History:Classical Track Title Discussion

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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 It could be a discussion, an outdated style guideline, or a past proposal.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


A common structure lies beneath the track titles. Rather informally, this can be defined as

  • Classical_track_title
  • Work_title
  • An alternate structure I'm using for a work which is known by its common name, and not by as a numbered symphony, is: Work_title consists of Common_name [ Key_and_chord COMMA] [ Catalog_number ]. See Vaughn Williams "Sinfonia Antartica". --JimDeLaHunt 2007-12-29
    • Personally, I don't see why it being unnumbered, or having a common name, is a reason why we ought to alter the above structure, in which there already is a position for the common name. The common name doesn't serve, in many (most?) cases to indicate the work type, so this style would seem to present less, not more, info. The only style using such an alternate structure is Opera, and Opera, even if the work is unknown, is rather visually identifiable, given that most of the detail on those tracks falls to the right, not the left (as with most other classical) of the colon. -- BrianSchweitzer 09:14, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Genre_title
  • should be: Symphony | [ Instrument ] Concerto | Cantata | Sonata | Quartet...
  • What comes after the genre word? What about numbers, e.g. "Concerto no.1", "Symphony no.9"? What about instrumentation, e.g. "Concerto no.1 for violin and orchestra"? What about opus numbers, e.g. "BWV 17"? --JimDeLaHunt 2007-11-12
    • Instrumentation I believe would be covered by "Instrument" above (and has been taken to mean just that, in my experience.) Opus numbers - actually, BWV 17 is a catalog number; but either also already has a position, in the [ Catalog_number ] section of the Work_title. Re: numbers, more difficult, as I mentioned on the CSGD page, as it can be the 10's symphony, or the 10th concerto for piano - I would suggest "Symphony | No. [ Instrument ] No. Concerto | Cantata | Sonata | Quartet..." where the "No." section is one or the other, but not both. My question about the above line, why do we have Instrument inserted in the middle of the work types list? It ought to be "Symphony | Concerto | Cantata | Sonata | Quartet... for [ Instrument ]" imho. -- BrianSchweitzer 09:14, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
      • I agree with you, Brian, for {instrument] is simpler -- davitof 2008-02-04
  • I suppose that, here, "Concerto" can be replaced by "Double Concerto" or "Concerto grosso" (I considering Vivaldi's...). But should the instruments of double concertos be mentionned or not? and how?: "Violin Double Concerto" or "Double Violin Concerto"? --Dibou 2009-07-26
  • Key_and_chord
  • consists of:
(what about a good-looking table with _all_ English keys here. Chord part in second column. German and French in columns 3-6? leivhe)
  • I agree, but I'd put it in a separate page, in order to keep this one reasonably small --davitof 2006-12-13
    • Here's a list, as I needed one, whatever we decide to do with it. No idea on correct translations for the enharmonic keys. -- BrianSchweitzer 09:02, 08 January 2008 (UTC)
      • There is an article on Wikipedia regarding key signature names and translations. Would it be more appropriate to simply link there rather than include the table here? --ToastySailor 2008-01-08
        • Wish I'd known about that page yesterday - it wasn't coming up when I was searching wiki. But I do think we stil have a reason to want our own list, rather than just using wiki... namely, wiki's got the common languages (plus Russian, that may come in handy!). However, we have some 350+ languages that are covered. Classical in those languages is rare, but I have already seen some few of those releases in the database. I get the sense that if we tried to edit Wiki to add, say, Chinese, Japanese, or Turkish keys, they'd be removed for some reason or another. Here, though, we actually do have a reason that those would be welcomed as additions to a table. I think, generally, Wiki is great for reference (so long as you take it with the grain of salt you ought to), but our mission and theirs, when it comes to breadth of very specific music-related info like this, differs enough that even if the tables start as nearly identical (ours has Spanish and major/minor, theirs has Russian), ours can be expected to grow over time to be more comprehensive, while theirs doesn't have quite that same expectation. Also, with regard to major/minor capitalization, that's an additional issue the Wikipedia list ignores, while in ours, it's something being specifically addressed in at least three of the CSG proposal discussions. -- BrianSchweitzer 23:37, 08 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Part_title
could someone provide an example of this (especially with the subsection) --davitof 2006-12-13
  • I found a recent example Here, but from what was agreed, [ Subsection COMMA ] should be in Work_title after Catalog_number like this: [Catalog_number] [COMMA Subsection] --MLL 2006-12-15
Although this is true most of the time, sometimes it is not. Operas follow a different scheme. Maybe it would be better to put them in a completely diferent place? --davitof 2006-12-13
  • - Part_title here is stillIdea.png what was in my original email on mb-style. (http://lists.musicbrainz.org/pipermail/musicbrainz-style/2006-December/thread.html#004261)
    Since then, there were the (to me) eye-opening discussion on strictness regarding formatting (http://lists.musicbrainz.org/pipermail/musicbrainz-users/2006-December/thread.html#15066)
    - I think maybe you're right, davitof:
    Although I haven't laid it out in any details, I suspect displaying info on slack and optional stuff (common name) in a formal-like way, will be hard to write, and harder to read and follow than a series of examples with some prose on extrainfo and slack. I think davitof's suggestion (different pages for operas, symphonies etc. as needed) is a good idea.
    - That being said, it would be nice to start thinking on what we could want from a "text sensitive tagger" for classical music, as the new CSG should be in accordance with it.
    (leivhe 2006-12-15)
@Leivhe: I don't understand your last formatting modifications. I am sure you are trying to express something and I would gladly comply, but for this I need to understand! I agree we need this page to structurate our ideas. I even think that we will always need both. A theoretical model such as this one is important to allow us to check everything is as coherent as possible (which is after all one of our main goals here), but the end-user explanation pages are important for the main user. This is the technical reference, the other will be the "how to". --davitof 2006-12-15
  • @davitof: I forgot to add an edit note saying: Putting discussions and comments in boxes, so as not to clutter it up with the contents. If someone prefers it like it was, it can be reverted.
    • I think it is a good idea. In your previous edit, you forgot to put my "could someone provide an example of this (especially with the subsection) --davitof 2006-12-13" in a box, so I was not sure what you were aiming at. But the box style has a problem, it prevents from using links in the comments :-( I am checking if there is another format we could use... --davitof 2006-12-13
      • (1) What about this? Smaller, but I feel comments being smaller is logical. And at least links are preserved --davitof 2006-12-13
        • (2) Or this? It seems right too. And links are preserved too --davitof 2006-12-13
          • (3)Or this ? --MLL My preference: (3), second rank is (1) ((2) can be confused with examples)
            • You are right about (3). Let's forget about it. I still prefer (1), but here is what I suggest: Let's use (3) as long as this work is in it's active phase. When our changes are more or less set and this page shifts from a work page to a reference page, then we can use (1) for the few comments we will want to keep. BTW, (3) has a small limitation: each editor who adds his comment will have to create a new box, you can't put the double pipe characters on a separate line. --davitof 2006-12-13

Just something I threw together in an hour of free time, but perhaps it can help some people... attachment:CSGOperaThing.html (note: Right-click save this, then load the local file - don't try to load it directly from here, it won't work.) -- BrianSchweitzer 05:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Re Genre_title. My feeling is that restricting the first part to be purely the genre title would not allow many natural, useful and common titles. What about the composer's work numbering? In 'Symphony No. 4', the 'No. 4' would not be allowed. A Brandenburg Concerto would be something awkward like 'Various Instrument Concerto, BWV ... "Brandenburg Concerto No. 1' - technically more correct of course but not easy to understand for users. Do we really want 'Opera, KV 527 "Don Giovanni"'? As to the suggestion to move operas elsewhere, CSG is already complex enough, we shouldn't have different styles for different genres. --joseba 2007-01-12
  • You are right that there are cases where we should admit other formulations. Leivhe's suggestion is a programmer's point of view. I think it will be a good thing if it is implemented in CSG (a "hard" hierarchical structure). This will allow us for example to find all the operas from different composers, which we can't currently do. This will also allow ordering the works from a composer by catalogue number, which for some composers is useful because the catalogue reflects the composition date. I suggest that WorkAliases would allow us to access the data in a more natural way when applicable. In the meanwhile, we must accept more natural formulations when these can't be avoided. About the Opera, I think the current rules already are very different from the rest of classical repertoire: no catalogue number, no key indication, no movement indication, we allow for differences in how the title is formulated (how many of the words are used), the track splitting varies wildly from one release to another... So I feel that rather than complicating CSG with all these exceptions, it would much more user-friendly to put them in a separate page. I am not convinced there would be other separations to implement, but opera is definitely special IMO.--davitof 2007-01-14
    • I strongly believe Making operas separate will alienate and confuse many users. I don't see convincing reasons for this either; what we need is a careful formulation of CSG rules that are flexible enough while maintaining consistency. Catalogue numbers: could be added to operas too. Key indications: easy to say "add where available". Movement indication: give alernatives for numbers ("I" vs. "Act I, Scene I" vs. No. 42 (how do you number the St. John Passion?)). Track splitting is possible anyway and there should be a generic way of dealing with this. Once you start to split out opera, the next question is cantata, and then oratorio, ... -- joseba 2007-02-09
      • Greetings, I'm a recent arrival at MusicBrainz and this discussion. I'm in favour of making the style guide for Opera separate from the CSG. joseba says "I don't see convincing reasons for [Making operas separate]". But davitof gave a reason that convinces me: "the current rules [for opera] already are very different from the rest of classical repertoire: no catalogue number, no key indication, no movement indication, we allow for differences in how the title is formulated (how many of the words are used), the track splitting varies wildly from one release to another...". Also, we may find common ground between style guides for opera, operetta, and musical theatre. Looking at how complex it is for this page to capture the rules for classical (concert) music, I can only expect that trying to fold in different rules for Opera will make this page difficult to read and follow. That will alienate new users -- and I sympathise with them, I'm one of them now. --JimDeLaHunt 2007-11-12
        • Personally, I think CSG and Opera styles are so much more different than the same, combining them into a single set of rules is a BadIdea(TM). Re: librettos, oratorios, etc, there's always going to be a grey zone for which style fits best, but I think the two different sets of guidelines give enough flexability - where needed, and where it makes sense to do so, the two can be combined easily. CSG mostly covers the left side of the colon, with "extra stuff" on the right. OperaStyle basically has only the opera title and cat # on the left, with all the important stuff on the right. It's pretty easy to see where the two would combine for, say, an oratorio, using the revelant parts of CSG on the left side, and the relevant parts of Opera style on the right. If we try to combine the two, however, we just get a mess of rules on each side which, for any given work, would seem to simply add a whole bunch of "ignore this, you don't need it for this tracktitle" complexity. What we would gain in making oratorios, librettos, songs, etc, clearer, we'd lose in making the other 95% of classical more complicated. -- BrianSchweitzer 05:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)