The Key of P. D. Q. Bach

This page has been superseded by the P.D.Q. Bach Wiki.

Peter Schickele has "discovered" a great many musical spoofs by "P. D. Q. Bach," supposedly the last and oddest of Johann Sebastian Bach's twenty-odd children. There are many websites devoted to these works, but I haven't found any site which tries to list all the pieces being quoted and parodied. The list here is far from complete, but at least provides a point of reference.

A given P. D. Q. Bach piece often not only quotes specific works of music, but parodies a particular composer's or period's style, or a work as a whole. If not, usually the title at least provides an in-joke. The "Model" notes indicate what I think the reference is.

Hearing a joke explained in advance ruins it. On the other hand, having parts explained which you were missing can make it funnier. This list is intended primarily for people who've heard the music and wonder if they're getting all the jokes. I'm sure I haven't caught all of them here, and there are P. D. Q.'s which I haven't even heard, but for most people, there's a good chance I've caught some references which you missed. If you've caught some which I've missed, please let me know. (See my homepage for information on how to contact me; unfortunately, spammers have made it a bad idea to post email addresses openly.) I'll provide appropriate credit if I use your information.

When looking for quotations in music, it's easy to start chasing phantoms. Does Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2, for instance, really quote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"? In a few cases, I've put (?) after a citation to indicate that I'm not sure it's intentional.

February 7, 2004: Some additional citations have been provided by L. P., who has asked not to be identified by name.

Some P. D. Q. Bach links:

Copyright 2003-4 by Gary McGath.
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Last updated December 21, 2013

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