Bach vs. Rock

Today I got a special treat, a song you won’t know directly. Whereas the MercyMe or David Ruis versions are universally known, the german Tengerin Doo version in english is relatively obscure, but they blend Bach’s first and most famous organ piece from 1704 (BWV 565) with modern rock to create a truly happy praise ambiance.

As you can see, this is a worship session. In any given church you cannot have an intro for 3 minutes and get away with it :-), but in this particular instance it works really well. First off, you can hear people in the background talking and roaming about, but from second 45 or so, people are actually engaging with the sole organ. Mostly when he presses all keys at once!

After 1:32 he suddenly starts giving it some rhythm with the hi-hat and people are now clapping along! Even the wrong note he presses is not a problem. After the e-guitar kicks in in 2:01 people clap, shout, whistle… what is going on here?

Until 2:30 all we have is a slow but well build-up setting the key for the song. By the time we start in 3:13 everybody knows by ear what the organ keys are for the duration of the song. This is a great and sweet example of how to make a cool rock crescendo starting from a classical instrument. The organ is electric by the way, probably some Korg “Church Organ” or such, so you probably can access it too. And it is an easy piece to play by the way. Download here.

Another thing that is important here is the culture. This track comes from Germany. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but I have. Most churches are old protestant churches where the first and only instrument is an organ. Organ equals church and church equals organ. And church equals God. It is a way of connecting people of that particular culture with God. All the public has been to one of those churches with organ, all of them know Bach, and all of them are there to worship and praise. So this use of the organ (which is completely absent from the other tracks of the CD) is very cool and connects with their people.


What instruments are “godly” or “churchly” in your culture? How could you implement them? Do you have any other song of this style? (Old instruments/New melody). Comment below!

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