30 Johann Bachs, or searching for "unclear" composers

Bach family tree, Ohrdrufer Linie, 1773. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK (D-B) Mus.ms.theor. 1046

Back in March we showed you in this space how to link to RISM searches in the online catalog. In most cases, this works without a hitch - you can even use pseudonyms or other forms of the name, as long as they are entered as variants in RISM. Here's a search using "Melante" for Georg Philipp Telemann.

It is more difficult to search for composers whose name comes up more than once. Take Johann Bach (1604-1673) as an example. If you simply search for Johann Bach as the composer, you get over 9,500 results and of course most of these are for Johann Sebastian Bach or Johann Christian Bach.

Altogether, there are 30 different Johann Bachs in RISM, of which 19 are composers.

In unclear cases such as these, a trick that will help you to search for - or link to - a specific person is to use the GND number (Gemeinsame Normdatei, the Integrated Authority File), which is a unique identifier assigned by the German National Library. We use these numbers - despite us being an international project - for technical reasons, but in the future we are planning to better incorporate our authority records with VIAF, the Virtual International Authority File.

Now back to Bach. To find the Johann Bach who was born in 1604 and died in 1673, you can simply search using the GND number 123841690. GND numbers can be retrieved from the websites of either the German National Library or VIAF. To make this even easier, we hope to release a database of our personal names authority files in the near future (similar to what we did with the database of RISM library sigla.)

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me directly: alexander.marxen@rism.info

And now here are all nineteen of the Johann Bachs in RISM, linked using the GND number:

Johann Bach (1604-1673)

Bach, Johann Andreas (1713-1779)

Bach, Johann Bernhard (1676-1749)

Bach, Johann Christian (1743-1814)

Bach, Johann Christian (1735-1782)

Bach, Johann Christoph (1671-1721)

Bach, Johann Christoph (1642-1703)

Bach, Johann Christoph (1782-1846)
In RISM, but not yet in GND!

Bach, Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732-1795)

Bach, Johann Ernst (1722-1777)

Bach, Johann Georg (1751-1797)
(Please note that authorship of these sources is uncertain; possibly by Johann Günther Bach)

Bach, Johann Günther (1703-1756)

Bach, Johann Ludwig (1677-1731)

Bach, Johann Michael (1745-1820)

Bach, Johann Michael (1648-1694)

Bach, Johann Nicolaus (1653-1682)
In RISM, but not yet in GND!

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750)

Bach, Johann Valentin (1669-1720)

Bachofen, Johann Caspar (1695-1755) - also as "Johann Caspar Bach"

Category: RISM online catalog, New at RISM

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