User:Hawke/Proposal/CSG Works

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The title for a classical work in MusicBrainz should be the same as the title for works in any other genre: The canonical title of the work, expressed in the language it was originally written.


It is recommended to use a reliable source for titles, such as a recent urtext edition. If that is not available, just use the best source you can find. Titles can be corrected later. Note: Wikipedia and similar online sources are not considered reliable in this context.

File:Diagram of typical work.jpg

Kantate, BWV 147 „Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben“: Teil I, II. Recitativo (Tenore) "Gebenedeiter Mund!"

[main work type] [catno] [main work title] [??] [part order] [part type(?)] [??] [part title]

This title should be split across two works: the main work and the part work.

The main work

File:main work diagram.jpg

Kantate, BWV 147 „Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben“

[type] [Catalog] [title]

Work type
this belongs in the “work type” field.
Catalog number
Since catalogue numbers are an important part of identifying a work, one catalogue number may be added to the title. If more than one catalogue is used for a work, try to find the most commonly used catalogue.
In general, we do not alter the title given by the composer, but in some cases, the original title is never used. A recent edition will likely have the title you want, but if in doubt, use the "modern" title in the composer's language.
  • "Matthäus-Passion" instead of the original "Passio Domini Nostri J.C. Secundum Evangelistam Matthaeum"
  • “Tannhäuser” instead of "Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg”
  • “Don Giovanni”, not “Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni”

The part-work

File:Diagram of typical work part.jpg

Teil I, II. Recitativo (Tenore) "Gebenedeiter Mund!"

[book number] [part ordering] [work type(?)] [unknown] [title]

Book number
[what to do with this?]
Part ordering
May be included in the disambiguation comment.
Part-work type
Stored in the ‘work type’ field, not inside the title, or the annotation if no applicable work type is available.
this belongs in the title field. Do not include the title of the ‘main work’ in a part-work title.

Other considerations


If you believe a sub-title is useful for searching, add it as a non-primary alias; otherwise use the annotation.


  • Nixon in China: Foxtrot for orchestra
  • 1812: Торжественная увертюра


If a work is available with translated titles and it is unclear which is the original, use the language of the first performance (if the work was written with a specific performance or audience in mind). If this fails, use the composer's preferred language, usually found in the autograph or first edition.

See the language-specific pages for how to format language-specific details. Note: Works with translated lyrics (as opposed to works with only a translated title) should have the specific translation as default language.

Translated titles

Translated titles, such as "The Firebird" and "Christmas Oratorio" should be entered as aliases. The primary alias should be a standard translation for the specific language. Additional translations can be added as non-primary aliases.

Unofficial names (nicknames)

Nicknames may be added as a “search hint” alias.


  • “All-Night Vigil” by Rachmaninoff is often referred to as “Vespers”

Multi-part works

One work may contain several layers of parts, though usually not more than three


  • Opera (has part) Act (has part) Part
  • Cantata (has part) Part (has part) Part

Untitled works

Works that only have a work type / form as identifier (e.g. Sonata, Quartetto) may use the type as the title. The title should be listed in the composer's preferred language. In many cases forms should be left untranslated.


  • Mazurka


Some untitled works need information about solo instruments in the title. [insert advice about whether instrumentation should come before/after form, i.e. “Quartet for Strings” vs. “String Quartet”]

Tempo as title

Tempo can be used as title when the work has no title except tempo or character; e.g. “Allegro”, “Adagio”. This is common for movements of untitled works, like sonatas and concertos. Tempi should not be translated in the title, but translations may be added as ‘search hint’ aliases.

Only use the first tempo in the title field, do not list tempo changes inside the work. A second tempo can be used if it describes a major section.

Sometimes the final part of multi-part works is often listed with both "Finale" and tempo, e.g. "Finale: Allegro".


Beethoven's piano sonatas have a short introduction in a slower tempo than the main part of the movement, and are commonly referred to with both tempi.

Keys in untitled works

For many untitled works, the key is an important identifier and should be added to the title. Examples of such works include symphonies, sonatas, preludes, fugues. Try to follow convention: you can have a standalone "Minuet in g", but you would never list keys for minuets inside say, a symphony.


Especially in older vocal music, the title may be (a part of) the first line in the lyrics. Do not use quotation marks, and try to find a good source for the length of the quote if not available in the score.

Dramatic roles

Roles may be listed in the annotation.

Excerpt / pseudo works

Also called "convenience works". When an excerpt of a larger work can be considered part of the standard repertoire, ex. Bridal chorus from Lohengrin, you can create a work for this excerpt. Try to find the most commonly used title, in the same language as the lyrics.

Another situation that makes convenience works necessary is when different editions of the same work have different sub-parts. Examples include some certain piano sonatas by Beethoven; one edition has two movements where another edition has three. Use the disambiguation comment to explain the situation as clearly as possible. Do not create more than one excerpt work for the same section. No matter if the boundaries are not exactly the same, or if the excerpt is preceded with a recitative or not.

Further Examples

Title Worktype Lyrics Language
Carmen Opera French
Москва, Черемушки, Op. 105 Opera Russian
Jeu de cartes Ballet No linguistic content
Overture Overture No linguistic content
1812, op. 49 Overture No linguistic content
Ouvertüre nach Französischer Art, BWV 831 Suite No linguistic content
Ouverture Overture No linguistic content
Ouverture g-Moll, BWV 822 Suite No linguistic content
Erster Aufzug "Act" Attention.png no worktype available - use "Opera" and "Ballet"? German
III. Aria II Aria ?? No linguistic content
Il mio tesoro intanto Aria Italian
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 Cantata German
  • Excerpt work
    Type "Pseudo" ??
  • oratorio recitativo
  • Wie unglücklich bin ich nit, K. 147 (125g)
  • translated song
  • "fantasia super:"
  • Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr', BWV 771
  • ballet scene
    Type "Ballet" ??
  • symphony
  • symphony movement
  • maybe symphony excerpt
  • sonata movement