Johann Christoph Bach (organist, 1671)

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Johann Christoph Bach (born June 16, 1671 in Erfurt ; † February 22, 1721 in Ohrdruf ) was an older brother of Johann Sebastian Bach and an organist in Ohrdruf.


Johann Christoph Bach was born as the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach and his wife Elisabeth . He received his musical training from his father, who was a town piper and court musician in Eisenach from 1671 . In 1686 Johann Christoph received lessons from Johann Pachelbel in Erfurt, an already important and experienced organist at that time . He later passed this experience on to his children and younger brothers. Johann Christoph had been the organist at the main church St. Michaelis in Ohrdruf since 1690 and was highly regarded as a musician and personality. He is characterized as a balanced person who raised his children in a strict but friendly manner. All five sons became capable musicians - his descendants held the office of organist at the Michaeliskirche for over 100 years or taught as cantors at the Latin school . A few months before his father's death (1695) he married in Ohrdruf and settled there in the Langgasse district. There his children were born:

  • Tobias Friedrich (1695–1768; court choirmaster in Gandersheim , organist in horse life, 1722–1768 cantor in Udestedt )
  • Christiana Sophia (born August 21, 1697)
  • Johann Bernhard (1700–1743; organist at St. Michaelis in Ohrdruf)
  • Johann Christoph (1702–1756; teacher and cantor in Ohrdruf)
  • Johanna Maria (* 1705)
  • Johann Heinrich (1707–1782; cantor in Öhringen)
  • Magdalena Elisabeth (* 1710)
  • Johann Andreas (1713–1779; teacher and organist in Ohrdruf)
  • Johann Sebastian (* / † 1713)

After the death of their parents in 1694 and 1695, he took in his younger brothers Johann Sebastian and Johann Jakob . Johann Jakob finished his school career as early as 1696 and went back to Eisenach to begin an apprenticeship as a musician. Johann Sebastian left Ohrdruf in 1700 “ whether defect. hospitios ”, in other words due to a lack of living space, as an unclearly written entry in the school register noted in order to continue his schooling in Lüneburg.

The importance of Johann Christoph Bach lies not only in the fact that he gave his brother Johann Sebastian a solid basic musical education: Johann Christoph also represents a central figure in the Baroque Central German tradition of keyboard music. Two of his manuscripts have survived; they were recorded at the beginning of the 18th century: The "Andreas Bach Book" and the "Möllersche Handschrift". The very carefully written manuscripts, which also contain autographs by Johann Sebastian Bach, are the only source of tradition for some important works by, for example, Buxtehude , Bruhns or Pachelbel .


  • Rochus von Liliencron, Wilhelm Heinrich von Riehl:  Bach, Johann Sebastian . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, pp. 729-743. (Secondary entry)
  • Wilibald GurlittBach, Johann Sebastian. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1953, ISBN 3-428-00182-6 , pp. 485-488 ( digitized version ). (Here: p. 485)
  • Michael Belotti: Dieterich Buxtehude's free organ works. Studies in the history of tradition and style-critical studies. 2nd Edition. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1997.
  • Michael Belotti (Ed.): Joh. Pachelbel. Complete Works for Keyboard Instruments. Volume I: Preludes and Toccatas Pedaliter. Leupold, Boston, Mass. 1999.

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