P.M.S Bach preferred unequal temperament.
STFU Bach was widely known for her excessive use of rests.
Manfred Thomas Balsazar Adolphus Bach (MTBA Bach) is currently experiencing delays, and seems to be inordinately affected by simple changes in seasonal weather patterns.
CPR Bach was shunned by society for trying to give everyone mouth to mouth.
SRO Bach was a toootal sellout.
Nobody knew much about NSA Bach, and he was still disliked and mistrusted.
We don’t know CIA Bach’s work because he shredded everything he wrote.
NFL Bach often could not write because of his constant concussions and loss of brain cells.
PDF Bach was too compressed to attend.
The music of twin brothers Philip Bernhard and James Bach is ideal for accompanying elementary school lunches.
OCD Bach’s music was sadly panned by critics for being too strict and repetitive.
KFC Bach had to have clothes made by a personal tailor to accommodate his ever increasingly greasy girth.
CPU Bach was known for his great logistical planning skills, while ATM Bach was forever hiding in small cupboards to get away from greedy siblings.
SXSW Bach emigrated to Texas. Yee-haw!
Talking about QED Bach is just restating the obvious. His cousin AFK Bach was the brightest one in the family but never seemed to be able to get anything done.
I went to a TSA Bach concert once. I stood in line for an hour, and they made me take off my shoes. They had like 6 doors, but only one ticket taker. I actually almost missed the concert.
Did anyone remember to mention DIY Bach who had started so many works he couldn’t finish any of them? Or MENSA Bach whose compositions were too brilliant to be understood…?
H&H Bach was driven mad by concerts in halls too big.
LOL Bach died by choking on a sparkling pilsner after looking at funny cats.
OMG Bach just can’t get over himself
Heinrich Christoph Anton Bernhard was the cousin who sparked young J.S.’s fascination with musical palindromes and crab canons. (Also knock knock jokes, which Germans still don’t find funny, so never mind.)
I.M.S.L.P. Bach is no longer a #rejectedbach, now that his complete works are available online, free of charge.
It’s hard to say how many of the works of W. o. O. Bach — one of the more obscure #rejectedbachs — survive to this day. Needless to say, nothing was ever published during his lifetime.
Despite being ranked dead last of all the Bachs, N.B.C. Bach continued to compose, perhaps hoping to reclaim the glory of the acclaimed Thursday evening concerts of his youth.
C.N.N. Bach was noted for reaching what seemed to be a final cadence early on in the last movement, then cadencing in a different key on the repeat, and yet another in the coda.
D.M.V. Bach was despised by all of his peers, but the public still felt obliged to wait in line for hours to hear him play.
J.P.G. Bach had no musical ability, but achieved moderate success as a visual artist.
L.P. Bach and V.H.S. Bach were popular until the 1980s, coincidentally at about the same time that newly discovered works of C.D. Bach and D.V.D. Bach became available. (Of course, M.P. Bach III, and M.P. Bach IV are now edging them out, even though their works are obviously of lower quality.)
The music of H.N.M. Bach (sometimes erroneously listed as H&M Bach), was appealingly stylish, and editions were affordable, but after only three or performances audiences would complain of poor structure, and the scores would end up neglected in the back of the filing cabinets. [Update: HNM Bach has also faced criticism and boycotts in response to his reliance on under-aged slave-wage copyists in third world countries.]
S.T.D. Bach died young, but records indicate that he was briefly an assistant organ registrant at the Cathedrale de l’Autre Dame in the Pigalle neighborhood of Paris. On weekends he pulled out ALL the stops.
Turning his back on music, GTFO Bach was the first member of the family to become a mining engineer. He eventually moved to Peru with the Humboldt expedition.
KLF Bach melted down a million thaler.
MP Bach III’s notational system for sharing music over the HRR-Wide Web quickly became obsolete, but his name was already synonymous with encoded music.
LDS Bach was the first organist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
REM Bach was known for narcoleptic episodes, even while at the keyboard.
CPR Bach ghost-wrote “Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz”.
IBS Bach had an explosive career but really didn’t leave the house much.
STD Bach was not very careful in terms of his collaborations. His younger sister, who had chronic dermatitis was Itchi Bach.
There was also the distant cousin of the Bach family, an oxcart driver whose wagon was stuck in the mud. His name was Eich Kant Bach-Up.
AFM Bach got his musicians rehearsal breaks and overtime but many governors were against him.
At the end of the day, we wrapped it up:
ICYMI Bach was definitely the patron saint of today’s escapade. I love you all. I’ve been laughing for hours. The collective wit is astounding and profoundly gratifying. I’m sure good ol’ JS and ALL of his family members were having an amazing time following along. Thank you all for your rad stylings. See you next year?!
With immense gratitude and sore abdominal muscles,