The Crowd-Sourced Campaign to Free Bach’s Music from Copyright

September 20, 2013 | Andy Cush

It’s impossible to overstate the influence of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier on the nearly three centuries of western music that have followed it. It’s the kind of cultural landmark that should be freely available to anyone who’d like to listen, play, and marvel at its beauty, and now, thanks to this Kickstarter campaign, it may be.

The project, called “Open Well-Tempered Clavier – Ba©h to Bach,” hopes to produce a high-quality, professional recording of all of The Well-Tempered Clavier‘s 48 pieces, then release it to the public without any copyright. In addition to the recordings themselves, they’ll also release a customizable digital score and each individual stem of the recording. The Kickstarter awesomely calls it “open-source Bach.”

While Bach’s music itself is public domain, most recordings of it–especially professional ones–aren’t, meaning you’ll still have to pay to listen to them. The Open Well-Tempered Clavier would remedy that, at least for these pieces (and the team has already released the Open Goldberg Variations, another public domain collection of Bach works).

Take a look here.