Bach's Time Machine

David M. Raley

Some say that time travel is impossible and I confess that I never had any luck at it but it has been obvious to me for some time that J. S. Bach must have stumbled onto the secret. How else could one explain how he was able to rip off "Whiter Shade of Pale"?* Or perform his next stunt: cobbling "Phantom of the Opera" and the Ford Taurus Commercial into one piece?**

I thought for a long time that the old boy had been content with those ill gotten gains but that was before I bought a package titled "How to Play Everything Bach Ever Wrote in Five Easy Lessons". If you should decide to buy it for yourself you may want to switch lesson three, (Energize turntable motor.), and lesson four, (Place stylus in grove near outside edge of disc.).

But I digress.

While exercising my newly developed musical skill I became aware that Johann had done it again. This time to Arthur Smith. There it was: Smith's "Dueling Banjoes" disguised as Opus 655 "Herr Jesu Christ". Well he made a change or two but you could tell and besides the whole piece was vaguely familiar. Looks to me like a man with a time machine would use it to do something useful like getting Hitler into art school or helping Castro make the cut with the Washington Senators or teaching television announcers the correct pronunciation of Camp LeJeune and bona fide*** or breaking the lottery rather than taking advantage of country music artists. Again I digress.

Now the cruelest part. With his time machine Bach was able to rub the theft in Smith's face by making sure he heard the ripped off version at a stressful time of life. Knowing that Smith would be joining the Navy in the early 40's and would be taking "boots" at Bainbridge, MD, and that the Navy forced all recruits to attend Church services the first five weeks of training, Bach planted his music in the chapel program. The Navy seldom changes, they were still up to it when I was there in '56. They might be doing it yet had Bainbridge not been closed. A mystery remains. Bach must have known that Smith would be writing "Guitar Boogie" while at Bainbridge. Why didn't he sneak that into a prelude?

Opus 528, Sonata #4 in E Minor

Opus 565, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Camp Luh Zurne not La Jewn ...
4 syllables in bona fide: bow-nuh-fy-de or bow-nuh-fee-de; not bone ah fyde


Last Update: 12/14/10
Web Author: David M. Raley
Copyright 2007 by David M. Raley - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED