History:CSGv2: Proposal Overview

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Revision as of 21:57, 12 December 2010 by BrianSchweitzer (talk | contribs) (Track and Recording Artist)

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

The Classical Style Guidelines collectively are the style guidelines for 'classical music' in the broadest sense, from any music tradition, e.g., 20th century classical, 21st century classical, ancient music, baroque, classical, contemporary classical, early music, medieval, opera, production music, renaissance, romantic, etc.

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


Release Artist

What release artist to use for a release you are adding
Classical Release Artist Style

Release Title

How to format the release title of a release you are adding
Classical Release Title Style

Release Language

The Release Language setting for a release should reflect the language used for the track titles. It does not reflect the language spoken or sung on the release, nor any of the specific languages found on the liner for any given release of the same recording.


Track and Recording Artist

Please reference The Classical Style Guidelines: CSG for Recordings: Track and Recording Artist

Track and Recording Title

How to format the titles of tracks and recordings
The Classical Style Guidelines: CSG for Recordings: Track and Recording Artist


Work Artist

Please see The Classical Style Guidelines: CSG for Recordings: Work Artist.

Work Title

Please reference The Classical Style Guidelines: CSG for Recordings: Work Title.


  • Existing (pre-NGS) CSGStandard Project works lists are linked via CSG Standard.
  • This is an advanced guideline. Typically, only editors who specialize in editing classical works will need this guideline.

CSG and the Style Principles

CSG exists apart from other style guidelines due to the special situations encountered when dealing with CSG-applicable titles and artists. With regards to the style principles, CSG co-exists with the other style guidelines, but is separate from them. CSG does not override Artist Intent, but in cases where CSG would conflict with a strong guideline, Consistent Original Data, or any other style guideline, if CSG is applicable, then CSG overrides the conflicting guideline.

What Advanced Relationships (ARs) ought to always be set for a classical release, track, or work

When adding a classical release, please set all possible. However, even if you don't set any other ARs, please set the performer and conductor ARs for each track. If a release you are adding includes arrangements of classical works, please also set the arranger AR.[1]

While there will always be those ARs which do belong at the release level, performer, composer, conductor, chorus master, and other related ARs should always be set at the track level if you have sufficient data to be able to be that specific. If an artist did something on all tracks of a release, add that relationship to each track, recording, or work rather than adding a single artist-release relationship.

Who is considered a “classical” composer?

'Classical music' is a broad term that encompasses a broad period from the beginning of history through to the present day. Depending upon the particular culture, classical music can be ecclesiastical, instrumental, orchestral — even electronic. To attempt to define just what classical music is, or to define a 'classical composer', would invariably include artists who ought to be excluded, and exclude artists who ought to be included.

For our purposes, one possible way to determine the answer for a given composition or composer is to question which artist is the principal artist for a work. People listen to The Rolling Stones without much care for who composed the songs. With classical music, though Glenn Gould or Hilary Hahn certainly is important to the performance of the work, the composer of the music being performed is of at least co-equal importance, such that the composer, and not the performer, is the principal artist. Though no list of all classical composers could ever be considered to be complete, we do maintain a partial list of classical composers.

Given the breadth of composers and compositions contained within the sphere of classical music, no one guideline can be said to apply equally to all works. It is quite possible that CSG 'composer as artist' style might apply, while CSG release titling or work titling guidelines do not. This is most frequently true of modern / experimental classical composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage, soundtrack and score composers such as Michael Nyman, Ennio Morricone, and John Williams, and composers of music for professional use such as Jeffrey Fayman and Yoav Goren. However, just because all aspects of CSG may not always apply to works for any given composer, there will always be those exceptions where even works by these composers are subject to all aspects of CSG.


The Classical Style Guideline (CSG) for artists began in a discussion on the users mailing list in January of 2004. The Classical Style Guidelines for release titles and track titles began as suggestions within that discussion. CSG continued to develop through December of 2006, when the basic guidelines were locked down as official. Throughout 2007, various discussions on more obscure areas of CSG took place in all possible discussion areas of MusicBrainz. However, these guidelines had several principal problems: they were difficult to interpret, vague in many respects, and every new release entered required the editor to reapply CSG to recreate the correct CSG title. Due to these problems, titles created using CSG varied widely, and classical releases required large amounts of time to enter.

Beginning in early 2008, CSG was reexamined for revision by the Style Council. At that point, CSG had become nearly impossible to actually use, due to the number of unofficial CSG-related guidelines - only a few ever actually documented - which were the result of thousands of edits attempting to interpret CSG. The new version of CSG was intended to solve the problems of the earlier CSG: easier to use on a daily basis, clear and specific in its guidance, and consistent in the titles created using the guidelines, regardless of who was the editor.

From these discussions, the new Classical Style Guidelines (CSGv2) were developed. These new guidelines removed much of the difficulty in using the classical style guidelines. Classical Style Guideline for Releases and Release Groups allows for clarity in titling releases and release groups, Classical Style Guideline for Recordings now keeps titles much closer to what appears on the liner for any given release, and Classical Style Guideline for Works, while by far the most complex style guideline ever created, provides a detailed framework by which any classical composition may be consistently titled. The Classical Style Guideline for Works is complex, but it need only be used once for any given work, and thus is a huge improvement over the original CSG.

The new Classical Style Guidelines were passed in __________ of 201_, to coincide with the release of NGS and the introduction of works and recordings.

Notes and References

  1. For any given classical release, it is quite likely that there are several other releases containing the same works in the same order; if these basic ARs are not set, the release is essentially a 'blank' listing. Such unidentified 'blank' listings have a bad tendency to become full of PUIDs, TRMs, CD TOCs, and other data from a range of unrelated releases. Setting these basic identifying ARs allows the users of the database to identify that the releaser you are adding is not, in fact, the one that they want, both avoiding inaccurate data being added, and potentially leading to more releases being added, both of which benefit the data-health of the database.