The Origins of Bach with a Beat

Who were the original Swingle Singers?

The "Bach with a Beat" Singers, in The Villages, Florida, was formed to primarily perform Bach's music, sung in Ward Swingle's uniquely fashioned interplay of SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass) parts.  Although, in the interest of providing their audience with an interesting "change of pace", the group additionally sings other complementary musical genres.

The original "Swingle Singers" were a vocal group formed in 1962 in Paris, France, by Ward Swingle.  Christiane Legrand, the sister of composer Michel Legrand, was the group's lead soprano through 1972.  In 1973, the original French group disbanded and Ward Swingle moved to London and recruited all new members who debuted as "Swingle II".

Since the London group's incarnation, the group has never disbanded. As individual members have left the group, the remaining members have held auditions for replacements.  Until 2011, the group consisted of eight voices--two sopranos, two altos, two tenors and two basses--and typically recorded with only a double bass and drums as accompaniment. 

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About Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach(21 March 1685, – 28 July 1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist of the Baroque Period. He enriched many established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organization, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach wrote much music, which was revered for its intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty. Many of his works are such classics they remain popular even today, such as the Brandenburg Concertos, the Mass in B minor, the Well-Tempered Clavier, and his passions, cantatas, partitas, and organ works.  Bach was a genius keyboardist and brilliant composer who brought baroque music to its culmination, writing music for nearly every type of musical form. His legacy enriches and inspires music used in every entertainment media we experience today, be it movies, television, radio or live theatre. Bach is indisputably the greatest Baroque composer ever.  




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