History:CSGv2: Proposal Overview

From MusicBrainz Wiki
Revision as of 23:03, 12 December 2010 by BrianSchweitzer (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigationJump to search

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

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.


Release Artist

Please reference CSG for Releases and Release Groups: Release/Release Group Artist for guidelines regarding the correct artist(s) of releases and release groups.

Track and Recording Title

Please reference CSG for Releases and Release Groups: Release/Release Group Artist for guidelines regarding how to format the titles of releases and release groups.

Release Language

Please reference CSG for Releases and Release Groups: Release Language and Script for guidelines regarding correct selection of the language and script for releases.


Track and Recording Artist

Please reference CSG for Tracks and Recordings: Track and Recording Artist for guidelines regarding the correct artist(s) of tracks and recordings.

Track and Recording Title

Please reference CSG for Tracks and Recordings: Track and Recording Artist for guidelines regarding how to format the titles of tracks and recordings.


Note: These are advanced guidelines. Typically, only editors who specialize in editing classical works will need to reference these guidelines.

Work Artist

Please reference CSG for Works: Work Artist for guidelines regarding the correct artist(s) for works.

Work Title

Please reference CSG for Works: Work Title for guidelines regarding how to format the titles of works.

Note that existing (pre-NGS) CSG Standard Project works lists are listed at CSG Standard.

Advanced Relationships

It is important that performer, arranger, and conductor relationships be added at the recording level (as applicable).[1] Please also review the Advanced Relationship guidelines. Be aware that setting a relationship to say that an artist composed a release is not the same as setting relationships to say that an artist composed each track on a release.

Release Events

Please attempt to add a release event to any classical release which you add or edit. Many classical releases feature the same compositions. Occasionally the same performers will release an entirely new recording of the same compositions which they previously recorded and released. Without a release event, even if advanced relationships are present, it can be difficult or impossible to determine what recording is actually represented by such an "empty" release.

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. Most people listen to The Rolling Stones without much care for who composed the songs. With 'classical' music, however, Glenn Gould or Hilary Hahn certainly is important to the performance of the work, but the composer of the music being performed is of at least co-equal, frequently greater, importance. For this reason, for 'classical' music, the composer, and not the performer, is the principal artist. In MusicBrainz terminology, this is frequently referred to as 'composer as artist style'.

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 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 apply to the compositions of a given composer, there will always be those exceptions where even works by such a composer are subject to some or all aspects of CSG titling guidelines.


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.