Talk:Johann Sebastian Bach

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Former good article Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the Music good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.


@Gerda Arendt and Michael Bednarek: if you guys feel some images should be moved or deleted, we can hold a voting on talkpage, and go with consensus. And thanks for the explanation Michael. Face-smile.svgusernamekiran (talk) 16:31, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

@Gerda Arendt, Michael Bednarek, and Usernamekiran:Well, here's my opinion. I'm sure a lot of the images could be removed, as they don't add all too much to the article. By image caption, here is a short list (to begin with) of images I think can be removed without controversy. They add little meaningful illustration and are not all particularly relevant, some cover the same thing as another better suited image (ex. the ornaments or the monument):
-St. George's Church in Eisenach, where Bach was baptised. Portal inscription: "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott"
-Portrait of the young Bach (disputed).
-Bach's seal, used throughout his Leipzig years. It contains the letters J S B superimposed over their mirror image topped with a crown
-"Aria" of the Goldberg Variations, showing Bach's use of ornaments
-Image of the Bach memorial (de) Felix Mendelssohn had erected in Leipzig in 1843
-Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, along with the rest of the public, awaiting the start of a 2011 performance of the St. Matthew Passion. (talk) 23:55, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes. And as Gerda said in the discussion above this one, the image of St George's Church wins this competition. I agree with the stranger IPUser here. We should trim the images in the article. At the least, if we cant delete the images, we should move them in such a manner that it should not look the images are scattered all over the article, like it looks now. —usernamekiran (talk) 00:19, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I also agree with the selection of less informative. In a way - but knowing it's impossible - I'd like to get rid of the first image, showing Bach as an old severe man, while when he composed most of his beloved works, he was much younger. Any of his handwritten music seems to show so much more life. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:05, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I'll have to disagree. The first image is the commonly known portrait of Bach. The second image (younger) is not even sure to be his and it is disputed. (talk) 11:09, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Some general suggestions:

Maybe a good idea to take a look at such reference works for deciding which images merit inclusion (at least for the biography section, audio examples are afaik not included in printed books)?
  • "images ... scattered all over the article" vs. "right margin ... a solid column of images, scores, sound files" – I'd prefer the "right margin column" of illustrations (for now), which, in my assessment, is *not* the same as "scattered all over the article". --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:35, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia caters for a lot of different audiences and devices:
    • Audiences: e.g. some readers might read scores, others not. Neither those reading scores, nor those with no experience in that field should be left out of a general assessment of what merits inclusion.
    • Devices: e.g. standard PDF export, and mobile phones (an ever more important group of readers use these) will redistribute and resize images (if not omitting, for instance images in navboxes). What happens with audio files depending on device is an even more complex matter. Be aware that the layout you see on your screen might be completely different from what someone else sees on their screen, e.g. MOS:SANDWICHING is completely resolved in mobile phone view, and may exist or not exist on other devices depending on screen resolution, window view size, etc. – which doesn't prevent us from applying the guidance to avoid it whether you see the undesirable effect on your screen or not.
  • Available choice of illustrations can be limited: e.g. Commons doesn't contain files that are under copyright of a non-free license. High quality images and recent audio recordings may be unavailable for that reason. So sometimes it is a choice between a somewhat less apt image (which can be a defensible choice) or no illustration at all (which may be as defensible). In other words I have no prejudice against people choosing either way for particular files: this is, in many aspects, more like a style choice (case-by-case consensus) than a policy decision (where consensus is rather found on a similar way to interpret the applicability of existing policies). --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:17, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Illustrating Bach#Childhood (1685–1703)[edit]

Suggestions (Childhood section)[edit]

Please add your suggestions here:

  • I'd keep the current Ambrosius Bach image, but would make it the same width as most of the other images in the biography section. It is a fairly standard image for illustrating Bach's early years. For the "feste Burg" inscription image: I'm neutral about whether we should keep it – it is not a standard illustration in Bach biographies afaik, but surely, with the images available at Commons (or a new one if there's none there) we can find a second illustration for a four-paragraph section? In other words: I'd only remove the "feste Burg" inscription image if we can replace it by a more suitable one. (I'd take other suggestions above section by section in a similar vein). --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:34, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd also keep the father, but see no reason to show at that point some inscription out of context, + in German. Do we know if it existed when Bach was baptised? For sure he could not read it then ;) - If we need an image (I don't think so) an interior view of a church he would have attended (was it that one?) seems more suitable. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:56, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Re. "Do we know if it existed when Bach was baptised?" – quoting the image caption for the third time in this section "St. George's Church in Eisenach, where Bach was baptised." (emphasis added). If you doubt the content of the current image caption ask for verification (or seek such verification yourself), but that is not the topic here.
    • Re. interior/exterior: I see no reason why an interior image would be preferable over an exterior image? Could you explain your preference in that sense?
    • At de:Georgenkirche (Eisenach) I read "Hier predigte Martin Luther in der Zeit der Reformation, wodurch sie zu einem der ältesten protestantischen Gotteshäuser überhaupt wurde ... Die Familie Bach beging hier mehrere familiäre Anlässe, unter anderem die Taufe von Johann Sebastian Bach 1685" (one of the earliest Lutheran places of worship ... importance for Bach family, including Bach's baptism).
    • Commons:Category:Interior of Georgenkirche Eisenach has several nice pictures of the church's organ, of which the German Wikipedia article (linked above) says: "Der Prospekt der Orgel stammt noch von der Orgel, die von 1697 bis 1707 von Georg Christoph Stertzing nach einem Dispositionsvorschlag von Johann Christoph Bach gebaut wurde. Mit vier Manualen und 58 Registern war sie seinerzeit die größte Orgel Thüringens." (exterior of the current organ similar to what was built, under the brother of Bach's father-in-law, shortly after Bach left Eisenach, then the largest organ of Thuringia). So that part of the interior is not what it looked like at Bach's baptism or early age, but probably not less influential for Bach as a musician.
    • The church also has a Bach statue (commons:Category:Bachstatue (Georgenkirche Eisenach)), but this of course says nothing about Bach's youth in Eisenach (don't even think this statue needs separate mention in the reception section). Anyways, I'd rather use an exterior inscription with a chorale text representative for his Lutheran upbringing (significant to Bach, e.g. BWV 80 and 302–303, and linked from the caption if you're looking for a translation), than an interior image that says little or nothing about Bach in the first 10 years of his life (or no image at all illustrating the atmosphere of the Eisenach of Bach's early youth). --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:42, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't question that Bach was baptized in the church, only wonder if this inscription already existed when that happened, - and even if yes, how the inscription would have influenced the boy. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:52, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Maybe the image at (identical to Commons File:Eisenacher Gesangbuch Tugendlieder.jpg, see below) may be more useful to illustrate Bach's religious education? Anyhow, would like an image showing the atmosphere of late 17th-century Eisenach: File:Eisenach-1647-Merian.jpg (although such "view from a distance" is maybe no ideal picture here either)? File:Eisenach kurz vor dem Ostern (2011) - panoramio (6).jpg (modern street makeup maybe too anachronistic and/or panoramic view may make it seem bigger than it is)? File:Eisenach Germany Georgenkirche-01.jpg (less focus on the inscription but still, 20th century street makeup and message board not from Bach's time, even the clock in the bell-tower may be anachronistic)? File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-23873-1699, Eisenach, St.-Georgen-Kirche, Kanzel, Altar.jpg (mid 20th-century interior, not sure how different from Bach's time, and alas no colour)? --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:52, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
--Francis Schonken (talk) 12:25, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, very informative. If I had to pick just one image, I'd take the hymnal. 2nd: Lüneburg. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:00, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Any preference for a Lüneburg image? I'd choose for example this one: File:Lg st michaelis environment.jpg... Another possibility: File:Lvnaeburgvm um 1682.jpg (town map some two decades before Bach's time there, with St Michael, No. 3, lower right)? --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:33, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Both good, capturing the period's atmosphere. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:47, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Tried an update ([1]). Any further comments/questions/suggestions/... regarding that update, or can we move on to the next topic (which would be the questionable "young Bach" painting I suppose)? --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:00, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Additional information about Bach's selection for a post in Leipzig (1723–50)[edit]

I just wanted to input an additional information about J.S Bach selection in Leipzig. The current version says: "After having been offered the position, Bach was invited to Leipzig only after Georg Philipp Telemann indicated that he would not be interested in relocating to Leipzig.[51] "

This implies that Bach was a second successful candidate, whilst in fact he was the third choice for that position. Accordingly, I suggest the following: After having been offered the position, Bach was invited to Leipzig only after Georg Philipp Telemann indicated that he would not be interested in relocating to Leipzig[51], and the second successful candidate – Christoph Graupner, was refused a leave from his employer.

This additional information has been sourced from: Spitta, Philipp (1899a). Johann Sebastian Bach: His Work and Influence on the Music of Germany, 1685–1750 (Volume 2, page 183). London: Novello & Co

I hope this information is of use.

Best Regards, Andrew Droszcz Melbourne, Australia — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andrew Droszcz (talkcontribs) 09:28, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

This information (details about his application in Leipzig) is in Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22, one of the audition pieces. It is linked under the Leipzig header. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:53, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
@Gerda Arendt: I agree with the original poster that it should be included here as well - it's relevant information and not including it misinforms the reader. For additional reference, Wolff's (2000, 2nd ed. 2013) book has a passage on it as well, will look for the exact page later. (talk) 21:08, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

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