Genealogical tree of the Bach family. Possibly made after a lost family tree out of Johann Christian Kittel’s legacy. (Source: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung, 1045)

Birth in Weimar (1714–1717)

Going His Own Way – Stations in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Life

Godfather Georg Philipp Telemann, etching by Georg Lichtensteger (um 1745). (Source: Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Inventar-Nr. A 21703)

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born on 8. March in 1714 in Weimar. His father, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), was court bandmaster, and already famous. His mother, Maria Barbara (1684–1720), was daughter to the Arnstadt cantor Johann Michael Bach, and was probably a singer. The child’s baptism was attended by Adam Immanuel Weldig, Catharina Dorothea Altmann and the Eisenach bandmaster Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767).

The two musician’s families Bach and Telemann were thus closely interconnected a generation before Carl Philipp Emanuel, which would be of significance in his later life. See the genealogical tree of the Bach family.


St. Peter and Paul, Weimar: C. E. P. Bach’s baptistry, steel engraving by Andreas Glaeser, 1830, probably a reengraving. (Source: Leipzig, Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Sign.: Graph. Slg. 11/23)

» Next: Childhood in Köthen (1717–1723)