In a recent blog post I tried to define a Work as:
A Work is a musical composition that will at some point be performed and possibly recorded, in which case it will become a Recording.
This definition makes it difficult to address compilations, DJ-mixes and mash-ups. What if we're more liberal in our definition of Work:
A Work is a new musical creation or a creative combination of existing musical creations. Works can be performed and recorded to create recordings or recordings can be creatively combined to create new recordings.
By allowing a wider definition of a Work we can capture more information about the Work. For instance, if a compilation of music is considered a Work, then the release level information/ARs can capture the information about the recordings contained in the compilation and the Work level information/ARs can capture the information about the compilation itself.
- A work represents an abstract musical creation/concept which can be performed and recorded to create a recording. Alternatively, a work can be creatively manipulated (i.e. arranged, remixed, sampled, mashed-up, etc.) into a new work, which can then have its own performances and recordings.
I took a stab at a definition, hopefully it's not too wordy. --navap 20:37, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Here's what we ended with when ruoak and I talked about the above 'more liberal' definition in IRC:
- What is a Work?
- A Work is a intentional musical creation, a creative combination of existing Works, or some combination of both.
- 'Works' vs. 'Recordings':
- Works can be performed, combined, and/or recorded to create recordings.
- Recordings can be creatively combined to create new Recordings or Works, depending on the situation. (See Mix Terminology for more details).
It addresses what I saw as the three weaknesses in the original suggested definition (copied from IRC):
- Is a lost composition still a Work? (It can't be recorded)
- Is a jam or improv "song" a Work? (It is a new musical "creation"... perhaps 'composition' would be better wording?)
- This is prob a style Q, outside the definition, but just where does a medley become a Work, not a Recording?
ruoak suggested the answers were yes, yes, and yes. I suggested yes, no, and yes/no depending on the situation, though after discussion with ruoak, I could see my answer to #2 being also yes, depending on the situation, though not yes universally. The above definition was thus where we got to in trying to separate performance/recording from the core definition of a Work, rather than simply something potentially done with a Work (re #1), permitting 'Works' from improvs/jams, but only when it actually seems intended to be a real "jam song" (#2), and trying to find some additional guidance on Work vs Recording for mixes/medleys/comps/etc (#3). BrianFreud 23:21, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Tricky Cases to Consider