Draft Standards for Editing Work Pages

With over 26,000 scores covering over 14,000 works, IMSLP is going from strength to strength. As the scope of the project continues to widen (with many new sets of orchestral parts expected soon), it is all the more important to keep to a set of common guidelines as new resources are added. For understandable reasons work pages can vary greatly from one piece to the next, which sometimes makes it difficult to find a particular piece or arrangement. So I've attempted to pull together the existing standards, and suggestions from the Forum, into a set of common guidelines. These concern the content and structure of the work pages devoted to each composition (or book), and always consist of a series of headings and file descriptions.

You can see the application of these guidelines on the Tchaikovsky work pages.

Version 2.0

Last modified by P.davydov 08:24, 18 February 2009 (EST) incorporating changes to the heading structure suggested by Carolus (see discussion).


It is proposed that the files on all pages should follow the same basic sequence:

  • Full Scores
    • Complete Work
    • Extract 1
    • Extract 2
    • Extract 3 [etc.],
  • Parts
    • Complete Work
    • Extract 1
    • Extract 2
    • Extract 3 [etc.],
  • Vocal Scores
    • Complete Work
    • Extract 1
    • Extract 2
    • Extract 3 [etc.],
  • Arrangements and Transcriptions
    • Complete Work
      • Arrangement 1
      • Arrangement 2 [etc.]
    • Extract 1
      • Arrangement 1
      • Arrangement 2 [etc.]
    • Extract 2
      • Arrangement 1
      • Arrangement 2 [etc.]
    • Extract 3
      • Arrangement 1
      • Arrangement 2 [etc.]

Important Notes:

  • Headings should be ommitted if they are irrelevant (e.g. "Vocal Scores" in the case of chamber pieces", or "Complete Work" if there are no extracts listed).

The headings are explained in more detail below.

Full Scores

Under this heading we put all files relating to the work with its original scoring (whether for orchestra, piano, or any other form). This should be consistent with the "General Information" section further down the work page. It will not include other arrangements or transcriptions by anyone else or even the composer themselves.

If the original work was written for a solo performer, then the heading "Full Scores" may be changed to "Piano Scores", "Organ Scores", etc. Any subsequent orchestrations should be listed below under "Arrangements and Transcriptions".

The editions should be listed chronologically, with the earliest published at the top.

If some of the full scores relate only to excerpts from the whole work, then sub-headings (level 4 "====" in the Wiki) can be added:

1.1.1. Complete Work
1.1.2. [Title of Extract 1]
1.1.3. [Title of Extract 2]

The above sub-headings are not needed if this category only consists of complete full scores.

In the case of published concert suites from an opera or ballet score, etc., it may be necessary to create a a separate work page for the suite — particularly if any of the music in the suite differs from the music in the original work (as in the case of Tchaikovsky's three ballet suites).

If the scoring of a single extract is modified for a concert performance, such as Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, then it would be appropriate to place this item under "Arrangements and Transcriptons" (see below).

Sometimes works have become well-established in versions that were realized by others, such as Rimsky-Korsakov's completion of Mussorgsky's works. And sometimes a composer issued the same work in different forms, as in the case of Tchaikovsky's overture-fantasia "Romeo and Juliet". The rules in this case are:

  • The full score should be assumed to be the version last prepared by the composer themselves, unless noted otherwise.
  • Any differences from the standard version should be noted in the "Misc. Comments" section of the file descriptions.

Where a composer has subsequently orchestrated the whole of a work originally for smaller forces, it may be helpful to consider the original and orchestral forms as 1st version and 2nd version respectively. An example of this approach can be found on the page for Dvořák's Slavonic Dances.

However, it is strongly recommended that headings for different versions be used sparingly, and they should be regarded as special exceptions to the usual rule. If in doubt, leave them out, and seek advice on the work's "Discussion" page


This heading should include any instrumental parts which are derived from the full score. They should be listed in score order, typically starting with "Piccolo" and running down to "Double Basses", except in the case of solo instruments in concertos, etc., which should always be listed first.

  • The names of the instruments should be given in English, with different parts for the same instruments described as "Flute 1", "Flute 2", "Oboe 2/English horn", "Bass Clarinet (B", "Trombone 2/3", "Cellos/Double Basses", etc.
  • Solo instruments in concertos and concert pieces should be labelled as such, e.g. "Bassoon (solo)", "Cello (solo)".
  • String sections should always be listed in the plural, i.e. "Violins I", "Violins II", "Violas", "Cellos", "Double Basses")
  • The violins are the only instruments to be labelled with Roman numerals (I and II), with the others using 1, 2, 3, as required.
  • The use of "Cello" is preferred to "Violoncello", and "English Horn" preferred to "Cor Anglais".

If there are several sets of parts, these should be listed in date order of publication, with the earliest first.

For chamber works where the parts and complete score were issued together as a set, the parts can be listed directly underneath the complete score, without the need for separate sub-headings.

Vocal Scores

This heading will only be required for works that include both voices and orchestra, such as operas, cantatas, masses, some incidental music, etc. A vocal score is defined for our purposes as one which includes voices together with a piano arrangement of the orchestral parts. This is consistent with the term agreed for use in international library cataloguing, and other phrases (such as "Vocal-Piano Score", "Piano-Vocal Score", "Choral Score", etc.) should not be used.

If some of the full scores relate only to excerpts from the whole work, then sub-headings (level 4 "====" in the Wiki) can be added:

1.3.1. Complete Work
1.3.2. [Title of Extract 1]
1.3.3. [Title of Extract 2]

The above sub-headings are not needed if this category only consists of complete vocal scores.

It is helpful to indicate the language of the text in the "Misc. Notes" field of the file descriptions (see below).

Arrangements and Transcriptions

Here we include all later arrangements or transcriptions that don't come under the heading of "Original Work". These include piano reductions of orchestral works, as well as later orchestrations/reductions made by the composer themselves.

If some of the full scores relate only to excerpts from the whole work, then sub-headings (level 4 "====" in the Wiki) can be added:

1.4.1. Complete Work
1.4.2. [Title of Extract 1]
1.4.3. [Title of Extract 2]

The above sub-headings are not needed if this category only consists of complete arrangements and transcriptions.

The arrangements or transcriptions should be listed in descending order of instrumentation (i.e. orchestrations first, solo piano versions last). For example:

  • For Orchestra
  • For Voices with Piano
  • For String Sextet
  • For Kazoo Quartet
  • For Piano Trio
  • For Violin and Piano
  • For Piano 4 hands
  • For Piano solo

These descriptions should be used as sub-sub-headings (level 5 "=====" in the Wiki) so that they can be easily seen in the contents list at the top of each page. (Level 4 headings ("====") should be used to differentiate between complete works and extracts, as described above).

The names of instruments ("Piano") or groups of players ("Orchestra", "Quartet") should be capitalised in the headings, but not other words ("solo", "with"). To avoid confusion over the term "Piano Duet", the terms "For Piano 4 hands", "For 2 Pianos, 4 hands" or "For 2 Pianos, 8 hands" should be used as appropriate.

The sub-headings should all start with the (capitalised) word "For...", and end with the surnames of the arrangers, e.g.

1.2.1. For Orchestra (Ravel)
1.2.2. For Voices with Piano (Beethoven)
1.2.3. For Violin with Piano (Kreisler)
1.2.4. For Euphonium solo (Postlethwaite)

The descriptions of the files will contain the full names of the arranger in the "Editor" section, and the exact scoring (if this is not immediately apparent) under "Misc. Comments". If the arrangement is anonymous, then the parentheses should be omitted from the heading.

If there are multiple arrangements for the same combinations of instruments, they should be listed alphabetically by the surname of the arranger (anonymous arrangements coming last). Use normal score order if you need a 'tie-break', e.g.

1.2.1. For 2 Flutes
1.2.2. For Horn and Trumpet
1.2.3. For Violin and Piano

If the arrangement is for orchestra, and there are separate instrumental parts, then the parts can be listed directly below the orchestration, without the need for separate sub-headings.

Arrangements which no longer resmble the structure of the original work, and which may be styled "Fantasia on", "Potpourri on", "Selectons from", "Variations on", etc. should normally appear on the work page of the composer who made this arrangement/transcription. Optionally a cross-reference can be added to the page of the work receiving this treatment, immediately under the heading "Arrangements and Transcriptions", e.g.

See also Concert Paraphrase on 'Eugene Onegin', Op.81 (Pabst, Paul)

Books and Librettos

In the case of books and librettos, the headings "Original Text" and "Translations" may be used if required, e.g.

1.1. Original Text
1.2. Translations
1.2.1. English (Newmarch)
1.2.2. German (Juon)

At the moment it is not possible to change the heading "Music Files" that appears at the top of each page.

Summary of Headings

Summary of Headings
Wiki level 3
Wiki level 4
Wiki level 5
Used for Main headings Complete works, excerpts, versions Arrangements, transcriptions, translations
Examples Full Scores
Vocal Scores
Arrangements and Transcriptions
Complete Work
Original version
Duet (Act II, No.10)
Chant sans paroles (No.3)
Andante cantabile
For Cello with Orchestra
For Kazoo quintet
For Piano 2 hands
English text

File Descriptions

The file descriptions appear in the coloured boxes on each work page, and can be edited as part of the page in the usual way. Much of this information is generated automatically when the files are uploaded, and we must take care not to alter or delete any text that could affect the downloading of the files. The parts we need to concern ourselves with here are the lines for "File Descriptions" and "Misc. Notes" fields, which start as follows:

|File Description 1=
|Misc. Notes=

Each PDF file has its own description, which is the bold blue text you would normally click on to download the file. This would normally be entered by the person uploading the file in the first place, but it can be changed later at any time.

The sole purpose of the File Description field is to show whether the file concerned represents the whole work or just an extract from it. For example:

|File Description 1=Complete Score

... means that the file covers the complete work. It is not necessary to indicate here whether this is an orchestral score, an arrangement, etc. as that information should already be given in the page headings and sub-headings (see above).

If the file does not cover the complete score, then the name of the part or section should be given:

|File Description 1=Introduction
|File Description 2=Act I
|File Description 3=Act II
|File Description 1=V. FInale
|File Description 1=No.2. Allegro moderato
|File Description 1=Complete Score
|File Description 2=Flute 1
|File Description 1=Clarinet 1
|File Description 1=Clarinet 2
|File Description 1=Bassoon
|File Description 1=Horn 1
|File Description 1=Horn 1

Misc. Notes

Finally. this field can include any other information required to distinguish between different versions, such as the key or instrumentation

|Misc. Notes=For medium voice (in F major)
|Misc. Notes=Includes solo violin part
|Misc. Notes=With numerous cuts and alterations

It can also provide details of scoring for arrangements/transcriptions:

|Misc. Notes=Scored for Flute; 2 Clarinets (A); Horn (F); Trumpet (D); Violins I; Violins II; Violas; Cellos; Double Basses
|Misc. Notes=Original 1869 version.


Your (polite) comments on these draft guidelines are welcome, and should added by clicking on the "Discussion" tab at the top of this page.

It is likely that the above standards will be altered as the discussion continues, but Please do not modify the content of this page. Thank you P.davydov 10:48, 31 January 2009 (EST)