Hierarchy in work pages

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Davydov
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Postby Davydov » Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:11 am

Yesterday I attempted to reclassifying Tchaikovsky's works based on the last guidelines suggested above, and they seemed to work pretty well. If a work existed in more than one version (such as T's and Fitzenhagen's scores of the Rococo Variation), then this was the 'top' level, with the composer's version coming first.

On the next level came "Full Scores" (which I called "Original Work" in the case of non-orchestral pieces), "Vocal Scores" (where appropriate) and "Arrangements, Transcriptions". Within each grouping, complete works were usually listed before excerpts, and the composer's versions took precedence over any other.

If a work only exists on IMSLP in its original form, then I omitted any headings. But headings for "Vocal Scores" or "Arrangements, Transcriptions" were always used, even if they were the only works on that page, so that they couldn't be mistaken for full scores.

I found that some alterations were needed in the file descriptions to avoid unnecessary repetitions. In the composers' versions these could simply be standardized to "Complete Score" or the titles of the individual movements/sections. Some of the arrangements/transcriptions included the names of the arranger/transcriber in the file description, but in other cases they were just identified in the "Editor" field below. I decided not to meddle with these without seeking further advice :)

Anyway, that's how it worked for Tchaikovsky. But will the same guidelines apply just as well to the other 1209 composers on IMSLP? :!:

Carolus
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Postby Carolus » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:53 am

Looks pretty good from what I've seen.

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Postby Carolus » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:12 am

OK, just to remind myself, I'm putting the (tentative) hierarchy scheme here at the end:

    Composer's Versions
      Complete Work in original version
        Full Score
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Vocal Score (if applicable)*
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Parts
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
      Transcriptions
        Full Score
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Vocal Score (if applicable)
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Parts
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
      Excerpts
        Full Score
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Vocal Score (if applicable)
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Parts
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
    Versions by Others (made after composer's death or without composer's authorization)
      Complete Work
        Full Score
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Vocal Score (if applicable)
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Parts
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
      Excerpts
        Full Score
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Vocal Score (if applicable)
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets
        Parts
          Manuscripts
          Printed editions (at least 25 years old)
          Computerized typesets


*Opera vocal scores is one area where we might have to make an exception to this order. For example, both Verdi and Puccini employed an assistant to prepare vocal scores for nearly all of their operas who worked very closely with the composer and under his direct supervision.

Lyle Neff
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Postby Lyle Neff » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:58 pm

Carolus, given that piano transcriptions of orchestral works (and some operas) are often published (either 2-hand or 4-hand), shouldn't those figure into the list somewhere?

Although the 4-hand versions might often be by the composer, other 4-hand arrangements and usually the 2-hand ones are done by others.

I suppose "Transcriptions" would be the place.

Speaking of that section and "Excerpts," if there exist more than one transcription, I would think that a set of parts should be placed close to the score arrangement that they belong to, e.g.,

Transcriptions [or Excerpts]

Full score of A
[Piano score of A]
Parts for A

Full score of B
[Piano score of B]
Parts for B
"A libretto, a libretto, my kingdom for a libretto!" -- Cesar Cui (letter to Stasov, Feb. 20, 1877)

Davydov
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Postby Davydov » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:05 pm

Some good suggestions here, and our goal should be to come up with something that is both simple to understand and to implement.

With this in mind, and after a great deal of soul-searching and experimentation, I would like to propose just two top-level headings: "Original Works" and "Arrangements and Transcriptions", as follows:

===Original Work===

The category "Original Work" denotes the composition in the genre for which it was originally conceived (e.g. for orchestra, chorus, piano, etc.). If the "Original Work" was significantly revised or altered by the composer, or completed by others (still in the same genre), then appropriate sub-headings can be added, e.g.:

====1st version (1869)====
====3rd version (1880)====
====Completion by Nikolay Rimsky-Korskov, 2nd version (1906)====
====Completion by Hector Berlioz (1834)====

For the majority of cases this level will not be required, as the composition only exists in one version.
Within each category, the available editions should be listed chronologically, so the composer's manuscript might appear first, and modern computerised editions last.

If a score only exists for part of a work (and it isn't just a partial scan of a fuller work), then the level 5 heading ("=====") "Extracts" can be used, and placed after complete scores in the same category. Scores should be assumed to relate to the whole work, unless otherwise indicated by this heading.

The file descriptions (rather than new headings) should also consistenly indicate whether the PDF file relates to a "Complete Score" for the whole work, or just of a named or numbered extract.

===Arrangements and Transcriptions===

All later versions of the work — whether by the composer or other hands — should be listed here. It would probably be most helpful to list these in descending order of instrumentation, i.e. orchestrations first, then vocal scores (for operas), chamber arrangements and piano transcriptions. Each arrangement should have its own heading, e.g.

====Arrangement for Orchestra (Ravel)====
====Vocal Score (composer/Smith)====
====Arrangement for violin with piano (composer)====
====Transcription for piano duet (Beethoven)====

The full names of the arrangers will appear in the description for each file, under "Editor", so surnames will suffice (but can be omitted if the arranger is unknown). Within each heading the arrangement should be chronological, as for the original work, with complete scores taking precedence over extracts.

The term "Transcription" is often used for a piano reduction of a piece, whereas "Arrangement" is taken to mean an orchestration of a smaller-scale piece. However, sometimes the opposite is understood, so we should use the terms consistently, or stick with "Arrangement" for both purposes.

As instrumental parts can (in theory) belong to a wide range of categories (i.e. full scores, vocal scores, arrangements), it seems logical to list them immediately after the edition from which they were derived, even if that has not yet been added independently.

The last important rule is that headings and sub-headings should not be used for empty categories. For example, if a page only has arrangements, the heading "Original Work" should not be used (and vice-versa).

I think this system would be intuitive, easy to understand and straightforward to put into practice. It's also consistent with modern bibliographical practice (e.g. putting original versions before arrangements, and complete works before extracts), and in most instances would not require major changes to the existing pages.

What do you think? Polite criticism only please :)

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Postby Carolus » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:47 am

First of all, let me explain my use of the terms "transcription" vs. "arrangement" (with the full acknowledgment that composers and publishers have used these terms interchangeably and quite inconsistently over the centuries).

I try use the term "arrangement" only if the work has been abridged, re-ordered, or otherwise significantly changed in length or scope.

For example, I would describe Ravel's orchestrations of his piano works as "transcriptions" because they are the same length as the original piano version. I also use "transcription" when a composer (or another) has made a violin and piano reduction of a violin concerto from the violin and orchestra original. It also sometimes is very difficult to determine if a vocal score is the original version or the orchestral score - especially when the composer was responsible for both.

In contrast, a "potpourri" or "fantasia" from an opera would absolutely qualify as an "arrangement" in my book, since such an item is nowhere near the length of the original and is really often a medley of favorite arias and choruses with composed transitions, etc.

Davydov, I gather from your latest that you're more in favor of going to having the top level hierarchy split between Original Work / Transcriptions and Arrangements instead of a Composer's Own Versions / Versions by Others? I don't have any problem with this schema, and I don't see it being that hard to implement.

One thing we probably should keep in mind is that Feldmahler is considering adding a "tab"-like feature to each work-page. Is it possible that we should have more than two top-level divisions (no more than four I imagine)? For example, would life be simpler for some of the huge pages (like Handel's Messiah - which will really get ugly once complete scores and parts are added for Mozart's orchestration and the Mozart-Prout version) if there were "tabs" (sub-pages) for Original Version / Transcriptions and Arrangements / Excerpts?

I think we're all agreed that making things "both simple to understand and to implement" is the ultimate goal.

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Postby vinteuil » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:57 pm

I've found that for general usage these systems are fine:
(orchestral scores):
Full Scores
(editions, if neccessary)
Parts
Excerpts, Transcriptions, Arrangements
If there are a lot of two different kinds, subheadings
(choral/opera)
Full scores
Vocal Scores
Choral Scores (if neccessary)
parts
Excerpts, Transcriptions, arrangements
(Chamber)
Original version
Parts
Excerpts, Transcriptions, Arrangements
It's a bit oversimplified...but it does work for most pieces.
Maybe we should build these headings into the template? Just asking

Davydov
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Postby Davydov » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:51 pm

OK, I've begun to standardise the headings on the Tchaikovsky pages, taking into account the discussions above, and will report back...

One point that has already arisen concerns orchestral parts for large-scale works, where the files for each part are so large that they have been sub-divided. This leads to two possible arrangements, either

Piccolo part:
* Overture
* Act I, No. 1
* Act II, No. 2, etc.
[...all the other parts...]
Double Bass part:
* Overture
* Act I, No. 1
* Act II, No. 2, etc.

OR
Overture:
* Piccolo part
[...all the other parts...]
* Double bass
Act I, No.1:
* Piccolo part
[...all the other parts...]
* Double bass
Act I, No.2:
* Piccolo part
[...all the other parts...]
* Double bass

In other words, would the parts be better grouped by instrument, or by the section of the score. What do you think would be the best way to handle this situation?

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Postby Peter » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:20 am

ok guys, maybe one of you can summarize this thread in a nice guideline on the wiki, because no one is going to read all this posts...

Davydov
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Postby Davydov » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:22 am

Peter wrote:ok guys, maybe one of you can summarize this thread in a nice guideline on the wiki, because no one is going to read all this posts...


We're still throwing ideas around for the moment, but I'll try to put something more concise and coherent together this weekend...

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Postby Davydov » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:28 pm

As promised I've put together some proposed standards here:

http://imslp.org/wiki/User:P.davydov/standards

Just looking at a random sample, probably 50% of our existing pages would require no change if these standards were agreed, but they may be helpful in resolving some awkward issues.

Could any comments go in the "Discussion" tab of the above page, and I'll post back here when it looks like we're nearing a consenus. I've no idea when that might be ... :)

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Postby Peter » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:57 am

Thanks! A great step in our non-score content, where activity seems declining to me. When complete, we can put it in the guidelines. The next issue would be the standardisation of the titles (translation or not, second title or not, use of opus numbers, etc etc), instrumentation, and inclusion in the lists.

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Postby Lyle Neff » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:57 am

This just struck me:

What is the rationale for placing the "General Information" block at the bottom of each work page, rather than at the top? More often than not, with an unfamiliar piece I want go to that space first, because I want to see what the genre, (original) instrumentation, etc. are.
Last edited by Lyle Neff on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"A libretto, a libretto, my kingdom for a libretto!" -- Cesar Cui (letter to Stasov, Feb. 20, 1877)

Davydov
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Postby Davydov » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:21 pm

That's a good idea. I can think of some very basic matters of terminology it would be helpful to clarify, such as "Cello" vs "Violoncello", or the best way to represent flats/sharps in text when referring to key signatures.

It would be helpful if there was somewhere we could exchange ideas on these sorts of issues. It's a pity the forum is working so slowly at the moment (what is going on BTW?), but you're welcome to use the discussion section on the draft standards page, at the above-mentioned URL.


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