Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 31, l685, in the town of Eisenach, in the state of Thuringia, located in central Germany. He was the youngest son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, court trumpeter for the Duke of Eisenach and director of the musicians of the town, and Maria Elisabetha Lammerhirt Bach. For many years, members of the Bach family throughout Thuringia had held positions such as organists, town instrumentalists, or Cantors, and the family name enjoyed a wide reputation for musical talent.
Bach’s home in Eisenach was a spacious one, located just above the town center, with extra rooms for apprentice musicians. It was in this home that Bach’s father taught him to play the violin and the harpsichord. Bach was also began the art of organ playing, learning from his famous uncle, Johann Christoph Bach, who was then organist at the Georgenkirche in Eisenach. Bach was a very willing student and soon became extraordinarily proficient with these instruments.
When he was eight years old Bach went to the old Latin Grammar School where he was taught reading and writing, Latin grammar, and a great deal of scripture, both in Latin and German. The boys of the school formed the choir of the St. Georgenkirche, which gave Bach an opportunity to sing in the regular services, as well as in the nearby villages.
Tragedy stuck Bach’s family at an early age with the loss of his a sister and a brother. When he was only nine years old his mother died. Eight months later he lost his father. As a result Bach and one of his brothers, Johann Jakob, went to live with their eldest brother, Johann Christoph who had recently married and settled down at Ohrdruf, a small town thirty miles southeast of Eisenach.
While living in Ohrdruf, Bach began studying the organ and harpsichord. He quickly mastered all the pieces he had been given. He was also encouraged by his brother to study composition and was set copying music by German organist composers. Bach...