Often, a symphony's movement are as follows: fast-slow-playful (scherzo)/dance-like (minuet)-fast. The origin of symphonies can be traced back to Baroque sinfonias.
We will begin exploring this form by looking at the works of three of Johann Sebastian Bach's sons.
Carl Philipp Emanuel BachBorn on March 8, 1714 in Weimar, he was the second son of Johann Sebastian and his first wife, Maria Barbara. CPE Bach credits his father as his main influence. He became the harpsichordist of Frederick II of Prussia in 1740 and many years later in 1767, he became music director in Hamburg. CPE Bach was prominent during his time prompting many to affirm that he is Bach's worthy successor. He wrote chamber music, concerti, religious pieces, songs, sonatas and symphonies. Another notable contribution of CPE Bach is his published "Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments." He died on Dec. 14, 1788 in Hamburg.
Johann Christian BachBorn on Sept. 5, 1735 in Leipzig, he was the youngest son of Johann Sebastian and his second wife, Anna Magdalena. His father was his first instructor and when their father died, he worked with his older brother, CPE Bach. He became a student of Padre Martini in 1756 when he moved to Bologna. Four years later, he became organist at a cathedral in Milan. He was also appointed as music master for Queen Charlotte. He composed cantatas, chamber music, keyboard and orchestral works, operas and symphonies. He died on Jan. 1, 1782 in London and is also called the "English Bach".
Wilhelm Friedemann BachBorn on Nov. 22, 1710 in Weimar, he was the eldest son of Johann Sebastian and his first wife, Maria Barbara. He was very much influenced by his father who wrote for him keyboard works titled "Klavier-büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach" when he was 10. Aside from the keyboard, Wilhelm Friedemann also played the violin. He became organist at a church in Dresden in 1733, by 1746 he moved to Halle. Although extremely talented, personal struggles weighed him down causing him to never fully live up to his potential. He died on July 1, 1784 in Berlin leaving several works such as cantatas, chamber works, keyboard pieces, an opera and symphonies.