Johann Sebastian Bach

Fun Facts

  • An 8th generation musician, Bach was part of a family which included many distinguished and professional musicians.

  • The name "Bach" means "brook" in German.

  • At age ten, Bach lost both of his parents.

  • Bach is recognized as the greatest master of harmony and counterpoint of all time.

  • Maria Barbara, Bach's second cousin and first wife, was the inspiration for many of his early compositions.

  • Bach once challenged fellow harpsichord wizard Louis Marchand to a keyboard duel in 1717. However, Marchand proved unworthy of the challenge and fled on the day of the duel. It was said that Bach was too modest to speak of the event in his later life, and was perhaps a little ashamed to have embarrassed young Marchand.

  • Bach had a total of twenty biological children. Four of his sons also became composers and musicians.

  • A prolific composer, Bach wrote over 1100 compositions.

  • Never leaving Germany, Bach's entire life was lived within a 150-mile radius of his birthplace.

  • Bach was arrested and put in jail for several weeks in 1716 for requesting release from his position as court organist for Duke Wilhelm Ernst.

  • Outside of his reputation as an organ virtuoso, Bach was not especially popular during his lifetime. It took later composers like Mendelssohn to reignite interest in Bach's compositions.

  • Bach was blinded by the ocular surgeon John Taylor -- the same surgeon who blinded Handel.

  • Bach continues to be the most performed and recorded composer in history.

More Resources

Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Bach.

Works Catalog

See our listing of 0 works by Johann Sebastian Bach.


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