Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Stephen Malinowski performs, and also visualizes Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565.

Stephen Anthony Malinowski is an American composer, pianist, educator, software engineer and inventor. He was born on August 6, 1953 in Santa Monica, California in the United States.

Malinowsky explains how he recorded this wonderful video at as below:

  1. Instrument

    None of the electronic instruments I could lay my hands on in 1996 was good enough to make a halfway convincing organ sound on its own, so I combined three of them:

    • A Roland U-220 with a plug-in organ card provided the foundation of the organ sound; the sounds I used included positiv 1, positiv 3, church 1, church 3, church 7
    • orchestral instruments from an eMu Proteus 1+ (including: tuba, trumpet, flute, piccolo, and woodwind choir) gave more clarity
    • a sample (me playing a Mollenhauer tenor recorder) played back on a Casio FZ-10M sampler provided some realistic chiff
  2. Note Entry

    Because of the complexity of the piece, I recorded the parts individually into the Music Animation Machine software. Trills and other ornaments were not included.

  3. Performance

    The performance was done using the conductor program features of the M.A.M. software. (Before doing the final take, I practiced with the conductor program, too.)

  4. Editing

    The main thing done in this step was to add the trills and other ornaments that were not included (I did it this way because the implementation of the conductor program wasn’t able to handle ornaments which didn’t have a fixed number of notes). I also changed timings and dynamics a little.

  5. Color Selection

    Colors were used to delineate these lines: soprano, soprano/alto, alto, alto/tenor, tenor, tenor/bass, bass, pedal

  6. Analog Recording

    The output of the Music Animation Machine (with the three synthesizers attached) was recorded in the spring of 1996 at Final Cut Media Group in Walnut Creek, California.

  7. Frame Rendering

    In the fall of 2005, I used my RenderMAM software to render 30 fps frames (from the original M.A.M. data) in PNG format.

  8. Assembly

    The PNG frames and the original soundtrack were combined with titles using Adobe Premiere; the output was a high-resolution AVI file.

  9. Conversion to MP4

    The AVI file was converted to MP4 (.m4v) using the export function of QuickTime Pro.

  10. Upload

    I used Ipswitch WS_FT to upload the movie (in .m4v format where possible and .mov version otherwise) to

    • YouTube (the video above)
    • Vimeo (this is where you can download the iPod-playable version)
    • Google
    • Revver
Stephen Malinowski
Stephen Anthony Malinowski

First published in 1833 through the efforts of German composer, pianist, organist and conductor Felix Mendelssohn, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 quickly became popular, and is now one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire. Since the 1970s, some scholars have challenged the attribution of the piece to Bach.


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