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A not-so-short guide to Tagging

This page sets out how to decide what the tag for a particular work should be. Although this page of explanation is very long, the process is normally very short, and you will often find it takes less than a minute to tag a page (sometimes much less, sometimes more).

The tags begin with |Tags= and consist of two main elements: the "work type" and the "instrumentation", separated by spaces and a semi-colon " ; ". Here are some examples:

  • |Tags=symphonies ; orch
  • |Tags=concertos ; pf orch
  • |Tags=minuets ; str
  • |Tags=sonatas ; vc pf
  • |Tags=operettas ; vv orch ; fr
  • |Tags=oratorios ; 2vv ch pf ; de

You may have noticed that in the last two examples there is a third tag, indicating the language used in vocal works.

Note that semi-colons are used rather than slashes, and no capital letters should be used in the tags.

So let's start by looking at these in detail.

Work Type

The first element of the tag is the "work type", always given in the plural (so we use "symphonies" rather than "symphony"). Very often the type is contained in the work title, e.g. names of musical forms (sonata, symphony, concerto), tempo designations (adagio, allegro), and standard combinations of instruments (trio, quartet), and these can be identified very quickly.

On the other hand there are works like Messiah or Le nozze di Figaro where the form of work is not obvious from the main title, but the composer has helpfully provided descriptions or subtitles so that we know these are oratorios and operas respectively. Sometimes there's no clarification in the score itself, and we might have to consult printed or online reference sources such as Grove for a definitive answer.

It's also important to make sure that the types are always given in the same language, with the same capitalisation, according to the same rules (because "Part Song" and "partsong", for example, would be considered as different tags by IMSLP's software). So we need a standard glossary of terms that we can use. It so happens that music librarians have been grappling with these problems for years, and the list below owes much to the Music Library Association's list of Types of Compositions for Use in Music Uniform Titles [1], supplemented by other sources.

The first column lists a variety of musical forms, both singular and plural, in various languages (indicated by standard two-letter codes [2]). The second column (highlighted in green) indicates the standardised type that we should use, which are usually in the plural. You may then need to scroll further up or down the list to see any important notes accompanying its usage in the main entry (in bold type), e.g. that the term Anthems should only be used for choral works rather than for national anthems (which have their own distinct tag).

Type of Work
See under Notes
Abanera (it) habaneras
Abertura (es) overtures
Adagietto/Adagiettos (it) adagiettos use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Adagio/Adagios (it) adagios use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Agitato/Agitatos (it) agitatos use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Agnus Dei (la) agnus dei part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces (note the singular form)
Aire/Aires (en) airs
Air/Airs (en) airs
Allegretto/Allegrettos (it) allegrettos use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Allegro/Allegros (it) allegros use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Allemande/Allemandes (fr, de) allemandes a Baroque German dance
Almain/Almains (en) allemandes
Almaine/Almaines (en) allemandes
Alman/Almans (en) allemandes
Andante/Andantes (it) andantes use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Andantino/Andantinos (it) andantinos use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Anglaise/Anglaises (en, fr, de) anglaises a Baroque English dance
Anglez (ru) anglaises
Anthem/Anthems (en) anthems use only for choral settings of religious or moral texts (do not confuse with national anthems)
Antiphons (en) antiphons part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces
Arabesca (it, es) arabesques
Arabesco (es) arabesques
Arabeska/ (ru) arabesques
Arabeske (de) arabesques
Arabesque/Arabesques (en, fr) arabesques
Aria/Arias (en, fr, hu, it, es) arias use only when it is the composer's title for an independent vocal work; use Airs for purely instrumental works of 17th/18th centuries
Arie (de) arias
Arieta (es) ariettas
Arietta/Ariettas (en, de, it, ru) ariettas use only when it is the composer's title for an independent vocal work
Ariette (fr, de) ariettas
Ariia (ru) arias
Arioso/Ariosos (en) ariosos use only when it is the composer's title for an independent vocal work
Arpeggio/Arpeggios (en, it) scales use for works designated as scale or pattern (e.g. arpeggio) studies by their composers; displays as "Scales and patterns"
Aubade/Aubades (en, fr, de, it, es) aubades a piece of morning music (counterparts of serenades or nocturnes)
Aube (hu) aubades
Ave Maria (la) ave maria use only for independent works so titled by the composer
Ayre/Ayres (en) airs
Bagatela (es) bagatelles
Bagatell (hu) bagatelles
Bagatella (it) bagatelles
Bagatelle/Bagatelles (en, fr, de) bagatelles
Balada/Baladas (ru, es) ballads
Ballad/Ballads (en) ballads applies to vocal works only; use Ballade for instrumental works
Ballada (hu) ballads
Ballade/Ballades (en, fr, de) ballades use for instrumental works only; use Ballad for vocal works
Ballata/Ballatas (it) ballatas use only for Renaissance Italian songs so titled (do not confuse with Ballada)
Ballet/Ballets (en, fr) ballets use only for dance forms (do not confuse with Balletts)
Ballet d'action (fr) pantomimes
Ballet en action (fr) pantomimes
Ballet héroïque/Ballets héroïques (fr) ballets heroiques genre of 18th-century French opéra-ballet featuring the heroic and exotic; use only when designated as such by the composer
Ballet pantomime (fr) pantomimes
Ballett/Balletts (en) balletts use only for 16th/17th-century vocal works styled as such (do not confuse with Ballets)
Ballett/Balletts (de) ballets
Balletto/Balletti (it) balletti use for the 15th/16th-century Italian dances, or late 16th-/early 17th-century Italian partsongs only (do not confuse with Ballatas, Ballets)
Barcarola (es) barcarolles
Barcarole (en, de) barcarolles
Barcarolle/Barcarolles (fr) barcarolles
Barcaruola (it) barcarolles
Barkarola (hu) barcarolles
Barkarola (ru) barcarolles
Basdans (ru) basse danses
Bassa danza/Bassadanza (it) basse danses
Bassadanza (it) basse danses
Basse danse/Basse danses (en, fr, es) basse danses the principal court dance during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance
Beguine/Beguines (en, de, it, es) beguines a social dance popular in Europe and American from the 1930s, with a rhythm similar to that of the bolero
Béguine (fr) beguines
Benedictus (la) benedictus use only for pieces independent from the ordinary mass
Berceuse/Berceuses (fr) berceuses for instrumental works only; use lullabies for vocal works
Bicinium/Bicinia (la) bicinia A two-voice work for voices, instruments, or keyboard; use only when it is the composer's title
Bigin (es) beguines
Biguine (es) beguines
Biography/Biographies (en) biographies use for studies of individual musicians
Blues (en) blues
Boceto (es) studies
Bolero/Boleros (en, de, hu, it, ru, es) boleros a Spanish dance in triple time
Boléro (fr) boleros
Boree (en) bourrees
Bossa nova/Bosa novas (en, fr, de, pt) bossa novas Brazilian dance from the mid-20th century
Bourrée/Bourrées (fr) bourrees French dance of the 17th/18th centuries
Boutade/Boutades (fr) boutades 18th-century dance in a fanciful and playful style
Burlesca (it, es) burlesques
Burleska (ru) burlesques
Burleske (de) burlesques
Burlesque/Burlesques (fr, en) burlesques use for late 18th/early 19th century humorous stage works styled as such by the composer
Burleszk (hu) burlesques
Burre (ru) bourrees
Butada (it) boutades
Caccia (it) catches
Cadence (fr) cadenzas
Cadencia (es) cadenzas
Cadenza/Cadenzas (it, en) cadenzas
Cakewalk/Cakewalks (en) cakewalks African American dance of the late 19th/early 20th centuries
Canarie (fr) canaries
Canario (it, es) canaries
Canary/Canaries canaries a form of dance and music popular in Europe from the mid-16th to mid-18th centuries
Canción/Canciónes (es) canciones use only when it is the composer's title for a vocal piece
Cançoneta (pt) canzonettas
Canon/Canons (en, fr, es) canons see also Double canons
Canon doble (es) double canons
Canon double (fr) double canons
Canone (it) canons
Canone doppio (it) double canons
Cantabile/Cantabiles (en, fr, de, it, es) cantabiles use only when it is the composer's title for a short vocal piece
Cantata/Cantatas (en, it) cantatas divide into sacred cantatas and secular cantatas where possible; otherwise use cantatas
Cantate (fr) cantatas
Cantatille/Cantatilles (fr) cantatas divide into sacred cantatas and secular cantatas where possible; otherwise use cantatas
Canticle/Canticles (en) canticles Since this is a type of hymn (one that is not based on Psalms), it cannot be used for instrumental music.
Cantico (it) canticles
Cántico (es) canticles
Canticum (de) canticles
Cantiga/Cantigas (es) cantigas medieval Iberian monophonic songs
Cantilena/Cantilenas (it or la/en) cantilenas
Cantilène (fr) cantilenas
Cantique (fr) canticles
Canto/Canti/Cantos (it, en) songs
Canzon (it) canzonas
Canzona/Canzonas (en, it, es) canzonas originally Provençal troubadour songs; later, pieces of 16th-century Italian secular music, 16th- to 17th-century instrumental works (do not confuse with Canzoni)
Canzone/Canzoni (it) canzoni an 18th- and 19th-century song-like work for voice or instruments; use only where this is the composer's title (do not confuse with Canzonas)
Canzonet/Canzonets (en) canzonets late 16th-century English part-song (do not confuse with Canzonettas)
Canzoneta (es) canzonettas
Canzonetta/Canzonettas canzonettas late 16th-century Italian part-song; also used for solo songs and instrumental pieces of a songlike nature (do not confuse with Canzonas, Canzonets)
Canzonette (fr, de) canzonettas
Capriccio/Capriccios (it) capriccios use 'only when it is the composer's original title (do not confuse with Caprices)
Caprice/Caprices (en, fr) caprices use 'only when it is the composer's original title (do not confuse with Capriccios)
Capricho/Caprichos (es) capriccios
Carmina/Carminas (la) carminas
Carol/Carols (en) carols
Casación (es) cassations
Cassation/Cassations (en) cassations 18th-century instrumental composition (similar to Divertimentos and Serenades) often performed outdoors.
Cassazione (it) cassations
Catalogs/Catalogues (en) catalogs See also publishers catalogs
Catch/Catches (en) catches an English round for 3 voices
Cavatina/Cavatinas (en, it, es) cavatinas use for aria-like vocal pieces or a song-like instrumental works so titled by the composeer, but not for individual cavatinas within operas
Cavatine (fr) cavatinas
Chacona (es) chaconnes
Chacarera/Chacareras (es) chacareras an Argentinian dance form
Chaconne/Chaconnes (en, fr, de) chaconnes a form of variations popular during the Baroque era
Chakona (ru) chaconnes
Chanson/Chansons (fr) chansons use only when it, or chansonette, is the composer's original title
Chansonette/Chansonettes (fr) chansons use only when it is the composer's original title
Chant/Chants (en) chants use only when it is the composer's original title; do not confuse with French Chants; for Gregorian chant, use Plainchant
Chant/Chants (fr) songs do not confuse with English Chants
Character piece/Character pieces (en) character pieces use only where this (or a foreign equivalent) is the composer's title
Characteristic piece/Characteristic pieces (en) character pieces [variants: character piece, Charakterstück; currently grouped with pieces]
Charakterstück/Charakterstücke (de) character pieces
Chast/Chasti (ru) movements
Chœur (fr) choruses
Chor (de) chorus
Choral (fr, de) chorales
Choralbearbeitung/Choralbearbeitungen (de) choralbearbeitungen a German vocal or instrumental composition based on a pre-existing sacred melody; use only where styled as such by the composer
Chorale/Chorales (en) chorales see also Chorale preludes
Chorale prelude/Chorale preludes (en) chorale preludes setting of a chorale melody, usually for organ
Choralvorspiel/Choralvorspiele; Choral-Vorspiel/Choral-Vorspiele (de) chorale preludes
Chorinho/Chorinhos (es, pt) chorinhos Brazilian dance of European origin
Choro/Choros (es, pt) chorinhos do not confuse with coros
Chorus/Choruses (en) choruses divide into Sacred choruses and Secular choruses where possible; otherwise use Cantatas
Chotis (es) ecossaises
Ciaccona (it) chaconnes
Ciciliano (it) sicilianas
Comic operas (en) comic operas
Communions (en) communions part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces
Concert piece/Concert pieces (en) pieces
Concertant (fr) concertantes
Concertante/Concertantes (en, it, es) concertantes use only where it is the composer's original title, but use different heading for Sinfonie concertanti
Concertino/Concertinos (it) concertinos use only where it is the composer's original title
Concerto/Concertos (en, fr, it) concertos a work for soloist(s) and orchestra; do not use "Piano Concerto", "Violin Concerto", "Cello Concerto", etc., but see also Concerti grossi, Double Concertos, Triple Concertos
Concerto grosso/Concerti grossi (it) concerti grossi a type of Baroque concerto in which a large group alternates with a smaller group
Concertone/Concertoni (en) concertoni a rarely-used term meaning "large concerto"
Concertpiece (en) concertinos
Concertstück (de) concertinos
Concierto (es) concertos
Conductus (la) conductus a Latin medieval song
Conga/Congas (en) congas Latin-American dance in 2/4 meter with a repeated two-measure rhythmic pattern
Contradanza (it, es) country dances
Contredanse (fr) country dances
Coral (ed) chorales
Corale (it) chorales
Corant/Corants (en) courantes
Coro (it, es) choruses
Corrente/Correnti (it) courantes
Correspondence (en) correspondence use for collections of musicians' letters
Cortège/Cortèges (en, fr) corteges a piece of music written to accompany a procession
Country dance/Country dances (en) country dances
Courante/Courantes (fr) courantes a Baroque dance form
Cracoviak/Cracoviak (fr) krakowiaks
Cracoviana/Cracoviana(it, es) krakowiaks
Cracovienne/Cracoviennes (en, fr) krakowiaks
Cradle song/Cradle songs (en) lullabies for vocal works only, otherwise use berceuses
Credo (en, fr, de, it, la) credo part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces (note singular form)
Csárdás (fr) czardas
Cuadrilla (es) quadrilles
Cuarteto (es) quartets
Cujawiak/Cujawiak (es) kujawiaks
Czardas/Czardas (hu) czardas a lively Hungarian dance
Dal/Dalok (hu) dalok Hungarian vocal work; use only when it is the composer's original title
Dance/Dances (en) dances
Danse (fr) dances
Danza/Danzas (es, it) danzas a particular genre of salon music for piano developed in Puerto Rico in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (do not confuse with Dance)
Danzón (es) danzon a Cuban ballroom dance developed during the 19th century (do not confuse with Dance)
Darab/Darabok (hu) pieces
Decet/Decets (en) decets
Decimino (it) decets
Dectet (en) decets
Descants (en) descants
Detsimet (ru) decets
Dezett (de) decets
Dictionary/Dictionaries (en) dictionaries use for reference books containing alphabetical articles concerning music and/or musicians
Dies irae (la) dies irae a sequence from the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces
Dirge/Dirges (en) dirges a mournful song or instrumental piece for burial or memorial rites
Divertimento/Divertimenti (en, de, hu, it, es) divertimentos
Divertisment (ru) divertimentos use only for instrumental works; for the type of 17th/18th-century French musical-dramatic entertainment, use Divertissement
Divertissement/Divertisements (fr) divertissements use only for the 17th/18th century form of French musical-dramatic entertainment; in all other cases use Divertimentos
Division/Divisions (en) divisions a mainly 17th-century English technique of improvised variation over a ground bass, written out for didactic or performance purposes
Divisions on a ground (en) divisions
Dixtuor (en, fr) decets a work for ten players
Doble canon (es) double canons
Doble fuga (es) double fugues
Doppelfuge (de) double fugues
Doppelkanon (de) double canons
Double concerto/Double concertos (en) double concertos a concerto for two solo instruments with orchestral accompaniment
Double canon/Double canons (en, fr) double canons a variant of the canon with two independent solo lines
Double fugue/Double fugues (en, fr) double fugues a variant of the fugue with two independent solo lines
Dramma giocoso (it) dramma giocoso a subset of opera-->comic opera-->opera buffa
Duet/Duets (en) duets
Dueto (es) duets
Duett (de, ju) duets
Duettino/Duettinos (it) duettinos a short vocal or instrumental duet; use only where this is the composer's title
Duetto (it) duets
Dumka/Dumkas (en, fr, de, it, es, ru) dumkas a Slavonic folk ballad; can be vocal or instrumental
Dumky (en) dumkas
Duo (it) duets
Dupla fúga (hu) double fugues
Dvoinaia fuga (ru) double fugues
Dvoinaia kanon (ru) double canons
Eclogue/Eclogues (en) eclogues a short instrumental piece of a pastoral nature
Ecossaise/Ecossaises (en, hu) ecossaises a Scottish folk dance
Écossaise (fr) ecossaises
Ejercicio/Ejercicios (es) exercises
Eklog (de) eclogues
Eksprompt (ru) impromptus
Elegia (it) elegies
Élégie (fr) elegies
Elegie (de) elegies
Elegiia (ru) elegies
Elegy/Elegies (en) elegies use for instrumental works only
Entr'acte/Entr'actes (fr) interludes
Entreè (fr) intrada
Entrada (es) intrada
Epithalamium/Epithalamia (la) epithalamia wedding song or instrumental piece
Equale/Equali (it) equali
Escocesa (es) ecossaises
Esercizio/Esercizi (it) exercises
Esquisse/Esquisses (fr) sketches
Estampida/Estampidas (fr) estampies
'Estampie/Estampies (en, fr, de) estampies instrumental dance form originating in the 13th and 14th centuries
Estampita/Estampitas (es) estampies
Estudio/Estudios (es) studies
Ethnomusicology (en) ethnomusicology
Etiud/Etiudy (ru) studies
Etude/Etudes (en) studies
Étude/Études (fr) studies
Etüde/Etüden (de) studies
Exercise/Exercises (en) exercises see also Studies
Fairy operas (en) fairy operas
Fancie (en) fancies
Fancy/Fancies (en) fancies
Fandango/Fandangos (en, fr, de, it, es, ru) fandangos a traditional Spanish dance
Fanfara (it, ru) fanfares
Fanfare/Fanfares (en, fr, de) fanfares a flourish of trumpets or other brass instruments, often with percussion, for ceremonial purposes
Fanfarra (es) fanfares
Fanfarria (es) fanfares
Fantaisie/Fantaisies (fr) fantasias
Fantasia/Fantasias (en) fantasias
Fantasia/Fantasie (it) fantasias
Fantasie/Fantasien (de) fantasias
Fantasy/Fantasies (en) fantasias
Farce/Farces (en) farces a sub-category of operas
Film Score/Film Scores (de) film scores music specifically written to accompany cinematic works
Finale/Finales (it) finales use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Florish/Florishes (en) flourishes
Flourish/Flourishes (en) flourishes
Fokstrot (ru) foxtrots
Folk song/Folksong/Folk songs/Folksongs (en) folksongs use for works specifically identified as such, or general songs of a national or regional character that are not otherwise designated
Forlana (de, it, es, ru) forlanes
Forlane/Forlanes (en, fr) forlanes an Italian folkdance popular in the early 18th century
Fox trot (en) foxtrots
Fox-trot (en, fr, es) foxtrots
Fox-trott (it) foxtrots
Foxtrot/Foxtrots (en) foxtrots 20th-century American social dance in 4/4 time
Foxtrott (de) foxtrots
Frottola/Frottolas (it) frottolas Italian secular song of the 15th/16th centuries; forerunner of the madrigal; use only when it is the composer's title
Fuga (it, es, ru) fugues
Fuga doble (es) double fugues
Fuga doppia (it) double fugues
Fugado (es) fugatos
Fugato/Fugatos (en, fr, de, hu, it, ru) fugatos a fugue-like piece which falls short of a proper fugue; use only when it is the composer's original title
Fuge (de) fugues
Fugetta (hu, ru) fughettas
Fughetta/Fughettas (en, fr, de, it, es) fughettas a short or light fugue; use only when it is the composer's original title
Fugue/Fugues (en, fr) fugues treat "Prelude and Fugue" separately, i.e. first as a Prelude and then also as a Fugue (etc.)
Funeral march/Funeral marches (en) funeral marches use only when styled as such by the composer; otherwise use Marches
Furiant/Furiants(en, fr, de, it, es) furiants an exuberant Bohemian folkdance
Furianty (ru) furiants
Furlana (es, it) forlanes
Gagliarda (it) galliards
Gaillarde (fr, de) galliards
Gal'iarda (ru) galliards
Gallarda (es) galliards
Galliard/Galliards (en) galliards a lively, triple-metre courtly dance of the 16th and early 17th centuries
Galop/Galops (en) galops a fast and lively ballroom dance in 2/4 time
Galopp (de) galops
Gavot (ru) gavottes
Gavota (es) gavottes
Gavotta (it) gavottes
Gavotte/Gavottes (en, fr, de) gavottes an old French dance in common time beginning on the 3rd beat of the bar
Geistliche konzert (de) sacred concertos
Gesang/Gesänge (de) songs
Giga (it, es) gigues
Gigue/Gigues (en, fr, de) gigues a French dance of English origin
Gimn (ru) hymns
Glee/Glees (en) glees an English part-song for three or more voices
Gloria (la) gloria part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces (note singular form)
Gradual/Graduals (nl, en, de, es) graduals use only for independent pieces so titled by the composer
Graduale (it, la) graduals
Graduále (cz, hu) graduals
Graduel (fr) graduals
Grand opera/s (en) grand operas generally used for 19th-century operas in 4 or 5 acts with large-scale casts and orchestras
Ground/Grounds (en) grounds piece with a short melody, usually in the bass, repeated continually with changing upper parts, popular in the 16th and early 17th centuries
Guajira/Guajiras (es) guajiras a Cuban narrative song form, usually in 6/8 alternating with 3/4; use only when it is the composer's original title
Habanera/Habaneras (es, fr, de, es) habaneras a Cuban dance in slow 2/4 time, possibly of African origin, that became popular in Spain
Harmonia (en, it) harmonies
Harmonie (fr, de) harmonies
Harmony/Harmonies (en) harmonies use only for works for wind instruments or a small wind band (oboes, horns, bassoons, etc.) when this is the composer's title
Havanaise (fr) habaneras
Himno (es) hymns
Hornpipe/Hornpipes (en) hornpipes a dance in triple or duple time popular with British sailors in the 18th century
Humoresca (es) humoresques
Humoreske (de) humoresques
Humoresque/Humoresques (en, fr) humoresques
Humoreszk (hu) humoresques
Hymn/Hymns (en) hymns a song of praise to a deity or saint
Hymne (de) hymns use for religious works only; otherwise see "secular hymns"
Impromptu/Impromptus (en, fr, de, hu, es) impromptus
Improperia (la) improperia use only for independent works so styled by the composer
Improvisation/Improvisations (en) improvisations
In nomine/In nomines (la) in nomines use only for instrumental works
Incidental music (en) incidental music see also film scores
Induló (hu) marches
Inglesa (es) anglaises
Inglese (it) anglaises
Inno (it) hymns
Instrumentation (en) orchestration
Interlude/Interludes (en, fr) interludes
Interludio (it, es) interludes
Interludium (de) interludes
Intermède/Intermèdes (fr) intermedes use only when this is the composer's title of a character piece
Intermedio (it, es) intermedes
Intermedium (it) intermedes
Intermetstso (ru) intermezzos
Intermezzo/Intermezzi (en, fr, de, it, es) intermezzos
Intonation/Intonations (en, fr, de) intonations originally an introductory toccata-like piece for keyboard that sets the pitch for a following sacred vocal composition; may also exist independently; use for intonazione/intonazioni.
Intonazione/Intonazioni (it) intonations see definition of intonations
Intrada/Intradas (it) intradas
Introducción (es) introductions
Introduction/Introductions (en, fr) introductions use only when this is the composer's original title
Introduktion (de) introductions
Introduktsiia (ru) introductions
Introduzione (it) introductions
Introit/Introits (en) introits use only for organ pieces when this is the composer's original title; for the extract from the Latin mass, use Hymns
Introitus (la) introits
Invención (es) inventions
Invention/Inventions (en, fr, de) inventions use only where this is the composer's original title
Invento (es) inventions
Inventsiia (ru) inventions
Invenzione (it) inventions
Istampita (it) estampies
Istanpitta (it) estampies
Iumoreska (ru) inventions
Jácara/Jácaras (pt, es) jacaras a 17th/18th-century Spanish dance form
Jazz (en) jazz use for improvisational pieces without prescribed instrumentation
Jig (en) gigues
Jiga (es) gigues
Jigge (en) gigues
Jota/Jotas (es) jotas a lively Spanish dance in triple time
Kadenz (de) cadenzas
Kadril&#39 (ru) quadrilles
Kanon (de) canons
Kánon (hu) canons
Kantabile (ru) cantabiles
Kantate (de) cantatas
Kantiga (ru) cantigas
Kantikum (ru) canticles
Kantsonetta (ru) canzonettas
Kanzonette (de) canzonettas
Kaprice (de) caprices
Kaprichch (ru) caprices
Kaprichchio (ru) capriccios
Kaprisa (ru) caprices
Kaprize (de) caprices
Kassation (de) cassations
Kassatsiia (ru) cassations
Kavatina (ru) cavatinas
Kavatine (de) cavatinas
Kettõs (hu) duets
Kettõs fúga (hu) double fugues
Khabanera (ru) habaneras
Khavanez (ru) habaneras
Khor (ru) choruses
Khoral (ru) chorales
Konchertone (de) concertones
Kontrans (ru) country dances
Kontratánc (hu) country dances
Kontretänze (de) country dances
Kontsert (ru) concertos
Kontsertshtiuk (ru) concertinos
Konzert (de) concertos
Konzertant (de) concertantes
Konzertone (de) concertones
Konzertstück/Konzertstücke (de) concertinos
Krakoviák/Krakoviák (hu, ru) krakowiaks
Krakowiak/Krakowiaks (en, de, pl) krakowiaks Polish folk dance characterized by syncopated rhythms in fast duple time
Kujaviak/Kujaviaks (en) kujawiaks
Kujawiak/Kujawiaks (en, pl) kujawiaks Polish folk dance, similar to but slower than the mazurka
Kvadril' (ru) quadrilles
Kvartet (ru) quartets
Kvintet (ru) quintets
Kvodlibet (ru) quodlibets
Kyrie (el, la) kyrie part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces (note singular form)
Ladainha (pt) litanies
Laendler (fr) landler
Lamentation (de) lamentations Should specifically contain text from the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the Bible
Lancers (en) quadrilles A "Lancers" is a type of quadrille dance
Ländler (de) landler an Alpine folkdance in 3/4 time
Largetto (ru) larghettos
Larghetto/Larghettos (en, fr, de, it, es) larghettos use only when it is the composer's title
Largo/Largos (it) largos use only when it is the composer's title
Lavolta (en, fr) volta
Lendler (it) landler
Lendler/Лэндлер (ru) landler
Lento (en, fr, de, it, es) lentos use only when it is the composer's title
Lesson/Lessons (en) lessons use only for short instrumental or vocal exercises, where this is the composer's title; a "lectio", which technically means lesson, is usually not an exercise, but a sacred song on a text from a Biblical lesson, in which case it is tagged as a sacred song or motet
Lesung/Lesungen (de) lessons
Letter/Letters (en) correspondence
Lezion/Lezioni (it) lessons
Libretto/Librettos (en) librettos use for publications of the text of operatic and vocal works that omit the music
Lied/Lieder (de) lieder use only when styled as such by the composer
Litanei (de) litanies
Litania (it) litanies
Litanie (fr) litanies
Litany/Litanies (en) litanies
Liturgia (es, it, pl) liturgies
Liturgie (de, fr) liturgies
Liturgy/Liturgies (en) liturgies use only when styled as such by the composer
Lullaby/Lullabies (en) lullabies for vocal works only; otherwise use berceuses
Lullabye/Lullabyes (en) lullabies
Lyric drama/Lyric dramas (en) lyric dramas
Lyric opera/Lyric operas (en) lyric operas a subcategory of opera
Lyric tragedy/Lyric tragedies (en) lyric tragedies a subcategory of opera
Madrigaal (nl) madrigals
Madrigal/Madrigals (en, fr, de, hu, es) madrigals Use for "madrigali spirituali" as well
Madrigale (it) madrigals
Madrygal (pl) madrigals
Magnificat/Magnificats (la) magnificats use only for independent works so title by the composer
Magníficat (es) magnificats
Magnifikat (ru) magnificats
Malagueña/Malagueñas (es) malaguenas a type of instrumental piece, song, or dance in the flamenco style
Mambo/Mambos (en, fr, de, it ,es) mambos a 20th-century Cuban ballroom dance
March/Marches (en) marches see also Funeral marches, Wedding marches
Marcha (pt, es) marches
Marche (fr) marches
Marche funèbre/Marches funèbres (fr) funeral marches
Märchenoper (de) fairy operas
Marcia (it) marches
Marcietta/Marciettas (en/it) marches
Mars (nl) marches
Marsch (de) marches
Marsh (ru) marches
Marsz (pl) marches
Masque/Masques (en, fr) masques
Mass/Masses (en) masses
Mazur (pl) mazurkas
Mazurca (it, es) mazurkas
Mazurek (it, pl) mazurkas
Mazurka/Mazurkas (cz, en, fr, de, hu, ru) mazurkas a Polish folk dance in triple time
Meditation/Meditations (en) meditations use only when this is the composer's title
Méditation/Méditations (fr) meditations
Medley/Medleys (en) medleys
Mélange/Mélanges (fr) medleys
Mélodie/Mélodies (fr) melodies use only for French vocal works when this is the composer's title
Melodrama/Melodramas (en, ru) melodramas usually music accompanying spoken text; use only for independent works described as such by the composer
Mélodrame (fr) melodramas
Melologo (it) melodramas
Menuet (ru) minuets
Menuett (de, hu) minuets
Menuetto (it) minuets
Messa (it) masses
Messe (fr, de) masses
Method/Methods (en) methods
Méthode/Méthodes (fr) methods
Metodo (it) methods
Milonga/Milongas (es) milongas a traditional song or dance genre from Argentina and Uruguay
Minué (es) minuets
Minuet/Minuets (en) minuets a stately dance in triple time
Minuete (pt, es) minuets
Minuetto (it) minuets
Misa (es) masses
Mise (hu) masses
Miserere (la) miserere
Missa (la) masses
Miuzet (ru) musettes
Moderato/Moderatos (it) moderatos use only when it is the composer's title
Modinha/Modinhas (en, pt) modinhas a song usually for solo voice and guitar popular in 19th-century Brazil and Portugal; also a Brazilian dance form derived from the vocal form
Monodrama/Monodramas (en) monodramas form of melodrama featuring one character using speech in alternation with short passages of music
Morceau/Morceaux (fr) pieces
Morceaux caractéristiques (fr) character pieces
Motet/Motets (cz, nl, en, fr, pl, ru) motets use only when styled as such by the composer
Motete (es) motets
Motetta (hu) motets
Motette (de) motets
Motetto (it) motets
Motteto (it) motets
Mottetto (it) motets
Mouvement/Mouvements (fr) movements
Movement/Movements (en) movements use for an independent work titled as such, not for individual movements of a larger work
Movimento/Movimenti (it) movements
Movimiento/Movimienti (it) movements
Mša (cz) masses
Msza (pl) masses
Muséte (fr) musettes
Musette/Musettes (fr, en, de, it, es) musettes a dance-like piece of pastoral character whose style is suggestive of the sound of the musette or bagpipe
Music aesthetics (en) music aesthetics writings only
Music criticism (en) music criticism use for reviews and analysis of specific works by one or more composers
Music, economic aspects (en) music economic aspects use for writings about music business practices
Music education (en) music education use for writings about general music education that are not tied to a specific instrument
Music history (en) music history use for writings about historical music practices
Music notation (en) music notation use for writings about music notation, e.g. sol-fa or mensural notation
Music theory (en) music theory use for writings about the general composition, harmony, rhythm and structure of music
Music therapy (en) music therapy use for writings about music therapy
Musicals (en) musicals 20th-century genre of dramatic works interspersed with musical numbers
Nachspiel/Nachspiele (de) postludes
National Anthem/National Anthems (en) national anthems use only for pieces of music that are national anthems of countries (past or present), or works based on their themes (do not confuse with anthems)
Nocturne/Nocturnes (en, fr, de) nocturnes
Nocturno (es) nocturnes
Noël/Noëls (fr) carols
Noktiurn (ru) nocturnes
Nonet/Nonets (en, fr, de) nonets
Noneto (es) nonets a composition for nine performers
Nonett (de) nonets
Nonetto (it, es) nonets
Notturno (de, it) nocturnes
Obertura (es) overtures
Octet/Octets (en) octets a composition for eight performers
Octeto (es) octets
Octuor (fr) octets
Oda (pl, es, ru) odes
Óda (cz, hu) odes
Ode/Odes (en, fr, de, it) odes a ancient poem intended to be sung, usually in honour of some special occasion or as part of a play; also a cantata-like form of the 17th and 18th centuries
Ofertorio (es) offertories
Offertoire (fr) offertories
Offertorii (ru) offertories
Offertorio (it) offertories
Offertorium/Offertoria (en, de, la) offertorium chant, item of the Proper of the Mass; from the 17th century frequently performed independently of the liturgy
Offertory/Offertories (en) offertories use only for independent settings that do not form part of larger works
Oktet (ru) octets
Oktett (de) octets
Oper/Opern (de) operas
Opera/Operas (en, fr, it) operas the "genres" allocated in Wikipedia, such as "opera buffa" and "singspiele", may also be used instead, and will be treated here as sub-categories of "opera"
Opera-ballet/Opera-ballets (en) opera-ballets a popular genre of French Baroque opera
Opéra-ballet/Opéras-ballets (fr) opera-ballets
Opéra bouffe/Opéras bouffes (fr) operas bouffes a sub-category of opera, this was a type of late 19th-century French operetta
Opéra comique/Opéras comiques (fr) operas comiques a sub-category of opera, this is not to be confused with comic opera; opéra comique combines spoken dialogue (instead of recitative) with singing
Opéra féerie (fr) fairy operas
Opera seria (it) opera seria a sub-category of opera
Operetta/Operettas (en) operettas a form of light opera, popular from the late 19th century
Oratorio/Oratorios (en/fr/it) oratorios divide into "sacred oratorios" and "secular oratorios" if possible
Oratorium (de) oratorios
Orchestration (en) orchestration
Organology (en) organology use for writings about musical instruments
Ostinato/Ostinatos (it) ostinatos use only where this is the composer's original title
Ottetto (it) octets
Ouvertüre (de) overtures
Ouverture (fr, it) overtures
Overtura (hu) overtures
Overture/Overtures (en) overtures use only for independent works styled as such by the composer
Padovana (it) pavans
Paduana (de) pavans
Pantomime/Pantomimes (en, fr) pantomimes late 18th/early 19th century form of ballet popular in France
Paráfrasi (it) paraphrases
Paráfrasis (es) paraphrases
Paraphrase/Paraphrases (en, fr, de) paraphrases use for 19th century virtuoso works based on well-known tunes, usually taken from popular operas
Parte (it) partitas
Parthia (de) partitas
Parthie (de) partitas
Partia (de) partitas
Partie (de) partitas
Partita/Partitas (en, fr, de, it, ru, es) partitas
Pas de/Pas de (fr) dances This will always be followed by a number (in French), i.e. Pas de deux, Pas de trois, etc.
Pasacalle (es) passacaglias
Paseo/Paseos (es) paseos a type of ripresa or ritornello similar to the Spanish passacaglia, or for compositions similar to a chaconne
Paso/Pasos (es) pasos usually a 17th or 18th-century organ piece derived from a Spanish dance
Paso doble (es, ru) pasodobles
Pasodoble/Pasodobles (en, fr, de, it, ru, es) pasodobles a 20th-century Spanish dance in quick duple time
Pasp'e (ru) passepieds
Paspié (fr) passepieds
Passacaglia/Passacaglias (en, de, hu, it, es) passacaglias a Baroque form of variations, derived from a Spanish dance
Passacaille (fr) passacaglias
Passacalle (fr) passacaglias
Passakal'ia/ (ru) passacaglias
Passakaliia (ru) passacaglias
Passamezzo/Passamezzos (en) passamezzos an Italian dance of the 16th and early 17th centuries
Pass'e mezo (it) passamezzos
Pass'e mezzo (it) passamezzos
Passecaille (fr) passacaglias
Passepied/Passepieds (fr) passepieds a French courtly dance of the 17th/18th centuries, in triple time
Passe-pied (fr) passepieds
Passing measures (en) passamezzos
Passion/Passions (en) passions use only where this is the composer's designation
Passo e mezo (it) passamezzos
Passomezo (it) passamezzos
Pass-pié (fr) passepieds
Passymeasures (en) passamezzos
Pastiche/Pastiches (en) pasticcios use only for operas made up of pieces from different composers or sources; for instrumental works with this title, use "piece"
Pasticcio/Pasticcios (it) pasticcios use only for operas made up of pieces from different composers or sources; for instrumental works with this title, use "piece"
Pastoral/Pastorals (en/fr/de/it/es) pastorales
Pastorale/Pastorales (en/fr/de/it/es) pastorales can be vocal or instrumental composition suggestive of a rustic subject, or an early French form of opera-ballet
Pastoral' (ru) pastorales
Pasztorál (hu) pastorales
Pavan/Pavans (en, de) pavans a stately Italian dance in duple time
Pavana (cz, it, pl, ru, es) pavans
Pavanne/Pavannes (fr) pavans
Pavin (en) pavans
Performance practice performance practice use for writings about musical techniques of performance, such as ornamentation, interpretation, etc.
P'es/P'esa/P'esy (ru) pieces
Pesn'/Pesen/Pesnia (ru) songs
Pezzo/Pezzi (it) pieces
Phancy (en) fancies
Phansie (en) fancies
Phantasie/Phantasien (de) fantasias
Phantasy/Phantasies (en) fantasias
Piece/Pieces (en) pieces
Pièce/Pièces (en) pieces
Pieza/Piezas (es) pieces
Pisen/Pisne (cz) songs
Piva/Pive (it) pive a 15th/16th-century Italian dance
Plainsong (en) plainchant
Plainchant (en) plainchant use for medieval unaccompanied monophonic church music (including Gregorian chant)
Poème symphonique/Poèmes symphoniques (en) symphonic poems
Polacca/Polaccas (it) polonaises
Polca (it, pt, es) polkas
Polka/Polkas (nl, en, fr, de, hu, pl) polkas a lively Bohemian dance in 2/4 time
Pol'ka (ru) polkas
Polonaise/Polonaises (en, fr) polonaises a stately Polish dance in triple time
Polonäse (de) polonaises
Polonesa (es) polonaises
Polonese (it) polonaises
Polonez (ru) polonaises
Popurri (ru) potpourris
Popurrí (es) potpourris
Posludio (it) postludes
Postliudiia (ru) postludes
Postlude/Postludes (en, fr) postludes use only for independent works titled as such by the composer
Postludio (it, es) postludes
Postludium (de, hu) postludes
Potpourri/Potpourris (en, de, hu, es) potpourris a piece consisting of pre-existing tunes, often from operas
Pot-pourri/Pot-pourris (fr, it) potpourris
Praeambulum/Praeambula (la) praeambula
Praeludium (de) preludes
Präludium (de) preludes
Preliud/Preliudiia (ru) preludes
Prelude/Preludes (en) preludes use only for independent works titled as such by the composer; but see also Chorale preludes
Prélude (fr) preludes
Prélude de choral/Préludes de chorals (fr) chorale preludes
Preludio (it, es) preludes
Preludium (cz, hu) preludes
Preludjum (pl) preludes
Presto/Prestos (it) prestos use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece
Processional/Processionals (en) processionals use only for pieces for organ styled as such by the composer
Psalm/Psalms (en/de/ru) psalms use only for settings of Biblical psalms, and then only if the entire text comes from the psalms; if it is mixed with other texts, use something else
Psalmo (es) psalms
Psalmus (la) psalms
Psaume (fr) psalms
Publishers' catalog/Publishers' catalogues (en) publishers catalogs
Quadriglia (it) quadrilles
Quadrille/Quadrilles (en, fr, de) quadrilles popular 19th-century ballroom dance
Quartet/Quartets (en) quartets a work for four performers
Quartett (de) quartets
Quartettino/Quartettinos (it) quartettinos
Quartetto (it) quartets
Quatuor (fr) quartets
Quickstep/Quicksteps (en) quicksteps
Quintet/Quintets (en) quintets a work for five performers
Quinteto (es) quintets
Quintett (de) quintets
Quintette (fr) quintets
Quintettino/Quintettinos (it) quintettinos
Quintetto (it) quintets
Quodlibet/Quodlibets (en, fr, de, hu, it, es) quodlibets a composition in which well-known melodies and texts appear in successive or simultaneous combinations
Rag/Rags (en) rags a syncopated piece, often for keyboard, from the early 20th-century
Rapsodia (it, es) rhapsodies
Rapsodie (fr) rhapsodies
Rapsodiia (ru) rhapsodies
Recercada (es) ricercars
Recessional/Recessionals (en) recessionals
Rechitativ (ru) recitatives
Récit/Récits (fr) recits generic term used in France during the 17th and 18th centuries for fragments or entire compositions for solo voices or instruments
Récitatif (fr) recitatives
Recitative/Recitatives (en, fr) recitatives use only for works titled as such by the composer
Recitativo (it) recitatives
Rekviem (ru) requiems
Répons/Répons responsories
Reproaches (en) improperia
Requiem/Requiems (la) requiems
Respond/Responds (en) responsories
Response/Responses (en) responsories
Responsory/Responsories (en) responsories use only for independent works so titled by the composer
Responsorium (de, la) responsories but note also Responsorium graduale
Responsorium graduale (la) graduals
Responsorio (es) responsories
Rezitativ (de) recitatives
Rhapsodie (fr, de) rhapsodies
Rhapsody/Rhapsodies (en) rhapsodies
Ricercar (fr, de) ricercars
Ricercare/Ricercars/Ricercari (en, it) ricercars use only where this is the composer's title
Richerkar (ru) ricercars
Rigadoon (en) rigaudons
Rigaudon/Rigaudons (en, de, hu) rigaudons a French folk dance popular during the 17th/18th centuries
Rigodon (it, ru) rigaudons
Rigodón (es) rigaudons
Ritournelle/Ritournelles (fr) ritournelles a 17th-century dance in quick triple time (do not confuse with ritornello)
Romance/Romances (en, fr, es) romances a vocal or instrumental ballad; use only where this is the composer's own title
Romans/Romansov/Romansy (ru) romances
Romanza/Romanze (it) romances
Romanza/Romanzas (es) romances
Romanze/Romanzen (de) romances
Rondeau/Rondeaux (fr) rondeaux use only for the vocal work of the 13th to 15th centuries; for the repeat form of the late 18th and 19th centuries, use Rondos
Rondino/Rondinos (en) rondinos use only where this is the composer's title
Rondo/Rondos (en, fr, de) rondos use only where this is the composer's title for an independent piece
Rondó (es) rondos
Rondò (it) rondos
Rondoletto/Rondolettos (it) rondolettos use only where this is the composer's title
Rumba/Rumbas (en, fr, de, it, ru, es) rumbas a popular recreational dance of Afro-Cuban origin.
Rundgesang (de) rondos
Sacred cantata/Sacred cantatas (en) sacred cantatas for cantatas based on a religious subject; see also Secular cantatas and Cantatas
Sacred chorus/Sacred choruses (en) sacred choruses for choral compositions based on a religious subject; see also Secular choruses and Choruses
Sacred concerto/Sacred concertos (en) sacred concertos
Sacred oratorio/Sacred oratorios (en) sacred oratorios for oratorios based on religious subjects; see also Secular oratorios and Oratorios
Sacred song/Sacred songs (en) sacred songs for songs based on a religious subject; see also Songs
Salmo (it) psalms
Saltarelle (fr) saltarellos
Saltarello/Saltarellos (en, fr, de, it, es) saltarellos a rapid Italian dance in triple metre
Sal'tarello (ru) saltarellos
Saltarelo (es) saltarellos
Salve Regina (la) salve regina use only for an independent work, so styled by the composer
Samba/Sambas (en, fr, de, it, ru, es) sambas an Afro-Brazilian couple-dance and popular musical form
Sanctus (la) sanctus part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces (note singular form)
Saraband/Sarabands (en) sarabandes
Sarabanda (it, ru) sarabandes
Sarabande/Sarabandes (fr, de) sarabandes a popular Baroque dance
Sardana/Sardanas/Sardanes (ca, es) sardana a Catalonian dance
Satz/Sätze (de) movements
Scale/Scales (en) scales use for works designated as scale or pattern (e.g. arpeggio) studies by their composers; displays as "Scales and patterns"
Scherzetto/Scherzetti (en) scherzos
Scherzino/Scherzinos (en, it) scherzos
Scherzo/Scherzos (en, fr, de, it, es) scherzos use only for independent compositons styled as such by the composer
School/Schools (en) methods
Schottische (de) ecossaises
Schule/Schulen (de) methods
Scozzese (it) ecossaises
Secular cantata/Secular cantatas (en) secular cantatas for cantatas not based on religious subjects; see also Sacred cantatas and Cantatas
Secular chorus/Secular choruses (en) secular choruses for choral compositions not based on religious subjects; see also Sacred choruses and Choruses
Secular hymn/Secular hymnss (en) secular hymns for works styled as hymns by the composer, but which don't have a religious subject
Secular oratorio/Secular oratorios (en) secular oratorios for oratorios not based on religious subjects; see also Sacred oratorios and Oratorios
Seguidilla/Seguidillas (es) seguidillas Spanish dance and song
Sekstet (ru) sextets
Septet/Septets (en, ru) septets a composition for seven performers
Septett (de) septets
Septimino (es) septets
Septuor (fr) septets
Sequences (en) sequences part of the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent pieces
Serenada (ru) serenades
Serenade/Serenades (en, fr) serenades
Serenata/Serenatas (it) serenatas use only for 17th/18th-century dramatic vocal works for two or more singers and orchestra; for instrumental works entitled serenata, use "serenades".
Service/Services (en) services music to accompany religious services not covered by any other category
Sestetto (it) sexets
Settimino (it) septets
Sevillana/Sevillanas (es) sevillanas a flamenco-style song and dance of Andalusian origin
Sextet/Sextets (en) sextets a composition for six performers
Sexteto (es) sextets
Sextett (de) sextets
Sextuor (fr) sextets
Siciliana/Sicilianas (en) sicilianas a 17th- and 18th-century dance and aria form, probably of Sicilian origin
Siciliano (it) sicilianas
Sicilien (fr) sicilianas
Siciliene (fr) sicilianas
Sicilienne (fr) sicilianas
Simfoniia (ru) symphonies
Simfonietta (ru) sinfoniettas
Simphonie (fr) symhonies
Simphonie concertante/Simphonies concertantes (fr) symphonies concertantes
Simphonietta (fr) sinfoniettas
Simphony (en) symhonies
Sinfonia/Sinfonie/Sinfonias (it, en) sinfonias use only for Baroque works titled as such by the composer; otherwise use Symphonies
Sinfonia concertante/Sinfonie concertanti (it) symphonies concertantes
Sinfonie (de) symphonies do not confuse with Italian plural of Sinfonias
Sinfonie concertante/Sinfonies concertantes (fr) symphonies concertantes
Sinfonietta/Sinfoniettas (en, de, it) sinfoniettas
Singspiel/Singspiele (de) singspiele a form of German opera characterized by spoken dialogue
Sitsiliana (ru) sicilianas
Siuita/Siuity (ru) suites
Siziliano (de) sicilianas
Skertso (ru) scherzos
Sketch/Sketches (en) sketches use only when designated as such by the composer
Skizzen (de) sketches
Skladba/Skladby (cz) pieces
Solfeggio/Solfeggios (it) solfeggios use only for vocal exercises styled as such by the composer
Son/Sones (es) sones generic term for Latin American rural or peasant music, both vocal and instrumental
Sonata/Sonatas (en, it, ru, es) sonatas usually a work in several movements for solo instruments or small ensemble
Sonate (fr, de) sonatas
Sonatina/Sonatinas (en) sonatinas use only when it is the composer's original title
Sonatine (fr, de) sonatinas
Sonatinetta/Sonatinettas (?) sonatinettas Very rare, use only when it is the composer's original title
Song/Songs (en) songs use only for works styled as such by the composer, or for any piece for solo voice (with or without accompaniment) whose form is not designated; note also Folksongs, Sacred songs
Sortie/Sorties (fr) postludes Usually used in a church setting, frequently for organ, and used during the exit of the congregation
Sortsiko/Sortsiky (ru) zortzicos
Sousedská/Sousedsky (cz) sousedsky a slow Czech couple-dance in triple time
Spiritual/Spirituals (en) spirituals religious American folksong [variant: spirichuėl]
Stabat Mater (la) stabat mater a sequence from the traditional Latin mass; use only for independent works titled as such by the composer
Stampita (it) estampies
Ständchen (de) serenades
Stück/Stücke (de) pieces
Studie/Studien (de) studies
Studio/Studi (it) studies
Study/Studies (en) studies
Stuk/Stukken (nl) pieces
Suite/Suites (en, fr, de, it, es) suites
Symphonic poem/Symphonic poem (en) symphonic poems use for compositions styled as such by the composer, or for otherwise undesignated orchestral works based on historical or fictional events
Symphonie (fr, de)
Symphonie concertante/Symphonies concertantes (fr) symphonies concertantes a work for multiple solo instruments and orchestra; use only when it is the composer's title
Symphonietta (fr) sinfoniettas
Symphoniette (en, fr) sinfoniettas
Symphonische Dichtung (de) symphonic poems
Symphony/Symphonies (en) symphonies use for the multi-movement work of the 18th to 20th centuries; but for the Italian Baroque sinfonia use Sinfonias
Tambourin/Tambourins (en, fr) tambourins an 18th-century French dance with a lively melody and regular, static bass simulating a drum, usually in duple meter
Tánc (hu) dances
Taniec (pl) dances
Tanets/Tantsy (ru) dances
Tango/Tangos (en, fr, de, it, ru, es) tangos a Latin-American song and dance
Tanz (de) dances
Tarantela (es) tarantellas
Tarantella/Tarantellas (de, it, en, ru) tarantellas a folkdance of southern Italy in triple time
Tarentelle (fr) tarantellas
Te Deum (en/fr/de/it/la/es) te deum use only for independent works styled as such by the composer
Terzett (de) trios
Terzettino/Terzettinos (it) terzettinos
Terzetto (it) trios
Tétel/Tételek (hu) movements
Thematic catalog/Thematic catalogues (en) thematic catalogs use for catalogues of works by a composer that include musical incipits
Theme and Variations/Theme with Variations (en) variations
Threnody/Threnodies (en, fr) threnodies
Tiento/Tientos (es) tientos a form of Spanish/Latin American instrumental music
Tocata (es) toccatas
Toccata/Toccatas (en, fr, de, it) toccatas
Toccatina/Toccatinas (it) toccatas
Tombeau/Tombeaux (fr) tombeaux
Tokkata (ru) toccatas
Tonadilla/Tonadillas (es) tonadillas a Spanish form of cantata
Tondichtung (de) symphonic poems
Tone poem/Tone poems (en) symphonic poems
Tragédie en musique tragedies en musique Use only for the late 17th-18th C. French form of opera so named
Trio/Trios (en, fr, de, it, ru, es) trios a composition for three performers
Tsapateado/Tsapateady (ru) zapateados
Tyrolean/Tyroleans (en) tyroliennes
Tyrolien (de) tyroliennes
Tyrolienne/Tyroliennes (fr) tyroliennes a Tyrolean folk dance
Übung/Übungen (de) studies
Umoresca (it) humoresques
Utwór/Utwóry (pl) pieces
Uvertiura/Uvertiury (ru) overtures
Uwertura overtures
Val's (ru) waltzes
Vals (es) waltzes
Valse (fr) waltzes
Valzer (it) waltzes
Variación (es) variations
Variation/Variations (en, fr, de) variations use for "Theme and Variations", etc., and all works consisting of a sequence of variations on one or more themes whose form is not otherwise designated
Variatsiia/(ru) variations
Variazione (it) variations
Vaudevilles (en, fr) vaudevilles
Verismo operas (en) verismo operas a late 19th-century (lingering into c.1920) subset of operas
Vers (hu) versets
Verset/Versets (en, fr) versets use only for independent keyboard works styled as such by the composer
Versett (de) versets
Versetto (it) versets
Versettus (hu) versets
Versiculo (es) versets
Verso (es) versets
Vesper/Vespers (en) vespers
Vil'iansiko (ru) villancicos
Villancico/Villancicos (es) villancicos a Spanish vocal work for one or more voices with refrain
Villanella/Villanelle (en, it, ru, es) villanelle a form of light vocal music popular in Italy and elsewhere from the 1530s to the early 17th century (do not confuse with Vilannelles)
Villanelle/Villanelles (fr) villanelles a 16th- to 17th-century French country dance or song, and an 18th- to 20th-century instrumental piece (do not confuse with Villanelle)
Vivace/Vivaces (en, fr, de, it, es, ru) vivaces use only when this is the composer's title
Vocalise/Vocalises (en, fr) vocalises a textless vocal exercise or concert piece to be sung to one or more vowels; use only for vocal works
Vocalización (es) vocalises
Vocalizzo (it) vocalises
Vokalise (de) vocalises
Vokaliz (ru) vocalises
Volkslied/Volkslieder (de) folksongs
Volta/Volte (en, de, it, es) volte an early 17th-century dance
Volte (fr) volte
Voluntary/Voluntaries (en) voluntaries a piece for solo organ used at the beginning and end of church services, or an extemporised musical compositon
Vorspiel/Vorspiele (de) preludes
Waltz/Waltzes (en) waltzes
Walzer (de) waltzes
Wedding march/Wedding marches (en) wedding marches use only when styled as such by the composer; otherwise use Marches
Wedding procession/Wedding processions (en) wedding marches
Wiegenlied/Wiegenlieder (de) lullabies for vocal works only; otherwise use berceuses
Writings (en) writings use only for writings that are so generic they do not fit into a more specific category, e.g. music theory
Xácara/Xácaras (es) jacaras
Zalm (cz) psalms
Zapateado/Zapateados (es) zapateados Spanish dance in triple time in which rhythm is marked by stamping of the heels
Zapateao/Zapateaos (es) zapateados
Zarabanda (es) sarabandes
Zarzuela/Zarzuelas (es) zarzuelas a distinct Spanish form of musical theatre
Zhiga/Жига (ru) gigues
Zorcico/Zorcicos (es) zortzicos
Zortzico/Zortzicos (es) zortzicos
Zortzico/Zortzicos (es) zortzicos Basque folksong or dance in 5/4 time with dotted rhythms
Zwiefacher/Zwiefache (de) zwiefache German folk dance with regular alternation between duple and triple meter
Zwischenakt (de) intermezzos
Zwischenspiel/Zwischenspiele (de) interludes

Special cases

If a work's title includes more than one of the above terms (e.g. "Prelude and Fugue", "Romances and Songs" or "Valse-Scherzo") then a separate tag should be given for each term ("preludes ; fugues", "romances ; songs", "waltzes ; scherzos". The only exceptions are those in the form of "Theme and Variations" or "Air and Variations", etc. which are all tagged just as variations).

The tag should always describe the whole composition, and not the individual movements or sections within a work.

With the exception of the double canons and double fugues, numbers or adjectives should be ignored when deciding on the work type, so that "Psalm XLIX" just comes under psalms, and a "Große Fugue" comes under fugues.

Always use the work type designated by the composer, even if you think it must be wrong. Watch out for inaccurate translations or work page titles though!


When deciding on the "work type" of any composition, consider the following questions, in this order:

  1. Is the type indicated in the title?
  2. Is the type indicated in the subtitle?
  3. Is the type indicated anywhere else in the score?
  4. Is the type indicated in any authoritative sources?

If the answer to all these is "no", then you're very unlucky. But in these rare cases you should use "pieces" as the work type for the time being, and post a note in the forums or project discussion page to see if anyone can provide a more definitive answer. The same applies if you think you have the correct term but it doesn't appear in the table above, which doesn't claim to be completely comprehensive.

Once you've found your standard work type, you can move on to the instrumentation ...


Apart from the "work type", the other element of the work tag is the instrumentation. It's important to be clear that the work tag is not intended to duplicate the detailed data that is (or should be) already displayed in the general information box of the work page. Instead, the tag should summarise this information as concisely as possible, using a system of abbreviations for instrument names and families. These have to be standardized and used in a particular way so that they can be understood by IMSLP's software. But they have been designed to be straightforward to use, with a little practice.

Again, do not give separate tags to individual movements or sections within a work. The tag should always describe the instrumentation of the whole work, in its original form, without considering any arrangements or transcriptions (but see also "special cases", below).


Larger works will have multiple performers playing the same instruments and sometimes performing identical parts. The largest of these ensembles is of course the orchestra, which includes instruments from the four main families of: woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings. So:

Family Abbreviation Description
Orchestra orch a work scored for standard complements of woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings
Woodwinds ww a work using woodwind instruments only
Brass br a work using brass instruments only
Percussion perc a work using percussion instruments only (unusual, but possible)
Strings str a work using stringed instruments only

Where two or three families of instruments come together to make a larger ensemble we can also combine some of these abbreviations using only a space (but note the reduced terms that are used for display):

  • ww br (= woodwinds and brass instruments); this displays as "wind ensemble"
  • ww br perc (= woodwinds, brass and percussion); this displays as "wind band"
  • br perc (= brass and percussion); this displays as "brass band" (as does "br timp")
  • br perc str (= brass, percussion and strings); this displays as "For brass, percussion, strings" because it has not developed a standard name as the others have.
  • jzens (= woodwind, brass, rhythm section); this displays as "jazz ensemble", but use it where a specific instrumentation cannot be used. For example, if there is a lot of doubling (saxes moving to clarinets, trumpeters moving to flugelhorns), then the specific instrumentation will give more players than are actually playing, so this tag would be used. However, use specific instrumentation where possible.

The families are always named in the same order (woodwinds; brass; percussion; strings), and do not have any capital letters in their codes. The reduced terms like "wind band", "military band", "brass band" and "chamber orchestra" are only display terms. What we code as the tag is the constituent families or instruments, e.g. a piece for wind ensemble could also be:

  • ww perc (= woodwinds and percussion)

Medieval and Renaissance ensembles: these are most often not written with specific instruments in mind, and different performers use different instruments when playing the same pieces. Sometimes we know that they were "probably" for a particular set of instruments, for example, where a composer was himself a viol player, a 4-part ensemble was probably meant for 4 viols. If it is more or less known what the instrumentation is, use specific instruments otherwise use:

  • cnsrt; this displays as "consort ensemble" (this is only to be used for Medieval or Renaissance ensembles where the instrumentation is to be chosen by the performers)

Solo instruments

The names of individual instruments should be given if they are not playing as part of an ensemble. This can be in a chamber piece, playing with other soloists, or as a soloist in a concerto. Where a solo part involves "doubling" (e.g. a flute player who also has to play piccolo), then only the abbreviation for the main instrument is used, because adding both tags increases the number of players, which would then be inaccurate. For example, in an ensemble that uses flute (doubling piccolo), violin, viola, cello, the "fl vn va vc" tag will accurately give "4 players", whereas "fl picc vn va vc" will give 5 players, which will be inaccurate.

Abbreviations for instruments

For the purpose of tagging we need the instruments to be listed consistently in the same order, and with the same spellings (regardless of how they might appear in a particular score). The list below shows the most frequently-used solo instruments in the order they should be named in the tags, and the standard singular and plural forms of their names.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of orchestral instruments — just the ones most likely to be used in the work tags. If you need to use any instruments that are not on the list, then if possible tag them with the appropriate instrument family name (woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings or keyboard) and bring this to the attention of the project co-ordinator.

Instrument or family Abbreviation Notes Wikipedia
Woodwinds (modern) ww for large ensembles only (do not use for chamber or instrumental works) Woodwind instrument
Piccolo/Piccolos picc Piccolo
Flute/Flutes fl Flute
Alto flute/Alto flutes afl use for the instrument pitched in G (sometimes confused with the bass flute) Alto flute
Flute d'amore/Flutes d'amore fda will display as "Flute damore" (due to apostrophes not being valid characters in category names) Flûte d'amour
Bass flute/Bass flutes bfl use for the instrument pitched in C, an octave below the standard flute, as well as the contrabass flute Bass flute
Recorder/Recorders rec Recorder
Oboe/Oboes ob see also oboe d'amore, oboe da caccia Oboe
Oboe d'amore/Oboes d'amore oda will display as "oboe damore" (due to apostrophes not being valid characters in category names) Oboe d'amore
English horn/English horns eh also known as 'cor anglais' Cor anglais
Bass oboe/Bass oboes bob Bass oboe
Heckelphone/Heckelphones heck Heckelphone
Piccolo Clarinet/Piccolo Clarinets pcl use for E, D, or A sopranino clarinets, or any clarinet higher than (but not including) C clarinet. Clarinet
Clarinet/Clarinets cl use for B, A, or C soprano clarinets Clarinet
Alto Clarinet/Alto Clarinets acl usually in E a sixth below concert pitch, but there are other obsolete keys in the vicinity that might also be called an alto clarinet. Clarinet
Basset clarinet/Basset clarinets bstcl An A clarinet with a low C extension, not to be confused with bass clarinet or basset horn Basset clarinet
Basset horn/Basset horns bsthn not to be confused with the bass clarinet or bass horn Basset horn
Bass clarinet/Bass clarinets bcl use for B or A bass clarinet Bass clarinet
Contrabass clarinet/Contrabass clarinets cbcl use for any clarinet lower than A bass clarinet, including contralto clarinet Contrabass clarinet
Saxophone/Saxophones sax Use where multiple saxophones are played, otherwise use the specific saxophone (see below). Saxophone
Soprano Saxophone/Soprano Saxophones ssax Saxophone
Alto Saxophone/Alto Saxophones asax Saxophone
Tenor Saxophone/Tenor Saxophones tsax Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone/Baritone Saxophones brsax Saxophone
Bass Saxophone/Bass Saxophones bssax Saxophone
Sarrusophone/Sarrusophones sar Sarrusophone
Bassoon/Bassoons bn see also contrabassoon Bassoon
Contrabassoon/Contrabassoons cbn Contrabassoon
Harmonica/Harmonicas hca Mouth organ (not to be confused with harmonium, or glass harmonica) Harmonica
Woodwinds (traditional) ww Woodwind instrument
Fife/Fifes fife Fife
Ocarina/Ocarinas oca Ocarina
Xiao/Xiaos xiao ancient Chinese flute Xiao
Shakuhachi/Shakuhachi shak a Japanese and ancient Chinese longitudinal, end-blown bamboo-flute, descended from the xiao Shakuhachi
Flageolet/Flageolet flag use also for tin whistle Flageolet
Pan flute pan use for pan pipes, quenas and similar Andean flutes Pan flute
Mirliton/Mirlitons mir A type of flute where the player vocalizes into it, and the vibration is produced by a thin skin (e.g. onion skin or paper). Use also for kazoo Mirliton
Duduk/Duduks dud Duduk
Oboe da caccia/Oboes da caccia odc use for oboe di silva; Fr. hautbois de chasse, hautbois de forêt; Ger. Jagd[h]oboe, Jagdhautbois, Wald[h]oboe,Waldhautbois Oboe da caccia
Shawm/Shawms shw Shawm
Chalumeau/Chalumeaux cm Chalumeau
Cornett/Cornetts crtt also known as a Zink; not to be confused with the brass cornet. A "cornettino" is the descant instrument of this family. Cornett
Serpent/Serpents srp Serpent
Dulcian/Dulcians dlcn use also for Dulciaan, Dulzian, Dulciana, Douçaine, Curtal, and Bajón Dulcian
Crumhorn/Crumhorns crh Crumhorn
Bagpipe/Bagpipes bag Bagpipes
Musette/Musettes mus Musette de cour
Vuvuzela/Vuvuzelas vuv Vuvuzela
Accordion/Accordions acc Use also for concertinas and bandoneóns Accordion
Concertina/Concertinas conc Concertina
Brass (modern) br for large ensembles only (do not use for chamber or instrumental works) Brass instrument
Horn/Horns hn use for most types of horn, except basset horn (see above) Horn
Wagner tuba/Wagner tubas wag Wagner tuba
Ophicleide/Ophicleides oph Ophicleide
Bugle/Bugles bug Bugle
Flugelhorn/Flugelhorns fgh Flugelhorn
Saxhorn/Saxhorns sxh Saxhorn
Trumpet/Trumpets tpt Trumpet
Piccolo trumpet/Piccolo trumpets ptpt Piccolo trumpet
Cornet/Cornets crt do not confuse with the woodwind cornett Cornet
Alto Trombone/Alto Trombones atbn Trombone
Trombone/Trombones tbn use for tenor trombones, or for a generic Trombone
Bass Trombone/Bass Trombones btbn Trombone
Euphonium/Euphoniums euph use also for the baritone horn Euphonium
Sousaphone/Sousaphones sou Sousaphone
Tuba/Tubas tba Tuba
Contrabass tuba/Contrabass tubas ctba Contrabass tuba
Brass (traditional) br for large ensembles only (do not use for chamber or instrumental works) Brass instrument
Horn/Horns hn use for natural horn, posthorn, hunting horn, alphorn, cow horn Horn
Slide trumpet/Slide trumpets stpt Also known as Tromba di tirarsi or Zugtrompete Slide trumpet
Sackbut/Sackbuts skbt Sackbut
Percussion (unpitched) perc use this tag for all unpitched percussion instruments Unpitched percussion instrument
Percussion (pitched) perc use this tag for any percussion instrument not appearing in the list below Pitched percussion instrument
Timpano/Timpani timp use only when not playing as part of a standard orchestra Timpani
Toy Instruments toys e.g. as used in Reinecke's Kinder-sinfonie (do not use for toy piano, which has its own tag (see below))
Glass harmonica/Glass harmonicas ghca Not to be confused with the ordinary harmonica Glass harmonica
Sheng/Shengs sheng Tibetan crystal singing bowls (including sheng, lusheng) Sheng
Bell/Bells bell use for tubular bells and carillon Bell
Celesta/Celestas cel also known as "Celeste" Celesta
Glockenspiel/Glockenspiels gl use only when playing as solo instrument Glockenspiel
Xylophone/Xylophones xyl Xylophone
Marimba/Marimbas mar Marimba
Vibraphone/Vibraphones vib Vibraphone
Zither/Zithers zith Zither
Kantele/Kanteles kan Kantele
Dulcimer/Dulcimers dulc use for hammered dulcimer Hammered dulcimer
Cimbalom/Cimbaloms cimb Cimbalom
Kalimba/Kalimbas kal Use also for thumb piano or mbira Kalimba
Plucked strings (modern) str for large ensembles only (do not use for chamber or instrumental works) Plucked string instrument
Guitar/Guitars gtr Guitar
Electric guitar/Electric guitars egtr Electric guitar
Bass guitar/Bass guitars bgtr Bass guitar
Guitalele/Guitaleles gtl Guitalele
Ukulele/Ukuleles uke Ukulele
Cavaquinho/Cavaquinhos cav primarily used in Portuguese and Brazilian folk music Cavaquinho
Banjo/Banjos bjo Banjo
Mandolin/Mandolins mand Mandolin
Mandola/Mandolas mdla Mandola
Mandocello/Mandocellos mdcl Mandocello
Harp/Harps hp Harp
Plucked strings (traditional) str for large ensembles only (do not use for chamber or instrumental works) Plucked string instrument
Shamisen/Shamisens smn 3-stringed Japanese instrument, also known as Samisen/Samisens Shamisen
Lyre/Lyres lyre Lyre
Lautenwerck/Lautenwerk laut also known as lute-harpsichord, lautenclavicymbel or theorbenflugel Lautenwerk
Lute/Lutes lute Use for theorbo as well Lute
Tamburica/Tamburicas tbc east European string instrument, not to be confused with the Tanpura Tamburica
Tanpura/Tanpuras tanp Indian string instrument, use also for the similar Asian plucked string instruments Tanbur, Tanbūr, Tanbura, Tambur, Tambura or Tanboor. Not to be confused with the Tamburica. Tanpura
Oud/Ouds oud early Arabic form of lute Oud
Pipa/Pipas pipa 4-stringed Chinese lute Pipa
Domra/Domras dom 3 or 4-stringed Russian lute Domra
Cittern/Citterns cit also known as the "Cithern"; 18th century "English Guittar" Cittern
Vihuela/Vihuelas vih 6-stringed guitar-like instrument Vihuela
Bandurria/Bandurrias bdr primarily used in Spanish folk music Bandurria
Sitar/Sitars sit use also for the Azerbaijani tar Sitar
Koto koto Japanese musical instrument Koto
Zheng/Zhengs zhng also known as "Chinese zither"; use also for the Guzheng, which literally means "ancient Zheng" Guzheng
Bowed strings (modern) str for large ensembles only (do not use for chamber or instrumental works) Bowed string instrument
Violin/Violins vn Violin
Electric violin evn Electric violin
Viola/Violas va Viola
Viola alta/Violas alta vaa a 5-stringed viola; not to be confused with the earlier viola pomposa
Violotta/Violottas tva also known as the tenor viola Violotta
Viola pomposa/Violas pomposi vap a 5-stringed viola; not to be confused with the later viola alta Viola pomposa
Viola profonda/Violas profonda vpr a larger viola with extended range Viola profonda
Viola d'amore/Violas d'amore vda will display as "Viola damore" (due to apostrophes not being valid characters in category names) Viola d'amore
Arpeggione arpg do not confuse with Italian arpa (for harp), also this tag used to be "arp" but had to be changed due to "arp" being an official language tag. Arpeggione
Cello/Cellos vc also known as Violoncello(s) Cello
Violoncello piccolo/Violoncelli piccoli vcp also known as 5-stringed cello Violoncello piccolo
Cellone/Cellones clne Alfred Stelzner
Double Bass/Double Basses db also known as Basses Double bass
Bowed strings (traditional) str for large ensembles only (do not use for chamber or instrumental works) Bowed string instrument
Vielle/Vielles vie use also for hurdy-gurdy and lire organizzate Vielle
Viol/Viols viol also known as viola da gamba Viol
Baryton/Barytons bryt a hybrid stringed instrument between a lute and viol, often used by Haydn Baryton
Violone/Violones vlne do not confuse with Violine (which is Italian for "violins") Violone
Rebec/Rebecs reb Rebec
Tromba marina/Trombe marina trm a 1-stringed instrument used in medieval and Renaissance Europe, and as late as Vivaldi Tromba marina
Erhu/Erhus erhu 2-stringed Chinese instrument Erhu
Kemenche/Kemenches kem 3-stringed Middle Eastern instrument; also known as Kemençe, Kamancheh, Pontic lyra Kemenche
Keyboard kbd use where no particular keyboard instrument is specified, or the generic term "Klavier" is used Keyboard instrument
Clavichord/Clavichords clvd Clavichord
Harpsichord/Harpsichord hpd Harpsichord
Piano/Pianos pf but see also below Piano
Piano left hand pflh
Piano right hand pfrh
Piano 3 hands pf3h use for 2 players at one piano
Piano 4 hands pf4h use for 2 players at one piano
Piano 5 hands pf5h use for 3 players at one or two pianos
Piano 6 hands pf6h use for 3 players at one or two pianos
2 Pianos 5 hands 2pf5h use for 3 players at two pianos
2 Pianos 8 hands 2pf8h use for 4 players at two pianos
Pedal piano/Pedal pianos pfped Pedal piano
Toy piano/Toy pianos pftoy
Organ/Organs org Organ
Mechanical instrument/Mechanical instruments mech use for mechanical organs, mechanical keyboards, music boxes, musical clocks, etc. Mechanical organ
Harmonium/Harmoniums harm Harmonium
Physharmonica/Physharmonicas phys Physharmonica
Melodica/Melodicas mel use also for eolina Melodica
Mélodion/Mélodions mld Melodion
Harmonichord/Harmonichords hmcd Harmonichord
Electric piano epf Electric piano
Electronic Instruments Electronic musical instrument
Synthesizer/Synthesizers syn use for any other electronic keyboard or organ Synthesizer
Ondes Martenot om Ondes Martenot
Theremin/Theremins thrm Theremin
Electronic Sounds elec use for 'live' computer-generated sounds (use "Tape" for all pre-recorded sounds)
Tape tape use for performances requiring pre-recorded sounds of any kind
Continuo bc also known as "Basso Continuo" (do not confuse with cont for "contralto"). Figured bass


Spaces should only be used to separate instrument names, and the tag should not contain any additional spaces, semi-colons, dashes or any other punctuation. For example:

  • "2vn" = 2 violins (not "2 vn")
  • "hn 2pf" = horn and 2 pianos
  • "vn pf str" = violin and piano playing as solo instruments, accompanied by with a string ensemble

Different forms of the same instrument should be grouped together, e.g. "2hn" (not "bass hn and alto hn"), except where the is an existing tag for both instruments (e.g. "picc fl", not "2fl"). Any instruments that are marked ad lib. or 'optional' should be omitted, and a second tag created with the optional instruments included.

The sequence of instruments within each tag must follow the sequence in the table above.

Orchestral ensembles

Use "orch" for a mixed ensemble of winds and strings (with more than one string player per part), with or without percussion; only include individual instruments in the tag if they are designated as soloists throughout (see Concertos below). So a small classical orchestra with one oboe, 2 horns and strings would still be "orch".

The term "band" has a different meaning in different countries, so we avoid it here, and instead use these tags:

  • "ww br" = wind ensemble (consisting of woodwind and brass instruments only)
  • "ww br perc" = wind band (woodwind, brass and percussion instruments)
  • "ww" = woodwind ensemble (no percussion or brass)
  • "br" = brass ensemble (no woodwinds or percussion)
  • "br perc" = brass band (no woodwinds)

For an orchestra made up entirely of traditional Chinese instruments, use "cho".


Normally the name of the solo instrument(s) comes before the ensemble. For example

  • "pf orch" = solo piano with orchestra
  • "vn orch" = solo violin with orchestra
  • "vc str" = solo cello and string ensemble
  • "hn orch" = solo horn with orchestra
  • "vn vc pf orch" = solo violin, cello and piano with orchestra
  • "2hp, perc" = 2 harps with percussion
  • "2ob str" = 2 solo oboes with strings

Note that for a concerto grosso, where individual instruments in an orchestra take their turns as soloists, the tag would still be "orch".

Chamber/Instrumental works

For small-scale works, where solo instruments are performing together as individuals instead of part of a group, all the instruments should be listed individually:

  • "2vn va vc" = 2 violins, viola and cello (the standard string quartet combination)
  • "fl vn va vc" = flute, violin, viola and cello
  • "vn vc pf" = violin, cello and piano
  • "hn 2crt tba" = horn, 2 cornets, tuba
  • "ob 2hn 2vn va pf" = oboe, 2 horns, 2 violins, viola and piano
  • "cl bn 2vn va vc db" = clarinet, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass
  • "fl 2vn va vc 2hpd" = flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and 2 harpsichords

Many baroque pieces include a part for "basso continuo" or "continuo" which can be played by unspecified combinations of instruments. This should be treated as a single instrument abbreviated to "bc" and placed at the end of the tag (e.g. "2vn va bc").

If it is unclear whether a work is intended for solo string instruments or for string ensemble, then both possibilities should be tagged.

Choral Works

Use the abbreviation "ch" for any chorus consisting of both male and female performers. Otherwise you should choose the appropriate term from the list below:

Instrument or family Abbreviation Notes
Male chorus (men only) mch
Female chorus (women only) fch
Children's chorus (boys and/or girls only) cch
Unison chorus uch
Mixed chorus (male and female) ch

The chorus should always be listed before any accompaniment, like this:

  • "fch 2hn pf" = female chorus, 2 horns and piano
  • "cch orch" = "children's chorus with orchestra"

However, if a piano accompaniment is intended for rehearsal only, the piano part should not be included in the tag. Instead, mention in the "Misc. note" for that specific edition that there is a piano part for rehearsal only.

If it is unclear whether a work is intended for solo voices or for a chorus, then both possibilities should be tagged.

Vocal Works

Choose from the following terms for works involving solo voices (singular / plural):

Instrument or family Abbreviation Notes
Voice v use when the range of a single voice is not known or not specified
Voices vv (double v) use when the ranges of multiple solo voices are not known or not specified
Equal voices eq (e.g. "2eq") use when the range of two or more solo voices are equal but unspecified
Child's Voice/Children's Voices cv
Soprano/Sopranos sop
Mezzo-Soprano/Mezzo-Sopranos mez
Alto/Altos alt
Haute-contre alt
Countertenor alt
Tenor/Tenors ten
Baritone/Baritones bar
Bass Baritone/Bass Baritones bbar
Bass/Basses bass do not confuse with the instrumental double bass (db)
Narrator nar for spoken dialogue parts only (e.g. Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf)

If the range of a solo voice part is not specified then use either v (singular voice) or vv (2 or more voices) as required. Examples include:

  • "2sop mez bar" = 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano and baritone
  • "2mez 2bbar" = 2 mezzo-sopranos and 2 bass-baritones
  • "sop alt ten bass" = solo soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices
  • "4vv" = 4 unspecified solo voices

List the solo voices before any choruses or accompaniment

  • "4vv ch orch" = 4 voices, chorus, orchestra
  • "2sop fch pf" = 2 sopranos, female chorus, piano
  • "mez bar orch" = mezzo-soprano and baritone soloists with orchestra

In the case of operas and operettas with many characters and solo parts it is not necessary to count the number of solo vocal parts. Just use "vv" for voices

  • operas ; vv ch orch

Although most operas and operettas are written for the above combination, there are significant exceptions, so make no assumptions!

Language tags are usually required for vocal works (see below)

Special Cases

Alternative Instrumentation

Some works include alternative parts for solo instruments approved by the composer, like the Viola or Violin Concerto No.2 by Anton Stamitz, where the solo instrument can be a violin, viola, or viola d'amore. In such cases more than one tag should be used, e.g.:

  • concertos ; vn str ; va str ; vda str

Occasionally a work can exist in two different forms, particularly where a piece for piano was later orchestrated by the composer, like Holst's suite The Planets (originally written for piano duet, but better known in the composer's orchestral version). This would be tagged as both:

  • suites ; pf4h ; orch

Open Scores/Unspecified Instruments

In Renaissance (and some later) works, each individual voice of a polyphonic composition may be assigned a separate staff, which may only be labelled "soprano" or "canto" (if labelled at all), even though they are intended to be played on instruments rather than sung. This is known as "open scoring", and we have special tags to deal with this situation. For example:

  • open 2sop bass (= for 2 treble parts and 1 bass part)
  • open alt 2ten (= for alto and 2 tenor parts)

... which would respectively appear in the categories:

  • For open instrumentation (2 treble, bass)
  • For open instrumentation (alto, 2 tenor)

For ease of use we retain the "sop alt ten bass" ranges in the tags, but the tag for "sop" would be converted to "treble" in the category description.

Where we only have clefs, without any indications of ranges, the following guide should be used:

Clef Usual part name, or applicable voice range Preferred
G2 Treble, also Triplum: these days usually sung by female Sopranos sop
C1 Canto/Cantus, or Discantus, Superius: Soprano sop
C2 Medius/Mean (also Cantus, Altus occasionally): might be more of a Mezzo-Soprano (Mez) sop (or alt)
C3 Alto/Altus/Contratenor [altus] (also Tenor occasionally): usually sung by female Contraltos alt
C4 Tenor/Tenore: usually sung by male Tenors ten
C5 = F3 "low" Tenor or "high" Bassus: would be more of a Baritone (bar) ten (or bass)
F4 Basso/Bassus [= Contratenor bassus]: Bass bass
F5 Bassus, usually a basso profundo: Bass bass

If some instruments are specified, but not others, then everything in the tag preceding the "open" would be treated as a normal instrument

  • "sop open 2sop alt bass" = soprano voice with 4 unspecified instruments (2 of which are treble, 1 alto and 1 bass)

If all else fails, and if it's not possible to identify the instrumentation at all, then use:

  • open (= for 1 unspecified instrument)
  • 2open (= for 2 unspecified instruments)
  • 3open (= for 3 unspecified instruments), etc.

Jazz or popular works

  • Where a jazz or popular work has a specific instrumentation that can be tagged in the normal way, use the normal tagging system.
  • Jazz or popular works that only contain a leadsheet, which is a form of open instrumentation, can be tagged "ldsht". The important thing for a leadsheet is that it contains the chord symbols so that any instrument can improvise on the chord sequence.
  • You can also use "ldsht" if the instrument is only partially specific - e.g. oboe, violin, harmony 1, harmony 2 (where chords are provided).

Works that do not necessarily involve musicians

Finally, we have some contemporary works, perhaps more "performance art" than music, but the "players" are not using musical instruments. The normal tags cannot be used because they are displayed as, for example, "For 3 instruments". In a case where no musical instruments are used, the tag is "open non-music". The number of players is not tagged. This will display as "For performers not using musical instruments".

Undetermined instrumentation

If the instrumentation of the original work cannot be determined (because IMSLP has only arrangements, and not the original score), then the tag und may be used. This will place the work into the special category Works with undetermined instrumentation, from which they can be removed when the original instrumentation is ascertained.


An extra tag is used to indicate the language of a vocal or literary work. This should consist of the standard 2-letter codes, some of the most common of which are shown below:

Language Abbreviation Notes
Afrikaans af
Albanian sq
Anglo-Saxon ang
Apache apa
Arabic ar
Arabic (South Levantine) sjp Use for Palestinian Arabic and Jordanian Arabic
Aragonese an
Aramaic arc
Arapaho arp
Armenian hy
Australian (aboriginal) aus
Azerbaijani az
Basque eu
Bengali ben Also known as "Bangla", but not to be confused with "Bangala"; see Wikipedia article
Bulgarian bg
Catalan ca
Cherokee chr
Cheyenne chy
Chinese zh
Chippewa ciw Also known as Southwestern Ojibwa, Ojibwe, Ojibway, or Ojibwemowin. See Wikipedia; not to be confused with the "Chipewyan" language; Chippewa language is part of the Algonquin group of Native American languages.
Church Slavonic cu
Croatian hr
Czech cz
Dakota dak
Danish da
Dutch nl Use also for Flemish, which is considered a dialect, and not a separate language.
Efik efi
English en
Esan ish
Esperanto eo
Estonian et
Farsi (Persian) fa
Finnish fi
French fr
Friulian fur A Romance language spoken in the Friuli region of Italy
Frysian fry A group of Germanic languages spoken by the Frisian people on the southern fringes of the North Sea
Gaelic (Irish) ge
Gaelic (Scottish) gd
Galician glg
Georgian ka
German de
Greek (Ancient) grc
Greek (Modern) el
Haitian Creole ht
Hawaiian haw
Hebrew he
Hindi hi
Hungarian hu
Icelandic is
Indonesian id
Irish (Gaelic) ge
Italian it
Korean ko
Japanese ja
Ladino lad Also known as "Judaeo-Spanish", see Wikipedia
Latin la
Latvian lv
Lithuanian lt
Luxembourgish (Lëtzeburgesch) lb Wikipedia page for Luxembourgish
Macedonian mk
Malayalam ml Different from "Malay" (the Austronesian language of the Malays, closely related to Indonesian), Malayalam is a Dravidian language spoken mainly in the southern Indian state of Kerala, closely related to Tamil.
Maltese mt
Maori mi
Navajo / Navaho nv
Neapolitan nap
Norwegian no
Occitan oc
Persian (Farsi) fa
Polish pl
Portuguese pt
Quechua qu
Romanian ro
Russian ru
Samoan sm
Sanskrit sa
Scots sc use for the Germanic language spoken in the lowlands of Scotland
Scottish (Gaelic) gd use for the Celtic language spoken in the Scottish highlands and islands
Serbian sr
Sicilian scn use for the Romance language of Sicily and its satellite islands; see Sicilian language
Siouan sio use for any of the languages in the Siouan group; see Siouan languages, including Western Siouan languages and Catawban, or Eastern Siouan, languages.
Slovak sk
Slovene sl
Spanish es
Swahili sw
Swedish sv
Syriac syc Also known as Syriac Aramaic (N.B. the language of Syria is Arabic). See Wikipedia article
Tagalog tl
Telugu te
Tsonga ts An African language native to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Eswatini
Turkish tr
Turkmen tk Do not confuse with Turkish (from Turkey); Turkmen is the language of Turkmenistan. See Wikipedia.
Ukrainian uk
Venetian vec Includes the Trieste dialect
Vietnamese vi
Welsh cy
Yiddish yi
Yoruba yo Wikipedia; a language used in West Africa (mostly Southwestern Nigeria) as well as in a few areas of South America (e.g. Brazil) and the Caribbean.
Zulu zu
Zuni / Zuñi zun

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