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Veit Bach [1] (Musician)

Born: ? - Pressbug ? [now Bratislava]
Died: Before 1578 - Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany

Veit Bach [1], a baker by trade, was the earliest member of the family to show musical proclivities and was head of the Wechmar line.

The Ursprung traces the Bach family as far back as Veit [1] in the mid-16th century. Up to the generation of Veit's grandsons, however, much remains unclear, and the lack of available archival documents in church records and elsewhere makes it impossible to clarify this period in the family's history. The supposition, found in some Bach literature, that Veit was a son of Hans [54] is untenable; this Hans, who can be traced in Wechmar in 1561, must have been a brother, cousin or other relative. Nothing is known of his profession. Although Hans is the earliest bearer of the name of Bach to be found in Wechmar, no further conclusion can be drawn from that. By this time the name of Bach (also often spelt 'Baach', hinting at the phonetic value of a long 'a', as in 'father'; see Bach-Dokumente, ii, nos.l and 6) was widespread in the Thuringian region, and it can be traced back to the 14th century, though there is no evidence that any of these earlier members of the family were involved in musical activity. The Ursprung says of Veit, who was a baker by trade, that his hobby was playing the 'cythringen' (a small cittern). There is an explicit additional sentence - 'this was, as it were, the beginning of music in his descendants' - which probably indicates that none of Veit's ancestors was a professional musician. Neither was Veit himself. He had most likely been driven from Moravia or Slovakia about 1545 as a result of the expulsion of Protestants in the Counter-Reformation, at the time of the Schmalkaldian War (1545-1547). The reference to 'Hungary' in the Ursprung is not to be taken literally and in accordance with the terminology of the time must signify in general terms the central lands of the Habsburg Empire (including present-day Austria and Czechoslovakia). Veit took up residence in Wechmar - a small town located between Gotha and Ohrdruf - and must have died by 1577 as for that year his sons Johann(es) [Hans] Bach [2] and Lips [3/57] are recorded as house-owners in Wechmar. Contrary to current opinion (which is based on the assumption that Hans was Veit's father), Veit did not migrate from Wechmar or Thuringia but (according to Korabinsky, 1784) was born in Moravia or Slovakia, as the son of an earlier migrant, possibly in or near Pressburg (now Bratislava). There, and elsewhere in the Habsburg lands, various people by the name of Bach can be traced in the 16th and 17th centuries, among them musicians such as the Spielmann (violinist) and jester Johann or Hans Bach. It seems noteworthy that Count Questenberg, with whom J.S. Bach had connections, amployed a cetain Maria Rosina Bach in 1721 as a maid at his Moravian castle Jaromĕřice.


Source: The New Grove Bach Family (Author: Christoph Wolff, MacMillan London, 1983)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2008)

Bach Family: Sorted by Name | Sorted by Number | Family Tree | Family History | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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