Bach FAQ 89


How Many So-Called Bach Cities and Bach Places Are Existing?


Well, that really depends. Honestly.


There are four categories of Bach cities and Bach places and that is related to the fact, that not only Johann Sebastian Bach was a musician is this family but the Bachs were a whole family of musicians. Plus, there were his four famous sons, who were musicians. A total of some 150 musicians, may be way more were professional artists and all of them had the same last name - this was the Bach Family of musicians. Johann Sebastian himself called his family the "musicalisch-Bachische Familie".


In my first category "A" you will find all the cities and villages, in which Johann Sebastian Bach once lived and acted or at least married. In these cities and communities he didn't just perform once, twice or more often. Category two are cities and villages, which are worth to mention because they are related to the Bach Family of musicians. It's if there is a significance related to the family, whether it's genealogy or just the pure number of family members. My third category finally present all Bach cities and Bach places, in which Johann Sebastian Bach performed at least once, inspected an organ or has been there for further reasons.


Nine Bach cities and Bach places belong into my first category. In Eisenach he lived for sure, but he acted there as well, as he sang, while his father played an instrument. That is why Eisenach is perfect in category one. Ohrdruf has to be in that important category too. He lived there with his oldest brother plus he made music in that time as well. That is how he contributed to the financial situation, aside of the scholarship. Lueneburg is the next Bach city. Johann Sebastian Bach lived there, learned music among others, and made money with music as well. He sang.


Now, in my category "B" five cities are next, where there is no doubt they are true Bach Cities. Three of them are located in the Federal State of Thuringia, two are north of Thuringia. Firstly we have an A like Arnstadt, next is an M like Muehlhausen, finally it's a W like Weimar. The remaining two are Koethen in Saxony-Anhalt and finally Leipzig in the Federal state of Saxony. There is one real Bach place, where Bach didn't live, didn't act, hasn't inspected an organ and hasn't performed music. It is Dornheim. Because he married here, we consider Dornheim as the ninth important Bach place. If you are a student, remember 5 + 3 + 1. Youth + Career + marriage. One speciality is to mention: some biographers skipped the first time of Johann Sebastian Bach in Weimar, as this was a very short time and the job wasn't really crucial. We skip it too.


Category "C" is something for Bach enthusiasts only. Four locations are important in the family of musician's history. That is first and foremost the Bach place of Wechmar, where the Bachs began their musical tradition. Next is Erfurt, where are not less than sixty records linked to family members and are still to be found today. It's the Bach city of Gotha, as it's important in the genealogy. Caution by the way: Wechmar and Weimar really sound similar. Weissenfels is in this category too, as Bach was Ducal Weissenfels Band Leader.


Some additional twenty cities and communities are next in a third category, where Johann Sebastian Bach acted once or twice or where he inspected an organ. You could well argue, whether "just checking on an organ" makes a city a Bach city. It's on you, whether you skip this category three. But if you can't get enough background of that guy, sorry Johann Sebastian, it's here for you.


The fun ends, at least with me, with a number of thirty-three Bach cities and Bach places. It's because not even in the broadest sense communities don't count, in which Bach "just was once", places with less than five residents and communities, which do not exist anymore. There are a few such communities and correct, we also skip villages with less than five residents - typically me. Let's explain it that way: if once Bach travelled from Leipzig to Potsdam and his way went through the village of Lederhose, which is Leather Trousers, that doesn't make Leather Trousers a Bach city.


There is a category "D" which actually is a little gift for Kathie, Nancy, Debbie and Susan and all of their relatives in the United States of America. I made it for them as this is a convenient way to explore, where their roots in Germany are. And there is Gehren in that category, as it is just a little important, as there were too Bachs living back than, Maria Barbara Bach and her father, the organist there. And Gehren does not fit into the categories "A" or "B" or "C".


There is no category for cities and places like Bueckeburg, as we consequently would then have 150 Bach cities and places. This hint just for those who object and yes, my categories are my inventions, it's not a scientific thing.




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