A review, an essay or just homework. That is how the professionals do it: First just hop into the theme with a 9 minutes cool video, that is to say: Just watch the short video. With the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and with the cities and places, in which he once was living. And actually with all important details, from his birth until beyond his death: Everything to the point. Have fun watching.
Bach of all possible names. That is my name too plus it's the name of my wife. More precisely? Peter Bach, Jr. ... the first name of my wife is Renate. Since 2011 we are excited by the composer and for more than six years I have collected a huge Bach portal and Renate has explored in the meantime Renate has researched more about the genealogy of Johann Sebastian Bach. If homework, presentation or essay should not just become a pure text, then you will find – already on this page of my website – some photos matching the subject. On "Bach on Bach" however, you will find "truckloads" of motives more: Photos, engravings, erasures, paintings and much more. We both have a gigantic request: If my website has helped you with your job, so that is to say this page or even better the whole "Bach on Bach" portal, than please inform your teacher – probably it's your music teacher – about our websites. Maybe he or she doesn't know these websites so far, and we wish, that every music teacher on the planet should know, they are there. Already now and in advance thank you so much and much success with your essay, homework or presentation about Johann Sebastian Bach.
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First of all: You won't find a ready homework here or an essay, which you are supposed to create on your own. So the challenge, to create an essay, a presentation or just your smaller homework is still there. However, I worked so much around the theme of Johann Sebastian Bach in the last years, that I believe, I am capable to help you with your job. Plus I am able to give you valuable hints, which you would have to – without me – research with much effort. So, let's rock 'n roll.
Okay, back to your homework, your essay or your presentation about Johann Sebastian Bach. You start with this job best, like every essay with an introduction. Next is the main part, last is the final part. So, why don't you start this presentation not just like a biography? Actually like every biography about Johann Sebastian Bach, namely with his genealogy, that is to say with the family of Bach, respectively the ancestors of the exceptional artist? What do you have to keep in mind for your homework? Skip much of his ancestors. The genealogy is absolutely confusing and complicated. What counts: There are two dates, when everything began with this special family – so that is two years so to speak. 1504, this is the year when a Bach is mentioned in a letter for the first time. However, there is the year 1619. There is no more background regarding the year 1504. In 1619 a Veit Bach died in Wechmar in Thuringia. That is documented in a church book. Veit Bach was the great-great-grandfather of JSB. Plus he was the first musician in the family.
Johann Sebastian mentioned him as the ancestor in his collection of 53 male Bachs, of which almost everybody performed music. This collection is often called a family tree, but it's not. In this "Origin of the Musical Bach Family", which Bach experts call by its German shortcut "Ursprung" (... origin), JSB himself has selected Veit Bach the ancestor with the number 1. That, what exists as an original document about those 53 gentlemen, is a handwritten collection of age-old pages, which is handwritten but copied by Bach's granddaughter. JSB's original doesn't exist anymore For your essay, presentation or homework the origin of the Bache, how they were called back then, one more "trap". JSB wrote that the Bache came from Ungarn (Hungary). More exactly he wrote they came from Ungern with an "e" in the middle. It's correct that they probably immigrated to Hungary for two generations and came back after that. The cradle of this family of musicians is located – and that is a probability of 99 percent – in Thuringia. So this means in Wechmar or close to Wechmar. So the fact is: They had been living in Hungary for a while, but they didn't come from Hungary, nor from Pressburg*. By the way, the Bache are the largest and most prominent family of musicians in the world and of all times. And there is a huge distance to the next families of Musicians, Wagner and Liszt.
* Caution children, better you leave that Hungary stuff if you don't want to start a fight with your teacher. Why is that so? Because 99.99 percent of all Bach fans, Bach biographers, and Bach scientists are sure, they came from Hungary. Renate and I found out – proven by one essential document – that there is one earlier generation. This generation was living in Thuringia. If you really want to dive deep, deep ... really deep into that most complicated section of the Bach genealogy, you are invited cordially. With a click on this link.
In a short essay it's probably not that important: Here Veit Bach, the great-great-grandfather of Johann Sebastian Bach was a miller and baker. In the picture above you see the Veit Bach Mill in Wechmar in Thuringia. For a new road, it was torn down by a hair's breadth.
The main part of your homework, the essay or in your presentation about Johann Sebastian Bach. It starts with Bach's childhood and youth. Next is the working life of the master as a musician. It's important to tell you upfront, that exciting events are not even distributed over his lifetime. If your presentation or your essay is supposed to be exciting, it makes sense, to "divide" the life of Johann Sebastian Bach in two parts. First, everything before he went to Leipzig, after that his time in Leipzig. In Leipzig, he has lived for 27 years, the final 27 years. So that is more than half of his working life, even more than half of his musical life. Bach is born 1685 in Eisenach, he died in 1750 in Leipzig. You make your essay exciting, if you enclose, that Bach grew up in the Bachhaus (Bach House) in Eisenach, however, he wasn't born there. That is what everybody thought for more than 100 years. With nine years and almost ten years, Johann Sebastian Bach first lost his mother, shortly after that his uncle plus finally his father. It's exciting in the era of Eisenach, that he already performed music together with his father: Together they went to festivals, burials, and weddings. He was the eighth and youngest child, however half of his siblings didn't make it into adulthood, they died earlier. By the way: Here you won't find much about The life of Johann Sebastian Bach for your homework, essay or presentation. It's mainly about how to "construct" an essay, a presentation or a homework about the musician, so how to "build a framework", so to speak. My FAQ are next and a perfect step, to create a perfect essay, presentation or homework.
In the main part of your presentation, your homework or your essay here now is city 1 in the life of Johann Sebastian Bach: Eisenach in Thuringia. In the picture on the left, you discover the yellow Bachhaus, the Bach House. There Johann Sebastian Bach was living until he was round about 10 years old. However, he wasn't born there. On the right is the Bach museum and on the right – again – there is, relatively tiny, the Bach monument.
Homework JSB, next part: Ohrdruf. Here Johann Sebastian Bach lived after the death of his parents with his oldest brother. He hiked to Ohrdruf after there was nobody left in Eisenach to make money. Johann Sebastian Bach had one more brother, who was older. With him and with his older sister he was living until the death of their parents in Eisenach. And with him, he moved in with his oldest brother to Ohrdruf. So, three Bach brothers were living there. "Highlight" in Ohrdruf is the story with the note booklet with works of back then famous composers, which JSB wanted to copy absolutely. However his brother didn't give him permission and for that reason young Johann Sebastian from a cabinet with bars, he copied it, and he was pinched by his brother when he practiced to play the copied compositions. The oldest brother didn't just take away the copy, but never ever returned it to Johann Sebastian. By the way: It was in Ohrdruf when Bach met his friend Georg Erdmann.
Next step in your homework, your essay or your presentation: Lueneburg. Both hiked to that city in Northern Germany, an unbelievable huge distance back then. A ride with a carriage would have needed more time because carriages often were stuck, and if such a thing happened than the halt until that problem was solved, was really long. That happened when, for instance, a wheel broke. Plus carriages were stuck on the muddy roads back then. Plus, it cost a fortune, to travel that way back then. Nothing really special happened in Lueneburg. Johann Sebastian Bach continued his school education. However, that is relative and depends on how long your essay is supposed to become. A tip: On my website "Bach on Bach" there are five short biographies of different lengths and there are facts, too. Believe it or not, in Germany children google the term of "warrant" and I had a hard time to find out, what English speaking kids put into the search bar at Google. It's not warrant, but the term of "facts". So after I found out, I called this section "Facts, facts, facts!" So, the first project, how long your work should be. After that, you decide on the matching short biography. The longer the short biography is, that's logical, the more detailed is everything. However: It's just a foundation for your job, do not just copy and paste it!
Next step in your essay, your homework or your presentation: Bach's time in school combined. Bach was a moderate student in Eisenach because he was missing much of the instruction because he had to perform music with his father on festivals and events. Making money was a lot more important than his education. In Ohrdruf he was very good at school because his brother cared about his education. Plus he accomplished his school years in Lueneburg with excellence as well. He was permitted to study at a university. But he didn't want to. He hiked back to Thuringia as well. With this trip, the time in school ended for Johann Sebastian Bach.
The first half-year after his time in Lüneburg Johann Sebastian Bach probably spent in Thuringia however they are not sure about that fact. After that half-year, he was offered a job at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst in Weimar. As a musician. However, he found that exciting for just a half year. Caution, so he was employed in Weimar twice: in the very beginning of his career, plus later again.
Next city in your essay, homework or presentation: Arnstadt. There he got a first "real" job. As an organist. How long? Please check in the FAQ or in the chapter "facts". Arnstadt is exciting for you because there are three incidents, which fit perfectly in every essay or presentation about Johann Sebastian Bach. As an organist, he practiced with the church choir. One student disturbed for purpose. Bach was upset and he called him a "Zippelfagottist" (... don't translate this in your presentation, in German, it's more exotic). A term of abuse back then. Geyersbach was the name of that student and he wanted to teach Bach a lesson. Together with six more buddies and armed with clubs. They waylaid Bach. Once a night, Bach came back from performing at the prince's court, that is why he had his court costume on, and a part of this costume was an epee, a weapon. Bach unleashed it because of the majority, however, they didn't fight: The young men did a runner. However, Bach did not succeed with a complaint about Geyersbach at the town council, because Geyersbach had reputable parents. Second story: Bach applied for four weeks vacation, he hiked to Luebeck and back later and he was out of town for more than 12 weeks. Although he hired a deputy before, they were pi... ! However, Bach only got an admonition. Please check the details in the FAQ or read one of the short biographies. The third story: Bach let a woman perform - that is to say sing in a church. Women weren't allowed to perform in a church. Of course, they were allowed to join the others with singing. It is the story with the "foreign damsel", that is how they called an unmarried woman back then. Three events, it created three times trouble between Bach and the town council. Again, I mentioned it before, please check for details in the FAQ corner on "Bach on Bach". Bach, however, was fed up to the back teeth in Arnstadt and because they offered him the same position in Muehlhausen, he went to this city. There he made even more money. More than the organist earlier and more than he made in Arnstadt.
Just if you want to create a PowerPoint presentation with your essay, your homework or your presentation: This is the Bach Church in Arnstadt today. When Johann Sebastian Bach was cantor back then, the church's title was The New Church.
In Mühlhausen Bach's first very popular – after the name of the work – music piece came into being. It is the so-called "Ratswechsel Cantata", which is the "Change of the Town Council Cantata". Its title is "Gott ist mein Koenig, which is in English "God Is My King". A total of 1,228 music works of the master are still preserved. However, watch out for your wording in your homework, essay or presentation. He had composed truckloads more. The most well-respected Bach scientist assumes it had been over 11,000 pieces. However, all others are lost. In Mühlhausen, at the time to sign the contract, there was a fire. Better: There was a hefty fire. 400 homes plus stables were gone. That triggered an enormous inflation and everything became more and more expensive. And because all over Europe in general, but in Mühlhausen, in particular, the church leaders fought, Bach decided, to start a next job, again in Weimar. Talking of Weimar, that it's another "landmine" in the story regarding Bach: Weather Bach's music was just church music works, or whether he composed secular music, too. He created both, 100 percent sure. For instance, he was in his second period in Weimar not even hired by the church and that was a total of nine years. Plus the same is true in his time in Köthen. So chose a very careful wording. Or you skip this challenging terrain.
Important in your essay, your homework or your presentation: In five cities Johann Sebastian Bach has worked. In the picture above you see Mühlhausen that is in Thuringia, too.
Bach's wedding took place in his time in Mühlhausen. He met Maria Barbara either on one of the yearly family gatherings of the Bache (... the " e " is correct, it's a back then common plural, but you do pronounce it, like Porsche. However, many, many folks skip the pronunciation at the end of the name; however Ferdinand Porsche was a person, so Porsche was his name, so actually you have to pronounce the e of Bache, too, to understand this kind of plural). These family gatherings took place in a different town each year. The second possibility is, Bach met Maria Barbara in his time in Arnstadt when Maria Barbara and her sister moved to Arnstadt after their father died. Their dad was a composer and cantor in the close little city of Gehren, Thuringia. Maria Barbara Bach surely wasn't the "foreign damsel", which Bach allowed to perform music in the church, because she was well-known in Arnstadt. However, Bach married his cousin – more precisely and that is important to say – his second cousin finally in Dornheim, a stone's throw away from Arnstadt. In the cute, tiny church there and a pastor, who was a friend of Johann Sebastian Bach wedded them.
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In your essay, homework or presentation – aside from the domiciles – only four more places play a role for Johann Sebastian Bach: 1. Lübeck, that was this super long vacation. 2. Dornheim, there Bach married 3. Dresden: There the famous music contest took place and finally, 4. Berlin/Potsdam, the musical summit in the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. You get more information regarding point 3 and 4 later. Caution: These are the unimportant Bach cities and Bach places, however worth a visit.
As early as one year later, Johann Sebastian Bach moved again. Again to Weimar. For your essay, your homework and your presentation the time in Weimar isn't very rich in content. Although Bach's first children were born and a huge part of his music work came into being, but a really exciting story is missing in Weimar. Well, nothing but his impressive departure. He was permitted when it came to his promotion. So, he grumbled around, he complained in a letter, however, he received no answer and that is why he grumbled even more. The duke arrested him for that reason, so Bach could cool down. Bach spent four weeks in prison and the official reason was "stubbornness".
One beautiful story is, what you just have to mention in your essay, presentation or homework. Just squeeze it in: Because it happened during his period in Weimar, however, it was no additional workplace of Bach. Every Bach biographer, me too, had to think about how and where he or she could squeeze that episode in. Now, you don't have to, I told you that already. A French musician, Louis Marchand, made music in Versailles, in France for the French King. Marchand fought with his wife, wanted to get divorced and he didn't want to provide any money from his income for her anymore. The king in Versailles found that plan silly, and he commanded that Marchand had to pay her half of his salary. So, Marchand just performed half a concert and ran away. Details what happened after that, are what you can read in one of my short biographies. Marchand flew to Dresden. There they had the idea that Bach and Marchand could fight against each other in a music competition. Both found that cool. Bach practiced, Marchand didn't. In the night prior to the competition Marchand crept to Bach's room, heard Bach's music in the style of the "well-tempered piano", decided that he would probably lose the competition and left – during the night – Dresden, too. Sure, Bach had won for that reason. And he was celebrated by the Dresdeners.
The music competition is what you can mention in your essay, homework or presentation, but you don't have to. Because this contest with French man Marchand was not important. In the picture above is what we Germans call "chocolate view" of Dresden. By the way, don't miss Dresden, if your visit Dresden or the "Land of the Bach", a little south.
For your essay, presentation or homework you are no offered a little excursion into the world of music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Plus you get a little "wow factor". It is about the "well-tempered piano", it's not that easy to research and to understand it without help: If you tune a piano for one particular key to perfection than a view tones in a different key sound absolutely wrong. And vice versa. However, if you tune it only to 98 percent perfection, no human would realize these missing 2 percent. However exactly these missing 2 percents are responsible for the bad sound in a different key. To get to the point: It is what they later called the "happy medium". So, not to seek the perfection in one discipline, but to keep the big picture in sight. Who has invented it – Bach has invented it. This time it wasn't the Swiss.
After Bach was released from prison – next chapter in your essay, homework or presentation, whatever – he moved to Prince Leopold of Köthen to the city of Köthen, so that is to say Bach's first job outside Thuringia. Both, Bach and the prince became friends and Köthen is the only place in Bach's life, where he wanted to spend all of his future. Here he felt good, both job and everything else. However, after a journey with his prince to Carlsbad, he came back and found his Maria Barbara dead already at the age of 35 years. And she was buried already. Probably because he fell in love, not to manage the household, Bach married as late as 18 months after his first wife's death a singer at the court of Prince Leopold, Anna Magdalena. With her, he had – one after another – 13 more children. Combined with the first 7 with his first wife that's a number of 20 children exactly. However, half of them died earlier than they could accomplish adulthood. So everything changed in Bach's life and for several reasons he moved to Leipzig.
Only if that matches to the length of your homework, essay or presentation: In Köthen everything was perfect for Johann Sebastian Bach. Prince Leopold became his friend. The orchestra at this mini court were all professional musicians. Bach was even permitted to purchase musical instruments and this city wasn't too small, not too big. However, everything developed really differently.
For Bach Leipzig was a general drama with a break of 4 of 27 years. In Leipzig, he became Thomas Cantor. Four years long Principal Gesner acknowledged Bach's quality. The remaining 23 were no fun at all for Bach. For your essay, homework or presentation Johann Sebastian Bach's time in Leipzig suits precious little, if you measure the few stories with the many years he was living and working there. Just 3 episodes are exciting enough, to be presented. Three more stories are worth to mention, which happened in Bach's time there, however, they had been unimportant but fit in a short biography. The three episodes in Leipzig: That is firstly the letter to friend Geog Erdmann. Next is the so-called "fight of the prefects" with the tribute of the king in Dresden and finally Bach's trip to the King of Prussia to Berlin and Potsdam and his performance there. Bach's blindness is a fourth story, Bach's death a next and finally, the era after his death is number 6.
Nowhere in the world, two Bach monuments stand in a closer distance. This monument above is the Old Bach Monument. It's about 17 seconds on foot away from the most well-known Bach monument. Both are located next to the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig/Lipsia. Will your homework, your essay or your presentation be text and nothing but pure text, then this picture is of no value for you. However, for a PowerPoint presentation, it's just one pic of many more to come. A click gets you there.
About the so-called "Erdmann Letter", the "fight of the prefects" and Bach's trip to Berlin and Potsdam to King Friedrich II and the following composition of the work "Musical Sacrifice" you best read about in the FAQ or in one of my short biographies. That would be too long here and I won't accomplish your essay, your presentation or your homework here.
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It remains, that Bach probably suffered from diabetes or had a first stroke. Both could have triggered his blindness. He let a traveling, famous London doctor do a surgery in Leipzig. The first surgery didn't work, the second didn't as well. Bach "actually wasn't ill", just blind, however the back then medicine (... and for sure the back then bloodletting) and the struggle with the surgeries were accountable, that Bach's health went more and more south in the oncoming six months. A last highlight to report about is that he was able to see again, one day after six months. However on this very day he had his – either first or second – stroke and he died ten days later.
The most impressing of all Bach monuments. The New Bach Monument in Leipzig/Lipsia. It's a pity you can't show it in a presentation or an essay. Or can you?
Very exciting for the end or the finale of your presentation, homework or essay: First they hastily buried Bach just somewhere. No gravestone, no celebration, just down under the soil with him. After that, many years later, they needed the space along the church wall, so they exhumed him. His second burial was much more ceremonial. However, even later they realized what genius Bach as a composer really was, and they decided to bury Bach at a super place of honor inside the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig close to the Lord's Table. This is the place, to which thousands of Bach enthusiasts pilgrimage every year from all over the world.
You can close the circle with your homework, presentation or essay, if you tell the story, that he fathered – with both wives – four very well-known sons. Two sons were even more famous as their father at their time. Caution! The next information is what you have to handle very accurate. Why? Bach's music had gone out of fashion after his death and nobody wanted to listen to it anymore. Back then. The music of his sons, however, was contemporary. So, if you asked during the lifetime of Bach's sons, many more people knew them and that is why these sons were more well-known, and two even more famous as their father, which had died. Eventually, the sons died too and their music as well came out of fashion. So they forgot the music works of the sons as well. Tie between the five musical Bachs. For full 80 years, no one was interested in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. So because no one was interested in Bach's life work, the music work of Johann Sebastian Bach was considered "lost". Be careful again: That wasn't really missing, so that is to say all the music works, they just had been forgotten. By the broad public. They haven't been hidden somewhere in an attic or even buried.
Not earlier but 80 years later there was one more musician, a famous composer as well, with the name of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, who was excited by Bach's music work. He quickly shortened the 4 hours St. Matthew Passion by 30 minutes and performed it. So, that was the start of the "triumphal procession" of Bach around the world. 101 years after the world premiere he re-performed this works and it was victory. Much, much later Bach's works amazed in the USA and today the excitement for classical music, in general, a booming phenomenon in Asia, especially in Japan and China.
The grave of Johann Sebastian Bach in the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig/Lipsia. In a third attempt finally, he received his place of honor.
You didn't hope, that you will find a ready essay, presentation or homework here, did you?! Just poke around at "Bach on Bach" and if you want to perform your job as a PowerPoint presentation, then you will find hundreds of my photos, pictures, documents, and suggestions, which you may download. Why don't you send me your ready PowerPoint result? With Bach's music for my ears, of course. My wife and I would be very pleased, and if the work is really cool then there soon is a whole page on this very day on "www.johann-sebastian-bach-for-children.com", where I display and present the best works related to the subject of Bach of students and kids worldwide. Okay, here we go!
Enough essay, homework or a presentation? If so, you might listen the most exciting from the music works of Johann Sebastian Bach in quick five minutes. You can't "taste" Bach's music faster. However: Don't take that too serious. Thank you.
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