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Feb 23, 2009, 11:53am Top

Includes works about music, composers, musicians, sheet music, and scores. CDs and other formats will be represented by an optional format tag.

Feb 23, 2009, 4:25pm Top

I take it that biographies (books about composers or musicians) would be under BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY?

(Asking because that's different from what you said here.)

Feb 23, 2009, 4:28pm Top

>2 staffordcastle: I'd put biographies of composers and musicians with biographies about other people, too. The key thing is they're about the person's life (whence the "bio" in "biography"), and not about the music.

Feb 23, 2009, 5:30pm Top

I agree that biographies seem like they should go under "biography," but there are also a lot of books about composers and musicians that ARE about music (sorry I don't have any examples), so there's not necessarily a contradiction between staffordcastle's take and leana's category discription, although there is certainly a large blurry area.

Feb 23, 2009, 5:37pm Top

I'm curious why "sheet music" and "scores" are mentioned seperately (as any sheet music is by definition a score). Are public libraries in the habit of separating sheet music from larger scores? Sorry if I'm reading too much into something that wasn't meant to be significant.

Also: I assume music history will go in this category (rather than under "history"), but it's not clear whether that's the intention.

Feb 23, 2009, 5:39pm Top

Oh, and one other thing. Is ethnomusicology meant to go here, or under anthropology? Or either, depending on the work?

Feb 25, 2009, 1:42pm Top

At the risk of talking to myself, I'll go out on a limb and propose some sub-categories for music:



Media & Technology





Practice & Technique (this might need a better name - includes technical aspects, subjects like conducting, orchestration, etc.)

Education > General

Education > Pedagogy

Education > Lesson Books

Printed Music > Anthologies & Songbooks

Printed Music > Vocal

Printed Music > Solo Instruments

Printed Music > Ensembles

Printed Music > Other

I have a strong academic bias, and have no idea how this would work for typical public library patrons. There are certainly some major holes, but I can't quite put my finger on them at the moment.

Feb 25, 2009, 7:53pm Top

Comfypants - "sheet music" and "scores" would be separated in libraries based on the catalog number. Music cataloging is . . . strange. In my local library, the only section under Dewey is located in Music, but only part: the library use LoC, and most of the Music collection is under M(-L,-T, etc.).

Printed Music > Anthologies & Songbooks
Printed Music > Vocal
Printed Music > Solo Instruments
Printed Music > Ensembles
Printed Music > Other

So . . . single sheets/booklets are under Printed>Vocal, but a collection is under Printed>Anthologies>Vocal? I would say that instrument should predominate over format (single, collection, etc.).

I feel that most orchestral scores would, by their nature, have to be in a separate section. Big folios of parts probably shouldn't be among reductions and study scores.

Feb 25, 2009, 8:08pm Top

For anthologies, I had in mind things like the Norton Anthology of Western Music. I completely agree that instrument should predominate.

I'm not a librarian, so I don't know how the separate section for physically larger scores would work, but I'd assumed that that's something done by individual libraries rather than OSC. Maybe a format tag?

Feb 25, 2009, 9:06pm Top

What about scores for multiple instruments? One section for all of them or divide up between orchestra, string quartet, etc?

Feb 25, 2009, 9:26pm Top

If a library wants them all together, they can leave it at the "Printed Music > Ensembles" level, and if they want them divided, that would be the next level down.

Feb 26, 2009, 12:55pm Top

I figured out what major hole was bothering me with my proposed subcategories. If someone wants to browse for books on a particular genre, that's not really possible.

So perhaps add to the above a "Genres" subcategory? With a rule of thumb that "Genres" trumps other categories when possible, so as to shrink the substantial overlap. (So, a book on the history of blues would go in Genres > Blues > History, while a book on the history of American vernacular music in general would go under History.) That seems intuitive to me, but maybe I'm crazy and it's needlessly complicated.

Feb 27, 2009, 1:44am Top

>12Genres are too . . . indistinct.
Also, half the time, genres were assigned after the fact.

>9 comfypants: The Norton Anthology of Western Music should, in my utterly biased opinion, be placed near A History of Western Music. They are (technically) textbooks and used simultaneously. I would say that "Anthologies and Songbooks" should be more like a compilation of a composer's works (an oeuvre, as it were).
And what is meant by "Songbook"? Vocal songs, accompanied, what?

>10 jjwilson61:/11 Orchestral scores are often separated in music libraries because 1) they don't circulate often and, more importantly, 2) they are multiple pieces of unbound sheet music. As an example, the music library at my university has a separate room in the music building for the Orchestral Library.
Orchestral reductions are another matter, and could go under "Ensembles".

As for sub-levels, here goes (in no particular order):

Printed Music > Ensembles

{>Homogeneous Ensembles}
>>Piano and Keyboards
>>Wind Instruments
>>String Instruments
>>Percussion Instruments
>>Vocal Ensembles

{>Heterogeneous Ensembles}
>> . . .
Not quite sure how to divide these. I shall think about it in the morning.

Sub-levels under {>Homogeneous}:
>>Piano and Keyboards (as an example)
(>>>>Four hands, one piano)
(>>>>Four hands, two pianos)

Wind/String/Percussion/Vocal Ensembles are not as nice. As for Vocal Ensembles, I would actually include accompanied pieces (AKA, they are no longer strictly vocal ensembles) because the focus is on the voices, and most of the time, the written out accompaniment is only a piano/piano reduction.

Here's a thought: why don't we get a music librarian in here? But then, I never saw a group for them on LT . . .

Feb 27, 2009, 12:11pm Top

Where I went to school, orchestral scores were not separated (they kind put their sheet music in binding-like folders, though, so that's probably why it worked). I think it would be preferable if individual libraries were able to make that decision. Although, how many public libraries have full-size orchestral scores, anyway?

Anthologies and songbooks. The Norton Anthology is a tricky example, I guess, since it's associated with a history text, although I don't think of it as a textbook. But yeah, you can see that an anthology section is needed anyway. Maybe the term "songbooks" shouldn't be used because it's potentially misleading. Basically, I meant it as the more popular usage of "anthology," where a songbook is a less academic version of the same sort of thing. I think any collection of stuff which is all arranged for the same instrument/group etc. should always be shelved by instrument.

I like your sublevels. I would put all vocal music (ensembles, accompanied, opera, whatever) under vocal, and rename the "Ensembles" subcategory "Instrumental Ensembles," on the theory that any music with a vocal part is primarily vocal in nature, and of primary interest to people looking for something to sing.

As for Genres. It would be hard, and slippery, and culturally specific. But the more I think about it, the more I think that we should have genre categories, and probably on the second level, rather than the third level I proposed earlier. If CD's are shelved according to this same system with only a format tag to separate them, it may be necessary. I can't imagine people browsing for recorded music any other way than by genre, at least not at a public library.

Feb 27, 2009, 12:19pm Top

On second thought, maybe Opera needs its own category.

Printed Music > Anthologies
Printed Music > Vocal
Printed Music > Opera
Printed Music > Solo Instruments
Printed Music > Instrumental Ensembles

I can't for the life of me figure out what I made an "other" category for...

Feb 27, 2009, 12:35pm Top

>15 comfypants: Hmm . . . yes, I suppose Opera is on the line between Music and Performing Arts>Musical Theater. Actually, that is a horrible thought.

Perhaps the level name should change to Printed Music> Opera, Operetta, and Musical Theater (or something). This gives a place for musical scores (i.e. a Westside Story score) and for things which are debatable (i.e. Gilbert and Sullivan operas, which most people call "operettas" and classify under "musical theater". Anger.)

As for orchestral scores, yes, I know that few public libraries have full scores, but they might, and the point of OSC is not just for the public libraries, but private and university libraries as well. I suppose I am biased, and want to separate orchestral works, since I worked in an orchestral library for a local orchestra when I was in high school (two years ago).

Feb 27, 2009, 1:14pm Top

Printed Music > Dramatic ? I suppose Oratorio would go there, too. And probably a lot of things (like Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale) that are harder to give a name to.

So how would separating the unwieldy orchestral scores from the book-like orchestral scores actually work? Is there a clear line to draw?

Feb 27, 2009, 1:29pm Top

The line is if they have separate, removable parts (i.e. five copies of the Violin I part, five of Violin II, five Viola, four 'Cello, three Bass, two Flute I, one Flute Two (Piccolo), etc.).
Unfortunately for Oratorio, Cantata is nearly the same thing, but not necessarily, and aaaggh! The line there is rather indistinct.
But! "Dramatic" is much better and less unwieldy.

Feb 27, 2009, 1:57pm Top

Ah, okay! So:

Printed Music > Anthologies
Printed Music > Vocal
Printed Music > Dramatic
Printed Music > Solo Instruments
Printed Music > Instrumental Ensembles
Printed Music > Scores with Parts

Edited: Feb 27, 2009, 3:38pm Top

18> That sounds like a perfect use for the optional facet. I'm not sure what you'd call it, but it would work like the oversize book facet or the CD facet to indicate that the item should be shelved separetely but without having to make room for it in the standard categorization.

Feb 27, 2009, 4:30pm Top

>20 jjwilson61: That's true, it would be like the oversized (q) or folio facet (f,ff). Most libraries separate oversized and folio books due to shelf requirements.
I keep forgetting about facets . . .

Feb 27, 2009, 4:41pm Top

I was just thinking a bit about Vocal Ensembles, and I am trying to decide if Choral works should be separated from smaller two/three/etc. voice ensembles of a set size, or if the separation should be de facto.

De facto separation would look like this:

Vocal Ensembles
>ATB (random fact: this is most often for men's ensemble)

Choral/Small Ensemble separation would look more like this:

Vocal Ensembles
>Choral Works
>Small Ensemble

Sorry about the long posts (at least they are fairly easy to read).

Feb 27, 2009, 5:05pm Top

>22 yue: The second version makes more sense to me. So would that make the "Printed Music > Vocal" subcategory divide something like this?

>Vocal Solo
>Small Vocal Ensemble

Another question would be at what point to divide accompanied from unaccompanied.

Feb 27, 2009, 5:23pm Top

I'm noticing we're getting a lot of categories with just a handful of subcategories. In the spirit of the OSC's philosophy of having more categories rather than fewer, we should probably pop things up a level where we can, making "Printed Music" divide something like this:

>Vocal Solos
>Small Vocal Ensembles
>Choral Works
>Dramatic Works
>Keyboard Solos
>Wind Instrument Solos
>String Instrument Solos
>Percussion Solos
>Miscellaneous Solos
>Keyboard Ensembles
>Wind Ensembles
>String Ensembles
>Percussion Ensembles
>Misc. Chamber Ensembles
>Orchestral Works
>Misc. Large Ensembles

The "heterogeneous ensembles" at the end there hardly seem like an ideal division, but I can't think any more specific way of doing it that makes sense at this level.

Feb 27, 2009, 5:41pm Top

I think we should order the categories to focus on more on the instrument type.

So, it should probably be something more like:

>Dramatic Works
>Vocal Solos
>Small Vocal Ensembles
>Choral Works
>Keyboard Solos
>Keyboard Ensembles
>Wind Instrument Solos
>Wind Ensembles
>String Instrument Solos
>String Ensembles
>Percussion Solos
>Percussion Ensembles
>Miscellaneous Solos
>Misc. Chamber Ensembles
>Orchestral Works
(>Misc. Large Ensembles) What would this be if not an orchestra? Maybe a gamelan or something . . .

Accompanied/Unaccompanied would be a sub-category, well down there. I think it is more important that I find, say, tenor solos which are unaccompanied than unaccompanied vocal solos which are for the tenor (is that clear?).

Feb 27, 2009, 5:50pm Top

Sounds good to me.

Yeah, I don't know what would go in Misc. Large Ensembles either, but there's got to be something out there...

Edited: Feb 27, 2009, 6:00pm Top

And now I will wave my hands around wildly and hope to flag down someone who understands the "CDs and other formats will be represented by an optional format tag" business.

Does this mean that musical recordings are separated from books about music *only* by a format tag?

Mar 20, 2009, 10:52am Top

Please check out this thread (http://www.librarything.com/topic/60594) for a link to the new OSC blog and a call for specific volunteer involvement. Thanks!

Mar 25, 2009, 5:27pm Top

I volunteered to monitor this thread, so I guess I should make an attempt at re-starting the conversation.

We've had some fruitful discussion of how to divide the "printed music" subcategory, but I think the second-level categories probably need work. Is the academic division I proposed in message 7 useful to typical public library patrons? I would love it if someone with public library experience could jump in here with some insight to how people actually browse for books on music.

Also, it would be nice if someone could explain how the "optional format tag" for CDs works (or propose how it might work). I apologize if I'm the only person who doesn't understand, but I suspect I'm not. The mass-posted explanation of facets (see the wiki) makes sense to me when you're talking about separating stuff like DVD's, since, for instance, the classification scheme of fiction would be more or less the same whether it's fiction books or fiction movies. But how does it work for musical recordings?

Mar 25, 2009, 6:39pm Top

Where do all my opera programmes go, please?

Edited: Mar 25, 2009, 10:05pm Top

Don't forget pop music. Only a fraction of a public library's music collection (books and cds) will be classical. There will be books about specific artists (Books about the Beatles alone will take up several shelves) books about specific artists' works (there's the popular 33 and a Third series that describes single albums,) and books about different genres (a history of hip hop or country music)

In want of better terms, I would break things down into either two divisions: classical and pop (folding jazz into pop),
or three:
Classical, jazz, pop

I would hesitate to attempt to break down pop music further. Consensus would never be reached.

On second thought:
Maybe four divisions:
Classical, folk/traditional, jazz, pop

and a third thought:
by folk/traditional I mean music passed down through cultural tradition--not just any guy in a ponytail with an acoustic guitar. (Peter, Paul, & Mary are pop)

Mar 26, 2009, 12:34am Top

>30 abbottthomas:
Good question. Suggestions?

>31 mattsya:
I didn't see the proposed categories as being biased toward classical music. With my academic approach, you'd find books on the Beatles under multiple different categories, depending on the focus of the book. The question is, is it more useful to have genre categories to keep books about the same type of music in one place. Personally, I'd guess genre categories (or a mix of genres and academic categories) are more useful to the average browser. (On the other hand, a good portion of those several shelves of Beatles books are likely to go under Biography rather than Music, so they won't be in one place anyway.)

If we do make genre categories, my instinct is to go with the already established genre labels that you see in record stores and most libraries. The key is to make it easy for patrons to find what they want, and people already have an idea of what those terms mean.

I don't think there's any way to avoid messiness when you start talking about genres. Even in your classical/jazz/pop division, there's an enormous amount of music that could easily go in two categories. So if we're going for it, my vote's for diving in and going all out with a dozen or two categories.

Apr 2, 2009, 12:50pm Top

The Free Library of Philadelphia has a major collection of scores and sheet music in its Fleisher Music Collection.

Here on Long Island, the Hewlett Library has scores, including, in a few cases, enough copies for an orchestra or choral group to use.

With genres in music, I would agree that diving in with a goodly number of categories. Many people have special affection for their particular favorite genres of music.

Apr 8, 2009, 7:36pm Top

I'll make an attempt at adding genres to the category list:

Media & Technology
Practice & Technique

Spiritual Music
Folk/Traditional Music
Country Music
Popular Music
Rock & Roll
Hip Hop
Rhythm & Blues
Film Music
Musical Theater
Classical Music

Printed Music

I'm just throwing things out there off the top of my head. Anyone want to try at an alternate list? Or a revision? Or do we even need genres?

Apr 8, 2009, 8:47pm Top

Off the top of my head for genres, on might add

Dance & Ballet music
New Age & ambient

Then there is World Music, which I don't think is a real proper category (although there are books written on it). Then you get into geographic categories (Latin American, Middle Eastern, South Asian, East Asian, African, Celtic, et al).

Apr 8, 2009, 9:00pm Top

>35 vpfluke:
Dance & Ballet - Yes. Maybe call it just Ballet? Keeping in mind that books on dance itself are under the Performing Arts top level.

New Age & ambient - Would New Age fans be offended and/or confused at putting this under Popular?

World music is a tricky one. I also feel it's not a proper category, but it's still something someone might want to look for (especially if this is being used to shelve CDs as well as books).

Edited: Apr 9, 2009, 12:10pm Top

You could add Electronic or Electronica to the genre list as well.

Take a look at the most popular tag cloud on Last.fm to see other terms people use to classify music. (http://www.last.fm/charts/toptags)

Terms for music and they way we classify them are very nebulous. Take a look at how many times the tag "alternative" is used on Last.fm. When I was first coming of age listening to music, a lot of the music I liked was called "college rock." Then in the late 80s/early 90s it started to be called "alternative." Now, that sort of music is called "indie," "alternative" means something else entirely and "college rock" is hardly used at all.

If we were putting together a definitive list of music genres thirty years ago, someone would have wanted to add the term "disco." Fifty years ago, the term "race music" was standard. Things change and they change quick.

I guess all I'm saying is that trying to classify popular music is hard.

Apr 9, 2009, 12:29pm Top

Electronica seems like a similar case to New Age. I could go either way, but I wonder if it's necessary.

With terms like alternative and indie, I think it's not a problem to just ignore them. If you were looking for a book about indie rock, you would know to look in the Rock category. And disco is clearly pop, and punk is rock, and alt country is country, and gospel is spiritual and so on.

Of course, you could take that to an extreme and shrink everything down to your three- or four-category scheme...

Yeah, classifying anything by genre is a mess. This is partly why I lean toward using established "record store" conventions. They work fairly well, people know what to expect, and we don't have to re-invent the wheel.

Edited: Apr 14, 2009, 12:39pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Apr 14, 2009, 4:01pm Top

You know, you *can* just delete your message by using the red X instead of editing it down to nothing. The problem with the second method is that it makes it look like there is something in the thread to read.

ETA: Ok it looks like a green X, but when you move your cursor over it it turns red.

Edited: Sep 3, 2009, 10:24am Top

>30 abbottthomas: As far as opera programs go, I know they are currently under MT (in LoC) under "concert programs" and "-------- analysis, appreciation" (I was looking at an orchestra program, so the blanks were for Orchestra music).

I think the main part of the opera program, beyond telling you who is singing/playing/dancing, is to tell you about the opera and give insight into the work, so I'd suggest the Criticism section from #34 by comfypants.

>34 comfypants: Is the middle section (Spiritual music through Classical music) a section of history/biographies, or is it a section of recorded music?
In any event, biographies need to go away to the Bio section unless it includes music criticism and analysis, in which case there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Sep 3, 2009, 11:16am Top

>41 yue: Agreed, the Bio section would trump the Music section unless the book is more about music than the person. My instinct of what the genre categories were for was basically, if a book is about a distinct genre, it would go in a genre category, and if it's more general or about multiple genres, it would go in one of the "academic" categories (the first 8 in >34 comfypants:).

My understanding of the plan for the OSC, last it was discussed (so very long ago), was that "facets" would be used for separating different media types. So that would seem to have meant that the categories under "Music" needed to work equally well for shelving audio recordings as for shelving books. But who knows how it will work if it ever gets jump-started.

Sep 8, 2009, 6:44pm Top

>42 comfypants: I keep forgetting about those darn facets. OK, I know I will love them if implemented, but I'm currently working in a music library and the classification for CDs is: the order we get them. Sigh.
We are so under budgeted in this library and the main library doesn't understand us.


Also, not to be argumentative, but what is the definition of "Popular" music? Do you mean "Pop" music?
The former suggests a juxtaposition against "functional" music (rituals, religious, etc.), while the latter may suggest more the genre intended. Just a thought.


More nitpicking: "Classical Music"? That is such a huge not-really-a-genre.
Perhaps we need era distinctions, with "Contemporary" subdivided into current genres.

Sep 9, 2009, 12:12am Top

Yes, I meant "pop." Every public library I've ever browsed for CDs in (all of which used Dewey) called it "popular" and I was never confused. Personally, I've never heard of a "functional" vs "popular" dichotomy.


Classical music... I know what you mean. (And it pains me to use the term to describe anything that's not from the Classical era, but for better or worse it's the accepted term.) But if it was divided by era at this level, where would you put all the recordings that have music from multiple eras?

Sep 10, 2009, 11:05am Top

I'm currently taking a class on East Asian music, and ritual music is a huge part of the traditional music. It's not the "popular" music of the people, but instead has a function. I also would like to point out that "Classical" music is still quite popular. But you know that.

As for multi-era recordings, that problem is pretty much the same problem we have with multi-genre recordings (i.e. a greatest hits of the 80s, or the greatest hits of an artist whose style changed, like Madonna). I don't really have a solution to that at the moment.
Short of creating hundreds of sublevels, I think Regional divisions could help. Dividing things up into Europe, Asia (sublevels India, Southeast Asia, East Asia), Africa, the Middle East, Latin Amera, etc. could be a part of dividing "traditional" music. Unfortuantely, however, in more contemporary times regional divisions (excluding language) are blurry and style/genre divisions become more important.


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