So this is what J.S. Bach looked like...

in

reconstructed bach...or so they say. Modern forensic techniques were used to reconstruct his face from a scan of his skull. I know a number of murders have been solved by these techniques, so it is conceivable that Johann Sebastian Bach really looked like this (after he took his wig off...). But it made me wonder: do I care? Does it change anything in my perception of, or appreciation for his music? Does knowing this add any value? No. At least not for me. But it does make me wonder about the visual connection to the great composers and musicians. Why do we want to know what they looked like in the first place...

painting of bachAs I thought about the reconstruction, I realised I don't really care what dead composers look like, but I do want to know the living composers' faces. It's the human trait of connection, I guess. When it comes to a first impression, we mostly decide whether we like someone based on visual input. Wanting to know who someone is, rather than what someone does. So I'd say it's not really about the face after all. The old portrait pictured here would have been enough for me. It is more about getting to know the person, the man behind the music. The reconstructed face seems to offer a little more information about the person he really was.

Since I write music myself, I would really love to know first hand how he worked. Pick his brain so to speak. What was he thinking while he was writing his music? Alas, those are the questions that probably can't be answered by forensic research. I have to dive into his music and make my own best guesses.

But at least I can relate to his pouches. Apart from the love for strong coalescing melodies it's another feature that's shared between Bach, Ellington..... and me ;)


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