History talk:Classical Style Guide

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This page is for discussing issues related to the ClassicalStyleGuide. If we seem to reach an agreement here then you can move the entry to the ClassicalMusicFAQ. If you spot a bunch of entries in MusicBrainz in dire need to editing then add to the ClassicalEntriesThatNeedEditing list.

Questions

When should I use 'compilation, official' rather than 'album, official' in the album type?

  • I can't decide on this one. The most obvious approach would be 'multiple major performer on the same disc'. Any one got any thoughts?
    • The Style Guide says that it's a compilation if the material has been previously released. So if an orchestra releases a compilation of previously released performances taken from their catalog (say "Best of Leonard Bernstein" or something like that) it would be a compilation. But this is uncommon in the classical music world, and I would say that it would rarely apply; most albums would either be Album or Live, regardless of the number of major performers. What about albums which contains only part of a piece (for exemple, one scene of an opera and not the whole opera)? It makes sense to call them compilation; I can't think of anything else that could get this attribute in the classical field --lindestinel
      • Full agree with lindestinel. IMO it's the only way: if a release cointains only full works, even if more than one and not sequenced, is an Album; if there are excerpt, highlights or only some movemnts it has to be a compilation -- ClutchEr2
        • Thirded. always had, but I like that ClutchEr2 brings up 'highlights' because IMHO this is always compilation, even in the musicals scene. wanted to bring up that 'live': is it when it says "recorded live" or explicitly when we can hear crowd noises? ~mo
      Summary: Always use 'Album, Official' unless the album contains several extracts from larger works in which case it is 'Compilation, Official'. If in doubt, use 'Album, Official'... andybak
      • I'm going disagree here. I think it's more consistent to say a compilation is used only for recordings with various sources instead of single sources. Otherwise you may have a full recording and a highlights of the exact same recording classified as two different things. Otherwise we should apply the same rule to soundtracks. These recordings are also directly related to each other so it might be best to create a release relationship like "has selections from/selections appear on". --WolfSong 1) IMO having the same work in full or highlights in two different places it's not a drawback but a feature: it's very helpful to separate those releases. 2) I won't say that an highlight is related to a full work, they are related very seldom, in very special cases when they release a full works and also it's highlights (because we can proper relate only works with same performers). --ClutchEr2

Use of I., II. etc.

  • For symphonic movements etc. this I quite acceptable (apart from the issue that files systems don't order roman numerals very well). What I am not sure about is whether to use this for works that don't usually have numbered movements. Example: http://www.musicbrainz.org/showalbum.html?albumid=204718 The tracks that make up the Firebird don't usually get numbered as part of their title. I was tempted to name them:
    • The Firebird: I. Introduction The Firebird: II. The Firebird And Its Dance etc.
    This keeps info about their numbering in about the only place it can currently go. But you will never see the movements described this way on album sleeves. Would 01, 02, 03 be better or leave it out altogether?
    • IMO movement have to be noted only in works where are relevant such as symphonies, sonatas, etc. in which there were rules to do so. For a non classical lover could be difficult to distinguish but I would not ban a moderation ie of Firebird without numerals --ClutchEr2
    The Firebird is a ballet and should use Operatic style IMO. As a side note, shouldn't it be - Ballet "The Firebird": ... - ( transition with the following paragraph :p ) --lindestinel

Works with unofficial yet commonly used names

  • Is everyone happy with entries like:
    • Symphony No.9, Op.125 "Choral"
    And track titles like:
    • Symphony No.9, Op.125 "Choral": I. Allegro, ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
    Do we need any punctuation between the opus number and the "name"?
    • I am happy with track and album titles like that, although having "name": seems a bit, "over-punctualized" I also want to know if one should add a space after each '.' or not. like for example: Symphony No. 9, or: Symphony No.9
    • The example above has no spaces in No.9 etc. ClassicalStyleGuide does put spaces in, as it seems to be with the majority of entries in MB. It'd be nice to get some consistency on this. (Personally I prefer with spaces.) --mebourne
      • I prefer spaces as well. Not only does it look more natural it's also the orthographically correct solution. --Fuchs
    And what to do with title which can become very long? Exemple:
    • Violon Concerto, Op. 8 "Il Cimento dell' Armonia e dell' Inventione" No. 1 in E major, RV 269 "The Four Seasons: Spring": I. Allegro
    I tried to be consistent to write it but do we really need it all?.--lindestinel A suggestion - seeing the recent guideline for common album names, would it be better to place the unofficial name in parentheses? As in:
    • Symphony No.9, Op.125 ("Choral"): I. Allegro, ma non troppo, un poco maestoso --MichelleW As you surely know, these are often "official" names, given by composers and IMHO would be quite hard to put in brackets only the surely unofficial ones. --ClutchEr2
      • ugh ("Choral") seems messy no matter how you look at it IMHO ~mo
      The problem is with common names. Do you name it "Moonlight Sonata" or "Mondschein Sonate" or "Quasi una fantasia"? Very few people will know that this is the same as 'Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27'. The dilemma is, you can use the "nameless" proposal, but confuse people who are unable to find the track, or you add the "name" and increase the possibility of duplicates in different languages. --Fuchs
      • But this is becoming an internationnal issue. Name should be in the same language than the album or in the original language. There is no increase of duplicates: "Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27" is english, "Mondschein Sonate" would imply the nameless name in german as well and so on. --lindestinel

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

---

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.)

Movement and arias splitting

We also have to decide in which way movements with more than a "tempo" are to split. I once thought that they should follow MultipleTitleStyle ("Multiple albums on one disc and multiple songs on one track are separated by / ") but then I have to agree that is not proper a multiple song (as in this mod) since we probably will never find it splitted in two tracks. So I would not use slash to avoid confusion. I'll use instead "-" (some releases uses ".")

  • Konzert No. 4 in Es dur KV 495: III. Rondo - Allegro vivace
    • This is a somewhat compliated example because it condenses two situations. The first is where there is a tempo change in the middle of the movement (Grave - Allegro con brio). For that I agree that the hyphen is the preferred approach. The second is where the movement has both a type or form and a tempo. (Rondo: Allegro vivace or Finale: Allegro). For those I much prefer the colon. The primary examples of this situation are Rondo, Scherzo, Finale, but there are others. --Steinbdj
      • I disapprove the usage of the colon since it's already used to separate title and tempo/form. Even the period seems better to me. I know it's already an usage, but it always look weird when you use it. --lindestinel

Instead, we do can find operatic arias splitted or not depending on the release so I think the use of slash in those case is proper.

  • Follie! Delirio vano è questo! / Sempre libera

Some releases uses "..." but I wouldn't 'cos it could be confusing on tracks that really ends with "..." as this that is a single aria intro:

  • Parla... Siam soli... Tutte le feste al tempio

or this

Those details could be somehow irrilevant but if someone else says his opinion and then a styledude would convert to official, I would appreciate. --ClutchEr2

  • Noteing that I agree with all this and you have opened my eyes on the operatic aria thing, of course you are right, it would be confusing when songs actually end with ... (and I've even seen quite a few) in closing, I stand behind this review totally. ClutchEr2, you sould take this up on the Mailinglist as well. ~mo I'm in agreement with the above too. Think we should propose this for the main page. --mebourne Agreed --WolfSong

Key and Tone indication

It seems to be an unwritten convention for trimming hypen on tone indication of classic works (see this mod), such as "D flat minor" instead of "D-flat minor".

  • I agree with this. --ClutchEr2 just noting that I prefer to include the hyphen ~ mo Having just ripped some 100 or so classical CDs, I don't remember the hyphen being used in the sleeve notes on any of them. My preference is without. --mebourne "Moll" and "Dur" will have to be in upper case, if it is to be correct German. --DonRedman We don't have any hypen in italian but I think we could follow what is stated on english and relative German wikipedia. -- ClutchEr2

Works catalog

It seems it was never discussed the style of "work catalog" such as

  • Bach BWV
  • Mozart KV
  • Schubert D
  • Vivaldi RV
  • Weber J
  • Haydn Hob
  • Domenico Scarlatti K
  • Handel HWV
  • Buxtehude BuxWV
  • (what else?)

Since they are not properly abbreviation (at least no more) I would not dot them and I would separate it by a space for better search chances. But I'm really open to any suggestion. -- ClutchEr2

  • Toccata & Fugue BWV 565
  • Concerto for Horn & Orchestra No. 1 in D KV 412: II. Allegro
  • Rondo in B minor Op. 70, D 895
  • Trio for violin, lute and basso continuo in G minor RV 85
  • Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B flat Op. 34, J 182
  • Cello Concerto in C major Hob VIIb:1
  • K 450 in G minor: Allegrissimo
  • Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo No. 13 in D major Op.1, HWV 371
  • I agree since it's usually what I do, but I would add a comma before, like we do for Op. --lindestinel
    • I agree with the comma also. but I though Mozart was KV? (atleast that's the way its been mentioned in a rather informal booklet I got from my liberary ;) ~mo
Yes, mo, it should be KV. --ClutchEr2
  • Where should commas go and what is the order of Op., No. and BWV? "Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in D major HWV 371 Op. 1 No. 13" or "Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in D major, Op. 1, No. 13, HWV 371"? --zout
    • (IMHO there's no need for commas at all but without is eventually a bit confusing, so) I would put commas in any section to divide them. And about the order I prefere first of all the number because is often an attribute composer directly gave, then keys, then opus and finally catalogation that is the last born. So it is
    "Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo No. 13 in D major Op. 1, HWV 371" --ClutchEr2


  • About opus with multiple work. Until now I used the following style "Nocturne No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 9 No. 1". It's something I proposed a while ago. Now, I'm wondering if "Nocturne No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 9/1" is not better to avoid confusion between the two "No. 1". --lindestinel

What of cases such as "A clockwork orange" soundtrack, where the composers are both Beethoven and Walter/Wendy Carlos?

  • Probably a various artists release. Some of the tracks would by Beethoven and some by Walter/Wendy Carlos. In cases where there is a piece by Beethoven which has been re-orchestrated/re-arranged dramatically then add something like (arrangement: Walter Carlos) after the track title. This follows the style for remixes and the like.

Does everyting with some classical tracks come under Classical style guidelines?

When is a Classical work not a classical work? Say for example the group Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. They incorporated a number of Classical pieces in thier albums, and at least one Theme song (Peter Gunn Theme) Do we move thier stuff under Various Artists and credit the composers? or do we leave them alone because the are a Rock Group first. This has come up because of a discussion i'm having with another moderater over where a work by the neoclasical group Mannheim Steamroller should go. I maintain that the artist should be Mannheim Steamroller and it should be with the rest of thier albums which also contain many classical pieces and They maintain it should be under Various Artists with the classical composers credited even though several selections are composed by a modern composer, not a Classical one. This whole issue is a can of worms just because the database builders weren't farsighted enough to provide a separate field for Composer. --Trongersoll

  • ( Discussion started here ) I full agree that cases like the one mentioned ( Mannheim ) that is an artist with a own discography that in a release uses some classical works often hardly rearranged should be left under executor; but composer should be credited on tracks as it sure is on liner notes. -- ClutchEr2
    • I think that part of the problem is that different people see MusicBrainz in different ways. AudioScrobbler is encouaging thier 20,000 + users to tag all thier music files using MusicBrainz. This is so that they will be able to pass just the tag and get the artist and track info from musicbrainz. The problem arises when people labeled thier music originally themselves per the CD or got the info from another music database that made the artist the performer. Then when they try and tag thier files it comes up "not found", so they get the info from freedb who also doesn't label the info the same as MusicBrainz. Then when they do the add, the database says its there but with different names or artists because of musicbrainz conventions. so they assume that musicbrainz is wrong and moderate. and then get the "rules' thrown at them. On the other hand some people see musicbrainz as a research resource and feel its important in the case of classical music to credit the composer instead of the artist. Each argument has it's merits. The thing is, as more and more people use this there is going to be more and more debate and worthless mods. I'm not sure what the answer is, until musicbrainz adds fields to the database for composer as well as artist. When someone can't tag thier CD files easily there is something wrong. Stupid world refusing to conform. --Trongersoll

"Covers" on classical music

This seems to be a discussion left open. Could be accepted the "cover" concept of classical works? If we stick on what MB says about non-classical works they all have to be "covers" and so credited to performer, as some moderators think. As we know it isn't so but perhaps there's a need for point out some exceptions. Let's make some examples ordered by "coverness", we have to chose where to put the split:

IMO a work of an Artist that plays classical works in a quite different way (and expecially when the Artist has an own discography) should not be moved to the composer and left in his own Album list, crediting original work as possibile; this way go (1), (2) and probably (3).

Otherwise, "classical" classical works, where performers stick to what composer did, should be moved to composer (expecially and without doubt when the artist is only a perfomer, without a single original work); this way go (7), (6) and (5) (even if Pavarotti seems to have somehow a discography: he has not, there's nothing original; for this reason Pavarotti as Artist should disappear [nothing against him, he was the best])

(4) is tricky because she did own original works, she did rearrange more or less works from other composers and she did works just as they are.

Another (perhaps simpler) way of choosing could be to preserve unity, avoiding Various Artist as possibile, as they do on physical musical store, expecially for those worldwide famous performer. So Pavarotti singing only Puccini goes under Puccini, Pavarotti singing a compilations of VA goes under Pavarotti. --ClutchEr2

Discussions

You say that the current ClassicalStyleGuide is an interim solution. Does that mean there's 'a proper one' on the way at some point? i.e. one that properly records the various metadata required for classical fans: performer, composer, soloist, conductor, ensemble etc. There is an order to classical information, which we could suggest a scheme for. Thoughts? (Dan Hill http://www.cityofsound.com/)

  • Yes we are planing for AdvancedRelationships. This would be a proper way of dealing with classical metadata.

http://reactor-core.org/ogg-tag-recommendations.html has a recommended metadata specification that would work with classical music. It is not without problems though, this page http://alanlittle.org/weblog/ClassicalID3.html discusses the problem in more detail.


About quotes on operatic arias. 
  • Using for Opera arias track titles seems proper because they are part of the lyrics and not real track title. But in fact they are *always* named by the first phrase of the lyrics and I can't remember a single aria named in another way; so across years those had become the real title of the track. Thus I don't see a need for adding quotes nor it seems me wrong to remove it: both version are accetable and I'm neutral to this. -- ClutchEr2

There is another ongoing discussion about the way of splitting multiple works in album title as in this an other moderations. Proposed version by now are: 
  • (1) Klavierkonzerte No. 2 / No. 3

or

  • (2) Klavierkonzerte: No. 2 / No. 3

or

  • (3) Klavierkonzerte No. 2 / Klavierkonzerte No. 3 First of all I have to say I'm against the form that uses "&" or "and". Then there are only quite a few phisical releases using rendundant form as (3). In this example is passable but think about something like: Piano Sonata No. 1 / Piano Sonata No. 18 / Piano Sonata No. 13 (Paul Bakura-Skoda) *
  • or to have to edit and fix album like this:
    • Ludwig van Beethoven: The Late String Quartets, Opp. 127, 130, 131, 132, 133 and 135 (disc 3) / Tokyo String Quartet *
    The (2) would be IMO the perfect form but maybe it's difficult to remember. So it goes for the (1) --ClutchEr2
    • I'm happy with (1) or two, but marginally prefer (2) --mebourne
      • as you know I prefer (3) but in the cases of ": Ludwig van Beethoven: The Late String Quartets, Opp. 127, 130, 131, 132, 133 and 135 (disc 3) / Tokyo String Quartet" I would simply make this into: Ludwig van Beethoven: The Late String Quartets (Tokyo String Quartet) (disc 3) no need for that many delimeting numbers, what does the album name say? ~mo also, I don't understand the need to turn & or 'and' into / when its consistently used on the cover... ~mo I agree with mo here, the use of & is better than / (I've already said what I think about /), except is we use (3) and its redundancy.. --lindestinel

About act 

>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



What about a guide on how to use 'arrangement' artists and 'attributed to' artists? My suggestion: Track name (arrangement by Artist Name) and similarly Track name (attributed to Artist Name). --zout

  • since de facto it is simmilar to featuring, I'd go with (arr. Artist Name) or similar, but I'm not set-in-stone on this at all, just commenting that classical track names are really long already with the amount of clutter they already house. consistent naming techniques that's all, but lets please avoid (feat. arrangement: Artist Name)! ~mo
  • (arr. Name) works since that's pretty common on covers, though generally new abbreviations are discouraged. Otherwise (arranged by Name) sounds better and is 3 chars shorted than the above. Personally though I just leave this stuff off to save clutter. --mebourne


Since we now have relationships, wouldn't it make more sense to make Classical the same as other types of music and make the artis the performer, and use a relationship to link the composer? This would make life easier for people looking for performances by a specific orchestra, and would make the cover issue moot. --Trongersoll

  • IMHO there's no way: if an Album is all by a Composer it should be under that composer. That it's mostly because it is also difficult to choose wich performer it should be under. For example where do have to stick into a Mozart concerto by Berliner with Mutter on violin and Muti conducting...? But in case of classical compilation by Various Artist where often the performer is clearly the main reason of the release (ie a Gould performance or a Callas recital) I think it could be left under performer, also because listerners are often more interested by who's playing rather than what he's playing. So then I look for Beethoven and find his album and probably I'm not interested in all this bunch of compilations with only a movement from a symphony; I look for Carreras and find all his release. The only problem with this is that the more you build difficult and foggy rules the more you are subject to mod flames. And all this is apart from AR and anyway to the current form of AR: I can't imagine Bach with no album but filled up with a mess of AR in the way they are displayed now, just for the sake of having albums under performers -- ClutchEr2
    • noting that I agree with ClutchEr2 here, and I think he explained the reason pretty nicely, generally all 'beethoven' symphonies are stored under 'beethoven' in places like libraries and musicstores, while 'performer compilations' (ie Maria Callas) are stored under them. ~mo

Approved and moved to ClassicalStyleGuide, here for only history purpose

Track titles on discs with only a single work

  • Is it really necessary to repeat "Symphony No.9 in D Minor: " at the beginning of every track title when that is the only work on the disc, and the title of the disc is the same "Symphony No.9 in D Minor" perhaps with "(some orchestra feat. conductor somebody)"? I understand the motivation for these track titles when there are multiple works on a disc (the most common case) but it seems totally redundant when a disc contains only one work. See for example the discussion on this track title edit. Yes, I think it is. Because the track title must inform about what work is it. If you see only "Ludwig van Beethoven - Allegro", then how can you know what is it ? (I suppose audioscrobbler make it more relevant). This is how I want to see them in my playlist though. It also make title more "uniform", so different album always use the same title for the same pieces. Can be handy for search too. --lindestinel I agree with this, and it seems to be becoming common practice. Can we move this to ClassicalStyleGuide now? --mebourne I also agree --ClutchEr2 Agreed --WolfSong thirded ~mo

Key indication

An agreement says that the statement "in" if missing should be added, lower case:

  • "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 5 in A major, K. 219: I. Allegro aperto"

Please note also that tone is uppercase and that the movement follows CapitalizationStandardItalian; so be careful using "Guess Case" since it converts "A" to "a" and capitalizes "Aperto" --ClutchEr2

A rife inconsistency is with capitalisation on Major/major. ClassicalStyleGuide has Major, a lot of other places have major, as probably do the majority of entries. I think all of the sleeve notes on my classical CDs use the lower case, and that would be my preference. --mebourne

Instruments indication

We could agree on a style for instruments indication on feat. as from this mod

  • Impromptus Op. 90, D. 899 / Op. 142, D. 935 (feat. piano: Jenö Jandó)

Probably because in italian is so, I would not write "pianist" or "violinist" but only the indication of the instrument played, it' cleaner and easier. (As a side note, I wouldn't use anything at all in this particular case since in a Piano Sonata the executor is surely using a piano.) --ClutchEr2

  • I mostly agree with that, but it does fall down for organ music. There it is sometimes is useful to record the name of the organ and the name of the organist. How would we do that with this scheme? --mebourne

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