IMSLP talk:Categorization/Project Members/archive15


New project leader

It is with the greatest regret that I announce that our project leader, Davydov (who held the post from the project's inception), has had to retire due to problems with his wrists and shoulders. (Many of us can see the modforum topic on this, but I'm repeating it here.) Because of this, I'm afraid we will have to go through the business of choosing a new project leader (as I think it would be a good idea to have someone overseeing it). Now, the way I see it there are two ways we can do this:

  • Choose a new head from one of the four most experienced active members of the team (most likely Steltz, Schissel, Massenetique, and myself)
  • Have a sort of collective management, or committee-like structure, in which the more experienced members would be qualified to act as the head in most conceivable situations

I suppose we have been leaning toward the latter over the past couple months, but the project has been notably less organized (just look at all the pages with unknown tags). I'm not trying to denigrate anyone's work over this period, it's just that I guess on the whole there has been less energy in the project.
What does everyone think? KGill talk email 21:59, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Firstly I’m most sorry and rather dismayed that Davydov’s health problems have deteriorated to such an extent that he has entirely shut up shop, revoking his admin status on the wiki and clearing both his user and talk pages as though he’d never been here... I for one would like to heartily congratulate Davydov for his superb leadership on this project, which for its obvious success in defining the new categories across the board, has clearly been protracted and difficult to implement. I would have done this at his talk page if the retirement did not seem quite so permanent!
I would lean towards collective management with a caveat: Davydov had much greater knowledge of all of the technical minutiæ of the system, and to mangle a cliché it would be bad to have that institutional knowledge kept in just one basket, were his replacement as project leader be similarly compelled to retire.
My 2¢... cheers Philip @ © talk 22:59, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, that is a fair point, although during his tenure Davydov did encourage others to manipulate the system, and I wouldn't say he was exactly isolated in his management of the project. I guess I'd like to hear others' opinions on this as well, but I agree that it would perhaps be a good idea to divide it up so that not too much knowledge would have to be concentrated in one person.
In any case, I feel like I should readjust my current IMSLP-related occupations to lean more heavily on this project - whatever the outcome of this discussion, there is a significant hole in the project membership and the backlog of unknown tags and untagged pages should be dealt with. KGill talk email 01:08, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
I join in congratulations and thanks, and sympathize as this site (and others) might contribute to an RSI-like problem if I might guess :( ... (I have no scientific relevant knowledge, and need too to see the forum topic before guessing into thin air that that was even what was involved.) and agree as to the backlog. Eric 02:42, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm sure I don't have much clout in this project as of right now (I've been busy, I promise!), but I would voice my opinion in favor of collective management by the whole team. KGill, specifically which minutiae are you thinking about in terms of what P.Davydov knew that we didn't? And I promise to get on the unknown tags.-- Snailey (_@/) Talk to Me Email me 02:56, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

I, too, am sorry to hear that Davydov has to step down. My inactivity in tagging has less to do with inertia and more to do with an overload of work and a doctoral dissertation supervisor who is not understanding that I work full time and am trying to do the doctorate in addition. I think a collective approach is good for the most part, but Davydov was very good at making decisions when other people had different viewpoints, and what few disagreements there were got sorted out quickly. Steltz 07:05, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

@Perlnerd - Mainly I was thinking of the incredibly huge amount of 'practice' he had modifying MW:G and his resultant deep understanding of the way it worked. I feel like he knew the system better than any other single person. I agree with Steltz though, much of what made him such a good project leader was his ability to decide things and keep a clear vision of what he wanted from the project.
By the way, taking cues from some points Davydov often reiterated, I think we should just try to 'finish' the project at this point, without trying to make a bunch of deeper changes to it. After we tag the remaining 3000-odd work pages and finish with the backlog of unknown tags, it would be a good idea to look at the system as a whole and see if there are any obvious groupings of works that could merit new tags - but there's so much work to do at this point with what we already have that I don't think it would be a good idea to put even more on our plates (well, choral stuff aside, but we've already done work on that ;-) ). For instance, Philip mentioned below that we could possibly introduce new orchestral tags that take into consideration the specific instruments involved. I just feel like we should hold off on huge changes like that until we get all the old stuff cleared out.
Cheers, KGill talk email 15:37, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Couple of points about clearing up that 3000-odd work page backlog. There are some pages that will in my opinion forever remain untagged or only partially tagged at best if we are willing to accept partial tags- the complete information we need lost because, combining all our resources (not just the available score but also magazines, etc.), we just can't get it. (This will probably be rare enough I guess. I get frustrated since I limit myself to online resources that are fairly easily available, but I live near a university library... but anyway. Examples include instrumentation when all one has is a vocal score, or what sort of work a work was when all one has is an aria from it. Sometimes this can be obtained elsewhere, sometimes no , worse yet sometimes the information conflicts and- etc.) ... that would be point 1. point 2 is that I thought tagging was a dynamic project, not a static one. (point 2a: briefly: new uploads. point 2 subsection b: as shown by so much that has been said in this talk section the new uploads can be just as frustrating as the older ones that are the majority of the backlog- and will fill the untagged pages category right back up unless we really do close the tagging project up. solution to 2, though an unpleasant one: decide not to tag or retag-based-on-new-information any workpage uploaded after April 9, 2011.) Eric 22:29, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Eric, I realize that the project will continue indefinitely (I did enclose the word 'finish' in single quotes); what I meant was until we finish all the old pages that have never been tagged (apart from the ones that can't be) and just have new additions to take care of. I meant the word very loosely ;-) Cheers, KGill talk email 22:32, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
I have thought frequently about whether to partially tag something, and the only things I decided to partially tag were national anthems that (while they might have originally had a specific instrumentation) probably were composed with the knowledge or intention that they would be adapted for whatever combination was used for a certain occasion, i.e. instrumentation in the long run is intended to be extremely variable. This didn't apply to songs that were originally something else and then used as a national anthem. Apart from this category of pieces, I was loathe to partially tag something, because once we lose the "unknown tag" designation, we can't track the partially tagged items to finish them. In this sense, I felt unknown was better. We are so large now that things can easily "disapear into the ether". On the other hand, many of the unknown tags are concertos for which we have a piano reduction, and no orchestral parts or score to verify full orchestra or string orchestra. I suppose we could use "orch" generically, but I also know that I rarely check pages to see if the tags are correct, so correcting something after guessing about a tag isn't really the way to go either. I think my vote is for not partially tagginG. Steltz 05:45, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Choruses being treated as solo voices – and vice versa

We’re about to get a very large amount of vocal music by Lassus (potentially, 900 compositions held by University Music Editions/Alexander Street Press, and uploaded by Homerdundas) and the first major tranches of it arrived over the last couple of days. I’m particularly knowledgeable of this repertoire so I’ve been tagging along behind Homer’s uploads to more fully document them, and I noticed Christoph Lahme’s uploads had been tagged as solo voices, i.e.

motets ; sop alt ten bass ; la

instead of using the ch designator for a choir. As I wasn’t thinking entirely clearly this afternoon I obliterated the existing tag and substituted the mixed choir tag (ch), but on reflection, there are significant pros and cons with both designations.

  • Solo voices tags ( sop alt ten bass )
Genre categories: For 4 voices; For unaccompanied voices; Scores featuring the voice; Scores featuring the soprano voice; Scores featuring the alto voice; Scores featuring the tenor voice; Scores featuring the bass voice
Pro: The auto-generated categories are quite helpful, so that motets for 4 (or 5, or 6…) voices do get added to categories of “pieces for 4 (or 5, 6…) voices”. The Category Walker can then work on these, e.g. eliminating pieces that have tenor parts, which if you have a choir with sops, altos, and basses but no tenors to speak of, is incredibly useful.
Con: The pieces are not tagged as pieces featuring a chorus (a major problem!), and can’t be distinguished from pieces that really do call for vocal soloists, and not for choir voices, as they all get lumped into categories like “Scores featuring the bass voice” – that’s about as useful as a category for books marked as “Books containing the letter E” (i.e. extremely few have been written that do not!). The pieces for real soloists are totally swamped by a whole lot of pieces which are actually for choirs (although the proportions of parts are important!), and not singers in the individual, soloistic sense.
  • Choir tag ( ch )
Genre categories: For mixed chorus; Scores featuring mixed chorus; For unaccompanied chorus
Pro: About the only pro is that it gets marked as choral music, whereas the solo voices tag style don’t. It doesn’t do much else (and just look above to see the advantages that would be obtained if they did).
Con: There’s no ability to indicate the number of voices and types required, which is a constant problem in this domain, and so this information is really vital. There are many famous pieces that simply aren’t performed very often because of the need to have a properly constituted choir to do them.

So considering the above, unless there is a way to merge the two ways of describing the make-up of a choir, I would strongly suggest all choral music should use two designations – one of the solo voice type, and one of the chorus type.
For a real and complex example, Homer has just uploaded a Lassus motet called Princeps Marte potens. If I had tagged it this afternoon, I would have applied:

motets ; ch ; 2ch ; la

This is because the first 8 parts of the motet are for a single SATB choir; but the ninth part expands out to two four-part choirs (eight voices). In light of my musings above, I would instead be tempted to tag it as:

motets ; sop alt ten bass ; 2sop 2alt 2ten 2bass ; ch ; 2ch ; la

Which would tag it as both a piece for single and double choir, and also for 4 and 8 voices (and “Scores featuring the bass voice” etc). This doesn’t seem ideal on a number of grounds (the first objection being that there seem to be four possible instrumentations).

We already have an “open” tag for open instrumentation, which allows the various instruments to be listed by range without being tagged as soloists. Allowing the “ch” tag (and “mch” and “fch” tags as well) to work in a similar way could be very useful.
The voices that follow after the “ch” tag would not be added to a soloistic category (e.g. “Scores featuring the bass voice“), and instead should go into a different but similar category indicating the chorus nature (e.g. “Scores featuring choral basses”).

In the case of the complicated Princeps Marte potens, instead of four instrument tags, just two might suffice:

motets ; ch sop alt ten bass ; 2ch 2sop 2alt 2ten 2bass ; la

I am assuming the “ch” tag to function like the “open” tag in the respect that ordering is important: if you had a piece for solo soprano and 8-voice choir, you’d order the tags thus:

sop ch 2sop 2alt 2ten 2bass

Without the ordering aspect, the tagging would lose vital info about the form of the piece – it would simply be treated by the system as a piece for three sops and various other choral voices, when the really pertinent item that people need to know (and be able to search on) is that you need a soprano soloist in addition to the choir.
Sorry for the length of this item; this current drawback of the system has been subtly disquieting me for a while before it raised its ugly head. I’m also aware I’m something of a specialist in choral music amongst IMSLP contributors, so I needed to try to give a thorough description of what the nature of the music is and why certain designations matter. Cheers Philip @ © talk 13:27, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Will think about it within my limited knowledge, but one thing for now- no apology needed obviously; concision is in making one's thoughts proportional to the needs of the ideas (etc.) and that is entirely what (I believe!) you have done. It is a difficult problem... Eric 19:59, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
One last thing: I don’t believe any of the work to date is invalid in the sense of being entirely wrong and needing to be replaced with something different. All that needs to happen is that the choral works with the solo voices tags also pick up the chorus tags; and a wide variety of the chorus works (but not necessarily all) would likewise benefit from having the voicing details added.
I also added the relevant links to genre categories so that these can be browsed. The number of works “for mixed chorus” seems to me to be rather small given the quantity of unaccompanied Renaissance choral music that should have ended up there.
At present it is also very difficult to find which works are chorus works in the solo voices domain, and from my playing with the Category Walker, it seems powerless to separate these out without losing a lot of one type or the other from the search. I would be happy to be shown to be wrong, but I’m not sure I am. Philip @ © talk 22:15, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

I think this is an excellent proposal and I am fully willing to spend some effort on not only the creation of some new tags but also on going through the pages that will require modifications to their tags. I don't think there's any way to do this apart from simply looking at every page and evaluating it individually, unfortunately (though I guess the division into time periods could help). KGill talk email 01:48, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

OK, I have now created a new tag and tested it out on Ab Oriente venerunt Magi (Handl, Jacob). Does that look all right? (I'd prefer to get your reaction before trying multiple tags.) KGill talk email 02:00, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
That’s very good! As it’s a case of normal 4-part choir (sop alt ten bass) is it possible to add it to a numeric category similar to “for 4 voices”… perhaps “for 4-part chorus”? These sorts of designations are a normal feature of this repertoire and highly desirable for searching or including/excluding through the category walker.
Another item worth sorting out now rather than too much later, is if a tag like “ch 2sop” adds a category like “Scores featuring 2 choral sopranos” rather than the default “Scores featuring choral sopranos”.
Also, as I’ve made the suggestion it probably behoves me to my fair share of the revised tagging – and as I know the repertoire quite well I’d probably be on the quick side. Thanks Kenny – Philip @ © talk 03:50, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Of course, having tried one page (Absalon fili mi (Josquin Desprez)) I see these are likely to generate a lot more “unknown tags” in the first instance. I know you’ve got a lot on your plate clearing the backlog, so how about I go adding the new version of the tag in clear cases of SATB voicing first, before looking to more obscure combinations? PML
Wow, you've done a lot of work since I last visited! It's no problem to modify it to include it in 'for 4-part chorus', but are you absolutely sure about 'Scores featuring 2 choral sopranos' etc.? What I'm concerned about is that 'Scores featuring choral sopranos' will not include many works that feature multiple parts for choral sopranos (2, 3, etc.), resulting in the relevant pages being split between several categories. I guess that could be solved by putting everything in the default category 'Scores featuring choral x' and also including it in the multi-number categories as necessary. (I'll try this out with the tag on Absalon fili mi, please tell me what you think.) You can go ahead and modify non-SATB works as you wish; I'm going through Category:Unknown tag anyway and I'll just fix them as I find them. Cheers, KGill talk email 20:09, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

;-) There are a lot of pieces for SATB – and largely I’d only looked at the ones which had been obviously tagged as (sop alt ten bass) as they were very easy to find having been tagged thus. The ones tagged (ch) are naturally going to be more time consuming to locate, as the Category Walker can’t extract the SATB ones out from the general mass of choral works.
Generally works with multiple identical parts (e.g. 2, 3, etc. choral sopranos) are less common than the standard 3/4/5/6 voicings – but what I think is exciting about the Category Walker is that potentially you can parse out precise voicings – e.g. the intersect of all six part choral music with 1 soprano/2 altos/1 tenor/2 basses. There’s quite a quantity of 5 and 6 voice Renaissance music which usually doubles the tenor or soprano, and less frequently the alto and bass, so the “2” voice part categories will fill up nicely. Have you had a look over at CPDL’s system of voice categorisation at any point? It’s a lot less flexible than the Category Walker, but quite far-reaching nonetheless.
As for the problem of works for e.g. 1,2,3… sopranos being split between multiple categories: how much of a pain would it be to use different categories for now, and if we found later they were not working, roll them back into the main category? (I don’t think they would be a problem, but that’s not my question.)
I won’t be able to do much today – a friend’s moving house and I’m going to be out for most of the day. Philip @ © talk 22:39, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
PS And the Josquin Absalon fili looks fine. PML

So then, should I change MW:G so that 'Scores featuring 2 choral sopranos' doesn't automatically include a page in 'Scores featuring choral sopranos' as well? I set it up this way so that there could be one page that listed everything, along with other categories that could be used to narrow things down. Do you think they should be completely separated? (This is extremely easy to change back and forth.) Thanks, KGill talk email 23:09, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
I think your definition in MW:G was right, “Scores featuring 2 choral sopranos” should be included in “Scores featuring choral sopranos” – the Category Walker can be used to separate them apart in a search.
Another thought that occurred – I propose leaving “one of a kind” works (where it is the only item in its instrumentation category) till sufficiently later – there’s more than enough generic Renaissance to Classical period music to chomp through! Unless there seems to be a good reason, it would seem sensible not to bother creating a new tag in MediaWiki:Genres when the work tag changes – just change the old to match. (For example, my Opus 1 and 6 works are the only works with an identical instrument tag, such as “sop ch 2fl hp” or “ch trb kb perc”). Leaving for the day now. PML
I have come across things needing tagging. Is this at a point where someone can edit the tagging page with the new system? I'll leave all choral works for now. Steltz 11:21, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the new system is definitely bedded in enough to merit descriptions on IMSLP:Tagging. Any choral work can make use of the new tags - don't worry if it shows up as an unknown tag. KGill talk email 15:46, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
This one - "sop alt ten bass ch org br perc org" looks a bit weird though - two organs, one in the middle, one at the end? antiphonal writing? (position 1498 at the moment.) Eric 19:38, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
It's been fixed now. KGill talk email 01:59, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Le carnaval des animaux (Saint-Saëns, Camille)

Does anyone think it's necessary to have this work tagged as 'fl cl glock xyl 2vn va vc db 2pf' (if that's really the right ordering - a different issue)? It's also tagged as '2pf orch' - would that perhaps suffice? KGill talk email 20:46, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

I would have thought '2pf orch' would suffice… but maybe (just like the changes to the ch tag in the sub-thread directly above) the orch tag might one day be able to accommodate including a full orchestration behind the tag. (Here, would you like this nice can of worms?) Then we could start going through all the tags over again gradually adding e.g. “2fl 2ob 2cl 2bsn 2hn 2tpt timp 2vl 2va vc db” to the early Beethoven symphonies… Cheers Philip @ © talk 22:46, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, that is a conceivable eventuality, but I don't think that will happen until we get the entire project 'finished', if not later. That would be a huge amount of work, and as it stands now I don't think we quite have the resources to implement it (not that it's really a priority anyway, whereas the new choral tags are there to mark crucial differences in instrumentation that couldn't be conveyed adequately through the old tags). Guess I'll just remove the extraneous tag then (the fact that it's been an unknown tag since January 2010 bothers me ;-) ). Cheers, KGill talk email 23:02, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
It's been unknown only because Davydov's condition has made it impossible for him to go through the unknown tags. The only thing that bothers me about removing it is that the original division between orchestral (i.e. the "orch" tag and individual instrument tagging is whether there are single parts or multiple (e.g. violins) on one part. On this basis, that tag should stay and whoever takes over from Davydov will eventually get around to approving the tag. Steltz 06:54, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, the 1922 score at least is marked in the singular, but I'm not sure I've ever heard it performed that way (maybe a few solos, but for instance the recording we have here uses a full string section). On that basis, I'd guess it's much more likely to be searched for under 2pf orch than with a highly specific instrumental tag. Nonetheless, I guess it won't do any harm to reinstate it (which I have now done). (BTW, it was unknown since less than two weeks after the project started - he tagged it 15 Jan. 2010.) Cheers, KGill talk email 15:07, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm under the strong impression the composer intended it as a (unpublished treat-for-friends) chamber work with well-defined instrumental forces but that it became at least informally arranged for larger ensembles (or maybe published in arrangements? easy enough to check- sorry! I do know about the arrangements for cello and piano of The Swan, etc., but hadn't check for those in the other direction) as soon as it became popular... Eric 22:37, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, I found out why it was still registered as an unknown tag after all this time: it used the incorrect instrumental tag 'glock' (rather than 'gl'), but Davydov entered it in the database spelled correctly. Fixed now :-) KGill talk email 21:01, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

I think there are a few internal inconsistencies in the Mediawiki:Genres page anycase where correspondence of abbreviations and objects is concerned- it is a large document. Eric 21:09, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Although it is now fixed in its single instrument tag, I just want to say that I've played it twice in the "single instrument" version, so it's not at all uncommon. Steltz 05:35, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

catches / caccia

Not really satisfied with the lumping together of these two terms, as instrumental pieces called 'caccia' (e.g. Apposte Messe) then get labelled as catches (English rounds for 3 or more voices). And should caccia apply to 'hunting' pieces, such as 'symphonies de chasse'? --Fynnjamin 12:08, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

scale books

I need to revive this one, because there is another book uploaded. These, I suppose, broadly speaking, are studies, although technically they not. Although more like exercises, which would be tagged as studies, it is conceivable that someone may look for scales as a specific thing. Is it worth making scales a subset of studies so that they would belong to the set and subset? Steltz 06:16, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I think it is justified. I guess this also raises the question of whether we should have a tag for 'exercises' in addition to 'studies' (if we're going to do distinguish between different types of studies). In most cases I have seen, an 'exercise' is a short, instructive snippet that was never intended to be performed, while a 'study' is usually longer and is actually a musical piece (whether or not it could really be performed). I imagine there are a sizable number of exceptions, however. I suppose we would probably just avoid defining them altogether and make 'exercises' a subset of 'studies', relying on composers' descriptions like we do for so many other things. What do you think? KGill talk email 14:32, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
It would have to be determined by what is in the title, otherwise 1) we will have to download and see the length of the items, and 2) we would have to thrash out what length we deem to be short enough for one but too short for the other. Apart from that, I think it definitely needs to be a subset of studies, since they are both used for developing technique. What do others think? Steltz 22:12, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Since we've seen neither positive nor negative comments here, I guess I'll just go ahead and create the new tags. (Both 'exercises' and 'scales' will go under 'studies'.) KGill talk email 15:57, 17 April 2011 (UTC)


Tylman Susato's Danserye specifically mentions crumhorn in the title, though it is essentially open instrumentation, and viols are also mentioned. Create tag, or not? Steltz 06:45, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, a crumhorn isn't close enough to anything else to justify using another tag, so yes, a new tag would be in order. What about 'crh'? KGill talk email 15:49, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
That'll do . . . Steltz 05:52, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

publishers catalogues

Cypressdome has uploaded a wealth of catalogues from the 1800s and early 1900s. New tag "pub cat" for publisher's catalogues? Steltz 11:08, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

How about 'catalogs' as a general tag and 'publishers catalogs' (apostrophe intentionally left out) as a subcategory? We could put 'thematic catalogs' as another subcategory. (N.B. I'm just following Davydov's spelling of 'catalog' without the 'ue') KGill talk email 15:52, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good, but to clarify: as in 'lieder', which brings up the 'songs' tag without actually typing the songs tag, 'publishers catalog' will automatically bring up the 'catalog' tag, right? Steltz 05:52, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's easy to do that using MW:G - the new tag should work now. KGill talk email 12:09, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

MediaWiki:Genres - new structure

Hi everyone,
Feldmahler has recently introduced a new feature designed to cut down on the length of this giant page (you can read about it here). Basically, what this means is that MW:G is now split up into multiple smaller pages, which will make editing faster and rather easier (and less trouble for the server). You can see here what pages it has been split up into. Hopefully this will be OK; if you have any differing suggested divisions or other comments, please let me know. Cheers, KGill talk email 20:41, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

New Instrument Types

Could I please get the Domra added as an instrument, specifically the score "Waiting for Spring" is scored for 2 Domras and Pf? Thanks --Varnis 14:21, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Do you think it's close enough to a lute to be tagged as that (or another similar instrument)? Wikipedia describes it as being in the lute family. It is also pretty similar to the balalaika and mandolin, according to the same article. What do you think? KGill talk email 23:55, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

electric piano

Michael Harrington has written preludes for "Electronic piano capable of microtonal playback". Since this isn't interchangeable with any other keyboard, is it worth making a tag for it? E.g. "epf"? Steltz 15:50, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

That should work; I'll add it to the list. KGill talk email 00:06, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

list of potential new tags

How about creating a page where we could start a list of potential new tags for genres? At the end of this project, we are supposed to look at what is in the more generic categories, and see what might be enough of a genre to warrant creating a new tag. Having done more than 90% of the works here, we must have some ideas we can knock around. For instance, I don't see why the MLA genres include "rags" but not "cakewalks". I think we need to start collecting the suggestions. Steltz 17:18, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Probably a good idea - I've created a page for the purpose here. Cheers, KGill talk email 00:02, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

tag for romanian language?

Where does one find the official tags for languages, for when we need to add one to our list? Steltz 20:12, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

There's a list here: The two-letter code for Romanian seems to be 'ro'. KGill talk email 20:16, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

folksong that has sacred text

Under Folk Songs, German, there is "Freu dich Erd' und Sternenzeit (Christmas)" for SATB chorus. Tag as folksong, or sacred chorus, or both? It's been typeset, so the choral SATB is probably an arrangement, so I will ask the typesetter if he did the arrangement. Steltz 08:10, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Is it actually from Scripture or something like that? If not, then personally I don't think it should be tagged as a sacred chorus, but left as a folksong. Or what about tagging it as a carol? KGill talk email 00:25, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Carol seems à propos, especially as these compositions often have a psuedo- or quasi-sacred status (extra-liturgical songs on a religious theme). And below, some grumpy choir-related announcements from me… Cheers Philip @ © talk 02:38, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Choral mezzo-sopranos and baritones

Generally speaking, these are non-standard voice types as far as choirs are concerned – to the current day, the inclusion of a dedicated mezzo or baritone section is almost unheard of (maybe in a barbershop choir the baritone would be a standard part name – but would be indistinguishable from “first basses” in practice). These voice designations are common in solo vocal writing (opera) before the 20th century, but very rare in choral writing: in Renaissance music the closest designations to be found are “medius” (for a soprano lower than Triplum, but higher than Altus) and “vagans” (for a wandering part including something of tenor and bass). I do not think it is too outrageous to insist that unless the composer has explicitly called for these two voice types, that they should generally be treated as being another soprano and bass respectively: in choirs, a work tagged like 2ten 2bass would normally be expected to have one of the tenor parts and one of the bass parts taking a higher part more frequently.

In fact, I am fairly sure we have some Renaissance pieces with the “medius” and “vagans” designations, but to avoid splintering the tag-space into extremely tiny divisions*, they’ve been “normalised” as sop and bass. (* Kenny, what’s your view on lumping versus splitting? Do we really want ten-thousand different types of choir tags with just 1 item matching?)

When looking at Renaissance or Baroque vocal works, recording the clefs in the instrumentation is especially helpful, as often the parts won’t be named but are more or less implied by the clef choice:

Clef Usual part name, or applicable voice range Preferred
G2 Treble, also Triplum: these days usually sung by female Sopranos S
C1 Canto/Cantus, or Discantus, Superius: Soprano S
C2 Medius/Mean (also Cantus, Altus occasionally): might be more of a Mezzo-Soprano (Mez) but do not use this unless specified S / A
C3 Alto/Altus/Contratenor [altus] (also Tenor occasionally): usually sung by female Contraltos A
C4 Tenor/Tenore: usually sung by male Tenors T
C5 = F3 “low” Tenor or “high” Bassus: would be more of a Baritone (Bar) but do not use this unless specified T / B
F4 Basso/Bassus [= Contratenor bassus]: Bass B
F5 Bassus, usually a basso profundo: Bass B

There are also two different clef combinations which are called high and low, and usually match directly to SATB voices:

High clefs (sometimes called “chiavette“): G2 – C2 – C3 – F3 (or C4/5)
Low clefs: C1 – C3 – C4 – F4

In high clefs, only the soprano part takes its normal clef – and an alto clef usually denotes a tenor. In low clefs, altos, tenors, and basses take the respective modern clefs.

Even if you had a Baroque piece which used e.g. low clefs plus a couple of intermediate clefs such as C2 and C5, it would still be much preferable in terms of searching to amalgamate sections (2sop alt ten 2bass) rather than invoke the non-standard types (sop mez alt ten bar bass). I’ve downloaded a score tagged with choral mezzos and found it has a high soprano part and a low soprano part (both G2 clefs) – which is entirely typical of music that is designated and tagged as ch 2sop; there is nothing to justify the mez tag, in my view. Cheers, Philip @ © talk 02:38, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Philip, I agree so far as Renaissance or Baroque-period music goes - the extra types of voices aren't exactly modern standards anyway, so there's no reason we should rather arbitrarily attach them to the modern 'intermediate' voice types rather than put them under the umbrella of the 'normal' voice types, which will take them anyway in practice. (An alternative that I don't think we want to get into would be to create tags for medius, vagans, etc.) When it comes to more modern works that actually specify mezzo-sopranos and baritones, though, I am much less sure that we should 'normalize' the voice types. One of the core principles that has been followed thus far as regards tagging is that with a few exceptions, how the composer described a work goes. This applies to descriptions of the type of a work, of course (which is present in many cases), but it also would apply to its instrumentation. If the work is from the Renaissance era and doesn't specify much of anything relevant to modern choral practices, then there's room for interpretation - but if a more recent piece explicitly calls for choral mezzo-sopranos or baritones, it is my personal opinion that we should still tag it that way. We already have many, many tags which only fit one or two works - I don't think that will be more of an issue than it is now, and the way it's set up now there won't be a need for any special categories (since choral music simply gets put into multiple different generic categories instead of a couple specific ones). Cheers, KGill talk email 00:43, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
Hi Kenny,
I posted these as cautionary notes owing to the discussion on Eric’s talk page, especially as I discovered a middle-Baroque piece tagged with mezzo-sopranos (virtually impossible for this to be so, as the first attested coining of the word is mid-1700s). It is salutary to note a piece like Fauré’s Requiem which explicitly demands a Baritone soloist, but the rather high first bass chorus part is nonetheless lumped in with the remainder of “basses” rather than given the soloistic name of “baritone”. Modern composers are tending to think less of this arbitrary but customary division: I quoted Poulenc’s Figure humaine which exceptionally uses choral mezzos and baritones: elsewhere his chorus writing generally follows the custom of division along SATB lines.
Anyway, I’m in agreement that any work from the Baroque onwards that specifically cites these voice types should get the tag: but only on the say-so of the composer, not as the result of “interpretation” of an editor. It will be extremely rare to find the mez voice cited in chorus works before the 20th century; less so the bar voice.
These voices are not handled like orchestral rarities like the saxophone – if you were performing Ravel’s Bolero and La Valse one after the other, the saxophonists would not take up other instruments for the second piece, but would vanish off-stage or stay seated in place twiddling their thumbs. On the other hand, if you had a double bill of Ligeti’s Requiem (4×SMezATB) and Lux æterna (4×SATB) the mezzos in the first work would be folded back into the ranks of sops and altos for the other.
(For an example of the editorialising I mean: my score of Striggio’s 40-part motet suggests seven types of voice by bringing in “mezzos” as an intermediate between S and A, “countertenor” between A and T, and “baritones” between T and B, based on the clefs and tessitura – but I would not dream of claiming that these are distinct types and almost certainly the composer wouldn’t have thought this way.)
Anyway, is it okay if some works are tagged with extremely unusual choir tags, at the expense of hugely splintering the tag space? e.g. unique works like Carver’s 19-part Och bonnie Jesu = motets ; ch 3sop 2alt 11ten 3bass ; la ? (Yes, eleven (11) tenor parts.) Cheers, Philip @ © talk 01:41, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
Erm, interrupting pointlessly- the piece we were talking about when this all started- was not a Baroque piece. it was composed by someone born 2 years older than I am. just saying. (well, not wholly pointlessly. we could ask the composer, say.) Eric 07:02, 3 May 2011 (UTC) ("virtually impossible for this to be so" - this might explain the impossibility.)
Correct Eric – the Milita piece was the first one I noticed with ch mez tags. I did, however, find other pieces (rather more ancient) also with those tags. ;-) PML
@Philip - Well, I'm glad we're in agreement ;-) I honestly don't think it's any problem to have as many unusual tags as is required, any more than it's a problem right now (we already have quite a lot of weird ones), especially since (as I noted above) it won't actually result in multiple singleton categories (which would make the tag somewhat less useful from a browser's standpoint). No, I personally wouldn't hesitate to make as many odd tags as necessary - really the issue at hand here is whether certain of those (i.e., those involving mez and bar) are justified for the works they're currently used for (an issue that I think has now been sorted out). Cheers, KGill talk email 23:31, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Gendered choirs

A piece that is tagged 2sop 2mez 2alt on the face of it might appear to be explicitly for female voices, and likewise 2ten 2bass might imply exclusively male voices, but all-male choirs regularly perform music scored for SATB and any subset thereof (think of the Royal Wedding!) and all-female choirs can usually attempt a subset of that (without basses; though female basses are not an impossibility, they are a rarity), so those vocal designations are necessarily a subset of the generic choir type, ‘ch’. Composers often specify gendered choirs however, and I also tend to think the specific types of choir ‘fch’ ‘mch’ and ‘cch’ should be special tags to indicate that specific, explicit designation by the composer – not an editorial imposition that “Composer X has written a piece for four soprano and four alto parts, therefore it must be for female choir only”.

This may mean the score has to be downloaded and inspected to make a determination (c’est la vie). Cheers, Philip @ © talk 02:38, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

redundancy in the work genres

Don't know if this is something that can be sorted out -- if it can it would be nice, but it's not high priority. Certain tags, if used together, will generate duplicate genre types. As an example, Baillot's cello Method. This may not be the best example, since the title only indicates "Methode" and the sub-genres are in the sub-titles. However, it's the one that came up today, and I have seen this before on others, and just can't think of the titles right now. Whoever initially tagged Baillot's Method used "exercises" because one of the units has that word in the heading. So I added scales, because another unit uses that heading, and we now have that as a tag. Both of them invoke a parent genre, studies. So now "Studies" appears twice as a genre. I have seen other tags that generate duplicates, and it really clutters the bottom of the work page. It would be nice if the system could check for duplicates and only put them on the screen once. For this particular piece, the solution might be to just go with "methods" since that is the only taggable item in the big title, but the others I've seen don't have that as an option. Steltz 10:10, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

The category function built into MediaWiki already works very similar to what you describe - it only displays each category one time on the very bottom of a page. Perhaps this could also be applied to the code that displays the tag categories in the General Information box. Feldmahler would be the one to ask about this; I'll drop him a note. Cheers, KGill talk email 20:20, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for this -- now that I've run across the Il pastor fido problem (see below), I can give a better example of this. The subtitle for Il pastor fido suggests 6 instruments. I don't have a tag yet for vielle (hurdy-gurdy), and it isn't recognizing the musette/bc (bag bc) tag yet, but once this page is correctly tagged, "Scores with basso continuo" will appear 6 times. (Eish!) Steltz 08:30, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Vielle, or hurdy-gurdy

This is one of the suggested instruments in Chédeville's (Vivaldi's) Il pastor fido. New tag, or will something else do? Steltz 08:26, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

  • Well, for vielle we have vie ... Eric 08:37, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I didn't look under folk instruments! I'm not sure it belongs there -- it was used in the church for a while, and eventually also in the French court. Shouldn't it be in the non-folk string instruments? Steltz 21:19, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I just saw it randomly when looking for something else then confirmed it was there using a google search "vielle" (if I may recommend) which turned up some properly-tagged pages with it... so I also didn't look under folk instruments... a site search on imslp would probably have turned it up also. Eric 21:48, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
In France of the 18th century it came into vogue at the court. Improved (by Bâton ainé) the vielle entered the artistic music. So it's something different to the hurdy-gurdy or street-organ.--Ralph Theo Misch 22:10, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Main imrovements were aliquot strings and a melodic range of 2 octaves (chromatic). --Ralph Theo Misch 22:14, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
P.S.: What's about the Musette? It's also listed in the original title of 'Il pastor fido'. - Another courtly fashion instrument (see Hotteterre). It's similar to the bagpipe, but the wind doesn't come by breath but by a bellows, which was operated under (?) the arm. --Ralph Theo Misch 22:35, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
P.P.S.: Just seen: a tag 'open instrumentation' (see Recueils de vaudevilles, menuets, contredanses et autres airs choisis pour la musette (Chédeville, Nicolas))... --Ralph Theo Misch 23:15, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
@Ralph re: Il pastor fido -- I have tagged it for the musette, which is a type of bagpipe (all types are under the bagpipe label). But since it's the first time it's being used with the continuo tag, the system doesn't recognize it yet. When my work load settles down (in a month or so), I do intend to start on the unknown tags category and do the necessary to get them recognized. Sorry for the delay. Steltz 06:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
@Ralph re: Recueils -- the open tag gets used a lot when there are so many instruments given as alternatives in the subtitle, that it's clear the composer was comfortable with pretty much any melody instrument taking one or more parts. The subtitle to this work indicates "Fluttes et Hautboise, &c." The "etc." would be the reason for the open tagging.
Re: hurdy-gurdy vs. vielle -- if I'm not mistaken, the hurdy-gurdy was also used in art music, so I'm not sure either of them belongs in the folk category, which was my main question. The reason they are lumped together is that they are similar enough for Grove Music to redirect you to hurdy-gurdy when you click on vielle. Steltz 06:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Hi Steltz, you are right, of course! - I didn't want to make a complaint as there is no cause! I just wanted to tell what I've found at MGG. Moreover I think that 'open instrumentation' is a quite helpful tag (e.g. for people who make music in groups with rare or unusual combinations of instruments). This tag may be suitable for 'Il pastor fido' as well - the choice of melodic instrument seems to be rather free. Regards from --Ralph Theo Misch 10:50, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Any objection if I move hurdy-gurdy/vielle into the string category? Steltz 06:48, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

rehearsal piano parts

Right now, there are a lot of Brahms a capella choral works that have a piano part, but Brahms specifies that it is "Nur zur Aushilfe beim Einüber" -- only for help in practice. They are mostly marked "ad lib", which I think isn't the right connotation (may I change it?), and should we tag it for pf at all? It isn't really a vocal score, since it isn't substituting for an orchestra, and isn't a separate score anyway, so it can't go under a separate heading, e.g. Arrangements and transcriptions. But there's something that feels very awkward when it's labelled ad lib and then tagged as if it's original instrumentation. Opinions? Steltz 21:00, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

I don’t know why it’s been entered on the Instrumentation field of the Brahms motets, to be honest. Rehearsal piano parts are relevant only to the specific edition, and might merit a mention under the field “Misc. Notes” as a courtesy. The only time a rehearsal piano part should perhaps rise to the level of instrumentation is if the composer suggests the piano part be used in performance to substitute some of the vocal parts (which was what I was obliged to do with one of my pieces; reducing a piece for unaccompanied double choir to single choir plus piano). The motet in Bach’s day was generally an a cappella work, and Brahms’ intent was to evoke the historic connection with his German forbears (especially in the choice of subjects and chorale melodies), but as a punctilious editor he also routinely provided piano reductions as a standard of presentation. Brahms’ own note on the subject confirms this. Cheers Philip @ © talk 22:37, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Right, then, when I get a chance I will re-do them and put the piano comments in the edition notes. Steltz 06:38, 10 May 2011 (UTC)


The definition for this tag looks odd to me. I initially looked it up to see if Strang's Cantique d'amour should rather have a different tag. We do, in fact, have "cantique" in the tagging chart, but says to use psalms. One literal translation is "canticle" which, I take it, uses sacred texts other than psalms. Apart from the fact that Strang's title seems a bit more secular (it's an organ piece, so there is no text to check), another definition (apparently not a principal one) would be "hymn". Should we re-visit this tag? Steltz 21:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

I’m not aware if this is a specifically French usage, and would be inclined to lean towards “canticles” rather than “psalms”… which is however just as narrow a liturgical category. The “hymns” tag only fits when there are poems that fit to regular metres (though one must concede the exceptional existence of hymns with irregular metres). I might take a browse of the “cantique” works which we have and see if I can discern a pattern. The one that I recall straight off, Fauré’s “Cantique de Jean Racine”, is actually a hymn text translated by a comparatively modern author, and the translation itself qualifies as a hymn by adhering to a metrical verse scheme. Cheers Philip @ © talk 22:47, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I had a look at 'Dictionaire Français-Allemand par M. A. Thibaut' (1896):
cantique, m. 1. Lobgesang (hymn); le C~ des ~s, das Hohe Lied Salomonis; 2. Choral, geistliches Lied (sacred song); livre de ~s, Gesangbuch (book of hymns, hymnal, hymnbook).
The translations in brackets are added by myself ('book of hymns' is from M.F.W. Thieme, Braunschweig, 1845). Hope I could help...--Ralph Theo Misch 23:08, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I just checked the MLA list -- we have a mistake in ours -- the MLA uses "canticle" for cantique, so I have changed the tagging page accordingly. I also changed the tag for the Fauré, which was "secular choruses". At some point I will go through and find other cantiques and correct them. Steltz 06:46, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes - I looked for canticle at 'Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language' (Oxford, 1896): "L(atin). canticulum, a little song; dimin. of canticum, a song; dimin. of cantus, a song.
On the other hand: canticle was (1845) also used for Canticum Canticorum - Song of Solomon. --Ralph Theo Misch 09:39, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Work Type: Adding some notes

Dear all, I would like to indicate some small points I think should be added to topic 'Notes' in the 'Work type' in categorization page. My remark is for the terms: allemandes, bourees, courantes, galliards, gigues, pavans and sarabandes. Like the parts of ordinary mass (i.e. Agnus Dei, Benedictus, etc.), which appears with the notes 'use only when it is the composer's title for an independent piece', this terms above indicated came from the dances that form the 'Suite' in 17th and 18th centuries, so they are not a individual and autonomous piece. I think that these 'Types of Word' should be accompanied with the same remark in topic 'Notes'. Regards, Feduol12:58, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

It is not necessary to indicate this in the 'Notes' column. The main guidelines specify that the individual components of a work should not be tagged - only the overall work should. So, for example, if there is a work entitled Suite that contains an allemande, a bourree, and a courante, it should be tagged as 'suites'; but if there is a work entitled 'Allemande', it should be tagged as 'allemandes'. This can be assumed for all work types - it does not have to be indicated in Notes. Cheers, KGill talk email 14:02, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
KGill, thank you for your explanation! Best wishes, Feduol 21:05, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Sometimes if you find a work entitled e.g. Allemande it may be a part of a larger suite published separately without being so noted (as with an allemande from a suite by Jensen so published and scanned at the library of congress site) - still, the containing suite can be found and a mistake fixed if one uploads something and it turns out to have been improperly :) Eric 06:59, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
There is one exception to this, to be used with caution. If there is a collection of works -- and the benchmark question would be: were the pieces meant to be performed together (i.e. not really a collection), or is it more than one performable work -- then sometimes you will find words in the subtitle that apply to individually performable works that can be tagged. But downloading and research is sometimes necessary with these, because you have to be careful to make sure that these words apply to the performable "units", not individual movements of those units. In some cases, you will find notes at the top of the work pages that the page is marked for cleanup because the collection should be split into performable parts. Don't bother tagging these, because the individual parts will only have to be re-tagged anyway.