Composer Composition Lists Manual of Style



The intention of this section is to provide guidelines for creating composition lists for composers on IMSLP in order to both standardize the formatting and to maximize the readability of these lists. The two formats discussed are bulleted lists and sortable tables.

All composition lists should include at the top of the page the Worklist template which is used in the following manner: {{worklist|Stravinsky, Igor}}

Information to Include per Title

Besides the required title of the work the following data can be included: subtitle, instrumentation, key, composition date, publication information (city: publisher, date), published formats (full score, vocal score, instrumental parts, 2 piano reduction, etc.), and information on revised editions. If a particular opus has a work page then the amount of this information can be kept to a minimum since all this can be added to the work page. In some cases publication information can be documented in the list using such templates as HMBref, BdlF, and BBR. Abbreviations (with the exception of their use for instrumentation in sortable tables) should be avoided. Abbreviations may be difficult for non-native speakers of the particular language to identify the word that is abbreviated.

Bulleted Lists

The following level two headers should be included: Sources, Works with Opus Numbers, Works without Opus Numbers. Additional possible level two headers would include: Books, Arrangements, and Editions.


Sources should be in the form of links to that source if it is available online. If not, link to the record of the source on Worldcat using the WC template. If a source is available on the Internet Archive link to it using the IArchDt template.

Works with Opus Numbers

The bulleted opus listing should appear in the following format:
*'''Op.1''' - 
This will render the opus number in bold and separate it from the work's title by a dash. Work titles should be linked to work pages using the LinkWorkN template (or LinkWorkNMono for mononymous composers) where possible. For works that must be linked with double square brackets surround the displayed title with double apostrophes to render it in italics. A typical entry would appear as follows:
  • Op.10 - Piano Sonata in B-flat major (Berlin: Wilhelm Müller, ca.1871).

If a work includes two or more pieces they can be listed on separate lines beneath the opus indented and numbered using a colon and the number sign. In the case of songs it might be advisable to format incipits in italics to better differentiate them from titles. There are many instances in which a song may have no title and be known only by its incipit. In this example both the piece's title and text incipit are included:
:#Blumengruss: ''Der Strauss, den ich gepflücket''

And the complete entry with an example of an untitled song identified by its incipit:

  • Op.24 - 2 Lieder for 3 female soloists or chorus with piano accompaniment (Berlin: Schlesinger (Robert Lienau), 1888).
  1. Blumengruss: Der Strauss, den ich gepflücket
  2. Ringelreie, Rosenkranz

Works without Opus Numbers

The organization of this section can depend on whether or not WoO designations have been assigned to these works and to the amount of works to be listed. Works with WoO designations can be listed in the same format as those with opus numbers:
*'''WoO 1''' - 
If additional works exist without WoO designations then each series can be placed under their own level 3 header. Depending on the number of works without a WoO designation they can be arranged either alphabetically or chronologically. More sub-headers can be added to further divide up the list by genre (orchestral, instrumental, juvenilia, stage works, etc.).

Sortable Tables

If a composer's works have been subjected to multiple cataloging systems then the best means of organizing them would be with a sortable table so that each catalog designation can be tracked in its own column.

Above each table there should be a bulleted list, dictating all information that will be included. For instance:

The table below gives the following information (where applicable):

  • Opus — opus numbers, supplemented by:
  • WoO (Werke ohne Opus) — for works without opus numbers but with designated WoO numbers.
  • Catalog Number — for example:
    • BWV — numbering of works by J.S. Bach as given in Wolfgang Schmieder, Thematisch‐Systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1950; revised 1990, 1998).
    • BC — numbering of works by J.S. Bach as given in H.-J. Schulze and C. Wolff, Bach Compendium (Leipzig/Frankfurt, 1985).
    • MWV — numbering of works by Felix Mendelssohn as given in: Ralf Wehner, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke (Wiesbaden, 2009).
    • I-Cat. — numbering as given by the IMSLP cataloging system (only to be used if there is no preferred/appropriate way of identifying a composer's works).
  • Title — as used on IMSLP.
  • Key — the principal key of the work.
  • Date — the year(s) of composition or arrangement, where known.
  • Genre — as used by IMSLP's categorization system.
  • Scoring — the instrumentation used.
  • Notes — concerning related works, completeness, authorship, etc.

Works should be linked to their work pages in the same manner as bulleted lists. IMSLP's guide to tagging should be referenced for correctly filling out the Genre and Scoring columns. Also see the Abbreviations for Instruments page. Notes and how specific they should be are more open to individual users' discretion.

To maintain the sortability of the numeric fields (Opus, WoO, and Catalog No.) the HS template should be used to add the necessary number of invisible leading zeros so that all numeric values will contain the same number of characters. If a composer's highest opus is 200 then the cell for Opus 3 would be written: {{Hs|00}}3.

Sample code for a sortable table with nine columns:

{| class="sortable wikitable" style="font-size:95%; width: 98%; vertical-align: top; border: 1px solid #AAA"
! width="6%"|Opus 
! width="6%"|WoO 
! width="6%"|WWV
! width="27%"|Title 
! width="10%"|Instrumentation 
! width="6%"|Key 
! width="6%"|Date 
! width="6%"|Genre 
! width="27%"|Notes
| 1
| —
| {{Hs|0}}21
| {{LinkWorkN|Piano Sonata in B-flat major|WWV 21|Wagner|Richard|0}}
| pf
| B{{flat}} major
| 1831
| Sonata
| New edition published in 1862

Which will appear as follows:

Opus WoO WWV Title Instrumentation Key Date Genre Notes
1 021 Piano Sonata in B-flat major pf B major 1831 Sonata New edition published in 1862