Category talk:Musical compositions

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Terminology debate[edit]

Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (...talk page of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (pieces of music)?) and Lists of pieces (...category:lists of pieces and/or list of pieces?) — Lists of pieces has a format borrowed from Lists of solo piano pieces, which lists pages by composer, style or period, and nationality or culture. Now a list of pages itself (... e.g. Category:Lists of pieces by composer?) and every alphabetical page clearly violates the "Do not use an article name that suggests a hierarchy of articles" convention, example: List of solo piano pieces by composer: G. Do we add lists such as this as an exception to that convention or make the "lists" one list instead of many?

I can't seem to find the page for this discussion; can someone help? [[User:Poccil|Peter O. (Talk)]] 19:58, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)
I copy-paste this topic to Category talk:Musical compositions, and propose to continue this discussion there --Francis Schonken 07:34, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I believe the above paragraph is mine. The answer given regarding hierarchy of articles is that an article hierarchy is fine, obviously, as that is what the categorization system is. What was meant was that articlespace should not use forward slashes. Hyacinth 20:06, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Terminology debate cont.[edit]

I moved the above to this discussion page, while I suppose this is not a topic to be treated separately for "lists":

  • Some of the lists would maybe better be (partially or completely) converted to categories (I already tried this with category:Erik Satie compositions).
  • Probably the initial problem explained at the RfC page related to hopping between traditional Lists and the emerging Categories of lists (see italicised insertions in the first paragraph of this page)?
  • I have problems with the present subcategories created for the "Musical compositions" category (albums/pieces/songs), which I think quite incompatible with classical music: e.g. where does a Mahler or a Schubert song(-cycle) go?
Given the system you describe above "Classical compositions" is redundant, as non-classical compositions are not called compositions but instead albums, pieces, or songs. I think it is important that we not slight popular music. Hyacinth 20:13, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I propose we use the Library of Congress music classification PDF or HTML/HTM.

Hi Hyacinth,
-> I added your suggestion to Wikipedia_talk:Categories_for_deletion#Non-Wikipedia_categorization_systems: in the past "non-Wikipedia classification systems" proved to get firm opposition more often than not. The more general discussion about such systems is about to start... (just click the link to participate).
-> Personally I feel much for the Library of Congress classification. Of course it has some American bias (e.g. Music Printed or Copied in Manuscript in the United States or the Colonies Before 1860 - although the HTML version you mention seems to filter that out) - with a few adjustments I suppose it could work fine.
-> Creation of "Classical compositions" category was more like an emergency scenario when I had created category:Erik Satie compositions and could not classify it in the supercategories I found at that time - but as I said I had no clue whether I was helping the general categorization schemes re. music, or just creating more confusion.
-> A general point I tried to make is that musical terms tend to have different meanings in the (broad) realm of classical music and in the (not less broad) realm of pop music (and all its extentions like house music, etc...), e.g.:
- In classical music a "song" is always vocal music (except when expressly called "song without words", but that is a different category than "songs"), in pop music purely instrumental pieces are often called "song", without distinction.
- In pop music every separate "composition" (or "track") can be called a song - in classical music the notion of "song" is much more complex (in music school I was even thaught that the german term "Lied" could not exactly be translated to "song" in English), and anyway only applies to a quite limited sub-category of vocal compositions (e.g. the many -separate- concert aria's Mozart composed could never be called "Lieder", and even less "songs").
- In 19th century so many composers produced "Feuilles d'Album" or "Albumblätter" ("Album leaves") - where album has a completely different meaning from what was intended with the "Album" category created in "musical compositions" in Wikipedia.
- Defining a piece as non-vocal music (or not less cumbersome, as music without lyrics) is totally incompatible with classical music, where every piece of music (vocal or not) can be called a piece, while on the other hand piece would in classical music only be used for shorter one-movement compositions (the term gets a slightly pejorative/mocking meaning when applied to larger compositions like 19th century symphonies, or even to any of John Cage's compositions - Satie exploited this "ironical" meaning of "piece" in his morceaux en forme de poire - Pear-shaped pieces)
A first escape route I thought off was to create two different, and only loosely related, systems: one for "popular music" and one for "classical music", each using its own terminology (which is more or less coherent within each of these groups). But the fact is that I don't like that separation, it doesn't show the cross-links that unite all music of all times.
Anyway, the problem is not solved yet: you don't want pop music to be classified in the classical music way (to which I agree completely), equally I don't think it possible/sensible to classify classical music with the usual pop music terminology (whether I like it or not). I'm not sure whether Library of Congres is the escape route that would solve it all, but to me it seems something worth a try.
--Francis Schonken 07:36, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It seems ridiculous that seemingly "non-Wikipedia created" categorization schemes are rejected simply for seeming so as "Wikipedia created" categorization schemes are likewise created by outside classifications. I think "Musical composition" or "Musical work" is a good super-category, and applicable to popular and classical music and I think that on some low levels popular and classical music may be described the same way. There is no classical equivalent to "album" as a compositional unity, but classical and popular songs (actual songs, not all "vocal works") are. Hyacinth 09:13, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I edited "Category:Pieces" per my above comment and listed "Category:Classical compositions" for speedy deletion as we both currently agree that it is unnecessary to make the popular/classical division. Hyacinth 09:21, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Have you decided that "Category:Pieces" must go? Concertos would seem appropriate there, if the category is. Hyacinth 00:18, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hi Hyacinth, all,
Alas, no for concertos: Concerto for Group and Orchestra could not be a "piece" if "pieces" are defined as non-vocal (or: without lyrics).
So, no "decision" from my part (left alone whether its up to me to make decisions in that sense).
Have been busy with several things in music etc... Very interesting all of it, e.g. see Sinfonia concertante.
Saw somebody (didn't check who) changed "20th century composers" category to "20th century classical composers" category: basicly I think this better, although: (1) for Erik Satie this doesn't solve the case, in my view, but that's maybe rather his fault for being so difficult to classify (I kept him in the "Composers" category - at least that was on his Business Card - and associated him with some art movements on the other hand - naming him a "Dadaist composer" or the like seems somehow absurd: I wouldn't know which of his works to classify as "dadaist", etc...); (2) again, against both our will, distinctions between "classical" and "non-classical" music in 20th century are made stricter in this way, e.g. where to put George Gershwin?
Sorry for my work on categories sometimes being fuzzy or seeming erratically, I consider it as part of the learning curve (hope others can see it thus too).
Returning to your initial question about the "pieces" category: without saying this would be my final opinion on this, presently I'm thinking along a line that maybe it could be possible to apply a "double" category definition to the pieces category:
Pieces are non-vocal tracks in popular music and/or compositions from a more classical tradition that were adopted by popular culture.
-> which would make possible to classify as well Bachianas Brasileiras N° 5 (vocal piece in two-parts) as a "piece", as Alla Turca (which in classical music is only a movement from a piano sonata), as Wilhelm Tell ouverture, as Bizet's Habanera from Carmen, but e.g. not the entire operas where these two last pieces derive from. Similarly the Moldau as piece, but not the complete Ma Vlast cycle.
When wanting to access completer lists of compositions, these can be found in other subcategories of "Musical compositions" category. "Pieces" remains direct subcategory of "Musical compositions" in this proposed set-up, but some of it's subcategories would move elsewhere.
Don't know if this helps?
--Francis Schonken 14:29, 3 Oct 2004 (UTC)


The name "Pieces" does not in itself specify music. What would people think about a Category: either "Tunes" or "Melodies"? -- Infrogmation 07:31, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The problem with "Tunes" and "Melodies" is that they are parts of compositions, and would only work if we actually had articles devoted only to the melody or tune of songs, and not the songs themselves. Hyacinth 19:00, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Revision of stub[edit]

I know it's just a stub, but it bothered me. :) Maybe this will make it to the article.

A musical composition is a piece of original music designed for repeated performance (as opposed to strictly improvisational music, in which each performance is unique). The music may be preserved in memory, or through a written system of notation. Compositions include songs to be performed by human voices, usually including lyrics, as well as pieces written for other musical instruments.

I took issue with improvisation being somehow inferior as a compositional technique, viewing it as an outdated, nearly colonial attitude to culture in music. The last sentence is also far too narrow for an overall definition of composition.

Musical composition may also refer to the process by which a piece of music is originated. People who practice composition are called composers. Useful skills in composition include writing musical notation, instrumentation, and handling musical ensembles (orchestration).

I added to this, again, to reflect a broader perspective on composition.

Compositional techniques are methods used to create and alter material. In discussing the structure or organization of a musical work, the "composition" of that work is generally called its musical form.

I elaborated on technique a bit, including examples.

Important in much musical composition or musical form is the scale for the notes used, including the mode and tonic note. Whereas when playing or reading music, only the key signature (set of notes in scale) matters. In music using twelve tone techniques the tone row is even more comprehensive a factor than a scale.

This exposed a bias toward Western musical composition. I reworded it to try and make it more inclusive, as well as adding other examples of composition.

If I have time, I might write this article. Maybe. --JEMathews 23:00, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Category Recorded music[edit]

I created Category:Recorded music in ignorance of this discussion, and it should in hindsight be discussed here.

It seemed to fill a gap. The earliest singles weren't really seen as singles AFAIK, as the concept of an album wasn't well established until later. Or was it? Neither of these articles actually give a date, but Category:Singles by year starts with Category:1939 singles, nothing earlier yet. Comments welcome. Andrewa 09:44, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Category Musical Repertoire[edit]

I created Category:Musical Repertoire in ignorance of this discussion. The problem I'm facing can be simply described this way.It is very hard to find the repertoire for specific instrumentation (for ex: Voice, Cello and Piano).

So I added this category for this particular need. In the search for organizing the information, I found that there are some problems in the current information:

  • I can find the biography of a composer (Bach, Chopin), but all composer names are listed (in List of Compositions by Composer) by their first name! I think this should be changed (instead of Frederic Chopin, it should be listed as Chopin, Frederic)
  • Under each biography, there should be a link to the List of Compositions by Composer
  • Under each List of Compositions by Composer (for example Chopin), the compositions should be listed by Instrumentation, and by Opus number (the information about Chopin is good)
  • For each composition, there should be a link to the piece (as there is for Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G minor. The problem with this is that the link to the piece is not standardized. If there is another composer with a composition with the same name, we have a problem! I propose that the link should have the name of the composer and a reference to the piece name or Opus number. I found a similar problem with Bach's Saint Matthew Passion.
  • Under the category List of Pieces, things are poorly organized. The idea is good, but it should be further discussed. I'll add a few remarks concerning this category later.

--Repas Goncalves March 9th 2006

new division[edit]

Just like Compositions by composer and Compositions by instrument, i would like new subcategories, for maintaining a clean category:

  • Compositions by genre - then here can be moved: suites, sonatas, ouvertures, rags, inceidental music...
  • Compositions by style - moved: jazz compositions, twelve tone compositions, serial compositions, ...

Good idea? Dr. Friendly 20:43, 22 May 2007 (UTC)