History:CSGv2/Work/Title Proposal

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Status: This page describes an active style guideline proposal and is not official.

Proposal number: RFC-82
Champion: BrianFreud
Current status: Awaiting NGS implementation for final revision and passage.


Trac ticket # 4426

The Classical Style Guidelines:

CSG for Works:

Work Title

Classical Work

{{hanging cell

color1 = DD6666 color2 = 99AA99 color3 = 9999FF cell1 = Work and Opus cell2 = Movement cell3 = Ornamentation


Official Documentation > Style Guidelines > The Classical Style Guidelines
Title: Work and Opus | Movement | Ornamentation | Special Cases

The title aspect of CSG for Works is the framework by which a classical[1] work is assigned a unique, informative, and consistent title.

The CSG for Works title framework has three distinct sections:

  1. Work and opus identification
  2. Movement identification
  3. Ornamentation identification

Together, these three sections define the title of a specific work.

  • If the work describes a composition with only one movement, the Work and opus framework may be all that is needed.
  • If the work is part of a composition with multiple movements, is part of an opus containing multiple compositions, or is part of a composition with only a single movement but requiring additional detail, then the Movement identification framework is also needed.
  • If cadenzas, eingängen, or other ornamentation are also needed, then also use the Ornamentation identification framework.

Status: Everything below this point is in need of cleanup for CSGv2

In all framework descriptions, new elements inserted into the framework by the current section are indicated with bolded text and a violet background:

Work form Work form number for Instrumentation/vocals in Key Scale , Catalogue/Opus

'Super' opuses

Work and Opus
'Super' opus Work Form Instrumentation and voicing Key Scale Catalogue and Opus


'Super' opus : Work Type for Instrumentation and/or vocal type(s) in Key Scale , Catalogue Identifier and Number

Rarely, a case can occur where an opus is itself part of an even larger opus - a 'super' opus. In such cases, the CSG for Works framework still applies, but modified such that the Work and opus identification framework is used multiple times, as needed for each increased 'container' opus level.

Rather than the normal:

  • [Work and opus identification]: [Movement identification]: [Ornamentation identification]
the framework is extended to:
  • [Work and opus identification]: [Work and opus identification]: [Movement identification]: [Ornamentation identification]
  • [Work and opus identification]: [Work and opus identification]: [Work and opus identification]: [Movement identification]: [Ornamentation identification]

Reference http://chatlogs.musicbrainz.org/musicbrainz/2008/2008-02/2008-02-20.html#T06-42-20-599027


CSG for Works is intended to provide a framework for titling classical compositions which lack clearly defined titles; it is not intended to be used as a reason to retitle a composition which already has a functional Artist Intent title.

Artist Intent

If a work already has been given a specific title by the composer, such as "Part 1: IBM 1401 Processing Unit", then Artist Intent is the superior style principle, and thus the work would not be retitled using CSG for Works.[2] This applies even if the composition title provided by the composer seems generic, e.g., "Music for 18 Musicians: Section XI", so long as Artist Intent for the composition's title is indicated, rather than generic description of the composition, e.g., "Symphony in D".[3]

Combined Artist Intent and CSG for Works

Artist Intent titles and CSG for Works may also be combined, if needed. Steve Reich's 'Music for 18 Musicians' already provides sufficient ordering information in the movement titles such that CSG for Works is unneeded. Comparatively, Hector Berlioz' 'Symphonie fantastique' does provide a title for the overall composition ('Episode de la vie d'un artiste... en cinq partes'), a special form name ('Symphonie fantastique'), as well as titles for the movements ('Rêveries - Passions', 'Scène aux champs', etc.). However, a work title would provide insufficient information to determine that movement's (or composition's) place within the overall composition (or opus). Therefore, the correct CSGv2 title would be a combination of Artist Intent title and CSG for Works title.

Incorrect: Artist Intent title
Episode de la vie d'un artiste... en cinq partes: Symphonie fantastique: Scène aux champs
Incorrect: CSG for Works title
Symphony for orchestra in C major and minor, Op. 14 "Episode de la vie d'un artiste... en cinq partes", III. Scène aux champs
Correct: True and CSG for Works combined title
Symphonie fantastique in C major and minor, Op. 14 "Episode de la vie d'un artiste... en cinq partes": III. Scène aux champs

If it is questionable as to whether a composition really does have an Artist Intent title, then the CSG for Works title should be given preference. In the above case, 'Symphony for orchestra' would be rather redundant to 'Symphonie fantastique', as well as counter to Artist Intent for this unique special work form name.

Comparatively, Britten's 'Sinfonia da Requiem' provides only generic composition type identification, e.g., a requiem symphony, and thus the CSG for Works title, and not a mixed title, should be used.[4]

Œuvre consistency

The primary concern of CSGv2 is consistency. If a significant majority of a composer's œuvre is generically titled, and thus has CSG for Works titles, then it may be preferable that even works with Artist Intent titles be assigned CSG for Works titles (or combined Artist Intent and CSG for Works titles) rather than only using Artist Intent titles for those works.

For example, the vast majority of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's compositions are generically titled. However, some few songs have distinct titles. In such cases, using only the Artist Intent title would make those songs have titles inconsistent with the remainder of Mozart's œuvre, and the CSG for Works title would be more preferable for the songs

Inconsistent title
Liebes Manndel, wo ist's Bandel?
Combined Artist Intent and CSG for Works title
Song for 3 Voices, 2 Violins, Viola and Bass in G major, K. 441: Andante sostenuto. (Soprano, Tenor, Bass) "Liebes Manndel, wo ist's Bandel?"

Note that the Artist Intent title is not lost; there is a defined position within CSG for Works for such opus, composition, or movement titles, be they Artist Intent or common name titles.

The higher the percentage of an artist's works which are generically titled, the stronger the argument for this type of CSG for Works titling consistency.

  1. What is 'classical'?
  2. What is CSG for Works not?
  3. Note that Artist Intent for a specific title must be demonstrated and voters must agree that it is present. It is not sufficient to merely claim Artist Intent without evidence.
  4. See Wikipedia's style guidelines regarding 'true' classical work titles versus 'generic' classical work titles for more on this distinction.