From MusicBrainz Wiki
< User:Symphonick
Revision as of 09:32, 26 July 2011 by Symphonick (talk | contribs) (Multi-part works)
Status: Work in progress. Tracking the CSG-works discussion here
  • Checkmark.png structure is already a mess
  • Attention.png What to write about language?
  • Attention.png Opera needs more attention


For titled works, 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 should be avoided. For untitled works, to be decided.


Either For titled works, always use the original language given by the composer. Or Use always the English, Latin version of the work title, if it exists (I think this would be simpler for consistency with untitled works, but to be decided)

  • we've mostly been discussing using the composer's language / original language for untitled works --symphonick 19:38, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
    • That is generally not a bad idea, I guess, but can be trickier than it sounds… I've seen Spanish composers that worked in England and used mostly (but not only) French titles--Reosarevok 09:05, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
      • If a work is commonly known in more than one language (or by a non-official name, maybe), should we allow/require users to put the secondary name in comments? (Do we even have comments for Works? I'm not sure) Torc 09:31, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
        • we have work comments, but this sounds like aliases to me. I belive comments would not be searchable? --symphonick 11:18, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
        • aliases makes sense because it IS an alias, it's named by the composer in one language (most of the time). Title: I Dovregubbens hall - alias: In the hall of the Mountain king --symphonick 12:14, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I think we’ll need to put the english version in the comment just because there are so many english speakers on MB. Compare to how artists have been handled. Once work aliases actually do something, we can revisit that. —Hawke 22:23, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Or maybe display the alias that matches in the search results (next to the proper title, as if it was a comment)? Torc 04:42, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
IMO this is best solved @ UI level instead of introducing another hack. Maybe exactly as with artist; show the English alias in a popup. Or next to / below the default title, as Torc suggested. Ideally the user should be able to select what language to show, but that's going to happen soon I suppose. --symphonick 08:47, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Catalogue numbers

As we currently have no field for catalogue numbers & those are an important part of identifying a work, the standard catalogue is added to the title. If more than one catalogue is used for a work, add the most common one to the title and the rest in the aliases section.


    • Should we request the addition of a "Catalog Number" AR for works? Torc 09:27, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
      • At some point, yes, but I believe it is too early. We would need to AR to something, but to what, a catalog? This would mean considering a catalog as a Work, which is not completely wrong in the general sense, but would be including non-musical works in the Works table. Luks said that at one point something like Advanced Properties should be included in the database schema. Those seem better suited for catalogs. DavitoF 09:42, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Multi-part works

For works that have multiple parts, the title and catalog number of the main work must be repeated in the name of each one. This makes the work list clearer and avoids a composer having several dozens of works named only "Allegro", which is difficult to deal with. Exceptions: Songs are often published in books/collections with one opus, often with generic titles like "3 songs for SATB, Op. 8". We want that as a super-work for UI reasons, but the works linked to a "collection" should not have their titles formatted as a multi-part work. (I'm not too sure about this, I think it makes search harder and becomes slightly inconsistent, but in any case, to be decided)

    • I'm mostly interested in recording what actually exists in reality, making mb-specific titles should be avoided as much as possible IMO. There is a difference in how free-standing works (e.g. a song) and a movement is formatted outside mb, & I wouldn't want to try to change this. --symphonick 19:59, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
      • My issue with this is that I've seen releases give "3 songs for SATB, Op. 8 no. 2", "PieceTitle, Op. 8 no. 2", "3 songs for SATB: PieceTitle", "PieceTitle", etc, so the simplest way for people to find the right works when trying to relate their added recordings to them would be having the full "3 songs for SATB, Op. 8 no. 2: PieceTitle". But I don't know what the usual way of doing this stuff is out there and as long as it's not too confusing I'm fine with it (although I like having all pieces included in an opus nicely ordered together in lists of works)' --Reosarevok 09:02, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
        • I was thinking about when you have "3 songs for SATB, Op. 8" as a "title" of the opus, and then it's "PieceTitle, Op. 8 no. 1", "PieceTitle, Op. 8 no. 2" and so on. Of course we can repeat the generic title: "3 songs for SATB, Op. 8: PieceTitle, Op. 8 no. 2", but I don't think it will help. Only if the composer published 2 works with identical titles in 2 different collections, like "3 songs for SATB, Op. 8: Confusion, Op. 8 no. 2" and "8 more songs, Op. 16: Confusion, Op. 16 no. 4". Likely a corner case; I'd suggest using the comment field when/if it happens. --symphonick 09:21, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
          • Ok, seems reasonable, I think we can try that unless we find it creates problems. Ideally we'd have a view that listed works under its parent anyway, but… I imagine that's not going to happen too soon :( Please change that paragraph a bit to clarify the format that should be used, and then delete this conversation if you want to--Reosarevok 18:31, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I generally agree with this, but I fear that it will lead to bad merges. I direct the reader’s attention to a couple of Holst works:
Both works include songs of the same title (“The Song of the Blacksmith”, “I’ll Love My Love”) or the same tune (“March”/“Swansea Town”) and could easily be confused. The comment might help with this, but I don’t really see a good reason to treat them differently just because the title is “n songs” —Hawke 22:31, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Freestanding works published in the same book are not multi-part works like a symphony or a suite. Freestanding works will often have individual catalogue numbers ("PieceTitle, Op. 8 no. 2"), and that's what I'm trying to preserve. (it has happened that they have been changed into movement numbers). If you think it's important, I suppose I can live with repeating the "title" of the book. s/b only books published by or intended as a opus/collection by the composer, no "complete soprano arias" or something. Can you elaborate on bad merges? Since works w. different catalogues shouldn't be merged. --symphonick 09:32, 26 July 2011 (UTC)


  • Nixon in China: Act 3 "I am no one"
  • Ciclo brasileiro: Impressões Seresteiras
  • Winterreise D. 911: Gute Nacht
  • Auf Flügeln des Gesanges, op. 34 no. 2


Use the comment field to disambiguate different works by the same composer that have the same title (or a very similar one). This is useful even if the catalog numbers differ, but required only if they do not differ (or do not exist). For works with texts, comments are also important to differentiate translations.


Work Type

to be decided: should a movement inherit the type of its parent? have its own, different type?


The annotation field has the same varied uses as in every other work. A specific use for classical works is to store the dramatic roles ("characters") of operas and similar works.

  • Should we also recommend the use the annotation for things like "for guitar" or "for piano"? Only for titled works?--Reosarevok 18:36, 25 July 2011 (UTC)


For titled works, use only if the work is known under a different name. (applies only if we keep always original names, so to be decided)

  • IMO it would be weird if we used a title from a translated libretto for a non-translated version. --symphonick 19:52, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
    • I agree, but wait until people start shouting because they can't read Cyrillic :) I'd add them as an alias, but have (original Russian libretto) as the work comment --Reosarevok 09:03, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

English aliases for the examples above:

  • Carmen (no alias)
  • An den Mond D 468 (no alias)
  • Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 (no alias - German libretto)
  • „Wie unglücklich bin ich nit“ K. 147 (125g) (no alias)
  • Gymnopédie No. 1 (no alias)
  • Moscow, Cheryomushki, Op. 105 (an alias for the Russian libretto, or translation for English libretto or both?)
  • The Firebird

Special cases

Translated works

Translated works should be entered as distinct works, as they need a new relationship (translator) that doesn't apply to the original. They should be linked to the original with the "translated version" relationship and keep the composer and librettist of the original work, plus the translator(s) credits.


  • Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147
  • Heart and lips, thy whole behaviour, BWV 147 (English version) (official translation from Bärenreiter) (can we find a recording of this to create the work from?)
    • not very likely. try St. John Passion or something
  • Moscow, Cheryomushki, Op. 105 (English libretto) see aliases

Transcriptions / Orchestrations

to be decided

Variations on themes and other derivative works

Works that are derived from others, but not truly versions of them, should be linked to the original with the "derivative work" relationship (still to be requested) and not inherit the composer and librettist relationships from it.