Template talk:Johann Sebastian Bach

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WikiProject Composers (Rated NA-class)
WikiProject icon Johann Sebastian Bach is within the scope of the Composers WikiProject, a group of editors writing and developing biographical articles about composers of all eras and styles. The project discussion page is the place to talk about technical and editorial issues and exchange ideas. New members are welcome!
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What's the point of this "navigation" template? Aren't those "songs" normally described as cantatas? Why these? Aren't they better covered in {{Bach cantatas}}? I think a comprehensive navigation template for JSB would be way too big; this one presents an unexplained selection and is not helpful to readers. I'm going to remove it from all articles on my watchlist. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:57, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I agree. This is terribly misleading to readers. What is the rationale here? Voceditenore (talk) 04:41, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
The recently edited version is much better. I suggest adding to it List of Bach cantatas and List of Bach cantatas by liturgical function. Voceditenore (talk) 10:09, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I started a discussion about this template at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Classical_music#Template:Johann_Sebastian_Bach_should_be_kept. This should be discussed there before removing it from any further articles.--Jax 0677 (talk) 10:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


I propose an update of this template at Template:Johann Sebastian Bach/sandbox (tryout at Magnificat (Bach)#External links). Please leave your comments here: --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:43, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

I still think that any "navigation" template with more than ~30 entries fails to serve as a navigational tool; I count >300 in the proposed template. Bach's compositions ought to be covered in several navigation boxes, organised by category. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:10, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Church cantatas alone are 200+. I see no way to break that down.
That being said, my next step would be to make sub-templates in {{Bach family}} style, and make {{Johann Sebastian Bach}} a kind of "umbrella" template that with appropriate parameters allows to select one or more of such sub-templates.
As for the break-down of compositions: Bach wrote over a 1000; I suppose about 400-500 articles in Wikipedia. The only subdivision I see possible there would be vocal/instrumental. Vocal compositions have over 300 articles (at least 250 "cantata" church+secular articles); the rest being instrumental compositions. Further reduction of links would be possible by linking only to overview articles when these exist, and not to sub-articles like individual "Wohltemperierte Klavier" articles, individual suites etc. This could remove individual cantata links, but also links to Mass in B minor and Magnificat (Bach) - @Michael Bednarek:how do you see this? --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:45, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
There are many more ways than "vocal / instrumental" of subdividing Bach's compositions into specific templates: at the moment we have {{Bach cantatas}}, {{Bach motets}}, {{Bach violin concertos}} in addition to the current {{Johann Sebastian Bach}}. Surely, the proposed {{Johann Sebastian Bach/sandbox}} cannot ever be made to accommodate all Wikipedia articles on Bach's works. I would prefer a solution modelled on {{Beethoven templates}}, {{Haydn templates}}, {{Mozart templates}}. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 08:06, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
The 300 links problem is fixable by, yes, using separate navboxes, and then including them in collapsed state in a master navbox for articles that need it, like this one. Articles on, e.g., clavier compositions can just use the smaller box for those compositions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:44, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: FYI, this discussion is currently stale, all issues were resolved half a year ago. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:47, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Ah, okay. I just followed a link from WT:REDLINK.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:56, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Support Michael: subtemplates. A fair display of Bach's works all in one would be to only present BWV numbers, which would be of little service to readers. The present display of partly numbers - partly titles gives undue weight to the latter, example "Coffee cantata", - no reason why that should appear, a bit as if for Beethoven you showed all op. numbers but Moonlight Sonata. - Also: did you ever see the proposal on a small screen? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:21, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I also think we have to move towards subtemplates, as I already said above.
I like the layout as in the Haydn/Beethoven/Mozart templates series as suggested by Michael.
The largest collection of "same format" works in a single template for those is the over 100 symphonies by Haydn I suppose ({{Haydn symphonies}}). That more than triples the maximum proposed by Michael Bednarek. For Bach, I repeat, the largest collection of "same format" works is the church cantatas, more than doubling the Haydn symphonies (the current template {{Bach cantatas}} has even more while including the secular cantatas, reaching about the ten-fold of what Michael proposes as a maximum). I'm still looking for an answer on how to handle that (or keep this an exception?)
A minor problem, for which I can see solutions, but that needs to be mentioned nonetheless is that I don't know how one would arrive at a Bach violin concerto page from whatever page that is not a Bach violin concerto in such arrangement of templates? What would the suggestions be regarding that, template-wise? --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:46, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
About my comment regarding manageable numbers in navigation templates: there's a difference between work titles which require reading/comprehension/forming mental connections and just a list of numbers of cantatas. IOW, I have no problem navigating >200 cantatas or >100 symphonies. I recognise the shortcoming of not being able to directly navigate from every work to every other work, but that's nothing new – see Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart above; see also the 42 Shakespeare-related templates which don't cater for complete navigation, say from The Tempest (opera) to Falstaff (opera); that's the job of categories (and the reader's level of determination and curiosity). -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:28, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Tx. Easy navigation is the first goal for nav templates & categories as far as I'm concerned. Also for categories some improvement would be desirable: the two compositions in Clavierübung II are difficult to connect category-wise, etc. For the current cantata template: navigation pre-supposes easy recognition... not OK for that template: Himmelfahrts-Oratorium? How would you navigate to that one if you don't know its number (or how it translates in English)... Nothing that can't be repaired, but easy navigation is far from ideal currently (I found out working on the elaborate template yesterday...)
Care to take a look at the new one? #New update --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:55, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

New update[edit]

See new proposal at Template:Johann Sebastian Bach/sandbox, following Michael's and Gerda's suggestions (that is for the replacement of {{Johann Sebastian Bach}}, additional/updated composition templates are still needed). --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:10, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Much better. If we strictly go by BWV, there should be no Brandenburg concertos, - if not there should be cello suites, Goldberg Variations, ... - so probably better strict ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 12:25, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
The current proposal is very strict, using existing pages with groups of works as much as possible (and indeed it links to the page on all solo cello works, which *is* the cello suites page). Or did I misunderstand your remark? --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:55, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I missed it, "disguised" as "cello", - as I would not know that one "Cantatas" is a list, the other the article Bach cantata. - The basic question is what should the navigation achieve, and how is the part "Composition" an improvement beyond the links which the List of compositions (linked on the left) offers. As the BWV organisation has no chronology, that aspect of the present {{Johann Sebastian Bach}} is lost. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:05, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
No chronology as a choice: easy navigation pre-supposes easy recognition (as said above), so it is anyhow a choice to do away with years that generally have low recognizability for Bach compositions.
Generally, from high to low recognizability: (nick)name > BWV number > composition year. Key signature largely depends on work: for "Mass in B minor" it is part of the recognizability, but for example for none of the cantatas does that play any role.
Correct: "Other solo instruments: ... cello ..." does not have a high recognizability for the cello suites, nonetheless where one would click when looking for them, so no inconvenience whatsoever (trying to keep it short also).
Here's what the "grouped by BWV" sublist does: if one clicks the links in that section consecutively all Bach compositions are reached, if not in an overview article, then at least a (sub)list, and in all cases any article on a composition of Bach is *maximum* two clicks away from the template. That's navigation aid. Not trying to sketch a history with dates (which is hopeless in templates for quick access to hundreds of articles starting with less than 30 links). So, improvement over current template.
Re. advantages over link to List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach only: would for many compositions take more than two clicks to reach the page on the composition, less navigation aid.
I also think that the two subdivisions "grouped by BWV" and "more info" are clear enough about the difference between the two "Cantata" links. --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:11, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps I miss something, but think that if I look at List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach I am also no more than two or three clicks away from any piece, from table of content to header with link, or even to a piece. - Recognizability of cantatas is practically zero if you only see the number, but the subtemplate has worked well for years. It's actually the only one I frequently use, so will be silent now on the general one. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 17:29, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
"maximum two" not "two or three" (& a lot more scrolling!!!), so there is navigation advantage. --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:49, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I have no serious objections to the proposed version. I assume that the <noinclude>...</noinclude> text will be removed when the proposal is made live. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:28, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC)


Awaiting more "subgroup" templates for compositions, is it OK to use this general template on Bach composition articles for which there is no subgroup template yet? --Francis Schonken (talk) 23:52, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Subgroup or not: why would it be used on any composition if no composition is navigated to? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 23:57, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
BTW, it is on many composition pages that are no longer linked directly after the last overhaul of the template (e.g. Latin compositions...).
Navigation = going from one article to another; with the "maximum two clicks" to get to any other Bach composition I think it a defensible choice to use this template on any article that has no dedicated subgroup template yet.
In general, that was also my problem with the previous template architecture: from {{Johann Sebastian Bach}} it wasn't so easy to get to the violin concertos, and from {{Bach violin concertos}} it wasn't too easy to get to any other type of Bach composition (not even the concertos for keyboard, violin and flute). The new Bach templates architecture tries to make a balance so that reachability in all directions is somewhat more levelled and it acts more as a group of compositions, and that's why imho this general template can now be used more generally. --Francis Schonken (talk) 00:10, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
There was a discussion on super templates on Classical music, and the changes to this template should have been discussed there as well before implementing it, imho. I remember the comment: "Its cool that it can be done, but I don't want every Beethoven template transcluded into every Beethoven article." --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:05, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Re. discussion on super templates on Classical music – tx for the link, but nothing here that contradicts that. There was no closure for that discussion, so everybody can pick from it what they want.
Re. "this template should have been discussed there as well before implementing it" – no, there's no rule in that sense. It would have been forum shopping, when there was no problem achieving consensus here. Please no attitude telling others what they should have done. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:23, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
(e.c.) ... announcing there OK (I just did), discussing there not OK as long as it is a discussion about the same topic happening in two places at the same time. Please stop making "rules" that don't exist and go against Wikipedia spirit. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:55, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Francis, could you elaborate how you want to extend this template? As for this template's usage in articles: while there is a general recommendation of bidirectionality, that's clearly impractical for a template that potentially covers >1100 articles. Which usage(s) is/are specifically in dispute? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 10:55, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
I saw it being used in BWV 1128 (uncollapsed then), and think a use of this large template in individual compositions doesn't make sense because none of them appears. Every composition by Bach links to Bach, never more than a click away. Ironically, just recently we were reminded of not using templates because they allegedly increase loading time, for small templates such as {{od}}. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:07, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
(e.c. @Michael Bednarek:) I don't want to extend this template, where did you get that?
I said I liked the Beethoven/Haydn/Mozart templates better, with separate templates for subgroups. Things like {{Bach violin concertos}}, but then more based on the Beethoven/Haydn/Mozart layout.
The question is: what do we do with the composition articles that have no subgroup template yet, can the general template be used as a temporary solution?
And what about the articles (like half a dozen articles for Latin compositions) that used to have a direct link from the template, but no longer do? Do we remove the general template there?
This was triggered by this --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:19, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
I misread your opening phrase about "more subgroup templates" to mean that this template should be extended. I think the idea of having specific Bach templates along the lines of the Beethoven/Haydn/Mozart is excellent. We already have {{Bach cantatas}}, {{Bach family}}, {{Bach motets}}, and the already mentioned {{Bach violin concertos}}. All these and those to come should be documented in either {{Beethoven templates}}, analogous to {{Beethoven templates}} etc. – a method I'm not particularly fond of – or better in a Category:Bach templates. The matter of naming these is of course somewhat more complicated because of the potential of such things for other Bachs, but, crossing that bridge when we come to it, I think "Bach" is fine for Johann Sebastian. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:49, 23 December 2014 (UTC)