Bach family

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Johann Sebastian Bach and his sons Carl Philipp Emanuel, Johann Christian, Wilhelm Friedemann, and Johann Christoph Friedrich JohannSebastianBach1685-1750UndSoehne.jpg
Johann Sebastian Bach and his sons Carl Philipp Emanuel, Johann Christian, Wilhelm Friedemann, and Johann Christoph Friedrich

The Bach family was of importance in the history of music for nearly two hundred years, with over 50 known musicians and several notable composers, the best-known of whom was Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). [1] A family genealogy was drawn up by Johann Sebastian Bach himself in 1735, his 50th year, and completed by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel.


The Bach family never left Thuringia until the sons of Sebastian went into a more modern world. Through all the misery of the peasantry at the period of the Thirty Years' War this clan maintained its position and produced musicians who, however local their fame, were among the greatest in Europe. So numerous and so eminent were they that in Erfurt musicians were known as "Bachs", even when there were no longer any members of the family in the town. Sebastian Bach thus inherited the artistic tradition of a united family whose circumstances had deprived them of the distractions of the century of musical fermentation which in the rest of Europe had destroyed polyphonic music. [1]

Ancestors of Johann Sebastian Bach

Family house, Wechmar Wechmar Bachhaus.JPG
Family house, Wechmar

Four branches of the Bach family were known at the beginning of the 16th century, and a Hans Bach of Wechmar is documented to have been alive in 1561, a village between Gotha and Arnstadt in Thuringia, who is believed to be the father of Veit Bach. [1]

Others born before 1685

Johann Ambrosius' uncle, Heinrich of Arnstadt, had two sons: Johann Michael and Johann Christoph, who are among the greatest of J. S. Bach's forerunners, Johann Christoph being once supposed to be the author of the motet, Ich lasse dich nicht (I will not leave you), formerly ascribed to Sebastian Bach and now confirmed to be his (BWV 159a).[ citation needed ] Another descendant of Veit Bach, Johann Ludwig, was admired more than any other ancestor by Sebastian, who copied twelve of his church cantatas and sometimes added work of his own to them. [1]

Descendants of Johann Sebastian Bach

Partial family tree

Veit Bach
(d. 1619)
Johannes Bach I  [ de ]
Philippus Bach (1590–1620)
Heinrich Bach
Christoph Bach
Wendel Bach (1619–1682)
Johann Christoph Bach
Johann Michael Bach
Johann Ambrosius Bach
Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt
Johann Christoph Bach
Jacob Bach  [ de ]
Anna Martha Schneider
Johann Nicolaus Bach
Maria Barbara Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Anna Magdalena Wilcke
Johann Ludwig Bach
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Johanna Maria Dannemann Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Gottfried Heinrich Bach
Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach
Lucia Elisabeth Münchhausen
Johann Christian Bach
Elisabeth Juliane Friederica
Johann Christoph Altnickol
Johanna Carolina
Regina Susanna
Johann Sebastian Bach (painter)
Wilhelm Ernst ColsonAnna Philippiana Friederica Bach
Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach
Charlotte Philippina Elerdt
Christina Luise Bach
(d. 1852)
Johann Sebastian Altnickol (1749–1749)
Ludwig Albrecht Hermann RitterCarolina Augusta Wilhelmine Bach
Juliane Friederica
(b. 1800)

Expanded genealogy

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bach, Johann Sebastian"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 124–130.
  2. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians , "Bach Family", pp. 98, 111