Wikipedia:WikiProject Classical music/Guidelines

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The WikiProject Classical music project follows these guidelines:

Biographical infoboxes[edit]

Infoboxes are neither required nor prohibited for any article. Whether to include an infobox, which infobox to include, and which parts of the infobox to use, is determined through discussion and consensus among the editors at each individual article. However, current consensus among project participants holds that biographical infoboxes are often counterproductive on biographies of classical musicians, including conductors and instrumentalists, because they often oversimplify issues and cause needless debates over content; and that they should not be used without first obtaining consensus on the article's talk page. This position is in line with that reached by the participants at the Composers Project and the Opera Project.

Links to the various infobox-related discussions from 2007 to 2013 are provided at Wikipedia:WikiProject Classical music/Major discussions.

Articles about compositions[edit]

Title[edit]

An article's title should be selected to best represent what readers of Wikipedia expect. This means, among other things, that titles should be consistent for each genre. For example, a reader who has already successfully found Mozart's 40th symphony under Symphony No. 40 (Mozart) will expect that Haydn's 103rd symphony should be found under Symphony No. 103 (Haydn).

For existing precedents regarding article titling, please see: Category:Compositions by composer.

Judgment calls arise when a work has a famous nickname. For example, it might be more useful to readers to label the famous string serenade by Mozart as Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and not Serenade No. 13 (Mozart), even though doing so would violate the de facto naming convention for serenades. In borderline cases, consult other editors on appropriate talk pages before proceeding.

No matter what title you select, be sure to include redirect pages to help readers who search under different titles. For example, the link Serenade No. 13 (Mozart) given immediately above is in fact not a separate article, but a redirect to Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

Capitalization: original language titles[edit]

Shortcut:

Capitalization of work titles should follow the style used in the most recent editions of New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The Oxford Dictionary of Music:

Structure[edit]

All articles should begin with a sentence that clearly identifies the piece, with the following suggested format:

[Piece name] is a [work type], [opus number], written by [composer] in [date].
Example: Caractacus is a cantata, Op. 35, written by Edward Elgar in 1898.

After this, a brief account of the piece in the context of the composer's life should be given (e.g., "The composer had just returned from..."). Further paragraphs may be used to describe the political, social, historical, and musicological context of the piece (e.g., "At the time, the Napoleonic wars were raging in Europe...").

If the piece is an oratorio or other dramatic work, a plot summary may be written (preferably scene by scene, but not overly detailed), followed by dramatis personæ. A musical analysis should follow, discussing the work's distinguishing features (such as its dynamics, performance quirks, instrumentation, key, and so forth). Where appropriate, list the movements.

A paragraph may be added on the legacy and impact of the piece (how it perhaps altered genres, begat new styles, or popularized new methods).

Finally, the listing of any notable recordings and references is recommended, complete with links, so as to allow the reader to obtain further information if desired.

All musical pieces are different; these notes are intended as only a loose and general guideline. However, do avoid adding irrelevant or insignificant material.

Evaluative passages[edit]

In general, subjective personal responses to a work (for example, "the deeply touching, elegiac slow movement") should be avoided. If it is deemed appropriate to include such subjective interpretations, find existing source material in which critics present views of this kind, and quote the critics, including a citation of the source. Such quotations give readers an idea of how listeners have responded to a work and do not violate the Wikipedia's policy against original research.

Descriptions based on the score[edit]

In general, it is permitted to make factual observations based on examination of the musical score of a work. Such observations should be limited to those agreed upon by virtually anyone with musical training, for instance "the trio section is in F major" or "the finale is in sonata form". Statements that are clearly interpretations, not observations ("the opening four notes of the Fifth Symphony are echoed by similar passages throughout the four movements") should not be inserted by editors, since they violate the policy against original research; though they can be quoted from source material if this is suitably cited.

For borderline cases, first place the proposed revision on the Talk page and get other editors' approval.

Excerpts[edit]

We discourage separate articles on excerpts from famous works (and series of works) already covered by Wikipedia. Readers need to be able to find coherent, consistent information about the complete work, not just the excerpt. Disproportionate coverage of one part of a work can lead to misconceptions about the full opus, and lead to readers only finding partial information after searching. Moreover, in most cases specific redirects to main page sections can make excerpt articles unnecessary.

Separate articles can be justified if the music, being performed in a different context from the complete work or in an alternative arrangement, is notable in its own right. However these cases are rare, so editors are asked to propose excerpt articles here at the Classical Music Project before creation.

Naming using an authority control system[edit]

When choosing a name for an article, the Library of Congress name authority file should be consulted to see if there is an established name. For names not listed there (primarily foreign), users should go to VIAF, which contains international authority files. (These systems allocate canonical unique identifiers to single entities, allowing clear disambiguation between different entities with similar names, while allocating single identifiers for multiple variant names.)

Opus numbers and catalog numbers[edit]

Shortcut:

The works of many composers are categorized by Opus number. Work titles that include opus numbers should use the abbreviation "Op. " (with capital "O" and a space between the period and the number, and be set off by commas). For example: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111, by Beethoven. (See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style (music)#Abbreviations.)

For other composers, the usual reference is through numbers assigned in authoritative catalogs of works prepared by musicologists. Below is a partial guide.

Although not as commonly referenced as the foregoing, Jarmil Burghauser's catalogue of works by Antonín Dvořák (B) offers a useful escape from the morass of conflicting opus and work numbers assigned to that composer's music by publishers and others.

Organisations and institutions[edit]

Shortcut:

Titles of organisations and institutions (e.g. orchestras, musical ensembles and groups, concert halls, festivals, schools etc.) should follow official usage (i.e. the spelling, punctuation etc. used by the organisation’s own publications). In the case of non-English names, we use official English versions if and when they have been established by the organisation itself. If not, we use the native name. Original English names, translated from other languages, should not be created.

Foreign language names[edit]

The letters, accents and diacritics in the original language should be preserved when referring to works by their original language title (provided that language uses the Latin alphabet), e.g. Schöpfungsmesse not Schopfungsmesse nor Schoepfungsmesse, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune not Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune.

The names of works, and other terms, should be marked up with the {{lang}} template, using the appropriate two-letter language code; for example: {{lang|de|Deutschlandlied}}.

Keys: capitalization[edit]

Key should be capitalized, but "major", "minor", "sharp" and "flat" should be in lower case. For example, C-sharp major; B-flat minor; D minor; G major.

Some reference works use a space-saving system where the words "major" and "minor" are omitted; a key in upper case refers to a major key, and one in lower case is a minor key. For example, "D" would mean D major, and "d" would mean D minor. Some editors confuse matters by adopting a part of this system but still spelling out the words "major" or "minor" – thus, "D major" vs. "d minor". This is inconsistent and is to be avoided.

Musical forces: specifying those used in a work[edit]

Current consensus favours dividing instruments into their families in large works, while preserving a paragraph format.

Section title[edit]

For large works, or large articles, it's usually best to describe the forces used under a separate section header (enclosed in "=="). Current consensus strongly favours titling that section Instrumentation, and not "Orchestration," which usually denotes the composer's use of the instruments. Instrumentation denotes the instruments themselves.

Format[edit]

The consensus format for specifying which instruments or voices a work uses follows the precedents established by professional writers on music, for example in program notes written for concerts. These generally employ a simple paragraph style, listing the instruments in the normal order in which they appear in the full score. Thus a concert program ([1]) for a San Francisco Symphony performance of Schumann's Fourth Symphony specifies the instruments as follows:

The work is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, and strings.

This can be wikified by simply linking each instrument to its dedicated article, leaving us with:

The work is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings.**
**A note on strings: For orchestral works, the word strings should be linked to the article String section, which details the orchestral string ensemble, rather than String instrument, which deals with chordophones in general and is less helpful in this context. Listing the string instruments separately (i.e. "first and second violins, violas..." etc.) is generally unnecessary, unless the composer has specified numbers or unusual formations.

This simple format is applicable to most works, even most of those calling for larger orchestras, more percussion, and doubling on auxiliary wind instruments. For example:

The symphony is scored for an orchestra consisting of 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets (1st doubling E-flat clarinet), 4 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 cornets, 3 trombones, 2 ophicleides (usually replaced by tubas), 2 pairs of timpani, snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, bells in C and G, 2 harps, and strings.

However, for works employing particularly large orchestras, complex wind doublings, large percussion sections, offstage instruments, and the like, it may be useful to expand the above format, dividing the instruments into several (possibly bulleted) paragraphs, according to their respective families (woodwinds, brass, etc). One example of an acceptably expanded description can be found in this article.

Carefully formatted columnar tables may be appropriate for complex descriptions that include information on the use of various instruments in different movements. A good example of this format is the article Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven).

Tables, columns, and long multi-level bulleted lists should be avoided, except in the most extreme cases. It is advisable to consult other editors on the article's Talk page to obtain consensus for such arrangements.

Score order[edit]

Instruments should be listed in the order they appear in the score, from the top down. Conventionally that order is as follows:

  1. Woodwinds (in order: piccolo, flute, oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon);
  2. Brass (horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba);
  3. Percussion (timpani, then other percussion – if possible specifying both the instruments played and the number of players; pitched percussion (marimba, etc) is generally listed last);
  4. Keyboard/miscellaneous (celesta, harp, piano, organ);
  5. voices (soloists, then chorus; they are often placed between violas and cello/bass in the score, but do not adopt that order in Wikipedia);
  6. offstage instruments or voices;
  7. strings (1st violin, 2nd violin, viola, cello, double bass).

In concertos and similar works, the solo voice(s) or instrument(s) are generally listed first.

Recordings[edit]

In general, recordings are included in a Discography section of the article on the artist, or on the work. If the artist's or work's discography is extensive, it can be split out to a separate article. If a recording is exceptional, you can add a description and critical reviews.

Notability of recordings[edit]

On rare occasions, a recording or album is so exceptional that it merits an article of its own. This can occur when one or more of the following general notability guidelines apply:

  1. The recording has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial published works whose sources are independent of the artist or composer. Some of these works must contain information beyond a mere critical review of the recording. In other words, critical reviews in several publications are not enough in themselves to establish the need for a separate article. If all you have are reviews, quote them in the discography section of the artist's or work's article.
  2. The recording has won a number of major awards.
  3. The recording has been considered by reliable sources to have made a significant contribution to classical music; for example, it is a recording of an historically important performance or has influenced the interpretations of other performers.

Titles of articles on recordings[edit]

Titles of articles on recordings of classical music should include the name of the album (if it has a name), the name of the performer, and the word "recording"; for example, Goldberg Variations (Glenn Gould recording). Do not include the name of the composer, unless the title would otherwise be ambiguous (for example, Beethoven Symphony number 5 (Chicago Symphony Furtwangler recording)).

References[edit]

References, notes and sources are all contained within one main section called 'References'. There are a number of optional subheadings:

  • '''Notes''' designating footnotes or direct in-line citations (using {{Reflist}} coding below the "Notes" subheading)
  • '''Cited sources''' (including specific articles or books appearing in the notes)
  • '''Other sources''' (including those that are not directly cited but provide further information)
  • Note that bold type for these headings should not be effected with the wiki markup ";" (semicolon) – for an explanation see H:DL. Using section header markup is discouraged because of cluttering the table of contents.

Example:

==References==

Notes

  1. Becket 1981, p. 171
  2. Borchmeyer 2003, p. 9
  3. Kennedy 2006, p. 299

Cited sources

Other sources

  • Gregor-Dellin, Martin (1983) Richard Wagner — His Life, His Work, His Century, Harcourt. ISBN 978-0151771516

Uses in popular culture[edit]

Often articles about works of classical music are sometimes edited along the following lines:

Work X was used in [movie/TV show/electronic game] Y.

Such edits should be discouraged, they are usually of little interest to readers who want to know about the musical work, and would be of greater interest to readers who want to know about the movie, TV show, or electronic game. For instance, viewers of these items often would like to know what music they are hearing. Except in extraordinary circumstances, contributions of this sort should be politely reverted. It may be useful to encourage the contributor to include the item in the article about the movie, TV show, or electronic game, if this has not already been done. See also: Wikipedia:Avoid trivia sections.