Facts, Facts, Facts: The Life of Johann Sebastian Bach


So, you were searching facts on the internet? Facts and Johann Sebastian Bach?! And you doubt, there are 100 facts plus 20 funny facts? Exciting facts? And even cool facts? Well, this huge Johanns Sebastian Bach website offers really much more than boring facts. Here you'll find entertainment, fun, much, what you didn't expect and never thought there is such a thing around the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Just try this page, and after that, please hop to more great corners of this project. Thank you and welcome on my "Bach on Bach" mission website.


An age-old photography: Johann Sebastian Bach next to the Bach House and the Bach Museum at Eisenach. This chapter "Bach Facts" is illustrated by really historic photos.


Name: Johann Sebastian Bach
Time epoch: Baroque
Specialty (1): Most famous composer on earth
Specialty (2):

Member of the largest family of musicians on earth

Time of life: March 21st, 1685 until July 28th, 1750
Born: at Eisenach (... not in the Bach House)


at Leipzig



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20 More Funny and Exciting Facts about Johann Sebastian Bach Are Below the Serious Facts about the Composer 

The Bach House at Eisenach. Did Johann Sebastian Bach live here? Yes, he did. Was he born in that house? No, he wasn't.


Great-great-grandfather:       Hans, der Spielmann
Father: Johann Ambrosius Bach
Mother: Maria Elisabetha Bach, nee Lemmerhirt
Stepmother: Barbara Margaretha Bach, nee Keul
Siblings: seven (siblings, not children) =
combined: eight, including JSB
siblings four

from JSB's age

of nine years:  

Coming with the Bach facts is the Bach video: the Bach mini-biography. The facts are information to the point. The eight minutes short Bach video is the matching exciting journey to watch: an extremely short biography. It's high-speed knowledge, so to speak. And that means ...? Facts plus ultra short "Bach Mini Video Biography" are ...? Knowledge plus entertainment in warp speed.


Musical  a. at Eisenach from his father until 1695
Education: b. at Eisenach from his uncle until 1695
  c. at Ohrdruf from his oldest brother
      until 1699
  d. at Lueneburg at the school of
      St. Michaelis Church until 1702
Nature of: a. Singing (as a boy and student)
Education b. Playing piano
  c. Playing violin
  d. Playing with many more instruments


e. Playing organ


f.  Organ inspection


The chimney on the upper right edge of the picture does not exist anymore. The house below doesn't exist anymore too. There the latest state-of-the-art Bach Museum is located today. Please don't judge my whole Johann Sebastian Bach website too serious, including this facts page.



  Weimar (1)
  Weimar (2)



A no-no for Bach admirers, but here on the "facts page" it's perfect: Bach's top pieces as "music facts" so to speak: the 33 most popular and most admired works in a length as swift as an arrow, which is 333 seconds. You won't find faster "Bach Facts Music." To meet Bach music first time, not to waste too much time on that and both at lightning speed: The "Bach Music Pieces Facts Video" - that is me, I am just a funny maker.




1703 at the age of 18 years organist at Arnstadt
  1707 at the age of 22 years organist at Muehlhausen
  1714 at the age of 29 years concertmaster at Weimar
  1717 at the age of 32 years bandmaster
  1718 at the age of 33 years bandmaster and
  the music director at Koethen
  1723 at the age of  38 years Thomas Cantor at Leipzig 
  1736 at the age of 51 years Royal Polish
  and Electoral Saxon Court Composer


Duke Johann Ernst of Saxony-Weimar

  Council of the City of Arnstadt
  Council of the City of Muehlhausen
  Duke Johann Ernst of Saxony-Weimar
  Sovereign Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen
  Council of the City of Leipzig

No television, no radio, no internet ... today really unimaginable for the most of us.



10 of the most

well-known works:            

Toccata und Fuge in D-Moll

  Ave Maria
  Air - Das Wohltemperierte Klavier 
  Die Kunst der Fuge
  Die Brandenburgischen Konzerte

Number of assumed


works, approximately:  

Number of conserved

works, approximately:  
Spouses: Maria Barbara Bach (married 1707)
  Anna Magdalena Wilcke (married 1721)

The number of children:


with Maria Barbara: seven

with Anna Magdalena: thirteen


Names of children:

Catharina Dorothea

  Wilhelm Friedemann
  Johann Christoph
  Maria Sophia
  Carl Philipp Emanuel
  Johann Gottfried Bernhard
  Leopold Augustus
  Christina Sophia Henrietta
  Gottfried Heinrich
  Christian Gottlieb
  Elisabeth Juliana Friderica
  Ernestus Andreas
  Regina Johanna
  Christina Benedikta
  Christina Dorothea
  Johann Christoph Friedrich
  Johann August Abraham
  Johann Christian
  Johanna Carolina
  Regina Susanna
Number of musicians five
of Bach's sons:  

Number of Bach's

famous sons:  

It took another 200 years until the first dish washer was invented. Hopefully not too many, who adore Bach, leave this website after experiencing this "Bach Facts" for good? Anyway. Here the wife of Johann Ambrosius sizzled for son Johann Sebastian Bach and his siblings.



Place of Bach's grave today: St. Thomas Church, Leipzig,
  close to the Lord's table.
Living great-great-grandchildren  ... yes
of Johann Sebastian Bach:


Living great-great-grandchildren

... none

by Johann Sebastian Bach,  
with the name of Bach:  
Living family members of the

... in Germany, in the

Bach Family of Musicians today: the Netherlands and in the USA.

Nowhere but in the Bach House at Eisenach, you can "jump right into the epoch" of Johann Sebastian Bach. Picture number 6 on the Bach facts page: the instrument hall.



Biographies on Bach: There are 700 in
  different languages.
Books, dissertations More than 56.000.
and essays on Bach:


Tributes/quotes to Bach: Approximately 70.
Stamps with Bach: Approximately 150.

What the rooms looked like, in which little Johann Sebastian Bach lived back then, is what you can explore here. However, how the Bachs lived with low ceilings in the past is something, what you can only experience in the Bach House at Eisenach. If you haven't read my dispensable picture comments on this "Johann Sebastian Bach Facts Page," you were able to consume the most important facts really dreamlike fast. But I apologize to all more serious Johann Sebastian Bach admirers because of my "fun making." However, this is the motto of my project: something exciting may be amusing as well. Admiration may be bright: my "Bach Facts, Facts, Facts" about the Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Court Composer Johann Sebastian Bach from Eisenach.



Here They Are: More Funny Facts, More Entertaining Facts, More Exciting Facts


Make your work the best Bach essay, presentation, homework on the planet. And here is a suggestion how you afford this. What if you combine the facts here with the 10 Bach cities and Bach places, not all related to the master musician (... but with the Bach family of musicians) and you list them "one Bach place, one Bach fact, another Bach city, another Bach fact. With all these Bach facts you have an interested and stunning audience instead of a yawning and uninterested crowd of buddies and friends and classmates. Plus, wait until your teacher gets the level of "inside information": 20 more funny and exciting facts about Johann Sebastian Bach, his life, and his family.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 1


Bach was born in the same year as world famous baroque composer Handel. While Bach was born on 21st of March, Handel was born on March 5th. While Bach died and left his wife in poverty and nobody showed up at his first hasty burial, Handel inherited between two and 6 million € / $, depending on the currency. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and 3,000 humans came. Fact? Yes and this only the first of many facts to follow.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 2


For a really long, long time, Bach scientists, Bach genealogist, Bach lovers and members of the Bach Society in Leipzig / Lipsia weren't Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21st or on March 31st in the year 1685. Why was that so? Because there had been to calendars: The Gregorian and the Julian calendar. Humanity switched from one to the other within 500 years. This is a fact inside the Bach fact list. Yes, and you got that right. Humankind started some 500 years back to state that they follow the modern calendar. Then the next state followed, then the following people agreed. The last nation, to join the party finally was China, 500 years after the first group changed. Because they weren't sure, what to decide for as a measurement, both dates were correct – so to speak for al long time – and finally, the Bach world reached an agreement, that 21st of March 1685 was the official birth date.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 3


For many, many decades people in Eisenach, Thuringia and for that reason, everybody did, believed that Johann Sebastian Bach was born in the Bachhaus, the Bach House, actually that yellow building, which you already discovered. There even was a plague on this house over the entrance, that this was a fact. Later Bach scientist found out, that the composer was born some 60 seconds away if you walk a little street direction market place. Now there are two facts: On the one hand, the Bachhaus has a real hard time, to convince people and visitors, that the Bachhaus is not Bach's birth place. On the other side, this plague and the story around is now history itself. You realize: Facts over facts.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 4


Johann Sebastian Bach got into trouble because he let a woman perform in one of the churches in Arnstadt, a real no-go back then. However, they didn't punish Bach. Some say this foreign lady was Maria Barbara Bach, which – as a fact – cannot be true because Maria Barbara Bach was known in Arnstadt at that time. And the saying is, that he let "a foreign lady sing!"



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 5


Johann Sebastian Bach requested a vacation in Arnstadt, where he got his first job. And although he was really young and had received this job recently, the town council approved his request. He wanted to hike to Luebeck to listen to an organ master. He well knew he wouldn't make it back in time. Yes, he had hired a supervisor – a Bach as well of course for the time of his absence – but he extended his trip from 4 weeks to more than 12 weeks. Of course, he got into trouble, but they didn't punish Bach. Another time back then. Another fact.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 6


Wilhelm Friedemann Bach – some say he was Bach's favorite son. However, he was his oldest – was an honorable and gifted musician and composer. Humanity however today and already for a real long time thinks he was a drinker and a jerk. You might have seen a painting of a Bach who wears a fur scarf and a hat. And it's a fact, which this person is not Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Yes, it's a Bach, but not Wilhelm Friedemann. Second, an author wrote a novel about Wilhelm Friedemann – not a biography, just a novel – but that became a bestseller, and the content was, that Bach was a drinker, a jerk, just a bad person. And it was a fact, which WFB was no such person. Fact is, that it's a hard endeavor, to minimize the damage so long after this Bach's death. Together with a Circle of friends of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 7


Johann Sebastian Bach spent four weeks in prison. Because of stubbornness. He was no employee of the Duke of Weimar. The duke owned people, and he owned Bach too. Bach signed a contract without asking for permission to leave. But the duke didn't let him go. And he didn't want to listen to Bach. So Bach got angry, said things about the duke, he shouldn't have, and for that reason, he was arrested. If you "jump" into the historic paperwork in the city of Weimar, you undoubtedly find, this is fact.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 8


Johann Sebastian Bach once won the strangest music contest ever. The world's best musicians met in Dresden back then. One was the locally famous composer Bach from Weimar, Thuringia. The other musician played for the king of France in Versailles, the musician's name was Marchand. Marchand was arrogant. However in the night before the competition, Marchand heard Bach performing music, gave up and took the next stagecoach back to France. The whole story is even funnier. Promise, What now, after you learned about these facts if you hop to one of the more extended short biographies?



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 9


Johann Sebastian Bach, pilfered – when he was between 10 and 12 – a booklet with compositions from his oldest brother in Ohrdruf. However, he was not supposed to copy it. But Bach did it in many full moon nights in months. When he was ready, he wanted to practice the music works. His brother – coming home surprisingly – took away the copy from Johann Sebastian and never returned it. When his most famous son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, wrote the necrology after his dad's death, that was in 1750, he mentioned this story, to connect his father's blindness in the age of 65 with his dad's flippancy, not to care about his eyes, when he copied the note booklet in weeks with full moonlight only. Both events in Bach's life were separated by more than a half a century. And all these are facts.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 10


Bach once wanted to work in Hamburg. So he traveled to the city in Northern Germany, he played to the employer successfully, they agreed to hire him. However, he never took the job, as he would have had to pay 8,000 mark upfront, a fortune. Such was typical back then. Believe it or not: Back then you paid to be employed in such a position. However it's a fact, which you made way more money after a short period, so for many, it was a perfect deal.



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20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 11


Bach almost didn't marry his first wife! When Bach was working at his first real job, as a cantor in Arnstadt, he made a trip to Luebeck, where he listened to an old organ master, the cantor in a church there. As this musician was old, he offered his job to Johann Sebastian. The problem was, Bach would have had to marry the cantor's daughter, too. That is what Bach didn't like, so he refused the job in Luebeck. That is fact and proven. However, nobody knows, whether Johann Sebastian Bach already dated his later wife. Fact is, he married her in his period in Muehlhausen. The location, however, was Dornheim, which is another fact.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 12


Johann Sebastian Bach himself created the Bach family crest. It's a combination of cirrus branches with leaves and the three letters J and S and B. He next mirrored these three letters. Finally, he put a crown on top of it. There's no doubt about this fact.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 13


Johann Sebastian Bach himself put together a list, which is inadvertently considered a Bach family tree or the Bach genealogy. Only folks who are interested in both, Johann Sebastian Bach plus genealogy realize, it's not. Bach was not interested in genealogy – you can tell by the missing information, which would have been collected more than easy – and you can make no consequent foundation out of his collection of names. It's a list of 53 Bachs, all males, but not all are musicians. He didn't mention one single female Bachs, and the document is missing data, the closer the relative was living, or in age, the more data is missing. However, the value of Bach's collection is unbelievable. Bach collected this data when he was 50. A critical age – even today – for all genealogists. Renate and I consider that result a fact. However, if you ask anybody else who is interested in Bach, they wouldn't consider it a fact, they consider it the Bach genealogy. It's not.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 14


It is said, that once Johann Sebastian Bach was so angry about somebody in his choir or his orchestra, that he threw his peruke after this musician. However, first – we know the following from the only letter of Bach to his friend Erdmann – Bach had to work with students that couldn't even sing ... and that was true for the most gifted musician ever. Plus, there is no evidence in any council papers, which he did such a thing. However, today it's one indication that Bach was a hothead. Should we consider those facts? Nope, because those stories are a rumour, they are no facts. By the way ... one peruke thrown in 50 years of a musician's life ... plus didn't Bach know how bad perukes would fly? Well, he was no gifted physicist, he was a gifted composer.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 15


Bach has composed indeed many cantatas, one of them is the "farmers cantata," another is the "coffee cantata." Although every once in a while people think, he composed a "beer cantata," that is a. not true, and b. Scientifically researched and proven. So, this is fact.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 16


Historical papers of a silver mine confirmed that Johann Sebastian Bach possessed shares of a silver mine enterprise. Very view people however know, that there is no difference compared to today when individuals are not rich because they hold a few GE shares or some 5 to 10 Apple shares. The simple possession doesn't tell, whether a person is rich, wealthy or whether he lost much money with a transaction of buying and selling stocks. It's like, owning Lehman Brothers shares: Even as early as 1730 or 1740 that only stated one fact: Johann Sebastian Bach owned shares of a silver mine. This fact was discovered long after the turn of the millennium when Bach was already dead for more than 250 years.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 17


Yes, Johann Sebastian Bach did unleash his epee, and he threatened one of his choir students. Actually, he threatened a total of 7 of them. In Arnstadt, where he had his first "real" job, he conducted and worked with the church choir. To make a long story short: He called one student a Zippelfagottist, actually something like a jerk nowadays. So this young adult, Geyersbach, waylaid Bach, together with six buddies and armed with clubs. Bach came from a concert for the prince in Eisenach, and he wore his costume. One part of this costume was an epee. And facing seven older boys – Bach was alone, and it was dark in the middle of the night – he decided to unleash his epee and aim at Geyersbach. They ran away, but this incident influenced the career of Johann Sebastian Bach. It's no legend – it's a fact.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 18


The number of 14. This particular number played a significant role in Johann Sebastian Bach's life. This number was so substantial that there are several publications in the 20th and the 21st century about that fact and that mystery.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 19


... and almost last fact in this little listing: Johann Sebastian Bach today is considered the most famous composer and musician of all times. I didn't state he is the best and I didn't pretend: His music is the most favored. This status is a summary that goes from the verdict of the New York Times, via so many tributes about the master until the number of monuments, which honor this particular person in the world. Can you imagine ... first fact ... that his most significant of all works, the St. Matthew Passion, some 4 hours long and today acknowledged as something not from this world: The world premiere wasn't even mentioned in the daily newspaper on the next morning? Fact two: Johann Sebastian Bach was hastily buried after he died, no one paid for a gravestone and a few decades later, they didn't even know for sure, which remainings were those of the most celebrated composer of all times.



20 Bach Facts  Fact No. 20


Did you know that there is no such picture or a painting or an engraving or a photo (... of course, no photo) neither of Maria Barbara Bach nor Anna Magdalena Bach? There is no such portrait. This is just a fact. Believe me; it's a serious fact. Even in the Bachhaus in Eisenach, Thuringia – in which Bach wasn't born – there is a portrait of a young woman, how she might have looked like back then. But the director of the Bachhaus tells you, it's not the portrait of Maria Barbara. Everything that you find on Google: It's not a picture of Maria Barbara Bach. Nor, if you google images with the search term of "Anna Magdalena Bach." Don't believe it: There is no such thing as a painting of Anna Magdalena Bach. One exception: There is one historical painting, which developed to be the cover of a singing book. And this picture is told to show Johann Sebastian Bach in a place over the river Pleiße, which flows through Leipzig / Lipsia. The book is called "Singende Muße über der Pleiße" which is "Singing Muse on the Pleiße." No expert ever, no Bach scientist, just nobody ever stated that this is not Anna Magdalena Bach. So ... fact or no fact? Regarding Maria Barbara it's clear: It's a fact, there is no such portrait. Fact regarding Anna Magdalena Pics on the net: Almost all don't show JSB's second wife. But one.



Johann Sebastian Bach 4 Ever: Facts, Facts, FactsThere's No Better Place To Meet the Composer of the Millenium: "Bach on Bach" is "Bach über Bach"!


For kids researching for their homework, an essay or a presentation about Johann Sebastian Bach: If these 20 facts – actually 21 funny, exciting and entertaining facts – are not perfect to decorate a dry presentation, essay or a homework, what does after all? Speaking of facts: Now, that you know so much about Bach, it's on you, to consider him the best of the best or you don't agree. You learned much about Bach facts. However whether he was the most famous composer ... is it a fact or is it no fact?



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