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Georg Andreas Sorge (Composer)

Born: March 21, 1703 - Mellenbach, Thuringia, Germany
Died: April 4, 1778 - Lobenstein

Georg Andreas Sorge as a German organist, composer, and, most notably, theorist. Sorge's first professional appointment was at the age of 19 as court and town organist at Lobenstein, a position that he maintained until his death.

G.A. Sorge wrote treatises about organ building and pedagogic works including a Clavierübung for organ or harpsichord (in 2 vols. 1739/42). He is best remembered today for his major treatises on composition Vorgemach der mus. Komposition (1745-1747) and improvisation (1767), which have a forward-looking emphasis on harmony. The first propounded the tertian structure of chords, a theory that is still used in the teaching of harmony today. Fifteenth member of the Mizler Society (immediately after J.S. Bach), Sorge came into bitter controversy with contemporary theorists Marpurg and Johann Joachim Quantz.

G.A. Sorge's writings on thorough-bass and harmony are very competent, and his theoretical grasp of unequal temperaments excelled even that of J. G. Neidhardt (though still, unfortunately, taking 1/12 comma as an indivisible unit of measure). He cited J.S. Bach as 'witness' that regular 1/6-comma meantone temperament was inadequate to 'modern' harmony, and he dismissed Johann Philipp Kirnberger's schemes of temperament as 'no good'.

G.A. Sorge was a prolific composer, especially for keyboard, and not without recognition in his own day. He published a set of little Organ Sonatas l748, twelve further Sonatas "in the new style" c1745, a Toccata through the 24 keys, three Fugues on BACH, several Trios and Chorale Preludes.

J.S. Bach Connection

Georg Andreas Sorge's references to J.S. Bach show that they were friends; he composed three fugues for organ on the name BACH, and joined Lorenz Mizler's Corresponding Society of Musical Sciences in 1747, just a month after J.S. Bach himself.

The light tone of J.S. Bach's Schübler Chorales (BWV 645-650) may also suggest the influence of engraved collections by other composers, notably Georg Friedrich Kauffmann's Harmonische Seelenlust (1733-1736) and G. A. Sorge's Drittes halbes Dutzend Sonatinen (1744) (not chorale-based), which are dedicated to J.S. Bach in flattering terms.

Major Works

Genealogia allegorica...Geschlecht-Register der Intervallen. (Hof 1741)
Vorgemach der mus. Komposition (Lobenstein 1745)
Der in der Rechen- u. Meßkunst wohlerfahrene Orgelbaumeister (Lobenstein 1773)
Sonate F-Dur


Source: Malcom Boyd, editor: Oxford Composer Companion J.S. Bach (Oxford University Press, 1999, Article author: Mark Lindley & David Hunphreys); Various Websites (see links below)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2008)

Works previously attributed to J.S. Bach

Fugue for keyboard in C major on B-A-C-H, BWV Anh 107
Fugue for keyboard in C major on B-A-C-H, BWV Anh 108 (or
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach)
Fugue for keyboard in C minor on B-A-C-H, BWV Anh 110 (?)

Links to other Sites

Georg Andreas Sorge (Sojurn)
HOASM: Georg Andreas Sorge

Georg Andreas Sorge (Wikipedia) [German]
Georg Andreas Sorge (



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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 15:50