User:Symphonick/CSG Work Titles

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Status: This page describes an active style guideline proposal and is not official.

Proposal number: RFC-CSG Works part II: Titles
Champion: symphonick
Current status: pre-RFC


The name should be recorded in MB as it exists in print from a reliable source, such as a recent urtext edition. Adding to or altering a title given by the composer or publisher should be avoided (see language below regarding translations and more).

If you don't have access to the best edition, just use the best source you can find. The title can be corrected later.


If possible, use the language of the first performance, if the work was written with a specific performance in mind. Not applicable for works published after the composer's death.

See the respective CSG-language pages for how to format language-specific details.

Note Note: Works with translated lyrics (as opposed to works with only a translated title) should have the specific translation as default language.


There can be only one "official" alias per language; try to find the standard translation for your specific language. Be aware that direct translations is not always an option. E.g. a literal translation of "Quartet for Strings" will not work for every language, perhaps the form "String quartet" is more appropriate.
You can enter more aliases as search help (common misspellings etc.), but they should not have a language set.

Note Note: It is expected that eventually, both a title (alias) in the user's preferred language AND the default workname can be shown in the UI.


Remember that nicknames are local. They are not by the composer, and should therefore only be used in aliases.

Note Note: There is a possibility that there will be a specific field for nicknames eventually.

Catalogue numbers

Since catalogue numbers are an important part of identifying a work, as a temporary workaround one catalogue number can be added to the title. If more than one catalogue is used for a work, try to find the most commonly used catalogue.

Note Note: There is a possibility that catalogue numbers will get a specific field, or that advanced properties can be used for this purpose.

Multi-part works

One work can contain several layers of parts, though usually not more than three; e.g. Opera - Act - Part or Cantata - Part - Part.

Part work titles should not inherit the title of the parent work, like the old track titles in MusicBrainz.

Part ordering

  • Part numbers should eventually have a separate (text) field, and there should be a "position" attribute too
  • The final part of multi-part works is often listed with both "Finale" and tempo, e.g. "Finale: Allegro".

Work type

The type of work (e.g. Aria, Sonata, Trio) is stored in the work type field, not inside the title.

Work type as title

Works that only have a work type / form as identifier (e.g. Sonata, Quartetto), here called "generic" or "untitled" works, should be listed in the composer's preferred language. Usually only the first sub-section of a work should be listed, but exceptions can be made when a work is divided into different sections by the composer, e.g. Menuet - Trio.

Note Note: All forms are not translated in every language, e.g. Mazurka.


Tempo / Character

Musicbrainz has no field explicitly for storing the tempo of a work. The annotation can be used for this purpose.

Tempo as title

The exception is when the work has no title except tempo or character, e.g. Allegro, Slow. This is common for movements of larger generic works. Note that you should not translate tempi (possibly transliterate). If you believe a translated alias is needed as search help, that alias should not be official.

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, for instance in Beethoven's piano sonatas when there is a short introduction in a slower tempo than the main part of the movement. (these type of works are usually referred to with both tempi outside Musicbrainz too).

Key / Modus

Musicbrainz has no field explicitly for storing the key of a work. The annotation can be used for this purpose.

Keys in generic titled works

(see Work type as title above) For certain generic-titled 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; a composer can write a standalone "Minuet in g", but you would never put the key in the title of a minuet inside a symphony by the same composer.


Especially in older vocal music, the title can be made up of (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


Ex. Nixon in China, Foxtrot for orchestra