Click to enlargeSix Chorales of J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach lived his entire life, 1685 to 1750, in Germany. For most of his career he was a church musician-- an organist and choirmaster. While today we know him primarily as a composer, his contemporaries knew him as the best organist of his time.

During his church music career, Bach wrote countless pieces of music for worship, including literally hundreds of cantatas, oratorios, passions, and the like. He used the four-part chorale as a change of pace from the highly ornamented contrapuntal and fugal sections that dominated the larger works of the time. Almost always, such chorales were harmonizations of hymn tunes of the day.

While we recognize Bach as a significant figure in music history today, he probably did not share the same view. Like lesser composers, he left bits and pieces of compostitions and arrangements in dwellings and work places in the various cities in which he lived. He made no attempt to catalog his work, and much of it has since been lost.

It fell to one of his sons, C. P. E. Bach, to catalog and publish his father's four-part chorales. From 1784 to 1787, C. P. E. Bach published four volumes totalling 371 chorales (though there were a few duplicates). He lifted the vast majority intact out of the larger works of which they were part, and did not publish lyrics with any of these chorales. Music majors and conservatory students through the years have analyzed these chorales and wondered at the genius of the master.

The six chorales presented here are decended from that source. They represent the range and genius of J. S. Bach, from major to minor, from 3/4 to 4/4, from light to dark themes. The six chorales are:

To God Let All the Human Race (#164: "Old Hundredth" by Louis Bourgeois) (this tune is commonly used as a doxology)

All Mankind Fell in Adam's Fall (#100: "Durch Adams Fall ist Ganz Verderbt" by Anonymous)

How Brightly Shines the Morning Star (#278: "Wie Schoenen Leuchtet der Morgenstern" by Philipp Nicolai)

O Sacred Head Now Wounded (#74: "O Haupt Voll Blut und Wunden" by Hans Leo Hassler)

Today the Lord in Triumph Reigns (#79: "Heut Triumphieret Gottes Sohn" by Bartholomaeus Gesius)

Jesu, Priceless Treasure (#263: "Jesu, Meine Freude" by Johann Crueger)

These chorales are complete and faithful to the original so far as we can determine. Only one stanza of lyric is included, so some research in old hymnals might be in order if choral performance is your goal. Or you could write your own lyrics. These chorales would also work nicely with brass or string quartet, or with a keyboard instrument. Whether used to teach music theory or keyboard, or for performance, we hope these chorales will bring you to the feet of Jesus, where Bach orignally laid these works.

MP3 sound sample: all six chorales in sequence listed above (synthesizer/midi).

SIX CHORALES OF J. S. BACH comes in a PDF file of approximately 1656K, including twelves pages of music and a license page, thirteen pages in all.

The majority of our sheet music pieces use electronically-produced demos on the item pages. We would much prefer to use actual recordings, so if you email us a digital recording or link to an online video and we end up using it as a demo on our site (fully credited), we will send you a coupon code good for US$25 toward your next purchase from our site.

Many of our sheet music licenses state that the purchaser does not have the right to record the work. We have modified our policy on this, and unless the license page states that you must obtain permission from a party other than to record the work, we will allow a small number (less than 50) of copies of an audio or video recording of a live performance to be made and distributed and/or posted to a free web site for viewing/listening, so long as, the composer, arranger, and lyricist are credited.


Visit our hard goods division at

A customer commented: "Today I made my first purchase from Tributek. Every aspect of the transaction exceeded my expectations. The description of the product included a Quicktime demo in addition to a clear, interesting, well-written description of the product. The price of the product was a bargain. The ordering process could not have been easier or faster. I will definitely shop with Tributek again!"

Another customer commented: "I would like to compliment you on the ease of purchasing music on-line. I require the music for a wedding in a couple of weeks, and didn't want to wait for music to be sent in the mail. It was great to be able to hear the music and to know the length of the PDF file and performance time."

Another customer writes: "I bought some choral music off your site. It's great. I hope we can do all of it in our church. I don't know how you can sell it so cheap. It's a great service you offer."

NOTE: All customers are given the opportunity to rate our service, value, and quality, and 98% of customers who have ever returned satisfaction surveys rate their overall experience doing business with us as "excellent" (71%) or "good" (27%). You can't please all of the people all of the time, but we do try very hard.

Solution Graphics - PO Box 8025 - Elburn IL 60119 USA
Visit our hard goods division at
Copyright (c)1999-2022
All rights to all text, sounds, and graphics are reserved.
Last update: 24 APR 2023