You’ve probably heard it if you have ever been to the movies. A lot of people describe it as horrifying, scary and spooky. But we know for sure that it is extremely special. The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is a special piece of music that gained fame and popularity over the past 2 centuries. It has been played so many times in movies, songs and even cartoons that it became a musical cliché.
But what is the history behind this amazing piece of music? The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 is probably one of the most famous and well known musical works played by the organ. The original piece was written by Johann Sebastian Bach sometime in the early 1700s. But it later inspired other musicians and artists to produce remixes and use it as movie tracks that relied on the Toccata and Fugue in D minor as an inspiration. There was even a poem written about it.
But because this piece is so famous, it comes with an interesting history. Here are some amazing facts you probably didn’t know about the Toccata and Fugue in D minor:
- Although the piece was probably written around 1704, it remained unknown until 1833. Felix Mendelssohn published the piece because he thought that it was special. He performed it in front of a live audience 7 years after the initial publication. In 1899, Busoni wrote a piano transcription of the piece, which made it more popular later on.
- The original composition was probably not meant for the organ in the first place. A lot of scholars believe that it was originally intended for the violin. However, it is the organ that made this piece remarkably famous.
- The music work was used in the silent movie era and is usually associated with horror and spooky movies. However, it gained its wide fame when it was used in the Disney cult movie Fantasia. Later on, it became the cliché music of Halloween and other spooky occasions. It is widely known as a scary piece of music and is closely associated with the Phantom of the Opera movie.
- A lot of music historians believe that the music work was not written by Bach. This opinion became extremely popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The earliest score contains many un-Bach dynamics but due to the lack of an original manuscript, there is no way they could prove this theory.
- The music piece scored high on the modern Billboard Charts on 2 occasions. In the 1980s, Sky made a successful cover for the music work that was very popular that it reached number 6 in the UK charts. In the 1990s, almost 200 years after the first composition of the original piece; Violinist Vanessa Mae recorded a cover for the piece which reached number 16 on the Billboard Charts. This cover was believed to bring the work to its violin origins.
So next time you hear the distinctive notes of the organ, you can actually travel back to the glorious time where the music work was written. There is no way you could miss it.