User talk:P.davydov/Genre Categories/Archive1



Proposed new meta-categories

As the list is today:

  • 1. Stage Works
  • 2. Choral Works
  • 3. Vocal Works
  • 4. Concertos and Concertante Works
  • 5. Orchestral Works
  • 6. Chamber Works
  • 7. Keyboard Works
  • 8. Literary Works

All of these (except no. 8, which is non-musical) refer to performance media or performance venues. As they have been subdivided on the main page, the performance media continue. These aren't genres.

Specific genres occur with more than one of these. For instance, there are waltzes for orchestra, for soloist with orchestra, for chamber groups, and for keyboard solo. (I even recall a piece for chorus and piano called "Waltz for Two Left Feet.") A genre like a waltz, or a march, or an etude, or a nocturne, etc., is not going to be easily pigeonholed into only one of the above. (However, "waltz" can belong to a larger genre category of "dance.") That's why it might be better to call these 7 items "Meta-Performance Categories" rather than "meta-genres," and let them be subdivided according to specific performance media or performance venues.

Thanks for your comments Lyle. The discussion on the forum indicated that most people searched for works with a particular instrumental combination in mind, and this is what the proposed new headings attempt to address. Otherwise there are enormous practical difficulties in, say, even agreeing on the definitioon of a "Waltz" (e.g. does it have to be called that in the title of the piece, or could it encompass any piece in 3/4 time?). I do agree that such categories would be useful, but they're probably much too subjective to implement effectively.

The heading "vocal works" is problematic -- it suggests that the music uses voices, yet the expansion of it limits it to solo voices. In that case, the heading should be "Solo vocal works" in order to avoid confusion.

Such "solo vocal works" could include several solo voices, so that could also be confusing. Using the rule of 'use the term nearest the top of the list' would identify choral works first, leaving the rest for solo performers, but perhaps this could be made more explicit in the genre descriptions.

I'm not so sure that defining orchestral music as anything with 10 or more performers is helpful. Also, if "chamber music" is simply music with fewer than 10 performers, then solo keyboard music should be subsumed under that heading, not separated out.

It seems to be the practice in music catalogues (e.g. the Gramophone catalogue) to separate keyboard works from larger chamber ensembles, and the latter from orchestral groupings. The '10-player' rule already exists in the current genre listing, and seems to be broadly accepted.

Besides performance media and venues, perhaps some sort of separate set of categories involving social function, i.e., "sacred" vs. "secular" could be considered as well.

This is included for choral works, but again it isn't always easy to pin down. Would the finale of Beethoven's 9th be considered religious or secular (because of its reference to a 'benign creator'). With such a diverse range of contributors to IMSLP we need to avoid subjective definitions as much as possible, and I believe this can be achieved with the new proposals.

Again, these meta-categories and subheadings are emphasizing performance media, not genres.

Just some thoughts. Lyle Neff 20:53, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Lyle thanks for helping start the discussion — P.davydov 05:21, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

For orchestral vs. chamber- solo music is a type of chamber music, isn't it? We don't give it the same connotation as, say, a quartet, but still....could 'Chamber' be defined as anything that couldn't be considered a well-rounded orchestra? (I know that statement causes other problems.) Specific numbers aren't really the answer... --KGill talk email 01:23, 17 August 2009 (UTC)


I suppose my primary objection is that the term "genre" is being used for the above instead of something like "performance category." Perhaps we should consider that more than one classification system could -- and should -- exist on IMSLP simultaneously. I know a lot of people would be looking for music on IMSLP based on its performance forces, but I for one would usually be more interested in the type of piece (genre) instead. Consider these as coexisting ways to categorize:

  • performance forces/venue (which is what is involved in the above 7 groupings)
  • genre (i.e., type of work -- waltz, opera, ballet, cantata, nocturne, concerto grosso, symphonic poem, fugue, etc.)
  • social function (sacred, secular, military, dancing, work songs, nursery/children's music, etc.)
  • form (i.e., structure -- not particularly crucial to have outside of teaching/study purposes, and potentially open to disagreement anyway) Lyle Neff 15:12, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually, that would probably be the best solution. However, how would we give extra classifications for the 17300+ works we already have? Could that be automated successfully? KGill talk email 16:30, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I think Lyle's suggested "genre", "social function" and "form" categories could be very difficult to implement, as a large proportion of works wouldn't be easily classifiable. In many cases the people uploading the scores might not be familiar enough with their content to make a judgement, in which case the fields will be left blank, or (if entering data was compulsory) simply take a wild guess. That's why I think the instrumentation/content route is the way to go, as the information can usually be gleaned straight from the score, with no specialist knowledge required. However, if other labels like "Waltz" or "Children's Music" can be used in addition to the compulsory categories, then so much the better, and there does seem to be a demand for it. Someone like Feldmahler or Leonard will need to tell us if this is technically feasible
Incidentally, I've added a new entry for "Teaching Methods" in the "Books" category, in response to requests on the ForumP.davydov 17:48, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
So we would have one sort of generic-ish system plus whatever other ones happened to apply? Although this would certainly make it much easier on the uploader, would there have to be someone on hand to look more closely at each piece and add more specialist classification? KGill talk email 19:12, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
If people want genres that aren't based around instrumentation, then yes, basically someone will have to look at each of the 17,401 works currently on the site (plus all the new additions) and decide if it comes under the category of a waltz, nocturne, symphonic poem, cantata, children's song, etc. That's not impossible, but it will take many, many months (at least), and Feldmahler has said that a new category system is required "urgently". The new instrumentation genres should be relatively straightforward to convert from the existing groupings, but a lot of checking will still be required. I'd say that if the new genre descriptions are clear and unambiguous, then a small team of volunteers could finish the job relatively quickly, i.e. within 2 or 3 months — P.davydov 19:40, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
That would be much easier to convert, but that's because it's closest to what we have now, which has a lot to do with instrumentation. I agree that at the very least, we need a 'pure' system (e.g. one that isn't a potpourri of other ones), which this would give us, but at the same time, shouldn't there also be one that deals with the content of the work? Maybe 'at the same time' is a bad way of putting it- if Feldmahler really wants people to start and finish a viable system as soon as possible, maybe the following timeline should be considered:
  1. Determine the fine points of the urgently new system (a week maybe? already well on its way)
  2. Alter the file submission process to include the option of multiple categorization, maybe with only the instrumental one mandatory at first (a couple days)
  3. Reclassify everything according to instrumentation categories (a couple months)
  4. Determine other systems to use (a couple more weeks)
  5. Examine all of the works to determine other classifications, like the ones Lyle proposed (a year or so?)
Done off the top of my head. Apologies for the arrogance of this proposal, but my guess is that a detailed timeline would be in order. KGill talk email 20:14, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

The main thing that I'm suggesting is that the word "genre" not be employed to refer to a classification that is geared to performance forces or performance venue. It might be better to dispense with the word "genre" on IMSLP altogether, because it seems to be (as the case here) confusing. (My thinking in this regard is influenced in no small respect also by language usage in record and CD stores, where you find music separated into so-called "genres" that are really style categories (e.g., rhythm and blues, country/western, rap, easy-listening, "Latin," etc.) If IMSLP's database can accommodate multiple classifications, perhaps there should be these two main meta-categories to fill in, at the discretion of the person creating the work page:

  • Performance forces (secondarily, performing venue)
  • Type of piece (i.e., what I've been calling "genre") Lyle Neff 21:06, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Orchestral Works

  • 5. Orchestral Works - perhaps this should be re-named "Large Ensemble Works"

This includes things that most people would not typically think of under the category of "Orchestra" - especially wind bands and other ensembles. "Large Ensemble" is cumbersome, but I think an explanation with an asterisk would be needed if the name "Orchestra" were retained, as it includes a lot of things. Over 10 players is fairly reasonable, some publishers use over 15 to divide the chamber ensembles from large ensembles.

I agree that it's very important to have concise but precise descriptions for all the terms used, translated into as many languages as possible. I have a feeling that "Large Ensemble" is open to interpretation (e.g. Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand"), but if we have a drop-down list, and emphasize the golden rule of 'pick the one nearest the top that fits', it should reduce the scope for confusion.

I'd also like to propose adding the following under the "Orchestra" (or Large Ensemble) category:

  • Brass Ensemble
  • Woodwind Ensemble
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Theatre Orchestra
(This is more or less a subset of Chamber Orchestra - except the 1000's of published arrangements were typically designed to be played by a variable ensemble as small as piano trio and as large as full orchestra.)
Wouldn't there be a lot of scope for confusion between "Chamber Orchestra" with "Chamber Ensemble"? Similarly "Theatre Orchestra" implies a work for the stage, but maybe we could use something like "Reduced symphony orchestra" (but better) to convey the same meaning? — P.davydov 19:04, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
It's just occurred to me that the arrangements you mentioned for chamber orchestra would come under 'Arrangements and Transcriptions', and unless works were written specifically for these smaller forces, they wouldn't need their own headings (as the instrumentation relates to the original work). But I've added a new heading for "Small Orchestra", and altered some of the descriptions elsewhere in the orchestral section to make the definitions clearer — P.davydov 05:44, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

We already have "wind section" and "string section" of course. I'd recommend changing "wind section" to "Orchestral winds" and "String section" to "String Orchestra." Another variable to factor in is whether the orchestra or string orchestra has a continuo section, which naturally alters the character of a piece which is primarily for string orchestra but can include haprsichord(s), organ, lutes, theorbo, and even harps in the ensemble. Carolus 07:49, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Again, the difference between "Brass Ensemble" and "Brass Sextet" (for example), may not be obvious to everyone, whereas "Brass Section" at least has connotations that it's part of a larger instrumental ensemble. But as far as baroque instrumentation goes, this is something we need to address, and what sort of headings would you recommend to deal with the continuo problem? Thanks for all your suggestions, BTW — P.davydov 19:04, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Many works for "orchestra" can and have been performed and recorded using both a large symphony orchestra down to orchestras of "chamber" proportions (e.g. the Beethoven symphonies, Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings). Also, compared to a string quartet, the 23-solo instruments of Strauss Metamorphosen looks in the score and indeed sounds like a large ensemble. The determining factor should the composer's or arranger's specified designation (e.g. the Chamber Symphonies of Schoenberg and Schreker). Otherwise, and in the absence of a composer-originated designation, the default categorization should be just plain "Orchestra." For example, the pit band for Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos is commonly described as a chamber orchestra, but it is not designated as such in the score and it would be presumptuous in the extreme for it to be cataloged as being a "chamber orchestra," especially because of the richness the orchestration achieves at times. As for such ensembles as theater orchestra, that can be handled as a regular "orchestra" and the submitter would have to make sure that an appropriate musical genre is also supplied so that a dual category search (orchestra + Broadway musical [PD, to be sure, if any of those exist yet) would come up with the correct work. Many similar possibilities for over-categorization don't take into account the power of multi-category searching. I'd have as few separate categories as possbile and trust the power of the search function. -Sbeckmesser, 29 Aug 09
Thanks for those comments, which I'd largely agree with. The new proposals have a "Small Orchestra" heading (defined as being "for a reduced complement of players from each section of the orchestra"), but the terms "Chamber Orchestra" and "Theatre Orchstra" have been deliberately avoided — P.davydov 19:42, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Basso Continuo

Basso Continuo - how are we going to deal with this? It needs to be known what we consider it as.-- Snailey Talk to Me Email me 01:48, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

How about:
  • Baroque Orchestra (with continuo)
  • Baroque Orchestra (without continuo)
What do you think? — P.davydov 05:30, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
I meant sonatas - Trio sonatas are actually 4 or 5 or 6 people, sonatas for violin and continuo. The orchestra isn't the problem, in my mind.-- Snailey Talk to Me Email me 20:33, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand what you mean — P.davydov 22:06, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

There exist a multitude of sonatas for one instrument and continuo, which can be anything from 2 to even 6 instruments (Organ, theorbo, violone, cello, harpsichord, and viola da gamba - probably not in a sonata, though). I was wondering how it would be classified.-- Snailey Talk to Me Email me 01:26, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the best solution would be to treat the basso continuo as a keyboard instrument, which is how the continuo part is usually written out in modern editions. So a sonata for flute and continuo would be treated the same as a sonata for flute and piano. I've altered the descriptions on the main category page to take account of this... — P.davydov 07:53, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think any work with BC should be treated as precisely as one having a piano accompaniment. In the first place, a piano accompaniment per se would not be desirable realization for a majority of these works, since BC was prevalent in an era before the piano's invention. A work with BC could be authentically accompanied by a wide range of other instruments but not a piano. Among such instruments may be those in the lute family, other keyboard instruments (organ, harpsichord) or even just a low string instrument (viol, double bass, cello etc.) with no harmonic expansion. There are already works on IMSLP that, at first glance at the score, could only be categorized as a sonata for solo instrument + BC. The Tartini violin sonata MSS, for example, has ONLY the BC line, with no keyboard or other harmonic realization. One looking among listings for sonatas with keyboard accompaniment would be disappointed to find only the BC line in the Tartini. Also, to treat solo works + BC as being piano-accompanied would inconsistent with, say, a concerto for violin, string orchestra + BC. The latter would not, I trust, be considered as having a keyboard as part of the instrumentation. I believe the simplest -- though not necessarily the best -- solution would be that BC should be considered itself an "instrument" in and of itself, whatever the surrounding context, and be searchable just as one can search for works for flute or violin. Then there's the problem of a less-informed contributor submitting a score with a pre-realized bC line and and miscategorizing it accordingly as a work including a keyboard. Very many of the PD editions of Baroque music that would be eligible for immediate IMSLP posting would pose this dilemma. But, as time goes on and editions with better musicological credentials (original figures included in the score, a separate BC part with figures) become eligible for posting, any categorization equating BC with a keyboard will seem more musically limiting, besides being historically misleading. --SBeckmesser 29 Aug 09
I had in mind a number of scores (e.g. the Handel complete edition volumes edited by Brahms), where the basso continuo part has been fully written-out for keyboard instrument. But if continuo is to be treated as a separate instrument as you suggest, do you have a view as to which new instrumental categorizations can be used in such cases? — P.davydov 19:42, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Okay: How about just having Sonata for two instruments and continuo (Trio Sonata, alternatively), Sonata for one instrument and continuo, and Sonata for three instruments and continuo.-- Snailey Talk to Me Email me 20:46, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Snailey, and I've altered the categories accordingly (while trying to avoid the word "Sonata" that's been so controversial!) — P.davydov 08:20, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Vocal section

If I could weigh in on the vocal works:

I'd be for combining "Aria", "Mélodie", and "Lied(er)", as well as "Song Cycle" into one "Art Song" category.
  • "Chanson" seems to be used here for anything French, but I think the term usually implies something more popular; there's currently no specific designation for French art songs, nor is there a category for English "Art Songs". Off-hand, I can't see a reason to divide art songs by language - and what do you do with, say, a Hungarian art song?
  • The distinction between a Song Cycle and a Collection of Songs can be fuzzy, and songs in a song cycle can be sung on their own.

Operalala 18:36, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. The new categories should address all the points you raised (see the Main PageP.davydov 07:53, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
I missed that when I wrote my comment :) - I was thinking about the categories as they now are.
Operalala 19:35, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Volunteers Wanted

If you'd like to help with this project, see this forum messageP.davydov 08:22, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Opera subcategories

I think most people would instinctively divide Operas from Operettas & Musicals, not that I could concretely define it.
I'm not sure I would divide it further than that - there are a lot of smaller genres and I think defining them can be tautologic or fuzzy: i.e Singspiele are usually operettas but a few are considered operas, a Spanish operetta = Zarzuela, etc. Operalala

Defining these terms is the problem, as even music dictionaries can disagree :-) At a fundamental level you could say that musicals are plays interrupted by songs, while operas are singing interrupted by speech or recitatives, but there can be a whole grey area inbetween for things like operettas. But the more people we can get thinking about the subject, then maybe we can come up with better definitions — P.davydov 08:20, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Solo Vocal Works

I think songs are more instinctively grouped by genre rather than original orchestration, such as:

  • Cantatas
  • Art Songs
  • Folk Songs
  • Popular (including Jazz)
  • and Other (i.e. including vocalizes).

(I'm probably missing some genres.)
I'd also include duets and solo ensembles that don't include a chorus.
The thing is accompaniment choices are not nearly so set in stone as for other works: recitals usually just enlist piano accompaniment, which is much easier on the voice for an evening of singing (as well as economical for their relatively shorter runs); and conversely, a number of voice+piano songs receive orchestration at some point, often by the original composer.

I also like grouping choral works by genre for the same reason - most choral work is a capella.

Operalala 02:15, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

I'd have to disagree with you on that last point, Operalala, as there are hundreds of pieces for chorus accompanied by orchestra, piano or chamber instruments. That's is why I'm asking for volunteers to test the new headings, so we can test them as widely as possible — P.davydov 08:20, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
The point I mean is that there will be bunching in the "a capella" category, which probably wouldn't be informative. Operalala 15:59, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
i.e. I don't think it's informative to categorize a vocal or choral work by its accompaniment; categories should apply to the work itself.
Operalala 02:15, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I understand your point of view, Operalala, but if someone is faced with an unfamiliar score for voice(s) and piano, particularly in a language foreign to them, it can be extremely difficult to decide which type of song/chorus it is. Going by instrumentation you know exactly where you stand, and there are the larger categories for "Choral" and "Vocal" works that will find everything involving singers (not forgetting arias from operas and musicals under "Stage Works", of course).
In the future there is scope for adding other descriptions like "Aria" and "Cantata" to work pages in addition to the proposed new headings, but no-one has yet come up with a foolproof way of defining them. I think we'll probably end up with a system where all works are classified by their instrumentation, and some works have additional labels like "Aria", "Cantata", "Operetta", and so on — P.davydov 08:20, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
If there is an option for multiple categories, I'd suggest listing the presence of vocal soloist(s) and chorus(es) separately from a work's instrumental genre (i.e. solo, duet, more than 2 soloists; chorus, multiple choruses). For instance I don't think too many people would look under choral works for Beethoven's Symphony #9, despite its subtitle - it's a symphony with vocal parts.
While instrumentation may be straightforward to list, and it's useful for classical instrumental works, it offers little information to vocalists, because so many vocal works of all kinds will simply fall under keyboard accompaniment, and the proposed classification is already getting into Art Songs and Folk Songs. It would be more helpful to denote which scores have been actually been uploaded (Orchestrated, Piano, Unaccompanied). The existence of an orchestration type could be listed separately from the work's song genre.
Also if someone has music from a composer they don't know and in a language they don't understand, they could ask for informed advice in the forums.
(I actually wouldn't suggest having an "Aria" category, because they'd be included in the excerpt section of the containing work, or classified as an (Italian) art song.)
Operalala 15:59, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Just on a technical note, we can only classify the 'work' (in its original form), and it's not possible to put any arrangements/transcriptions in their own categories without giving them their own separate pages. (I don't think that would be a popular move!). For works that exist in two distinct versions — like Holst's "The Planets" — we could have 2 genres (one for the original piano version and another for the later orchestral one), but those are special cases.
Would you be able to come up with a list of the categories you'd like to see used for vocal works, along with their definitions? The definitions should be clear and precise enough so that anyone contributiing to IMSLP can understand and apply them to any work at random (bearing in mind we'll need a lot of volunteers to reclassify nearly 18,000 work pages!) — P.davydov 07:00, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Vocal Works

Just starting a list and definitions for discussion:

  • Staged Vocal Works:
  • Operettas and Musicals : Usually these are grouped together, and Opera is separated.
Lighter subject matters
Lighter orchestration, smaller theaters
Always uses spoken narrative?
No vocal extremes - ranges and orchestration allow singers of all roles to be able to perform on consecutive days
  • Operas:
All subject matters
Orchestration can come in all sizes, from very small to very large
Some or all the roles call for vocal extremes: in Range, Embellishment, or Size, and singers of major roles do not as a rule schedule performances for consecutive days
Primarily performed in Opera Houses, which are larger than other theaters (and singers are only miked for specific staging reasons)
  • Choral (very incomplete...)
  • Sacred
  • Oratorios (including Passions?)
  • Masses
  • Requiems
  • Hymns
  • Secular
  • Secular Oratorios
  • Vocal Soloist(s)
  • Madrigals - Renaissance and Baroque periods, polyphonic solo vocals
  • Motets - sacred? multiple movements?
  • Cantatas - earlier composers?
  • Art Songs - based on composer mainly, including Lieder, Melodies, Song Cycles, Concert Arias; Mozart and later?
  • Folk Songs - i.e. composer = "traditional"
  • Popular - i.e. Chansons, Jazz, Cabaret, 19th c. parlor piano songs, with the exception of composers considered "Classical" like Schubert and Schumann
  • Other (i.e. including vocalizes)

Operalala 16:57, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for taking the time to do that, Operalala, but I have a few questions:
  1. Opera vs. Operetta — is it really possible just by looking at an unfamiliar score whether the subject matter is light with a happy ending, or whether it's normally performed in an opera house or a theatre? That would require specialist knowledge of the 623 operas already on IMSLP, which I'm not sure we can expect from all our contributors (or at least, the ones who volunteer to do the reclassifying). And doesn't Carmen have spoken dialogue between the numbers, rather than recitiatives, making it an operetta by the above definition? Not really a happy ending there, and the same would go for Bernstein's musical West Side Story.
  2. Choral Works — there are an awful lot of works for unaccompanied chorus by, say, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak that wouldn't fit into any of the categories you mentioned. Thing they really have in common is their scoring, so I wonder what they would come under? (We really need to avoid having "Other" as a category, because people say they find it confusing).
  3. Solo Vocal — Does this refer to one voice, or many solo voices, or just unaccompanied choruses? And how should we decide whether a song falls into the 'popular' category? For example, some of Tchaikovsky's romances were based on folk tunes he heard when visiting foreign cities, and would these come under folksongs, art songs or popular songs?
  4. Jazz — wouldn't this be excluded from IMSLP by definition, i.e. it's improvised and not written down? Admittedly some transcriptions are made from recordings of live performances, but as these would be after 1923 they'd be copyright in the US anyway, and so banned from IMSLP for the time being.
I hope the above comments don't sound too negative, but we need a cataloging system that can be used by anyone on any work — just as libraries have a standard method of cataloging that any member of staff can apply to any book. Sometimes labels like "Operas" and "Madrigals" are very easy to apply, but it's all the other cases that we need to worry about. If the definitions aren't watertight and comprehensive (which not all of my proposals necessarily are at the moment), this will result in confusion and works being wrongly classified, which defeats the whole object of the exercise. Cataloging is something I have to do in 'real life' on a regular basis, and over the years I've learned the hard way  :-) — P.davydov 18:42, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
1. If an editor is unsure, he or she should ask, and many editors are just going to mis-categorize things no matter what. There are standard references (like Grove) that can be consulted if there's disagreement about a work. The important thing is to make things findable for a user who perhaps is an expert in a certain field.
Some operas have spoken dialogue, but I was wondering about the converse - are their any "through-composed" operettas or musicals, or can we say they all have spoken narrative.
Maybe there's a better way to put the subject matter for operettas.
2. The choral works are incomplete, I just put down what came off the top of my head. Added a note in this regard to the list...
3. I changed the heading > works for vocal soloists, including duets, Barbershop (under Popular Works), etc.
A composition shouldn't be classified based on the inspiration for it, unless it's a simple transcription. If Tchaikovsky wrote it, it's an Art Song.
4. Originally Jazz was improvisational, but by the 1920's the Big Bands were definitely quite musically literate. I'm not sure how much Jazz would be legal, but I'd think some of the jazz compositions would be legal in Canada...
Operalala 20:06, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
4. Jazz. This is really a style, which can apply to music of any instrumentation or vocal grouping. I think it would be a mistake to include in an instrumental or vocal category. That said, we probably should have an independent system to categorize works according to style, which tends to coincide a great deal with period (but not always). Perhaps styles could be added to the periods. It is a little odd to list a composer like Scott Joplin as "Romantic" despite the fact that his lifespan falls within the era usually thought of as late Romantic. Carolus 04:39, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Duely noted and removed from this list.
Operalala 14:18, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Hi Operalala. We seem to be evolving two types of genres (let's call them 'labels') per work. The first label is based on the instrumentation, as proposed on the main project page. Even if some of the headings have yet to be refined, this classification will be mandatory, so that people can find all works with a particular instrumentation.

The second label is more descriptive, along the lines of your suggestions above. For practical reasons this will have to be optional, because it just isn't possible to apply these terms to every work. (After all, even music dictionaries can't agree on their what they mean!). But if you're willing to come up with a complete list of *all* the descriptive labels you would like to see used, together with their definitions, and to answer questions from people trying to use them on work pages, then we can move things forward. So we can keep discussions about the two systems separate, it would be better if you set up a separate section under your own user pages (I can help you with that if you need it). What do you say? — P.davydov 18:36, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

A few observations on the new system as it now stands:

  1. Operettas/Operas-Comiques/Singspiele/Zarzuelas/etc should be grouped with Musicals, not Operas. It would be nice if we were able to cross-categorize and assign, i.e. "Spanish" language + "Operetta" to a "Zarzuela" category
If that were to happen then we'd need very precise definitions for operettas, operas-comiques, etc., which the standard reference works don't always provide (or even agree with each other) :-) And what about works like Carmen, which have versions with and without recitatives?
What I mean is to put operettas under the "musicals" category, not the "opera" category. I.e. "Operettas and musicals".
  1. How are you going to categorize works that the composer wrote several editions of: i.e. a voice+piano song that the composer later orchestrated?
The category would apply to the original composition, and not any later arrangements (which is rule we already use). Maybe in special cases (e.g. Holst's The Planets) we could either have two genres for the work, or different work pages for the piano and orchestral versions.
Yes, I definitely think there needs to be a way to categorize all the different composer-created versions.

Here are some quick flowchart ideas for non-operatic vocal cats:

  • Choral, with or without soloists
  • Sacred:
  • Medieval-Renaissance genres?
  • Genres baroque to present:
  • Oratorios (including Passions?)
  • Masses
  • Requiems
  • Hymns
  • genres such as Western classical, Western traditional (i.e Luther), Gospel?
  • any other genres?
  • Secular
  • Medieval-Renaissance genres?
  • Oratorios
  • other Baroque-Present genres?
  • Vocal soloist(s) without chorus
  • Sacred
  • genres such as western classical (-subdivided?), gospel?
  • Secular:
  • Medieval-Baroque genres?
  • Genres classical to present:
  • Art Songs - based on composer mainly, including Lieder, Melodies, Song Cycles, Concert Arias
  • Folk Songs - i.e. composer = "traditional"
  • Popular - i.e. Chansons, Jazz, Cabaret, 19th c. parlor piano songs, with the exception of composers considered "Classical" like Schubert and Schumann
  • Other (i.e. including vocalizes)

Operalala 03:51, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

All works will continue to be classified by Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic periods (etc.), so we shouldn't need to duplicate them in the genre headings. But apart from that, there's still the question of how we would define all the groupings you've listed above. I'm concerned that without fairly clear definitions then everyone will interpret things in their own way, and we'll end up with a muddle. Thank you for your ideas though, and any other contributions you might have... — P.davydov 05:53, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
I mean the genres we find within these periods, not the periods themselves. Operalala 13:32, 21 September 2009 (UTC)