Talk:Goldberg Variations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Aria ornaments[edit]

I've been investigating the ornaments in bar 2 of the Aria as the two semi-quavers are treated differently from each other in my GG recording. The only specific reference I have found says that the falling thirds A F# D with slurred ornaments should be treated as fast and before their respective beats. Stephen B Streater (talk) 19:59, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

What was the source for that investigation? Common practice was that these ornaments were played on the beat, and rather slow, because they are in fact 'seufzers'.DTBone (talk) 00:10, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

The tempo of the giga variation[edit]

Hello, I just reverted an edit discussing the style and tempo of the Gigue variation. My two reasons are:

  • The claim made in the new edit that the gigue is a "French gigue" was made without a reference source, and is possibly quite subjective. I'd like to see a source before including it.
  • The edit removed what I felt was a useful and intriguing point: that performers who made recordings before the 1974 discovery of the composer's own annotated copy sometimes picked a tempo that turned out to be quite different from what Bach evidently intended.

I hope this seems reasonable. Opus33 (talk) 04:23, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Rolff Damman points out in his book about the Goldbergs, that Bach used the word 'giga' and 'gigue' to distinguish between the resp. French and Italian styles. In this case it makes more sense to connect 'al tempo di giga' to the Italian style, which usually is performed little faster than the more elegant 'french' gigue. Actually one might even argue it is a fast siciliano (also more italian and little faster than the french derivate sicilienne) Maybe of interest too is some thoughts i gave to the Goldbergs in an article published in the music magazine Pianowereld in the Netherlands. The english transcript of that article is at my site. and a graph is here. There one can see some maybe deeper symbolical link between this gigue (variation 7) and variation 22, the alla breve; which is another 'faster' piece with an extra title. (I noticed that between variation 7 and 22 lay exactly 14 (!) other variations, where 14 can be seen as the Bach-number (2+1+3+8).). I know this is not scientific research, but a personal interpretation/speculation of my findings. regards, Tjako (talk) 17:09, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. The discussion currently in the article does have a reference source, but I nevertheless sense that it is a bit unbalanced, emphasizing the views of one scholar (albeit a highly qualified one) without properly summarizing other views. When I have some time I will look at your reference and others and try to balance it a bit (if no one else does first). Opus33 (talk) 00:00, 20 September 2009 (UTC)


According to a BBC announcer, anyway, one of the two Quodlibet folktunes is the theme around which Buxtehude organized his Capricciosa variations; whether Bach knew these or no is not established. The two works do have their similarities. Schissel | Sound the Note! 03:02, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, that's Kraut und Rüben or Bergamasca. There's a reference to a Sisman article at New Grove at the Bach cantata website: [1]. Maybe someone with access to New Grove can insert relevant parts here or start a Kraut und Rüben article. Sisman is very reputable. I don't think its a question about whether Bach knew of previous works. These were very well-known tunes. Just searching my Itunes database, there's a Bergamasca movement in Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances which starts off with the same four Kraut-und-Rü-ben notes. Repighi based that on an old lute piece by Bernardo Gianoncelli. That part is OR, but Sisman isn't. :-)DavidRF (talk) 18:56, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
That excerpt should be enough to support the Groves reference. If you really feel the whole article should be consulted, let me know. Also, I suspect Markus Weng (2008) Johann Sebastian Bachs Goldberg-Variationen: Gattungsinterferenz in Johann Sebastian Bachs Goldberg-Variationen might be of service as well. Eusebeus (talk) 07:18, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Appearances in modern media[edit]

Might it be a good idea to include a few examples of appearances in modern media, like films or radio plays and the like? (talk) 07:35, 4 July 2010 (UTC) predcon

I agree. --Gloumouth1 12:02, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
We've tried this before (see article history) and it seemed to work rather badly -- you get a huge pile of stuff, almost none of it sourced, and a lot of the items seemed ephemeral with notability issues (see WP:TRIVIA). Eventually it all got taken out. I would add that pop culture references tell you nothing about the Goldberg Variations themselves, other than that they are really famous; and we already know that. Opus33 (talk) 17:23, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Opus33. Especially now that there is a free license recording we'll just end up with a giant list of semi-notable media that doesn't really further the readers understanding of the Goldberg Variations (other than emphasizing that they are famous). Kaldari (talk) 21:15, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Bass line[edit]

I'm not sure about the figured bass on the page, bar 26. Is that B meant to have a "6", since it is a G-major first inversion rather than a B-minor? jftsang 10:11, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

I'll check the source when I get a chance. Opus33 (talk) 15:29, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Bad German?[edit]

"Kraut und Rüben haben mich vertrieben, hätt mein' Mutter Fleisch gekocht, wär ich länger blieben"... I don't know *much* German, but surely that should be "vertreiben" and "bleiben", nicht wahr? Sebum-n-soda (talk) 16:15, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Nein. Vertrieben and blieben are the past participles of vertreiben and bleiben, respectively. Without them, the text would be nonsensical in German. — ℜob C. alias ÀLAROB 17:05, 21 September 2011 (UTC)


Are any of the recordings in the External Links section off-limits in terms of copyright? Thinking specifically of the Glenn Gould link.

The link has been deleted because of the violation of copy right. I can't see the video. So this link should be deleted. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:39, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

One thing more. Ishizawa's performance is good. But it is not better or, at most, never the best. You don't have to listen to her play. So, it is not for the Encyclopedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Variation titles[edit]

Using good sources at IMSLP (first printed edition (which Bach played on himself), I have corrected the order of some variation titles. Added Adagio to var. 25 as it is no less official then the already-labelled var. 7, 'al tempo di giga'. both were not in orignal edition but hand-added by Bach in his own copy (see the ref I added). Not 100% sure about whether some of the titles go before, or after the 'a 1 Clav.', but I used the first printed edition (on IMSLP) as a guide. Many later editions really mess around things (capitalising things that should be, moving them around in the score, adding hideous tempo interpretative markings on the score), the first printed edition was the cleanest. If any thoughts, do add, cheers.--Cloudfloatcorrection (talk) 03:48, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

I welcomed you on your talk page. It's a fine first edit (but why did you change "wistful" to "wi*****l"?). It certainly makes sense to me to say "canon" before the number of manuals. Riggr Mortis (talk) 04:54, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh no, that's a cuss word filter in my browser which always filters out stfu (contained in wistful), always put up with it but I've just edited out it in my tampermonkey to get rid of that stupid entry, and fixed it on the page, sorry. I forget that it does it in text boxes too. --Cloudfloatcorrection (talk) 14:04, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Opus said, "This very personal and idiosyncratic site might (might) be enjoyed by random people browsing the web but it's not appropriate for an encyclopedia." Which part is idiosyncratic? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

"Detailed study of the intellectual and psychological dimensions of one of these works. Includes MIDI audio samples plus pianistic information about Schoenberg, Schumann." is the evaluation commented on the link "Music of Intellect". I can find this by search Goldberg variations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Addition and deletion of external links[edit]

The recently-editing Anon has complained to me about my reversions; I asked him/her to discuss on the talk page but he/she replied on my own talk page instead. Here is what (s)he said:

Glenn Gould Playing the Goldberg Variations 45 minutes — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 17 February 2012 (UTC) The link has been deleted because of the violation of copy right. I can't see the video. So this link should be deleted. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:39, 29 November 2012 (UTC) One thing more. Ishizawa's performance is good. But it is not better or, at most, never the best. You don't have to listen to her play. So, it is not for the Encyclopedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:49, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Opus said, "This very personal and idiosyncratic site might (might) be enjoyed by random people browsing the web but it's not appropriate for an encyclopedia." Which part is idiosyncratic? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 30 November 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

So, there two issues, whether Anon's insertions should stay, and whether his/her deletions are appropriate. I found the inserted material to be odd and not very encyclopedic, and I also think that getting rid of recordings of the Variations doesn't serve our readers very well. Opus33 (talk)

Per WP:ELNEVER, we shouldn't link to the Glenn Gould performance unless it is an authorized reproduction. The suggestion that we shouldn't link to Ishizawa's performance because it isn't "the best" is simply bizarre. Kaldari (talk) 22:37, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

>>>It is said to be in a public domain, so you think that it should be good and people should be able to access it. But it is not public, it is only free, suppoted by a company MusiScore. It is under business. Free is not a passport to the Encyclopedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:55, 4 December 2012 (UTC) >>>Ishizawa's performance cannot be opened on iPad. In windows I could not open without downloading a special player which I don't like. If you think Ishizawa's performance is good, then you only have to indicate the right place to hear it, not here.

Its not people think that Ishizawa's performance is good, its that the performance is free and open source. Most other recordings have copyright restrictions. These are only meant to be instructive snippets so that you can follow along with the analysis in the text. It sounds like your issue is more with the OGG format than it is with the specific recording.DavidRF (talk) 15:08, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Ishizawa's performance is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, which means it is free for anyone to use or distribute however they like without restriction. If you don't like the Ogg version, you can download the mp3s or convert it to whatever format you like. Kaldari (talk) 04:57, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
I've drastically pruned the external links recordings section. Wikipedia is not a link directory. External links should be reserved for sites providing significant extra information not currently present in the article, not links to every single site that has some kind of recording of this work on it. They were duplicative, in some cases also advertising the purchase of a particular CD/DVD, or Midi/sampled renderings. Voceditenore (talk)

Snippets from Open Goldberg Variations[edit]

I thought excerpts from this recording were selected because the recording was released into the public domain and so it doesn't have the copyright restrictions that other recordings have. But a recent edit has stated that "some of German people reject it because of the copyright problem". What does that mean? Its not really in the public domain after all?DavidRF (talk) 13:45, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

The source of the recordings,, has quite clearly released them under [Creative Commons Zero (public domain license.] See also [2]. A vague comment like "some of German people reject it because of the copyright problem" are meaningless. I suspect this may be the case of the editor who removed them trying to make a point after a youtube link they tried to add to another article was reverted [3]. See also this related conversation Voceditenore (talk) 14:12, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
We have two editors (possiby the same person) who are continuing an edit war here to remove these recordings. See Special:Contributions/Iorijapan and Special:Contributions/ Both of you please discuss here on the talk page and do not remove the recordings again until there is a consensus to do so. Voceditenore (talk) 14:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

"Open Goldberg Variations" is a business. Free is not a certificate for the goodness. Ishizawa's performance is not bad. But no one has to listen to it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 14:44, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

No one knows Ishizawa if it is not zero dollar. There are many beautiful performances. All can be listed in this Wiki. It should be the reason of this Wiki without exclusion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 14:54, 7 December 2012‎

There is no copyright violation and you know that. You simply object to these recordings because you don't like them and/or want external links to other recordings inserted. There is so far a considerable consensus against your removal, argued above by several editors and you continue to edit war. This is very disruptive. Voceditenore (talk) 15:01, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Only that, you don't know that. You have to investigate the German lawsuit. Wiki has not to be involved to it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 15:13, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
No, none of us have to investigate this alleged lawsuit. You have provided no evidence whatsoever for the existence of this lawsuit. In any case, these files are hosted on US servers, not German ones. First you started out by saying you personally don't like the recordings and wanted them removed. When that didn't work, you now claim it's because they're copyright violations. Which one is it? Voceditenore (talk) 15:22, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
There is already a list of professional recordings at Goldberg Variations discography. From your comments it sounds like you're upset that Ishizawa got paid and then the producers gave the recording away for free which you think will be harmful to other professional pianists? That's not our problem. We just want free snippets for people to play while they look at the score and read the analysis. An actual recording is better than a .mid file. There've been more than three reverts. Do we need to bring in the mods and admins to resolve this? We could go back and forth on this all day. DavidRF (talk) 15:27, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
GEMA (Germany's artist collection society) is claiming that the work falls under their jurisdiction and blocks YouTube videos from playing in Germany when they use Kimiko's music.
And "actual recording is 'not better than a .mid file." Midi is the raw data which can be modified and used by people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 15:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
.mid files sound like a robotic harmonica when played here. The youtube videos for the open goldberg project play for me! Do we need clearance from GEMA to post sound files on en.wikipedia?DavidRF (talk) 15:43, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
The dispute referred to is GEMA claiming that all work produced in Germany is under their jurisdiction. They block YouTube videos from playing in Germany unless they're paid, regardless of whether the artist has released the performance unto the public domain. More here. Wikipedia's servers are not in Germany and these are not youtube recordings. I'm going to ask our copyright expert about this. But my initial impression is that this is a spurious reason for decimating the recordings from this article. Voceditenore (talk) 15:59, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
What actually appears to have started this is not a concern for copyright at all. When was reverted for trying to add Music of Intellect: the Goldberg Variations (a Japanese site), they went on a spree deleting all the sound files in the article. After multiple reversions by other editors. this new account was created to continue the editwarring. Voceditenore (talk) 16:11, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
You should ask "your" copyright expert. Without the resolution, Ishizawa's sound should not be heard here, right? But as to the copy right, there should be the performance of Wanda Landowska. It is the staring point of our Goldberg away from the copyright restriction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 16:20, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Iorijapan, but unless you have actual proof as opposed to just "Germans disagree", then we have to assume that the public domain status is correct. Further more, this being English Wikipedia on top of the fact that the website is hosted on US (specifically Florida) soil, it means that even if for some reason it's not PD in Germany, it doesn't matter as long as it's PD in the US. It especially doesn't matter if you think the recording is bad or if it's not fair that the pianist got paid but those who own the recording released it for free (I highly doubt you have the specifics of whatever contracts may have been signed). The fact we have a professional recording compatible with Wikipedia policies means that we should embrace it and use it as much as we can, not supress it because it's not of the absolute highest quality ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 16:42, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
You can do anything you want. But the music "the Goldberg Variations" is from Deutschland. You have to have some respect. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 16:49, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
You say that "the Public domain" is the proof. But in case of software there should be many spyware and virus. Can you verify it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 17:03, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
"unless you have actual proof " You say you are one of the editors here, You should prove it right, or not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 17:06, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
If you object to the presence of these media files on Wikimedia servers on copyright grounds, you should submit the allegedly offending files to commons:Commons:Deletion requests. Removing them from this article does not cure the alleged copyright infringement. Magic♪piano 17:10, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
You are the offender against the global copyright consensus. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iorijapan (talkcontribs) 17:21, 7 December 2012
Your inability to articulate your position does not make anyone an offender. Enjoy your soon-to-be editing ban. Magic♪piano 17:28, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Yep, 72 hours for edit-warring. Moonriddengirl (our copyright expert has left a note on this editor's page explaining the situation. Hopefully, the disruption will now stop. Voceditenore (talk) 17:35, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
On that note, I'm now watching this youtube video in Germany without any GEMA disclaimers and all videos on the OpenGoldberg channel are freely available here. GEMA is known for being very quick with copyright claims even when the artists involved have not signed any agreements with GEMA for the collection of royalties. So in this case the GEMA dispute with Youtube seems to have been solved or GEMA simply didn't ever care about it in the first place. De728631 (talk) 17:46, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

As the Director of the Open Goldberg Project (non-profit organization EIN 27-3992022), I can confirm 100% that the recordings used by Kimiko Ishizaka are public domain, and that they were produced in a not-for-profit way (not that such a consideration would matter beyond the licensing). This includes Germany. There are no legal issues whatsoever in using the recordings here. RobertDouglass (talk) 18:22, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Title Punctuation[edit]

Should the title of the page be "Goldberg" Variations rather than Goldberg Variations? The latter suggests that the work's title is Goldberg Variations; but of course the work is untitled: it is an untitled set of variations differentiated by others by the nickname 'Goldberg', much as, say, Beethoven's 14th piano sonata is nicknamed 'Mondschein'. Or have I missed the memo on classical-music titling conventions? (talk) 15:21, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Hello Anon, you can find the relevant policy memo here: [4]. I looked it over and think the overall message it gives implies that we shouldn't be putting quotes around Goldberg. They give several examples in which the preference for common usage trumps the preference for literal accuracy. I hope this helps. Opus33 (talk) 18:51, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Electronic wind instrument[edit]

I don't object to the removal of the following material from the main text of the article, but I would like to add a section near the bottom of the article for it.

Anythingyouwant (talk) 22:00, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

I have restored them, but merely in a footnote.Anythingyouwant (talk) 06:14, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I believe resetting the Goldberg Variations for electronic simulacra of wind instruments is a strictly amateur activity and fails the Wikipedia's notability criterion. This stuff does not belong unless published reference sources can be found to prove notability.
Anythingyouwant: it would be a courtesy if you went to the Talk Page of classical music articles and consulted with other editors before you make dozens of edits of controversial nature. Sincerely, Opus33 (talk) 15:53, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
User:Opus33, I am not aware that I have made dozens of controversial edits. I have made hundreds of edits during the past week or two, and I think the vast bulk of them have been uncontroversial, and this is the only one where I have been reverted and then objected.
As to this particular matter, you may well be correct. However, I would like to discuss it and make sure. My understanding of photographs is that they do not have to be from a notable source as long as they usefully depict something discussed in a Wikipedia article. Are sound files different? In this case, the wind arrangements provide a different view of the work under discussion. If it were a photograph from some unknown person, showing a different view, wouldn't it be acceptable?
I have removed the material you object to, pending the outcome of this discussion. Incidentally, here is info about the author of these ogg files. Check out the hits at Google Books. This guy is no amateur.
Additionally, here is a diff of my edits to this article. Many changes have been made, none of them have prompted controversy as of yet, and it would make things very difficult if I am not allowed to be bold in this manner.Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:58, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I'll vote against this. The Goldberg Variations -- and Bach works in general -- are some of the most heavily arranged pieced out there. Unless Bach himself made the arrangements, then it wouldn't be fitting to include it in this particular article. Perhaps Goldberg_Variations_discography if a recording has been made? DavidRF (talk) 18:03, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion about the discography article, I may take you up on that if the stuff doesn't belong here. I may also write a BLP for Bruno Degazio who did this beautiful arrangement. The present article has a section titled "Transcribed and popularized versions" and this would fit nicely.Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:15, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

I think this is a matter of proportion. The Goldberg Variations are, let's face it, extremely famous, and indeed about 80,000 people visit the WP article every year. For illustrating what the Variations are like, we should do our best to find a recording with a really talented performer giving a fairly mainstream rendition. The reading public would naturally expect us to pick something good. (I'm fairly happy with the recordings by Kimiko Douglass-Ishizaka that we currently have; perhaps they are not on Andras Schiff's level but they do the music justice.)

If there's external evidence that Bruno Degazio's work has become notable, then that's a great reason to start an article about him. But we should have a standard performance to illustrate the Variations themselves. Opus33 (talk)

Even in a section titled "transcribed and popularized versions"?Anythingyouwant (talk) 21:23, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, there are really two things of concern. First, as already discussed, any entries involving transcribed or popularized versions need to be independently notable (and so be supported by cited reference sources, like any contribution). Second, there's the matter of WP:UNDUE. Let's face it, you may personally like some of these transcriptions, but they are all really obscure, probably ephemeral. They just can't compete in importance or public interest with the Goldberg Variations themselves. The simple solution is to make a separate, satellite article for the transcribed and popularize versions. Opus33 (talk) 23:16, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
User:Opus33, are you saying that this article's present section titled "Transcribed and popularized versions" ought to be shortened, and the excess material sent to a separate article, perhaps Goldberg Variations discography? Or are you okay with the present version of this "Transcribed and popularized versions" section? Maybe if we can get clarity about these questions, it will clear up where these wind instrument ogg's can be used on Wikipedia. Thanks. Incidentally, it seems pertinent to emphasize that I have merely proposed to mention the wind instrument ogg's in a footnote to this article,[5] and thus it is difficult to see how they were given undue weight here. But if you would prefer that they go instead at Goldberg Variations discography then I suppose that might work.Anythingyouwant (talk) 07:13, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for asking. My own preference would be for a separate article, for which Goldberg Variations discography would be fine. Opus33 (talk) 15:22, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to merge section on "Transcribed and popularized versions" into Goldberg Variations discography[edit]

Per the discussion above, I propose to merge the section on "Transcribed and popularized versions" into Goldberg Variations discography, leaving only a summary here of the discography article. The discography article could be renamed to something like Goldberg Variations versions and discography. If people object to this merge, then I would like to add Bruno Degazio to the list in "Transcribed and popularized versions".Anythingyouwant (talk) 14:26, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

I would suggest having two articles: Goldberg Variations discography and Goldberg Variations (transcribed versions). They are not really the same topic and indeed overlap only a little bit: discography would include the huge number of orthodox recordings of the original work, and trancribed versions might (conceivably) become notable even if not recorded. Opus33 (talk) 17:32, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Some of the items currently in the discography article are played on synthesizer, accordion, guitar, horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba. Would we move them all to the new article?Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:44, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Sure. Opus33 (talk) 20:14, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Okay, well, if someone wants to start a new article on variations (or versions or whatever) of the Goldberg Variations, then that's okay with me.Anythingyouwant (talk) 08:36, 30 July 2015 (UTC)


"This short variation (16 bars) is usually played at a slow tempo." - removed because without a database of tempos of different performances, the assertion appears unsupported.

Computer-generated sound files[edit]

Sorry to undo all the work editor IB did, but really, sound recordings have to meet a certain minimum standard to be included and these completely-wooden, mechanically-timed performances in my opinion don't qualify. The recordings we already had were by a competent musician and pending further developments I think they are the recordings we should be using. Lastly, the "Music Portal" is far too general to be of any use in this a particular article so I took that out too. Opus33 (talk) 21:47, 5 November 2017 (UTC)