Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was the second child, the oldest son, of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. He was born in Weimar on November 22, 1710, and when he was no longer a child he passed into a strong musical instruction program. He was trained by his father in musical theory, composition, and playing organ, violin, harpsichord, and clavichord. His father also wrote for him many now-famous instruction pieces, for example The Well-tempered Klavier and Inventions. In 1723, the Bach family moved to Leipzig, and Bach became enrolled at the Thomas Schule. Then, he went to the University of Leipzig, where he graduated in 1729. During this time, he composed music, including a couple of keyboard concerti that demonstrated his ability to create music.
In 1733 Bach became the organist at the St. Sophia Church in Dresden, because in the competition for the post his playing was so vastly superior no others stood a chance. He held this position for thirteen years, and composed a great deal of music. Bach also was raised high in the social life of the area, so because of his musical gifts. After leaving the post in Dresden, Bach went to Halle, becoming organist for the Liebfrauen Kirchen. For eighteen years, ending in 1764, he performed on the organ and conducted the orchestra in great distinction.
On May 12, 1764 Bach resigned from this post, claiming that he was not sufficiently recognised there. For the next few years, he lived a dangerous life, hoping to get money where he could. He gave organ recitals, taught music, and composed music to sell to wealthy patrons. But with all this work, he barely made enough to get by for himself and his family. The last years of his life were disappointing and bitter, and he died in Berlin on July 1, 1784, leaving his wife and daughter in poverty.
Bach has been used as a character in many novels and paragraphs pertaining to that time. He is portrayed as being very lazy and impertinent to family, friends, and everyone else; as having a serious drinking problem, and being very eccentric with strange and bad habits. However he produced a large quantity of music, and some of it is of great quality.