Classical Music Aspects

Music data at is stored in a relational database. In a relational database, a unique set of data is only stored once in the database. Thus, the data for a specific recording is stored once and then links to that recording data is used for any CD (or other media) that has that recording. Thus if the recording data needs to be corrected, the correction is reflected on all of the CD's that contain that recording.

Musical Works
A musical "Work" in is a distinct music composition which has been published and/or recorded. An example of a Work is the Mozart Requiem. Work-related entities include: Super-works. Occasionally, composers will group their works together. There is no specific musicological term for this but in, this is referred to as a super-work. Examples of a super-work are Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" and Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelung".

Related Works. When a work uses another work (either by the same composer or another composer), can display this related work. The tradition of music borrowing is most typically used for variations on a theme (a short musical quotation) or with transcriptions of longer, large works into a smaller, more compact work. Franz Liszt made many transcriptions of operas by other composers into piano works that he would play himself at concerts. More work is needed in to populate known related works.

Work or Work Part? In, a Work that has a distinct Opus or catalog (Hoboken, BWV, etc.) number is stored as a separate Work. If a Work shares an Opus or catalog number with other works but is typically played separately from these other Works, it is usually entered as a separate Work. An exception to this would be if works with the same Opus number are closely related. For example, if a Song Cycle is based on a theme, the songs are stored as Work Parts even if the Songs are typically performed separately. One example points out how this works. Schubert's "Winterreise" song cycle consists of 24 songs. There are 7 recordings of "Winterreise" catalogued in, but no recording of a single song - artists will tend to record the cycle as a whole or not at all. In contrast, Schubert's opus 3 consists of 4 songs. There are 22 recordings from 10 singers of the separate 4 songs in Of these, only one artist has sung all 4 songs - Fischer-Dieskau did so, but over a period of 3 years, indicating the non-integral nature of these 4 songs of the same opus. So "Winterreise" is catalogued as a single work, the 4 songs of opus 3 are catalogued as 4 works.

Genre Works and revisions are associated with a single genre or sub-genre. In, a work with a sub-genre will appear in all queries of the parent genre. A work may not have a sub-genre and will only appear when doing a query for the genre. Genre classifications in certain cases can be subjective.

A "Recording" is a recorded performance of a Work, Revision or Excerpt and is distinct from any CD, LP etc. it has appeared on. If available, timings for Work Parts are stored in This allows for a cross-listing of the timing of work parts against the performers of the recorded work.

A distinction is made in between a recorded excerpt that was intentionally recorded as an excerpt and a recorded excerpt that is simply a portion of the previously recorded work.

In certain instances, a recording company will release an album which is comprised of other sub-albums, each of which were or are available as a separate album with its own identification code. In such cases, will display information about the parent and child albums.

Works - Instruments - Artists/Groups
Most classical music works were written for a specific set of instruments. This instrument scoring is recorded in Artists are also associated with the instruments they play. has the ability to query works by instrument combinations using the "Work Search" feature. The "Performer Search" feature can search for recordings by an artist regardless of instrument or by a specific instrument(s) that the artist performs on. It also allows a combination of can-have, must-have or exclude criteria.

Data Issues
Priority in is given to classical music works which are commonly performed and/or recorded. Priority is given to more well-known artists and "major" labels. While can store information on different media (LP's, cassette, etc.), the vast majority of data is on recordings on the compact disc (CD) media.

Sources. Data on musical works have been gathered from multiple sources. Data from musical scores are given greater weight than other sources. Data on recordings are typically gathered from album liner notes, web-based data made available by recording companies or by published discographies. Experience has shown that no single data source type is infallible. In some cases data about works and/or recordings may be unpublished or unknown.

Timing information. Timings are not exact. Sometimes, the time reported by a recording company will include the "filler" time between tracks. Other times it will not. The amount of time which is not filler but nevertheless includes no discernible sound may also vary for the same recording as it goes through different re-masterings. For older recordings the "true" time may actually vary as a recording is modified to account for pitch variations. In any case, only one timing is entered for the recording (or work parts, if available). Generally, the first-come, first-used rule is used.

Language Issues stores formal work type names ("Symphony", "String Quartet") and key data ("A major", "B minor") in English. Otherwise, titles are typically in the native language. Cyrillic characters are not used and thus for Russian works, French titles (many Russian works had their first non-Cyrillic published version in French) are used in some cases, English is used in other cases and a transliteration in other cases. When translated to English or transliterated, there is a possibility that different translations or transliterations exist. Most group names are in the native language. Most album titles are in English. can display work and work-part titles in different translated languages. Most of the translations done so far have been into English and many work/work-part translations have yet to be done.

Date Issues
Work completion dates are stored. If the completion date is not known, the first published date, first performance date or circa completion date is indicated. In some cases, the date will be blank. If a work has had undergone revision over an extended period of time, may display multiple dates for a work with an explanation of the date. For example, for Brahms' Piano Trio, op. 8, was completed in 1854 with Brahms making a major revision to in in 1889. Typically the original version is not played or recorded and as such it is not stored as a separate revision in

Recording dates (year) are stored if known. If a recording date is not known, the release date or circa recording date may be used (and will be display) or it may be blank. If a recording is known to span multiple years, this will be indicated and a comment about the recording years will be displayed.

Literary Works has implemented the ability to store literary works (and its authors) associated with a work. Although implemented, this data has not been entered yet.

©, 2010