User:Symphonick/CSG Work Titles
|Status: This page describes an active style guideline proposal and is not official.|
- 1 Overview
- 2 Title
- 3 Subtitle
- 4 Instrumentation
- 5 Tempo / character
- 6 Key / Modus
- 7 Catalogue numbers
- 8 Part numbers
- 9 Vocal music
- 10 Excerpt works
- 11 Untitled works
- 11.1 Generic titles by the composer
- 11.2 Untitled vocal works
- 11.3 Standard untitled works formats
- 11.4 Form
- 11.5 Language for untitled works
- 11.6 Instrumentation for untitled works
- 11.7 Keys in untitled works
- 11.8 Tempo / character for untitled works
- 12 Old practices
The work title field in MusicBrainz should only contain the title given by the composer, sometimes along with a catalogue number.
So called untitled works, or "generic" works, where the composer has only titled the work with a form or a character/tempo (concerto, symphony, allegro etc) have special guidelines, see separate section below.
The title is usually found at the top of the first page of the score, in a large typeface. In some cases, the full title is only printed on the front page, and the title in the actual score is a shorter version.
It is recommended to use a reliable printed 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.
- Publishing companies (Bärenreiter, Henle etc) sometimes list titles on their websites.
- IMSLP have downloadable scans of old music, mostly early editions or user-generated scores, but sometimes also autographs.
Note: Wikipedia and similar online sources cannot be considered reliable in this context.
If the original title by the composer is rarely used, put the "modern" title in the disambiguation comment field.
- Méditation sur le Premier Prélude de Piano de S. Bach. ("Ave Maria") by Bach/Gounod
- Passio Domini Nostri J.C. Secundum Evangelistam Matthaeum ("Matthäus-Passion") by J.S. Bach
As stated before, the title should be expressed in the language the work was originally written.
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 respective CSG-language pages for how to format language-specific details. Also see below for untitled / generic titled works.
Note: Works with translated lyrics (as opposed to works with only a translated title) should have the specific translation as default language.
- Москва, Черемушки, Op. 105 by D. Schostakovich
Translated titles, such as "The Firebird" and "Christmas Oratorio" should be entered as aliases.
As there can be only one primary alias per language; try to find the standard translation for your specific language.
More translations can be entered as secondary aliases.
Note: Only use existing translations, do not enter your own.
It is expected that eventually, both a title (alias) in the user's preferred language AND the default work title can be shown in the UI.
- Moscow, Cheryomushki, Op. 105 by D. Schostakovich
Nicknames, such as "Moonlight Sonata" are not by the composer. Untitled works are more likely to have nicknames.
If a nickname is printed in a score, it will probably be clearly marked with quotes and/or brackets, e.g. ("Appassionata").
Nicknames should not be added to the title field, but is recommended as search hint aliases, and in annotations.
You can use the disambiguation field, but it can be problematic since nicknames are local, while the disambiguation field is global. A French nickname is usually translated, if it exists at all in English.
Examples of nicknames in the disambiguation field:
- Sonata quasi una fantasia, Op. 27 No. 2 ("Moonlight Sonata") by Beethoven
- Konzert in C, K. 467 (“Elvira Madigan”) by W.A. Mozart
- Всенощное бдение, op. 37 (“Vespers”) by S. Rachmaninoff
Also read "Archaic titles" above.
The subtitle can contain a number of different things related to the music, usually you will find a description of the instrumentation, form, or even key and/or opus. Many times this line is added by the editor.
Examples of what can be printed as subtitle:
- Foxtrot for orchestra (from Nixon in China)
- Торжественная увертюра (1812)
- in G minor, S. 1001 (Bach's Violin Sonata)
- Komponiert 1851 (Schumann: Violin sonata)
- Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste ... en cinq parties (Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique)
For titled works, the subtitle can be stored in an annotation. Adding the subtitle to the title field is not recommended.
For untitled works, subtitles can occasionally be used as printed or with only a slight modification (ex. "Sonate für Arpeggione und Pianoforte"). Other times, it can be taken as an indication of what perhaps should be included in the title (e.g. key and catalogue for the Bach example above).
Sometimes found above the title, sometimes below, or just on the front page. Dedications can be put in annotations.
There is currently no fields for instrumentation in MusicBrainz, use an annotation.
Tempo / character
Musicbrainz has currently no field for storing the tempo of a work. The annotation can be used for this purpose.
Key / Modus
There is no field for keys in MusicBrainz currently. Keys should not be added to work titles, but can be stored in annotations.
Ideally catalogue should be put in specific fields, but since catalogue numbers are an important part of identifying a work, as a workaround one catalogue number can be appended to the title. If more than one catalogue is used for a work, try to find the most commonly used catalogue.
Catalogue of parts
Usually only main works have a catalogue, but note that collections of standalone works (which looks like a main work with parts in MusicBrainz), is treated like standalone works in this regard.
- Mazurka, op. 17 no. 4
Only part numbers given by the composer may be used in the title field. Do not add your own numbering of parts.
- Gloria (Mozart: Krönungsmesse)
- But who may abide (Händel: The Messiah)
- No. 3. Denn die Herrlichkeit Gottes des Herrn (Händel: The Messiah, "Mozart" arrangement, KV 572)
- ? No. 4. Recitativo accompagnato ed Aria
- So spricht der Herr
- Doch wer mag ertragen den Tag seiner Ankunft
Unfortunately there is currently no ordering system available in MusicBrainz. Until a solution is in place, the disambiguation field can be used if necessary; e.g. "Allegro (1st mvt)" vs. "Allegro (3rd mvt).
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.
Quotes and multiple sections
Roles (e.g. Evangelista, Carmen)
(See http://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Classical/Works for an explanation)
Try to find the most commonly used title, in the same language as the lyrics. A quote from the lyrics is usually better than a descriptive title, e.g. use "Treulich geführt" rather than "Brautchor aus Lohengrin".
Note: For primary aliases a descriptive title (e.g. "Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin" in English) may be preferred.
Instrumental music and some vocal music from before the 20th century often has no actual title. Instead these works are referred to using their form and/or instrumentation (ex. sonata, quartet, mass, symphony, cello concerto), sometimes with key.
Note: This is only for untitled works, otherwise the type of work (e.g. aria, sonata, trio) is stored in the work type field, not in the title.
Generic titles by the composer
If a composer has titled a work using (among other words) the form, this work is not untitled, even if the work also can be described using form/instrumentation/key.
An "untitled" version of the title can be added as a search hint alias, if you want.
- Ouvertüre nach Französischer Art, BWV 831
- Sonata quasi una fantasia, Op. 27 No. 2
Untitled vocal works
Only main works of vocal music can be "untitled". Works with lyrics always have titles, see quotes above. If work with lyrics has no distinct title, a quote from the lyrics will be used, see below.
- No. 4. Recitativo accompagnato ed Aria
Standard untitled works formats
- Part number. Form
- Form key
- Form instrumentation
- Form instrumentation key
- Form instrumentation number key
All the above combinations can also have one catalogue number.
- tempo / character
- Character, catalogue
- Part number. Character
Other combinations are possible but unusual.
If and what to append to the basic form depends entirely on the context. Try to follow convention, the title field should not be used to put in general information (like keys and instrumentation) when it is not needed for disambiguation and it is how you usually would refer to this work.
For instance, if a composer only wrote one concerto for a specific instrument, ex. cello, that concerto would likely be known simply as that composer's cello concerto, the key would not be used in the title.
A prelude by J.S. Bach is often referred to by key (ex. "Prelude in d-minor") while a prelude from an instrumental suite is usually referred to as the "prelude from the G-major suite", as an example.
Language for untitled works
Untitled works should be listed in the language in which the work was originally titled by the composer.
Instrumentation for untitled works
Certain untitled works need basic information about instrumentation, mostly concertos and sonatas. How the instrumentation should be formatted depends on the conventions for the language in question, see the CSG-language pages. E.g. a literal translation of "Quartet for Strings" will not work for every language, perhaps the form "String quartet" is more appropriate. It could also differ between different forms & ensemble constellations for the same language.
- Violinkonzert e-Moll op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn
- Sonate pour violoncelle
- Sonate pour violoncelle et piano
- Koncert for klaver og orkester, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Keys in untitled works
For certain generic-titled works, the key is used as an identifier and should be added to the title. This is a workaround until there is a specific field for keys, in which case keys will be removed from all titles.
Try to follow convention; ex. you can have a standalone "Minuet in g", but you would never list keys for minuets inside a symphony.
Untitled symphonies, sonatas, masses and concertos very often have the key as identifier for the main work. In general, only main works have keys.
Tempo / character for untitled works
It is common for untitled works to have only tempo or character as title; ex. Allegro, Slow. This is most common for sub-parts of pre-20th century concertos, sonatas and symphonies.
Only use the first tempo in the title field, do not list tempo changes inside the work. A second tempo can be used if a work is divided into different sections by the composer, e.g. Menuet - Trio. Or 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.
Note: The final part of multi-part works is often listed with both "Finale" and tempo, e.g. "Finale: Allegro". This formatting should not be used anywhere else; tempo information is separate from titles and does not belong in the title field.
Note: You should not translate a tempo marking (possibly transliterate). If you believe it is helpful, you can enter a translated tempo as a search hint (secondary alias).
Untitled works without tempo marking
If a part work is without tempo marking, you should use [untitled] in the title field.
- You should not manually concatenate main work and part work titles like the old track titles in MusicBrainz before NGS. Note that you must always link the sub-part to the main work, otherwise it would be impossible to know where a work with a generic title (ex. "Allegro") belongs.
- Do not add ordering numbers to part works (common in the old track titles). See [#Multi-part works| Multi-part works] above.