History:Opera Track Style

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This page contains the history of the OperaTrackStyle

Discussion in ClassicalStyleGuideDiscussion

The following sections used to be in ClassicalStyleGuideDiscussion.

Operatic works

I've been looking at ripping my 14 disc Ring cycle and have found inconsistency is everywhere in these operatic works. I see:

  • Act Three, Scene Two: 'Hier bin ich, Vater' (Brünnhilde) Act Two, Scene One- 'In wildem Leiden erwuchs er sich selbst' (Wotan) ACT 1, Scene 2 Friedmund darf ich nicht heißen Act III, Scene II- Wo ist Brünnhild', wo die Verbrecherin? (Wotan) Siegmund! Sieh auf mich! (Brünnhilde) Act II, Scene I- Nichts lerntest du (Wotan) Die Frist ist um Scene One: Lugt, Schwestern! (Woglinde) Das ist kein Mann! - Siegfried Act II Sc. 2: Zur Kunde taugt kein Toter III.3, p.118: Selige Öde auf sonniger Höh'!
  • I think that's enough examples for now! I would like to tidy these up to be consistent. So as a first proposal I would go with:
    • Die Walküre, Act 3, Scene 2: Hier bin ich, Vater (Brünnhilde)
    My reasoning is:
    • - There's no business putting the track number in the title - From "Track titles on discs with only a single work", the work title should be on every track - Act/scene information is good - Abbreviations are bad (see AbbreviationStyle) - These aren't really movement numbers so no need for roman numerals - Quotes around the scene title just seem to be superfluous - Although I don't feel character information is really needed (it generally isn't included in musicals in MB), it seems plenty of people do. If we do have it, in brackets at the end seems to fit the best - The end result above looks consistent with the standard classical entries: ie. Symphony No. 1, Op. 123: I. Allegro
    --mebourne Opinions please:
    • I surely (and happily) agree with all your statements. Only a few side note which comes all from what I see on cd sleeves.
      • I see that are often used and I would use numerals (I. II. III.) for acts. But could be tricky to remember and in fact it isn't relevant. About quotes see below. I am one of those that prefer characther indication, if available. --ClutchEr2
        • I would prefer roman numerals for opera (esp. from this period) simply because it is pretty much standard in the music (scores and parts) for operatic works (excepting musicals). This standard practice is reflected in the recordings and program notes. But, I have seen some Wagner works (esp. Lohengrin) use arabic numerals for act designations. (Using arabic numerals for scene designations seems to be an invariant standard practice.) Perhaps the style should recommend using roman numerals when recordings of a work are ambiguous (or outright internally inconsistent), and only allow arabic numerals for recordings of works that consistently (and clearly) hint that arabic numerals are standard for that work (such as one would find in Broadway shows). --floatinglist

Act formatting

Searches turn up that there is currently lots of inconsistency for the act, movement formatting

Atto (spelled out (Terzo) OR roman numerals (III)) "," No. (spelled out (Quatro) OR arabic numerals (4), then the colon ":"

  • Yes, "atto" should be spelled "Terzo" or "Third" but I see it much better and easier by roman mumerals Semicolon : should go anyway only one time and only at the end Don Giovanni, act I, scene V: Madamina! Il catalogo è questo

This results in the following possible formats:

TitleOfTheWorks - ", " - ActInformation - "," - SceneInformation - ":" - TitleOfTheSong

http://musicbrainz.org/showtrack.html?trackid=3992664 Atto Secondo, No. 11 Recitativo ed Aria: "Ei tarda ancor!" / "L'orror del tradimento" (Oberto, Coro) there is another piece of information, the "Recitativo ed Aria" part of the scene information. What does this stand for?

  • From act II, scene XI here is recorded only the "spoken part" and the "main song" (or they simply wanted to point out that the scene only consist of those) Should go after another comma and lowercase. Then we have which characters are singing all that an I found proper the indication at the end in brackets.)

>What is the correct way to write act information? the >classical styleguide page is missing that information. -- g0llum

IMHO we don't need any Guide for this since for what I know it's not an abbreviation and should simply follow release language. French "acte" is good as italian "atto" and whatever it's in german. (Anyway I would prefere them lowercase, when into track title)

The hole in the guide is how to consinstently format act and scenes:

Atto Terzo. Prima Scena: O don fatale, o don crudel

Should we use numerals? And then divide it by . , or : ? --ClutchEr2

Development of Style for Opera Tracks

The following sections used to be in OperaTrackStyle, until the styleguide was finalized.

  • {i} Purpose: This page is for the evolution of the new style guide we would like to use for tracks from operas.

It starts as my synthesis of the mails from the thread Opera Track Style. Following DonRedman's suggestion, this page is going to evolve (by including digests of what was said on the mailing list, and by direct editing) until we reach a stable enough consensus to try it for real. In Don's proposed system, there are three stages:

  • development (current) during which we discuss without editing any real data.
  • testing (as soon as we are ready) where we test the proposed style on real data.
  • validation (when we are happy with the testing) which means the results of this page become part of the official Style Guides.

Tentative Conclusion

It seems that after all discussions three possible styles remain:

  1. OperaName, OpusNumber: ActNumber[, SceneNumber]. (PerformanceType: Characters) "Name of the song"
  2. OperaName, OpusNumber: ActNumber[, SceneNumber]. PerformanceType "Name of the song" (Characters)
  3. OperaName, OpusNumber: ActNumber[, SceneNumber]. PerformanceType (Characters) "Name of the song"

Details follow further down the page.

Tests

I did a test with http://musicbrainz.org/show/release/?releaseid=551121 see edits http://musicbrainz.org/mod/search/results.html?moderator_type=3&moderator_id=189467&orderby=asc&minid=6583620&maxid=6583635 -- davitof 2007-03-17

Second test, same release but different style here: http://test.musicbrainz.org/mod/search/results.html?moderator_id=189467&moderator_type=4&orderby=asc -- davitof 2007-03-18

First possibility

OperaName[, OpusNumber]: Act XX[, Scene XX]. [([PerformanceType: ][Character1, Character2, ...])] "Name of the song"

  • supporters:

Simple Examples: Full details including catalog number, performance type, and character names:

  • Don Giovanni, Op. 500: Act I, Scene III. (Duettino: Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "La ci darem la mano"

Somewhere in the middle:

  • Don Giovanni, Op. 500: Act I, Scene III. (Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "La ci darem la mano"
  • Don Giovanni, Op. 500: Act I, Scene III. (Duettino) "La ci darem la mano"
  • Don Giovanni, Op. 500: Act I, Scene III. "La ci darem la mano"
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene III. (Duettino: Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "La ci darem la mano"
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene III. (Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "La ci darem la mano"
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene III. (Duettino) "La ci darem la mano"

Bare essentials, without catalog number, performance type, or character names:

  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene III. "La ci darem la mano"

Special case: the Prelude or instrumental parts:

  • Don Giovanni: Act III. Prelude
  • Don Giovanni: Act III, Scene II. An Instrumental Part

Complex Examples: Another part in the same scene:

  • Don Giovanni: Act IV, Scene II. "La ci darem la mano" - "Another song in the same scene"
  • Don Giovanni: Act IV, Scene II. An Instrumental Part - "La ci darem la mano"

Another part in a different scene:

  • Don Giovanni: Act III, Scene I. "La ci darem la mano" / Act III, Scene II. "Another song in a different scene"
  • Don Giovanni: Act III, Scene I. "La ci darem la mano" / Act III, Scene II. An Instrumental Part in a Different Scene
  • Note: I think Act XX is essential here since there is no colon after "Act III" - I don't think it follows logically that everything after it is "within" Act III

Another part in a different act:

  • Don Giovanni: Act II, Scene III. "La ci darem la mano" / Act III, Scene I. "Another song in a different act"
  • Don Giovanni: Act II, Scene III. "La ci darem la mano" / Act III. Prelude

Second possibility

OperaName[, Catalog ###]: Act XX[, Scene XX]. [PerformanceType] "Name of the song" [(Character1, Character2, ...)]

  • Supporters: joseba Robert Kiessling, DonRedman, @alex Don Giovanni, Op. 500: Act I, Scene III. Duettino "La ci darem la mano" (Don Giovanni, Zerlina)

This to me looks more in line with other CSG uses, it has the least important information last and it's not even theoretically ambiguous in case PerformanceType or Character is omitted.

We should also add [, No. XX] to allow for linear song/part numbering where applicable.

Lastly, I am a believer in "consistency rules". So we should at the same time test and propose this for similarly structured works (cantatas, oratorios, masses, ...). -- Robert Kiessling

Third possibility

OperaName[, OpusNumber]: Act XX[, Scene XX]. [PerformanceType] [(Character1, Character2, ...)] "Name of the song"

  • Supporters: leivhe, davitof, cooperaa Don Giovanni, Op. 500: Act I, Scene III. Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "La ci darem la mano"


The whole Discussion

The remainder of this page discusses the different options and their pros and cons. The page is sprinkled with the names of users to indicate what position these users seemed to agree with. I hope I guessed your MB names correctly. Please move your names around if you change your mind or if I have misunderstood your position. The idea of course is to try to extract the options which most users like. I would like to try here something slightly different from a voting system, that is you may choose more than one option for each issue. I understand the urge to argument your choices, but please don't forget to add your names after the corresponding choices.

I identified four main issues in the thread: order, numbering system, punctuation and quotes.

Order

1: the order I originally suggested

  • 1 - Opera name
  • ( - No catalogue number)
  • ( - No movement number)
  • 2 - Act number
  • 3 - Scene number
  • 4 - Type (optional)
  • 5 - First words of the scene
  • 6 - Part (optional)

Example (don't look at the punctuation): Don Giovanni, Act I, Scene 3, Duettino, "Là ci darem la mano" (Don Giovanni, Zerlina)

2: leivhe's order

(cooperaa, leivhe)

  • 1 - Opera name
  • 2 - catalogue number (optional)
  • ( - No movement number)
  • 3 - Act number
  • 4 - Scene number
  • 5 - Type (optional)
  • 6 - Part (optional)
  • 7 - First words of the scene

Example (don't look at the punctuation): Don Giovanni, Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina), "Là ci darem la mano"

  • In the second case, are we running the risk of too-long common prefixes? Take the example of "first <n> characters are used for the filename" where it's quite likely that there are cases where (1) to (6) are the same. -- joseba, 2007-02-05
    • Of course this will happen. But I believe we must not take this too much into account. This is a ripper/tagger problem. The MB database must strive towards exactness and usefulness. Anyhow, adding the catalogue number won't increase much the title length. But your question raises an interesting suggestion: we could move the type and part elements after the quotation, so that if the track name gets cut, it has better chances to stay meaningful. So here is the new suggestion: --davitof 2007-02-06

3: joseba's order

This was suggested in an attempt to keep as many significant characters as possible in case of file name truncature. --davitof 2007-02-15 (davitof)

  • 1 - Opera name
  • 2 - catalogue number (optional)
  • ( - No movement number)
  • 3 - Act number
  • 4 - Scene number
  • 5 - First words of the scene
  • 6 - Type (optional)
  • 7 - Part (optional) Actually joseba prefers order (1) since it's most consistent with other classical styles where the type like "Rondo" clearly comes first --joseba, 2006-02-25

Numbering system (act - scene)

  • arabic - arabic (davitof, leivhe) (it seems we could both be persuaded to go to romans)
  • Don Giovanni, Act 1, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina), "Là ci darem la mano"
  • roman - arabic
  • roman - roman (cooperaa, cadalach)
  • Don Giovanni, Act I, Scene III, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina), "Là cidarem la mano"

At least, it seems we can refuse the roman-arabic mix! --davitof 2007-02-02

  • Yes please, let's have simple rules! Like "'No.' followed by arabic, everything else roman". --joseba, 2006-02-05

Note that in this numbering scheme two tracks can have the same Part_number. MultiTrackMovementStyle was proposed in a different context to address that issue. Please refer to the next comment for further discussion. --joseba, 2007-02-25 See ClassicalTrackTitlePartnumberStyle for a proposal that incorporates the above in a more general framework of part numbers. --joseba, 2006-02-25

Punctuation

After

  • work title: Nobody suggested anything else than a colon.
  • act number: Nobody suggested anything else than a comma.
  • scene number:
    • comma
    • dot, by analogy with the general classical style. I think this is a good idea, since the scene type is closer to a movement indication. (cadalach, cooperaa, davitof, joseba)
    • colon (suggested by leivhe).
  • part type and parts:
    • nothing (davitof, leivhe)
    • colon (andrewski)
    • comma
    • dot (andrewski, cooperaa)

Examples

  • comma comma
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina), "Là ci darem la mano"
  • comma colon
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina): "Là ci darem la mano"
  • comma none
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "Là ci darem la mano"
  • comma dot
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina). "Là ci darem la mano"
  • none brackets
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3 (Duettino: Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "Là ci darem la mano"
  • dot brackets (cooperaa, davitof, leivhe)
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3. (Duettino: Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "Là ci darem la mano"
  • dot brackets variant (joseba)
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3. Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "Là ci darem la mano"

Quotation: quotes or not

some users have suggested we could omit the quotes altogether. examples

  • comma comma
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina), Là ci darem la mano
  • comma colon
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina): Là ci darem la mano
  • comma none
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina) Là ci darem la mano
  • comma dot
  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene 3, Duettino (Don Giovanni, Zerlina). Là ci darem la mano

We must remember that the parts may not be here at all, so that I feel that at least a separator is needed --davitof 2007-02-02

So, should it be

  • with quotes (davitof, Prodoc, cadalach)
  • without quotes (leivhe?)

Personally I think it's better to use quotes to have a clearer distinction between what's information about a track (everything before it) and what could be considered an actual title -- Prodoc 20:21, 05 February 2007 (UTC)

Sometimes quotes are needed, imo, and somtimes not. I'd suggest we use quotes when the "title" is a line from the libretto, but drop them when it's the name of an orchestral interlude. So '... Prelude' but '... "Là ci darem la mano"'. -- cadalach, 2006-02-06

  • I agree. This makes me see that the title of this section wasn't specific enough. --davitof 2007-02-06

Optional information

I (cadalach) have created this new section to solicit opinions on what's been called the optional information. Here I mean, as in the above example, the "Duettino" and "Don Giovanni, Zerlina" information. Would it be sensible to treat this as just one piece of information? That is, either both are included or neither. I'd guess that it would be reasonable to say that if you knew (or cared about) one then you'd know the other too.

  • I don't think so. My release of Le Nozze de Figaro (Kleiber) only mentions the parts, not the part type. Although I can understand that someone would later add the parts, we can't expect the original editor to search for them when he enters the release first. We must remember that some voters insist that the releases must be almost perfect to get into MB, so the less requirements we put, the more new releases we will have. Of course this means we will have to correct and improve many of those after, but I don't think this is too high a price to pay. --davitof 2007-02-02
    • Agree with davitof. --leivhe
      • Yes, also IMHO it should be stated very clearly that these are optional. We should guide how to use them but they should never become mandatory. Moreover they are redundant. When characters are present you can count out the kind of scene: 2 = duetto, 3 = trio, 4 = quartetto and so on. -- ClutchEr2

Ok, that's fine with me. -- cadalach, 2006-02-06

Pending issue

(this can be decided separately IMO) (cooperaa), what should we do when several scenes are merged on the same track (MultipleTitleStyle):

  • Die Walküre: Act II. Prelude - Act II, Scene I. (Wotan) "Nun zäume dein Ross, reisige Maid!" Die Walküre: Act II. Prelude / Act II, Scene I. (Wotan) "Nun zäume dein Ross, reisige Maid!" Die Walküre: Act II. Prelude - Scene I. (Wotan) "Nun zäume dein Ross, reisige Maid!" Die Walküre: Act II. Prelude / Scene I. (Wotan) "Nun zäume dein Ross, reisige Maid!" Die Walküre: Act II. Prelude, Scene I. (Wotan) "Nun zäume dein Ross, reisige Maid!"

And what do we do when liner notes (non-scene-splitting) have more than one arias/recitatives for a track? Example:

  • Croesus, Act II, Scene III: "Seht, wie Herr Elcius ist ein Politicus" (Elcius) / "Mein Kätchen ist ein Mädchen" (Bauernkinder) / "Ich solltes schier mein Unglück vergessen" (Elcius) http://musicbrainz.org/track/7ab7b6c7-a5cf-48e0-beca-f3faa9f006ab.html
    • I believe that according to your own suggested order, your example should be:
      • Croesus, Act II, Scene III: (Elcius) "Seht, wie Herr Elcius ist ein Politicus" / (Bauernkinder) "Mein Kätchen ist ein Mädchen" / (Elcius) "Ich solltes schier mein Unglück vergessen" --davitof 2007-02-02
      Quite right (punctuation differs, but this was about multiple arias/recs in a track) --leivhe

This is the track style I support most: --cooperaa (Feb 2)

  • Don Giovanni: Act I, Scene III. (Duettino: Don Giovanni, Zerlina) "La ci darem la mano"
    • Looks good, I could agree on this! :) I'd like to have Arabics though, but it's not essential. Also note that the quotes are not needed, as the formatting guarantees a colon or a dot or a bracket (or a slash, in the case of multiple-arias-in-one-track) in front of the name. How about removing the quotes? You'd get: --leivhe (Feb 3.)
      • Don Giovanni: Act 1, Scene 3. (Duettino: Don Giovanni, Zerlina) La ci darem la mano
      How does that work for the Overture? Just Don Giovanni: Overture? -- joseba, 2007-02-05 Note that if we do this, we should amend the cantata style, as it currently puts Aria/Duet/Rec. in front of the brackets. --leivhe (Feb 5.)
      • Looking at cantatas, would we expect to have the first line of the text in all cases, even for something like a recitative? -- joseba, 2007-02-05

Common practice

What I'm interested in, and what I'm missing on this page, is information about what's common practice in 'the real world' outside of MusicBrainz. If possible, we should stick to that as close as possible unless we come up with something significantly better. By doing this, more people than just us will have less trouble adapting to it. We might all have our personal preferences but e.g. which numbering system is most commonly used for acts and scenes? It would be good if we link to some resources or add examples to each issue just to have some form of reference. At this stage it's hard to make out personal preference and common practice -- Prodoc 20:23, 05 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I almost agree with you, but for a huge difference: I would replace the word "possible" with "desirable". But let's try: * Archiv, EMI and Erato: Type "quotation" (parts), * Decca: quotation parts * harmonia mundi: part type (parts) quotation What do other editors have? Are their releases for the above labels consistent? What about the other labels? -- davitof 2007-02-05

About the Third proposition

Although leivhe supported the first proposition, he said he would have preferred this one. I (once more) change my mind because this proposition stays clear even after removing the PartType or the Characters. IMO it uses the best parts of the first two: regrouping PartType and characters, staying clear even if some parts are not mentioned. I don't see any reason for putting the characters at the end. It isn't specially consistent with any other MB style I know of, and I have found widely differing styles on the actual CDs. So my order is Third, Second and last First (I feel cooperaa's suggestion to put the PartType in lowercase is not solid enough, careless editors would make mistakes). -- davitof 2007-03-19