History:Classical Style Guide

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Status: This Page is Glorious CSG History!

The content of this page exists thanks to the contributions of the many editors who have worked to develop the Classical Style Guide (CSG). It could be a discussion, an outdated style guideline, or a past proposal. It could include some of the unofficial CSG practices that many editors have followed. Whatever the case, this page might help explain how CSG came to be, or perhaps even serve as the basis for further development. The current classical guidelines can be found under Style/Classical

Style Guideline > Classical Style Guide

Classical Style Guidelines

  • Alert.png This is work in progress and not official. The Classical Style Guide is currently being reworded. The currently official version of the Classical Style Guide is located at Style/Classical.

The aim of this style guide is to impose some kind of order in the entries to achieve a consistent style, so as to have clean data for an eventual text sensitive tagging.

Simple Example

  • Artist: * Ludwig van Beethoven Album title: * Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra feat. conductor: Herbert von Karajan) Track titles:
    • Attention.png Track titles guidelines are being rewritten so that they're (hopefully) more synthetical. In the near future, this page will probably only redirect to another page dedicated to classical tracks titles. See the work in progress at ClassicalTrackTitleStyle.
      Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125: I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
      Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125: II. Molto vivace

Basic Guidelines

Attention.png It is strongly recommended to enter basic performer data (i.e. orchestra, conductor and soloist) in the ReleaseTitle, preferably by means of Advanced Relationships too, as this is often the only way to distinguish between different releases of the same work.

Attention.png With the development of ReleaseArtists independent of the various TrackArtists, and the addition of Advanced Relationships, several new exceptions to these basic guidelines have been approved by the StyleCouncil. See below or consult ClassicalReleaseArtistStyle for the most detailed account.

More Detailed Examples


This should be the composer's name in full. Do not use the performer as the artist. (Full article: ClassicalReleaseArtistStyle.)


  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Sort name: Stravinsky, Igor
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Sort name: Bach, Johann Sebastian

Exception: Mixed recitals by a performer or group

In cases where a release features a single performer or group and contains works from multiple composers, that performer or group may be designated the ReleaseArtist, with each TrackArtist assigned to the appropriate composer. See ClassicalReleaseArtistStyle for full details.

Exception: Classical "Covers"

When classical works are arranged, remixed, or otherwise substantially modified by the primary performer, the performer is named as Artist, and the original composer is credited via an Advanced Relationship of the ComposerRelationshipType. See ClassicalReleaseArtistStyle for full details.

Release Title

Should include the ReleaseTitle followed by basic performer info (i.e. orchestra, conductor and soloist) inside parentheses. (Full article: ClassicalReleaseTitleStyle.)

When possible add perfomers as 'feat. conductor: Joe Bloggs' (or cello, soprano, violin, etc) at the end of the release title. Do not use the perfomer's role ("pianist") but instead note the instrument ("piano").


  • Concerto for Orchestra / Dance Suite / Concerto for Orchestra (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Sir Simon Rattle)
    • The titles of many classical releases are really just a list of works on the CD. Separate with slashes according to MultipleTitleStyle
  • Complete String Quartets (Lindsay String Quartet) (disc 1)
    • Multiple disc set. Performer in brackets followed by disc number.
  • Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra feat. conductor: Zubin Mehta, piano: Radu Lupu)
    • Multiple performers: Do not repeat the feat., but separate additional roles/performers with a comma.

More ambiguous examples:

  • The Takacs Quartet Plays Dvorak (The Takacs Quartet)
    • The title also contains the performer but it is still part of the ReleaseTitle. This is preferred to just 'Plays Dvorak...'
  • Sibelius: Orchestral Works (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
    • The composer name in the title is a duplication of information, but include it if it is a part of the release title. In some cases the release name might be just 'Orchestral Works'. If in doubt follow what is on the sleeve.

Track Title

Use the work name (name of the symphony etc.) followed by the name of the movement/section. (Full article: ClassicalTrackTitleStyle. See also ClassicalTrackTitlePartnumberStyle.)

Use roman numerals for the movement numbers. If a track has a soloist then add it using FeaturingArtistStyle: (feat. violin: Tamsin Little). If all tracks on the release feature a performer/group/conductor, this information is added to the release title only, and not repeated on every track.


  • Concerto for Orchestra: IV. Intermezzo Interrotto
    • This release is performed by the same artists, therefore the orchestra/performer are specified in the release title. In this case we just need the include the name of the work, movement number and name of the movement.
  • The Lark Ascending
  • Cantata, BWV 17 "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich": Part II, V. Aria "Welch Übermaß der Güte"
    • Here the whole number is Part II, V. because BWV 17 is separated in parts.

When to Use 'Various Artists'

Classical releases are attributed to Various artists if they feature works by several composers (NOT when several performers play works by one composer).

However, if the release can be considered a recital by a single performer or group, that performer or group may be designated the ReleaseArtist, with each TrackArtist assigned to the appropriate composer. See ClassicalReleaseArtistStyle for full details.

Track Numbers

Track numbers refer to the position on the release, not the movement number. Movement numbers have to be added to the track title.

Other Style Guidelines

  • Catalogue: number and opus
    • Always use "No. " and "Op. " Examples:
      • 'Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67'. Note the spaces after the stop character, and the use of comma (i.e. "No. 5", not "No.5" and "Op. 67", not "Op.67").
      • 'Mazurka in B major, Op. 63 No. 1'. Here the 'No. 1' is a subpart of 'Op. 63'. Note that there's no comma between them.

here are two links that explain some subtleties of classical catalogues:Opus Numbers Mozart work numbers

  • Chord: minor and major
    • Always use the expanded form and lowercase including a hyphen for German. Examples:
      • 'Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47' (English)
      • 'Prélude No. 1 C-dur, Op. 28: Agitato' (German)
  • Keys
    • Always use uppercase for English and German notation "A, B, C, D, E, F, G" and proper case for Italian (and French and Spanish) "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si". Attribute "in", "en" or "em" should be inserted according to release language. Examples:
      • 'Trio in A minor, Op. 50;' (English)
      • 'Prelude and Fugue in F-sharp major, BWV 858' (English)
      • 'Concerto No. 1 in Sol minore, Op. 8, RV 332' (Italian)
      • 'Concerto No. 4 en La mineur' (French)
      • 'Prélude No. 2 A-moll, Op. 28: Lento' (German)
      • 'Prélude No. 8 Fis-moll, Op. 28: Molto agitato' (German)
  • Italian tempo markings
    • Since they are Italian they should follow CapitalizationStandardItalian such that only the first letter of the phrase is titled. Example:
      • 'Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5 in D major, KV 175: II. Andante ma un poco adagio'
  • Common names
    • Common works names can be omitted, yet it's preferable to add them. They have to be entered within double quotes:
      • 'Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata": II. Andante con moto' (do not use 'Appassionata' or «Appassionata» or -Appassionata-)
      • 'String Quartet No. 17 in B-flat major, KV 458 "Hunt": II. Moderato'
      • 'Sinfonie E-moll, Op. 95 "Aus der Neuen Welt": II. Largo'
      • 'Cantata, BWV 17 "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich": Part II, V. Aria "Welch Übermaß der Güte"'. Same as before, but note that it also applies to the very track title.
  • Vocalists
    • Entering vocalists (tenor, soprano, bass) is not mandatory. They are entered after the track name, but before the common name if present:
      • 'Cantata, BWV 17 "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich": Part II, V. Aria (Tenor, Soprano) "Welch Übermaß der Güte"'


If you want to help correcting classical entries, we've created a place to start: ClassicalEntriesThatNeedEditing

This page was initially based on a rough consensus formed on a thread in the mb-users mailing list.

The recommended style for operas is described in OperaTrackStyle


Please add your thoughts and find additional hints in ClassicalStyleGuideDiscussion