Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Music

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WikiProject Manual of Style
WikiProject icon This page falls within the scope of WikiProject Manual of Style, a drive to identify and address contradictions and redundancies, improve language, and coordinate the pages that form the MoS guidelines.



Titles that include parentheses should be capitalized as follows: the part outside the parentheses should be capitalized as if the parenthetical words are not present; the part inside the parentheses should be capitalized as if there were no parentheses at all.

While MOS:CT says:

Capitalize parenthetical phrases in titles as if they were separate titles (e.g. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper").

I ask this because "It Takes a Little Rain (To Make Love Grow)" has gone back and forth on capitalizing the "to" several times. MOS:CT says capitalize it; MOS:MUSIC says don't. If two policies are contradicting each other, then it's obvious that one should be fixed. I believe that MOS:CT should be the "parent" guideline here, with the capitalization section written to match it — since generalized policies almost always outweigh genre-specific ones. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 02:23, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment. I tried to get a discussion about this going at WT:MOSCAPS#Apparent conflict of guidelines, but there was insufficient particpation to generate any useful consensus. Except for one, all the commenters seemed, however, to agree that the way to go is to bring the MOS:CT guideline into line with the MOS:MUSIC one (i.e., the opposite of what TPH recommends above). That tends to be my opinion as well: The parenthetical elements in titles like "It Takes a Little Rain (to Make Love Grow)" function not as subtitles or alternative titles but as extensions of titles, so that although the "real" title is "It Takes a Little Rain", many people may refer to the song as "It Takes a Little Rain to Make Love Grow"; and I think that inserting parentheses around the extension phrase shouldn't affect the capitalization within the phrase. Nevertheless, I recommend that others at least glance at the WT:MOSCAPS discussion I cited above to familiarize themselves with some of the ramifications of either choice. Deor (talk) 12:06, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
  • MOSCAPS' way seems to be more established, though, as many other pages capitalize parentheticals. And I can't find any style guidelines that say anything either way. Furthermore, the lowercase "to" looks wrong to me. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 12:18, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
I would add to this the following question: should the word "the" in the band name "The Beatles" be capitalized if the word "the" is in the middle of a sentence? I mean, I always see the word "the" in "the United States" capitalized only when the country name begins a sentence, but left lowercase otherwise. --Marceki111 (talk) 20:32, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
No, you're right, it should not. Rothorpe (talk) 20:37, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
This has been discussed extensively; see Wikipedia talk:Requests_for_mediation/The_Beatles#Episode_IV:_A_New_Poll --hulmem (talk) 01:10, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment. This guideline directly contradicts MOS:CT and we should not have a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS MoS which defers to MOS:CT for further explanation. This lack of uniformity is misleading and confusing. I've been WP:BOLD and updated the project page to show the same rules and example as MOS:CT, although I don't expect it to stay without discussion! --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:36, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd also suggest that any further discussion on this should be at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters as we shouldn't really be diverging from the main guideline on this, and any reasons for divergence here would most likely also have cause for change on a wider scale. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:56, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Okay, as suspected, my edit was reverted. Please join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Contradiction and divergence at MOS:MUSIC --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:54, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Roman font?[edit]

In §Classical music titles this sentence:

Generic movement titles (such as tempo markings or terms like minuet and trio) are capitalized with a single initial capital—that is, only the first word is capitalized—and in roman type.

Really? So this, from the Korngold Symphony in F sharp major article, should look like this:

  1. Moderato, ma energico -- intense and stormy, with a jagged main theme
  2. Scherzo
  3. Adagio -- long, profound and meditative, in the tradition of Anton Bruckner. A memorial to Roosevelt.
  4. Finale -- optimistic; listeners will recognize references to film music and the song, "Over There".

I got here because roman font is mentioned for tempo markings at MOS:Ety. But, looking further through MOS:Music, roman font is mentioned a lot. Can this really be true? The normal Wikipedia font is sans serif. Is it really necessary to use a different font face?

Trappist the monk (talk) 18:39, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

"Roman" in this case simply means "not italic", so the MOS is saying that it should be "Scherzo" rather than "Scherzo" or "scherzo", etc. Deor (talk) 19:52, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Right, I'll change it so that a font different from the normal Wikipedia font is not explicitly specified. And I'll fix the Korngold and MOS:Ety as well.
Trappist the monk (talk) 23:29, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

In §Classical music titles this:

There are five acceptable methods for specifying the nickname after the generic title:
  1. in parentheses: Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)
  2. ...

If one is to believe the image of the title page of the autograph score, From the New World is a true title and not a nickname. The nickname would be New World Symphony. If this is true, then that set of examples may not be as good it should be.

Trappist the monk (talk) 00:50, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. (Z nového světa = From the New World) -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:33, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Naming conventions for list articles (as relates to songs)[edit]

There is a discussion regarding the naming of list articles as it applies to songs at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Songs. Interested parties may like to have a look and comment. This is message is also posted at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Music and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Lists. --Richhoncho (talk) 10:13, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

Naming conventions for recordings as it pertains to classical[edit]

I have searched Wikipedia for guidelines but have not found any. Is there a page or a discussion? It would be good to have a clearly explained naming convention in English we could refer to. There are variations from the record companies, as well as in Schwann, Fanfare and other publications (past and present) of record. Teainthesierra (talk) 16:30, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Beatles RfC[edit]

You are invited to participate in an RfC at Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/The Beatles on the issue of capitalising the definite article when mentioning that band's name in running prose. This long-standing dispute is the subject of an open mediation case and we are requesting your help with determining the current community consensus. Thank you for your time. For the mediators. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 03:45, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

No spaces in band/artist names[edit]

What is the relation of the following guideline to the stylization of band or artist names without spaces, such as 65daysofstatic, Sleepmakeswaves, Alexisonfire, etc.

"Standard English text formatting and capitalization rules apply to the names of bands and individual artists" (Wikipedia:MUSTARD#Capitalization)

It seems to me that these should then be 65 Days of Static, Sleep Makes Waves, and Alexis on Fire.

To write these without spaces feels to me to be simply reproducing stylizations and trademarks (MOS:TM).

But, if so, why should bands such as Coldplay, Slowdive or Deerhunter not be Cold Play, Slow Dive and Deer Hunter?

Is there a distinction to be made on the grounds that the former bands have names that are more grammatical? Wetdogmeat (talk) 02:44, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

MOSstyle relates to capitalizations and designs, so if the name of the band is 65daysofstatic then that's the name and how it should be shown. OTOH if the name was 65DaysOfStatic, then WP should still render as 65daysofstatic. As per my signature, I am not Rich Honcho, or Rich honcho, but I am --Richhoncho (talk) 23:34, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Replace the word "acts" in infoboxes with either "bands" or "artists"[edit]

I suggest that editors replace the word "acts" in infoboxes with either "bands" or "artists", depending on if the article talks about a band or a solo artist. This change must be done, as the word "act" leads to confusion since it is used to also mean a number at a circus or a division of a theatrical play.--Marceki111 (talk) 19:48, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Capitalization of abbreviations[edit]

My attention has just been called to the fact that this style sheet specifies the capitalization of the abbreviations for "opus" and "number". While this was standard practice in English writing through the 1940s, since that time it has increasingly become the norm to render these abbreviations lowercase (as, indeed, the words are always treated when spelled out). In fact, by 1982 the Chicago Manual of Style (13th edition) specified: "The abbreviation op. (opus; pl. opp. or opera) and no. (number; pl. nos.) are usually lowercased, but both are sometimes capitalized; either style is acceptable if consistently observed". By the 16th edition (2010), the option of capitalization has been dropped, though the word "usually" is still present. Of course, the CMS is only one authority among many, but I believe most if not all such sources agree on this point, and certainly the practice of scholarly journals is overwhelmingly in favor of lowercase. Is there an explanation somewhere for the deviation in this guideline from normal practice in music literature?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:39, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

I see a lot of upper-case, too. Looking at my books, Heartz, AP Brown, Winter & Martin, Steinberg, Berger, Caplin, Rushton, Sutcliffe, Drabkin, Webster all use upper case. Rosen, R.Will, R.L. Marshall use lower-case. This is just a quick unscientific survey but I don't see a unanimous move of the scholarly types towards lowercase. Academic Journals likely have fixed formatting style sheets for these types of things. I don't know what sides they fall on. As for wikipedia, I think a reasonably large group of editors reached a consensus on it and then standardized. The important thing was to be consistent. Its more awkward seeing a mix from page to page or even paragraph to paragraph.DavidRF (talk) 01:43, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
And one has to consider that the extreme majority of published music uses upper case. That I would think should be just as important. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 02:07, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
What have the cover-design choices of publishers to do with it (not to mention the fact that a large number of editions still in print date back a hundred years or more)? I must protest to DavidRF that I did not use the word "unanimous", and that ten books can easily be found to counter those ten, and ten more in the face of the next ten offered. However, this would be a waste of all our time. Style guides are not unanimous among themselves either, of course. Demar Irvine, for example, has stuck to the older preference through several posthumous editions, and the New York Times style sheet also prefers capitals. However, D. Kern Holoman's Writing about Music stands alongside the Chicago Manual as the most authoritative reference on the subject in America, and Holoman does not even suggest the possibility of capitalizing "op." (or "no.", when the latter is a subdivision of the former). In the UK, the New Oxford Style Manual (incorporating New Hart's Rules) is equally unambiguous. Having said this, I should make it clear that I am not suggesting that the present guideline on this matter should be overturned. It merely seems to me that, in light of the weight of these authorities, the lowercase option should at least be allowed, so long as a consistent style in maintained within any one article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:22, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I said my survey was "quick and unscientific", but I think it was enough to refute your claim of "overwhelmingly in favor of lowercase". I don't understand how a style guide can be considered so authoritative when so many famous musicologists ignore it. Yes, many publications do use the lowercase conventions too but I've looked more and I'm still finding that uppercase outnumbers lowercase around two to one or so -- even among recent publications. Most single publications pick one and stick with it. We just happened to pick the uppercase one here. We're not going to get into an edit war over something like this. If you've recently written an article using lowercase, then no one is going to sweep through and change it (unless its in the page title). A lot of these fussy details get overlooked if the content is good. I'd rather not change the specifications here though, because then there will be a push for thousands of page moves which I think would too disruptive. I'm just one voice, of course. If you want to discuss this with the larger group we can post a note at WP:CM and get more opinions.DavidRF (talk) 05:59, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps you read different publications than I do. I can tell you, however, that my investigation here was prompted by a threat to do exactly what you say no one is going to do, and I have had to revert exactly this change in a number of articles in the past, where one editor or another has claimed, "It is wrong to use lowercase". This is the first time someone has tried to tell me where this authority lies. I have to say that, while the idea of uniformity across all of Wikipedia is an attractive idea, there are areas where this matters a lot more than the present question. Referencing formats, for a start, where there is a de facto policy of non-uniformity. My original question actually was "Is there an explanation somewhere for the deviation in this guideline from normal practice in music literature?" I might rephrase this now, "Who is this 'We' who 'just happened to pick uppercase', and where did 'We' make this decision?"—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:38, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I thought I had answered your question on "normal practice" with a dozen contradictions. If Sisman, Heartz, Brown, Webster and the Cambridge Guides do it one way and Rosen, New Grove and Oxford do it another how can one say there's a "normal practice" which can be deviated from? You can check the archives on this page (archives 2 & 3) and at WP:CM (archives 17 & 18) as well as Wikipedia:Naming conventions (music) and its talk page to see how the naming conventions were discussed. These discussions were in 2007 and 2008 or so. I was only peripherally involved. I believe [[User::JackofOz]] was leading some of it and he's still around. I didn't personally agree with everything myself (not a big fan of the hyphen between the key letter and flat/sharp but I got used to it). I see now the concern raised on your recent article by a good editor pointing to the WP:OPUS guideline. But, I've also seen cases in the Handel and Bach areas where an editor puts his foot down and won't change some things and people look the other way because his content is so good. Post a note at the talk page at [{WP:CM]] if you want more feedback. I think more people watch that page.DavidRF (talk) 08:02, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
To describe my edit summary at Jacobo Ficher ("'op. xx' ought to be capitalised (WP:OPUS) – later") as a "threat" seems overly sensitive. I simply wanted to point to Wikipedia's style guide in this matter. This one, like almost all other Wikipedia style guides, has been picked by consensus from a variety of different usage patterns in the established literature; this is similar to the Opera Project's treatment of foreign language, particularly French, titles. The number of editors coming to this conclusion was smallish (some prefer not to make a "me too" contribution if they agree with the likely result), and a different set of editors might have reached a different consensus. Having now such a guideline and the resulting consistency is a good thing. Whether is must be enforced in every article ought to be a judgement call; in the edit mentioned above I chose not to. On the other hand, I think it's impractical and unnecessary to change the guideline. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:58, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Coming from a European background, where to my observation everything from Beethoven to Reger was written lowercase and published like that, I was surprised to see here the capital "Op." that looks overly stately to me. The consensus mentioned had been reached before I came. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:20, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
First of all, I owe Michael Bednarek an apology for having used the word "threat" without qualification. Michael is one of the most reliable and vigilant editors I have encountered on Wikipedia, and I always take his points seriously. Nevertheless, I read the edit summary: "op. xx" ought to be capitalised (WP:OPUS) – later" as a promise (a better word, I think) to return and change this transgression of mine at some later date. Second, I should probably also make plain that another editor whom I have reverted on this subject more than once is JackofOz. I think I may owe him an apology, too, now that I know there is an official Wikipedia format. Third, it should be abundantly clear by now that "normal practice" does not mean "always lowercase", but neither does it mean "always capitalized". I also stand by my former position that lowercase is increasingly the predominant usage—at least in the academy, where I have been observing this trend since the mid-1960s.
Fourth, and finally, I think it necessary to answer a question from DavidRF left open earlier, namely "how a style guide can be considered so authoritative when so many famous musicologists ignore it". The answer is that authors seldom if ever have the authority to override the house style of their publishers, which are established in their style sheets. A few of these style sheets are published, and the most respected ones are used by many other publishers as the basis of their own house style. In America, the Chicago Manual is one of the most prominent of these, and one of the few comprehensive enough to extend to musicological subjects. It is still somewhat sketchy in this area, which is why D. Kern Holoman's book (originally the style sheet for 19th Century Music) has become so useful. In the UK, the Cambridge and Oxford style guides have a similar position. It is usually possible to determine which of these style guides a publisher uses by consulting their online instructions to authors. In other cases, the publisher supplies a style sheet to author's on request, or upon acceptance of their work for publication. More often than not, this in-house style sheet will refer to one of the published guides, and indicate any significant deviations. Wikipedia editors ought to be aware of how such styles are developed in the publishing trade, which is very different from the consensus method used on Wikipedia.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:53, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Sure. I've published papers before. It was in science and not in music but its still a field where there are lots of symbols and abbreviations. In my field, what was usually done is that some sort of macro is used and the journal applies their style sheet interpreting the macros. If the paper is sent to a different journal then subtle things (like Op. vs op.) will look different. We were usually just happy that the paper was published and spreading publications to different journals provided better visibility for the group. I'm checking as many recent and scholarly music publications as I can. I do see many op.'s and no.'s but at least as many Op.'s and No.'s. That's my general beef with these types of style guides. They aren't as followed in practice as they sound when reading them. So, I don't think invoking Holoman is enough to overrule the preferences here. Maybe I just don't want the disruption of thousands of page moves, but setting the "Op." and "No." preferences on this page are not unreasonable choices for wikipedia.DavidRF (talk) 17:54, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Song lyrics disambiguation and hatnotes[edit]

Other users and I have gotten into discussions in which it was declared that potential confusion is not a sufficient reason to include a song lyric excerpt in a disambiguation entry or hatnote; the confusion must be a significant topic in reliable sources.

Where is this guideline documented? I assume WP:V/WP:RS/WP:N are meant to cover this, but they aren't clear what the standard of verifiability is for disambiguations and hatnotes. Should we make it more explicit in the MoS? Or am I misreading the consensus?

(I am not sure whether this is the best venue. Related pages: WP:MOSDAB, WP:Hatnote, WP:Wikipedia is not Google) --SoledadKabocha (talk) 04:22, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

changing main MOS to match MOS:MUSIC[edit]

MOS:MUSIC differs from the main MOS on caps, and many of us feel this is the superior version. (See discussion over there on this.) However, your rule, while better, has its problems. I found Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American) where, IMO, the "capitalize as if the parentheses did not exist" rule does not work, because removing the parentheses would result in gibberish. I think in cases like this, where the parentheses indicate an alternative title rather than the full title, that the parenthetical part needs to be capitalized as if it stood alone. Consider Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker), which in the info box is Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk). Okay, in this case it makes no difference, but obviously treating that as a single line w/o parentheses wouldn't work. — kwami (talk) 00:40, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Addition to MOS: names of organizations and institutions[edit]

Names of organizations and institutions are not currently covered by the MOS. I propose adding the following section (It's already been discussed by WP:CM.) :

Organisations and institutions

Names 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.

Please suggest improvements. --Kleinzach 07:26, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg DoneKleinzach 05:26, 9 May 2013 (UTC)


From this guideline:

  • "Nationality should refer to national identity, in other words the national group with which the person identified, not the state of which the person was a citizen or subject."

This appears to contradict MOS:BIO:

  • "In most modern-day cases this will mean the country of which the person is a citizen, national or permanent resident, or if notable mainly for past events, the country where the person was a citizen, national or permanent resident when the person became notable."

Comments are welcome. Thanks, Toccata quarta (talk) 07:03, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

In my view, the guideline here is better drafted. If there is a problem, it's at MOS:BIO. --Kleinzach 08:02, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Huh? If an American citizen says "I'm a Japanese citizen", Wikipedia should do the same? That violates WP:PSTS, as well as common sense. Toccata quarta (talk) 08:17, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Names with a definitive article, i.e. The[edit]

This article states: "Mid-sentence, per the MoS, the word "the" should in general not be capitalized in continuous prose" While WP:MoS states: "However there are some conventional exceptions," One of these exceptions is the title of artistic works, but why does this exception not extend to the title of bands? Is The Beatles not the full, entire name? Does that not make The Beatles a proper noun? And do we not capitalize all proper nouns, even if that proper noun starts with the? Rip-Saw (talk) 03:25, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

And what about "The The"?  ;) --Rob Sinden (talk) 08:08, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Cover songs layout[edit]

Shouldn't there be a section on here specifying when and how notable cover versions of songs would need new sections on the existing article of the original song? Raykyogrou0 (Talk) 16:26, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Prominent notational example contains grammatical blooper[edit]

This example displays a grammatical error that an eight-year-old music student should see straight away: parallel fifths, between soprano and alto voices. Can someone correct it? Otherwise, it should be pulled, I think.

D'Indy Tristan chord IV6-V small.PNG

. And less important is the problem that the "6" is not smaller and superscript, after the roman numeral IV. I can live with that. Tony (talk) 10:51, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

Why do the parallel fifths matter in this case? The example is illustrating neither correct nor incorrect compositional usage, and is not referenced to any particular musical style (in many of which parallel fifths are perfectly acceptable).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:21, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
It's an example of pure four-part homophony, which is almost universally a texture used to illustrate the technical aspects of tonal harmony and voice-leading. Blatant parallel fifths ... especially between the top two parts, will sound weird, and are universally known to be a bad grammatical fault. It's clearly not Debussyan parallel fifths for a textural or extra-musical effect (e.g. Images). And last time I looked, this example made no allusion to non- or semi-tonal styles, including certain types of pop and jazz, where this might be used as an effect.

So why would you illustrate an architectural style of brick facade with a picture of a wall that has been smeared with faeces? Tony (talk) 03:39, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Very colourful language, but the analogy does not hold. If you will look at the context in which the example is found, you will discover that it is not illustrating "pure four-part homophony" or "the technical aspects of tonal harmony and voice-leading". Instead, it is being used as an "Example of large image size with little space between notes", showing how to "keep the score as large as possible" so as "not [to] contain large spaces between the notes". It makes no difference for what this example might or might not be used elsewhere (perhaps an example of truly dreadful parallel fifths, to be avoided at all costs). The only question here should be, is it a good illustration for the point being made? —Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:51, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Tony1, you complained about this image at least once before – see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Music/Archive 6#Deary me: parallel 5ths in example (27 July 2011). I responded at the time: "Apparently, that example is a transcription from a book (see File:D'Indy Tristan chord IV6-V small.PNG, although from which is not clear to me from that description)." Which other image would you like to see to illustrate point 3.2 of Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music#Images and notation? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:22, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Yep, again. It's a flashing light suggesting that WP is ignorant. If someone could put the soprano voice under the alto, it would be just fine. Also, it's not a Tristan chord, so the filename is very misleading. Tony (talk) 07:22, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Your response baffles me: Applying "ignorant" not to a sentient being but to a publication strikes me as odd; even odder coming from an editor with almost 100,000 contributions since 2005 to this publication. And "ignorant" of what? As Jerome pointed out above, it's not used to illustrate four-part homophony or any other aspect of tonal harmony – and parallel fifths are not universally verboten. You must be aware that this is an image and changing the notation there is not possible. Why don't you provide a better example? However, I can't see the point of that subsection and suggest that it be wholly removed. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:57, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
OK. Yeah ... "Example of large image size with little space between notes:" ... Maybe I'm thick, but it's unclear to me. To go back to the original point: the acceptability of parallel fifths in some contexts is widely known, and I alluded to it above. But not in four-part vocal style to illustrate, in such an exposed way, a traditional point. It's rather like using bad grammar to illustrate a linguistic point ... it's unnecessary and undesirable. Tony (talk) 15:41, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
FWIW, I have made the nearly superhuman effort to actually examine the example in situ. It is an analytic reduction, by which d'Indy attempts to explain the underlying, simpler construction upon which the Tristan chord and its resolution are based. Such diagrams are often used (by theorists of such opposed camps as Schenker and Schoenberg, for example) to illustrate how parallel fifths or octaves in a more background structure are avoided or disguised by voice-leading embellishments at a more foreground level. D'Indy's purpose here seems to be the reverse: to reveal an underlying case of parallel-fifth construction by stripping away the surface voice leading. The citation is at second-hand, however, from a book by Jean-Jacques Nattiez, where it is given as an example of one amongst several very diverse ways of explaining the Tristan chord. As Michael points out, it would be wholly inappropriate to change d'Indy's analysis for the sake of an ignorant assumption of what the musical content is meant to represent. Perhaps Tony has got a good point, however. If he can jump to this mistaken conclusion, then so might many other Wikipedia readers who lack either the technical expertise or the desire to make the two mouse clicks necessary to track down the context of the example. If an equivalent example of the technical requirements of music typesetting (without the seemingly offensive parallel fifths) can be found, then of course it should be substituted. Unless, of course, the whole section is deleted, as Michael suggests.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:13, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
As the paragraph that has this image is about using off-wiki score notation software it should be scrapped. We now have the Score extension, which produces scores at a set size. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 03:43, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Score extension[edit]

It would probably be helpful to mention the score extension in the manual and encourage people to use it instead of creating scores in other programs: mw:Extension:Score. --WS (talk) 14:28, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Coding accidentals[edit]

The section Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music#Accidentals seems very plain, that the templates of the form {{Music|symbolname}} are preferred for accidentals. However, an issue arose today over the article Oboe, when an editor replaced three of these templates with what look to me like XML markup, justifying the change on grounds that "they symbol itself" is preferable to these templates. Upon checking the MOS/Music more carefully, I discovered a mention of these codes much further down the list, at Images and notation, subhead 6, which seems either to flatly contradict the earlier section, or at least to offer an alternative way of marking up text. It does look as if this reference to XML code may be meant to apply to musical examples inserted in articles, rather than to article text, but this is not entirely clear. Can the guideline be amended in some way, either to indicate both of thesese methods are equally acceptable, or to plainly indicate which is preferred?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:04, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

I can see no reason to use HTML character entities instead of the template {{Music}}; I suggest to remove the inconsistent subheading 6 you mentioned. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:12, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
It appears from further discussion on my talk page that the template merely calls the HTML code spelled out in subheading 6. Does this make any difference to your opinion? I do not myself understand why templates should be preferred to plain, honest code for which they are only surrogates.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:19, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
It's true that the template merely emits those HTML codes, although that may have been different over that template's lifetime. Anyway, almost all templates can be written in plain Wiki markup – their point is to make Wiki text easier to write and read. It also provides the small benefit of being able to see where such things are being used. I still think the guideline is correct in its advice to use the template, and the inconsistent line should be removed. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:44, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
I can see the logic in that. Certainly it is easier for me to remember the music-template calls than the seemingly arbitrary HTML codes for the characters, and they are more transparent when working in the edit window.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:19, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
No-one has to remember the codes as the three characters ♭♯♮ are in the Symbols drop-down menu underneath the edit window here on WP. I only used the unicode codes because I know them, but they are functionally equivalent ♭ ♯ ♮.

I believe the music template should be deprecated for inline accidentals, which will reduce template calls on music-related pages. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 03:54, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

That drop-down box and those symbols may be available in your environment, but I'm not sure they are present in every skin and on every Wikipedia editing platform (mobile devices), and I suspect they are not easily accessible to editors with various impairments. Anyway, the proper place to discuss this is probably Template talk:Music. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:40, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Names (definite article)[edit]

I'm closing this following the request on WP:AN/RFC. There is consensus to remove the sentence in question to make the page consistent with the rest of the MoS.

However, removing this option leaves open how a sentence would begin if the band name were linked. Would it be "The Beatles were an English rock band," or "The Beatles ..."? The consensus seems to be for the latter, but it seems odd not to allow editors to link to the article title, which is The Beatles. So if the sentence in question is removed, how to link at the start of a sentence should be clarified. That section currently only deals with reference to band names mid-sentence.

Editors should also bear in mind that, per STYLEVAR, there's no need to apply cross-wiki consistency if doing so is likely to upset people. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:23, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Regarding: "For bands, capitalized "The" is optional in wikilinks and may be preferred when listing: A number of groups increasingly showed blues influences, among them The Rolling Stones, The Animals and The Yardbirds."

Why? This passage runs counter to the rest of our MoS:

The Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music#Capitalization states:

  • "Standard English text formatting and capitalization rules apply to the names of bands and individual artists".

The Wikipedia:Manual of Style (music) states that a lower-case definite article should be used in band names:

  • "Mid-sentence, per the MoS, the word 'the' should in general not be capitalized in continuous prose, e.g. 'Wings featured Paul McCartney from the Beatles and Denny Laine from the Moody Blues.'"

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (music)#Capitalization states:

  • In band names, and titles of songs or albums, capitalize all words except:

The Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters says:

  • "Generally do not capitalize the definite article in the middle of a sentence."
Horizontal lists
In situations such as infoboxes, a single-line list may be useful—in this case:
List type
entry one, entry two, entry three
Heading 1 Heading 2
List with commas Entry 1, entry 2, entry 3
List with {{Flatlist}}
  • Entry 1
  • entry 2
  • entry 3
Note the capitalization of only the first word in this list (but words that are normally capitalized would still be capitalized). This applies regardless of the separator used between the list type and the entries themselves—whether it is a comma (as in the first example above), or even an infobox divider (as in the second example above).

Support removal[edit]

  1. Support removal. There is no obvious reason why band names should be subject to different rules from other weak proper names, like "the Tower of London", "the Acropolis" and the wording is likely to generate more contention rather than less. --Boson (talk) 14:00, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  2. As nom and per my above comments. This is the only direct contradiction that I know of to the accepted consensus per the rest of the MoS. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:49, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  3. Support removal. There is no other place that I'm aware of where text styling depends on whether it's in a wikilink (except for color); nor any other horizontal list with exceptional capitalization options. I see no reason for it here. It came in during a brief edit war that got interrupted by a merge from the old WP:MUSTARD (see the last few edits there), which is not a sensible heritage suggesting any kind of consensus. The capitalization should be the same as if the "the" were mid-sentence; capitalization is either necessary or it's not; "optional" is wrong. Dicklyon (talk) 01:22, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  4. Remove. The definite article is not strong enough for band names as to require capitalization. The "the" may be eliminated altogether in some formulations. For instance, various Beatles have said "we Beatles" rather than "we The Beatles". More to the point, the majority of manuals of style recommend lower case "the" in running prose. Binksternet (talk) 03:26, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  5. Without opining on whether the general rule should be "The" or "the", there is no reason for such an exception which is inconsistent with the other guidelines. sroc 💬 06:02, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  6. Support removal per sroc. From a logical point of view, Trovatore has posted interesting examples like The Hague, but I cannot see any justification for band names to be treated differently from other cases. Regardless of any arguments based on logic, our general MOS adopts the position taken by very many style guides out there. --Stfg (talk) 08:06, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  7. Support removal. Already established in the lengthy Beatles mediation that lower case is proper and no justification has been offered to show why upper case should be used in a comma separated list. Piriczki (talk) 12:55, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  8. Support removal. Claiming special status for popular-music bands is insupportable arrogance. This is not done for the names of other musical ensembles, such as the New York Philharmonic, the Borodin Quartet, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. What possible reason can there be to grant special status to pop bands oops, I mean Rock Legends.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:18, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  9. Support removal. In the far-off days when I worked as a copy editor, this used to come up frequently with regard to the names of newspapers, in some of which (such as The New York Times) the was "officially" part of the paper's name—meaning that it appeared in the masthead—and in some of which (such as the Chicago Tribune) it wasn't. Since it was a pain to research the "official" form of all newspapers' names that might be mentioned in a publication, the advice of the Chicago Manual of Style was to lowercase (and not italicize) the initial the for all of them. That seems to be a good precedent to follow here. Also, what Jerome Kohl said immediately above. Deor (talk) 23:56, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  10. Support removal. As noted above, 1) consistency, 2) already been settled re the Beatles. --Lukobe (talk) 17:35, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  11. Strong support removal. In my opinion, this is the correct way on top of 1) consistency, 2) already been settled re the Beatles. Mlpearc (powwow) 01:25, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
  12. Remove per Binksternet. This is what sources do, so we should do it too. --John (talk) 05:37, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
  13. Support removal. The use in the quoted passage is not in line with broad consensus on Wikipedia's house style. We've had lengthy discussions regarding the example of the Beatles, and had confirmed that we use lower case in all cases. Capitalisation of "the" in a band's name is a matter of punctuation and a publication's house style. It varies from publication to publication. In Wikipedia we use the lower case "the". SilkTork ✔Tea time 06:51, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
  14. Support removal. Tony (talk) 06:57, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
  15. I don't think I've made a secret of my position on this whole thing: The majority of style guides tell writers not to capitalize the definite article, and there's no good reason I've found for Wikipedia to deviate from the majority style. During the Beatles mediation I advocated that its scope be broadened to include all band names, and notices sent out accordingly. That didn't happen, but that doesn't mean there's any good reason to dig up the issue again. Everyone, please, for the sake of time, human knowledge, and your deity or deities of choice, let's get this over with, resolve the contradiction, and all find something better to talk about. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 00:14, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
  16. Suport removal. "The" being capitalized would indicate it's part of the proper name, which would then require constructs such as "...he joined the The Beatles in 1963..." which is silly. You don't get a pass from normal grammar just because you snort coke and can play the drums. Herostratus (talk) 00:46, 1 September 2013 (UTC) To expand a bit: I really don't much care if it's "t" or "T", but I do want it to be settled, otherwise we'll have endless timesink case-by-case disputes for bands (and inconsistency between articles depending on who "wins" each case). If it is going to be settled, then it should be settled on "t" because A) for most every non-band entity we use "t", and B) the big ArbCom case regarding T/the Beatles, where scores of editors weighed in, showed more editors favor "t" in that case. Although the ArbCom, in Bush v. Gore fashion, declared that that only applied to the Beatles, they can't prevent us from taking the detailed arguments and many !votes on that issue as showing a general consensus and forming a general precedent. And we should. Herostratus (talk) 15:10, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
  17. Support removal for editorial consistency (though I will miss the capital The in many of my favorite band's names). -- KeithbobTalk 19:46, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Oppose removal[edit]

  1. WP avoids unnecessary capitalization, but proper nouns should be capitalized. If the word "The" is an integral part of the name, as opposed to simply being used as an ordinary English definite article, then it ought to be majuscule. Whether it is an integral part of the name is a question of fact, not style, and needs to be figured out on a case-by-case basis (but one possible rule of thumb is to see whether it makes grammatical sense as a definite article; for example, the The in The Who does not make grammatical sense, so it's probably an integral part of the name). --Trovatore (talk) 01:19, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  2. I obviously oppose an editor's attempt to cover his mistake retroactively. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:03, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  3. I oppose removal. It is obvious to an Anglo-Irish editor that The Beatles, The Yardbirds, The Who, The The, The Rolling Stones, The Chemical Brothers, The Proclaimers, The Cardigans, The Byrds, The Four Tops, The Smiths, The Stranghlers, The Velvet Undergound should have a capitalized The. It may seem different to Americans, but that is how they are written up on this side of the pond. Jezhotwells (talk) 12:54, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  4. Oppose removal, "The" is part of these bands' names, and it should remain "The" (with a capital "T"), regardless of where in the sentence it is used. —Bruce1eetalk 09:00, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  5. Opppose removal for the reasons mentioned above - if it's part of the band name it should be treated as a proper noun. WaggersTALK 11:29, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  6. Oppose removal, agreeing with the above reasons: if "The" is part of the name it should be capitalised. Mark Hurd (talk) 11:57, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
  7. Oppose removal - These are not just identifiers, these are trademarks. "The Beatles" is the trademark of the band known as such. Same with the other bands mentioned above. Trademark capitalization is generally respected in MOS guides, and I believe it should be respected here. Perhaps this aspect should be clarified in MOS/Music --| Uncle Milty | talk | 17:17, 27 August 2013 (UTC)


This logical aberration only serves as a bone of contention during these minutia-based typography debates. I suggest that the entire passage be removed. Any thoughts? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:31, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Yes. This is utter nonsense; a manipulative ploy to ensure that you retain ownership of "your" articles, down to the finest detail. Joefromrandb (talk) 01:46, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Trovatore, I think Who in the Who is being used as a noun, regardless of its technical position as a pronoun, and since its grammatically the subject of a sentence, clause or fragment, I don't see a huge leap to noun there. Also FWIW, according to CMOS, its the Who: "A the preceding a name, even when part of the official title, is lowercased in running text." (16th ed., 2010, p.416) GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:39, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    Well, I think CMOS is really just wrong on this. English capitalizes proper nouns, even if the Trib doesn't. The type case for this sort of thing is The Hague, which basically everyone (quite properly) capitalizes, because the The really, factually, is an integral part of the name. What is a hague? No one knows; it's not anything, it's just part of the name The Hague. Same for The Who, in my view. --Trovatore (talk) 01:42, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    I hear you, but can you name another common example besides The Hague? Also, was Lennon any more a Beatle then Townshend a Who? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:48, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    Not as well known, but The Colony, Texas — this one actually would make sense as a definite article, which is why my rule of thumb is only a rule of thumb, not definitive. As for your second question, the answer is yes — *Pete Townshend is a Who I reject as completely ungrammatical. --Trovatore (talk) 01:54, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    Right, and I agree, but why is it more grammatical to say that Lennon was a Beatle than Townshend was a Who or Jones was a Stone? Also, consider that if a capitalized "The" is optional in wikilinks, then the following construction would be permissible: "In 1967, The Mamas & the Papas met the Beatles after a show with The Who and the Rolling Stones. Later that year, they headlined an open air festival that included The Grateful Dead, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Animals. At any rate, don't you think that the MoS mainpage prescription takes precedent over this subpage guideline? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 02:08, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    Well, John and Paul and crew sort of invited us to talk about individual Beatles by choosing a plural name; that's why it's more grammatical. As for the MoS conflict, my view is that the main MoS is controlled by a coalition of parties that have some fixed ideas, and the anti-capitals party is too strong. I'm fine with the general WP approach, article names in sentence case and so on, but proper nouns should be capitalized. --Trovatore (talk) 02:17, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    Yeah, I can see that; its a good point, but then was Denny Laine a Moody Blue, Chas Chandler an Animal, Ray Davies a Kink and Brian Jones a Stone, but Pete Townshend not a Who and Mitch Mitchell not an Experience all due to their band name's plurality or lack thereof (note that all three examples in the current text are plural)? I think that some band names use words as nouns that would not usually be used as such. Anyway, why should list case be any different then sentence case, IYO? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 02:31, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    The Hague is a proper name and would be capitalized, per reasonably consistent caps in modern sources; not so 100 years ago. Maybe some day the Beatles will attain similar status, but I doubt it. See book n-grams. Dicklyon (talk) 03:03, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    Is this really addressing the proposal? As I understand it, the proposal is to remove a statement about the use of such proper names when used in links, etc., i.e making it optional (or possibly preferred) to capitalize "the", when it would not otherwise be capitalized (e.g. in a horizontal list in the middle of a table entry or sentence). Removal of the statement as per the proposal should not make any difference to band names where "the" would be capitalized mid-sentence (conceivable, for instance, if there were a band named "The Hague", after the Dutch town). --Boson (talk) 07:59, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

What about The The? Or should that be the The? Interesting that this usage differs from song/album titles which begin with a capital even when starting with an article. See also: Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/The Beatles. sroc 💬 01:59, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

As Pete Townshend is apparently "a Who", I suppose Matt Johnson is a The. Makes perfect sense to me. Joefromrandb (talk) 16:12, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

@Binksternet: It's not your fault. It's the underhanded manner in which this nonsense has been attempted, but this has nothing to do with "running prose". Joefromrandb (talk) 05:07, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

@Joefromrandb: Can you not see the inconsistency when several guidelines all agree that "the" in band names should not be capitalised yet another says capitalising "may be preferred" (without any further explanation)? Forget the ego and concentrate on the issue. sroc 💬 05:20, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
No, I can not. This is not about running prose. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:35, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the example is running prose: "A number of groups increasingly showed blues influences, among them The Rolling Stones, The Animals and The Yardbirds." But why should that be an exception anyway? sroc 💬 05:41, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
That goes to show the underhanded manner in which this RfC has been undertaken. And you are likely correct that only ego could be responsible for attempting to force such a bizarre and awkward convention on Wikipedia and its readers. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:47, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I never said that. My point is that this RfC is about correcting an inconsistency, not about the ego of the initial editor. If anything, it is your ego that is getting in the way of addressing the issue at hand, which is: why should there be such an inconsistency in the guidelines. You have failed to explain this rationally, instead attacking the individual. sroc 💬 06:00, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
If you take a moment to trace this disagreement back to its genesis, you will see that it was in fact the individual who attacked me. There is no inconsistency. Only the inability (or more likely unwillingness) of the initiator to understand that lists are not running prose. Joefromrandb (talk) 08:11, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
For a good example of the foolishness this creates, see the info box at "The Quarrymen". "Associated acts" says "The Les Stewart Quartet, the Blackjacks, the Beatles". The Blackjacks appearing as "the Blackjacks" looks silly enough, but The Beatles appear as "the Beatles" underneath the first two entries. If we're going with the nonsense that "lists and sentences are the same", this is akin to beginning a sentence with "the Beatles".Joefromrandb (talk) 16:38, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
@Joefromrandb: I have no interest in the background between you and GabeMc. I am concerned with the obvious inconsistency in the Wikipedia guidelines as outlined in the original post of this section. It hardly bears repeating since Gabe has summarised the problem succinctly, but essentially the issue is that MOS:MUSIC#Names (definite article) (which says capitalising "the" at the start of band names is "optional") contradicts various other MOS guidelines. This needs to be addressed through rational arguments, not personal bickering or attacks between editors.
As for whether the guidelines for lists "looks silly", that's a subjective view. Feel free to lobby for change to MOS:LIST#Horizontal lists; as it is, that's the style we should uniformly follow. No, it's not "akin to beginning a sentence with 'the Beatles'", as sentences always begin with a capital letter, obviously. As already noted, there has been extensive discussion on whether or not to capitalise "the Beatles" so that debate is long over. Please do not be bitter just because the consensus does not favour your personal views. sroc 💬 23:21, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
If you "have no interest in the background" then don't make yourself look foolish by taking sides. Joefromrandb (talk) 01:09, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm not taking sides. I'm stating my view of the issue at hand. sroc 💬 02:11, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

I can in a sense understand why some people have more difficulty accepting the Who. However, it is a punctuation house style. A recent book on the Who, with an introduction by Daltrey, also uses lower case "the": Anyway Anyhow Anywhere. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:04, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Slightly off-topic note[edit]

I'm neutral to the discussion above. But I just wanted to request that whoever closes this please drop a note at Wikipedia:WikiProject Comics. I think this discussion directly affects WP:NCC. Needless to say, musical groups, in naming and membership, have had an indirect and a direct effect on groups of characters in comics. (And this without going into the fact that T/t-he Beatles have appeared in comics and animation. - jc37 21:33, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

KrakatoaKatie's reverted close[edit]

Here was KrakatoaKatie (talk · contribs)'s original close:

The issue was addressed in the Beatles mediation (see the first question), that these things should be done on a case-by-case basis. There is no consensus here for doing otherwise. KrakatoaKatie 04:36, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

She reverted her close after a discussion with Herostratus (talk · contribs).

Here is an extended rationale for her close at User talk:GabeMc:

Hello - sure, I'm happy to explain my thought process there. Apologies that I can't take the time right now to find the diffs, because I'm on a deadline now, but I want to let you get any challenge or wider discussion rolling while I'm away working on this other project. This is also kind of off the top of my head so forgive me if I repeat myself - I'm in a bit of a hurry, and I may not be back on Wikipedia until late this weekend, so don't be surprised if I don't participate in an ANI discussion about it. It's not for lack of interest, but I have to pay the bills. :-)

I read and reread the RFC for about an hour - I read it several times, then I went to do some other Wiki-things while I thought about it, then I came back and repeated the process, which is what I usually do when I close something like this. 26 people isn't exactly a cross-section of Wikipedia, and the RFC had been without activity for weeks, so those 26 opinions were all we were going to get right now. I felt there were cogent arguments for both positions.

Less than a year ago there was an RFC in which more than 130 people participated about this issue in regard to the Beatles (in which I did not participate). That poll was widely linked and publicized, and because the discussions there are referenced in this RFC, they are relevant, as are the discussions and questions afterward. Again, good arguments for both positions.

In the aftermath discussion, when asked if the RFC applied to how other band names should be capitalized, Future Perfect at Sunrise said (emphasis added):

Since the MOS recommendations – based on the same empirical findings about usage and the same external style guide prescriptions as cited here – had already been saying lowercase for a long while, the default assumption is that that recommendation would go for other band names too, not because of this mediation, but because it's been the standard rule all along. If individual band articles have gone for a different solution, I would assume this should be justified by some individual, well discussed circumstances (e.g. in the case of the linguistically irregular "The Who" and the likes.) Where such special considerations obtain, they obviously continue to be valid. Where not, a case for standardizing towards MOS-conformant lowercase can obviously be made. This should be done on a case-by-case basis.

There was no challenge to that statement.

The 2012 RFC had much higher participation and passion, so I thought it interesting that a MOS discussion about changing the precedent project-wide drew so few editors. Since the arguments were sound on both sides, I found myself in Newyorkbrad's position about closing the 2012 RFC - I'm not a bot either. However, that RFC had 140 people participate; there were only 26 editors who participated here, and that's a factor in the closure. We routinely relist AFDs to get wider participation, and I really wish I could have done that here. 26 editors, split 17-9, 58%-42%. Given the low level of participation here, the passion of the 2012 RFC, and that RFC's aftermath statements by arbitrators, I could not in good conscience find consensus to amend the MOS.

That's my thinking here; if ANI decides to overturn it, that's okay. Well, it's not okay, because I believe I'm correct to go to the side of caution in this particular case. But I abide by the will of the community; at least it will get wider attention and I'll get some feedback on my thought process. Thanks. :-) KrakatoaKatie 22:41, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Jreferee (talk · contribs) wrote in response:

It looked to me like consensus in the Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Music discussion was to support removal of the noted text from Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Music. Also, it is not clear that removing the text would or would not result in changing whether these things should be done on a case-by-case basis. That being said, I see Katie's point. The venue Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation reaches a much broader spectrum of editors than the venue Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Music. No only were there five times as many participants in the Requests for mediation than Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Music, most of the participants in the Requests for mediation provided arguments that had significantly more detail than those provided by the seventeen at who supported removal of the text. Consensus is determined by looking at strength of argument. See WP:ROUGH CONSENSUS. In hindsight, the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Music also probably needed to take Future Perfect at Sunrise's statement head on with vigorous argument. I think the short answer is that changing guideline created from a widely participated discussion with strong arguments on both side by using a venue (Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Music) that has significantly less traffic and resulted on only attracted relatively modest participation is not the best to change guideline. GabeMc, I know that was not your goal/intent, but it is what the situation was. Your post at AN was not a dispute resolution request, so it should not have been treated that way. It was a request to determine whether the closer of the discussion interpreted the consensus incorrectly, which every editor has a right to do. (We do need a better place to post such discussion close review requests than AN so the request does not come off as a dispute). In short, in view of her explanation above, I think KrakatoaKatie did not interpreted the consensus incorrectly at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Music. -- Jreferee (talk) 02:03, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

SilkTork (talk · contribs) wrote at User talk:KrakatoaKatie:

Hello KrakatoaKatie. I understand your thinking, however, it is "your" thinking, and that is a concern. You have used a supervote by bringing your interpretation of a statement that you agreed with, but which formed no part of the closing decision, nor of guideline nor of policy. If you wish to bring in Fut.Perf.'s opinion as something that you feel others should take note of, you are entitled to do that as a participant in the discussion, but not as a closer. In the circumstances it would be appropriate for you to vacate your close, and allow someone else to close the discussion. You may, of course, still make a comment about Fut.Perf.'s opinion as a fellow participant. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:55, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

GabeMc (talk · contribs) wrote:

I agree with User:SilkTork; you should vacate your close and allow someone else to close the discussion. Your use of a supervote was inappropriate, IMO. FTR, Fut.Perf. was but one of dozens of participants and TMK, he played no role in Brad's closure. Also, if you re-read the archives you will see that User:Future Perfect at Sunrise made several errors regarding the confines of minimal change to spoken utterances and more than once threatened me with unjustified blocks, which would seem to make him a poor choice to quote in this situation. Further, your suggestion that nobody challenged the assertion that this should be handled on a case-by-case basis is incorrect. User:Evanh2008 was quite vocal about his opinion that the result should be treated as a Wikiwide precedent. To be honest, I would have enthusiastically agreed with him had I not been weary of the "Big T" faction's frequent use of scare tactics to gain !votes in opposition; i.e., explicitly stating that the outcome would apply to all bands would have inevitably drawn opposition from numerous uninvolved projects, so we focused on just the Beatles, but really, is an article preceding a noun to be treated differently based on how editors feel about the noun? Is Ray Davies less of a Kink than McCartney is a Beatle? Lastly, while you say that there were cogent arguments on both sides, all I see from the opposition to removal is the same old "its part of the name so it should be capped", but then what about Band of Gypsys? Why not cap "of"? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:18, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Deor (talk · contribs) wrote:

GabeMc asked me about this on my talk page, and, without having seen SilkTork's comment above, my response was essentially the same as his. I consider it a bad close. Deor (talk) 23:38, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Binksternet (talk · contribs) wrote:

During the long drawn-out discussions about capitalising the/The Beatles I said several times that the result was going to give direction for every mention of every band on Wikipedia. When the ArbCom case was closed, a lot of editors took the Beatles' case as the new standard for all bands, and moved forward with relevant changes to lowercase 'the'. The "case-by-case basis" which you described surprised me greatly—it is not part of ArbCom's decision. The Beatles were a wide-reaching test case, not an isolated one specific only to John, Paul, George and Ringo. Binksternet (talk) 00:21, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

I ask the next closer to take these comments into consideration. Thanks, Cunard (talk) 09:51, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

@Krakatoa Katie-That takes some nerve supervoting. Who do you think you are, Beeblebrox? Joefromrandb (talk) 15:27, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi Joe, thanks for taking a moment out of your day to act give me a hard time about something that happened over a year ago and has been discussed to death over and over. . This echo notification system is a really handy tool if your interested summoning someone to a discussion they have no involvement in so you can make sure they see your nasty comments about them. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:15, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Remixes et al?[edit]

I can't find anything on this so apologies if I've missed it, what should the manual of style for tracks that have more than one version? Since the version note is not part of the actual song title, I don't think they should be placed within the inverted commas, instead placed in brackets outside of them. Unless they include a proper noun, the first letter of each word should remain in lowercase.

So, for example:

What is the consensus on this? VEOonefive 17:11, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

National anthems: Quotation marks, italics, or nothing?[edit]

In the text of articles, should the names of national anthems be in quotation marks, italicized, or plain text? Current Wikipedia practice is all over the place. Some relevant Wikipedia guidelines are at WP:PUNCT and WP:ITALICS. Please cite outside sources such as style guides or music resources if possible. Thanks. —  AjaxSmack  19:41, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

As with every other song, they should be set in quote marks. I'm not sure about citing style guides, but I am not aware of any reason why national anthems would be treated different than any other song. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:51, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Me n/either but they are. The text of the national anthem article uses italics and the articles on individual anthems seem to be split evenly three ways.  AjaxSmack  19:58, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, I'm sure you know that Wikipedia articles are not reliable sources. According to the 16th edition of the CMoS, Musical Works 8.189: "Operas, oratorios, tone poems, and other long musical compositions are italicized ... Titles of songs and other shorter musical compositions are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks." (p.459) GabeMc (talk|contribs) 20:14, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
We also have a style guide on Wikipedia that covers this in much the same terms. Not all national anthems are songs, of course, but perhaps all qualify as "shorter musical compositions". However, I think this may perhaps point to a somewhat broader inconsistency issue. It occurrrd to me that the Spanish anthem, for example, is a military march equivalent in size to the marches of John Philip Sousa (e.g., "The Stars and Stripes Forever") or Henry Fillmore (e.g., The Circus Bee). Checking these two composers' articles, I see that the titles of their marches are indeed enclosed in quotation marks, per the guideline. However, the titles of many waltzes by composers such as Johann Strauss II (e.g., The Blue Danube Waltz) or Joseph Lanner (e.g., Trennungs-Walzer) are italicized, while others, such as Juventino Rosas's "Sobre las olas", are enclosed in quotation marks. Since the size and formal structure of waltzes is virtually identical with those of marches, should not all of these conform to the same formatting? Or do Austro-German waltzes have a special status? (Marches by Austrian composers seem not to, for example the "Radetzky March" by Johann Strauss I.)—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:33, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
I think they all should be shown in quotes. I perceive that some short works with foreign titles are shown in italics because of WP:Italics#Foreign terms which states: "Wikipedia prefers italics for phrases in other languages ..." but I belive that to be misguided. The Blue Danube was changed with an erroneous explanation to italics only very recently and it should be reverted. The same issue arises when aria titles/incipits in foreign languages are mentioned in opera articles. Again, I think they should appear in quotes. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:46, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
This is of course also my opinion. As for "phrases in foreign languages", the usual guideline in respected style guides such as the Chicago Manual or Hart's Rules is that italics are used to call attention to the use of a foreign word that may not be immediately recognized as such, especially if that word has not been assimilated into English. This in turn is dependent upon context. In an article on music, for example, it might be considered unnecessary to italicize words such as "ritardando" or "mordent", whereas in an article on banana plantations or Cambridge philosophers it may be quite another matter. Beginners tend to over-italicize such words, which seldom aids the reader since it is distracting.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:18, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

No guidelines on pitch notation?[edit]

Has there been over the years no discussion regarding the concurrent use of both Scientific pitch notation and Helmholtz pitch notation? Do people like the situation as it is? Contact Basemetal here 14:40, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm sure I have seen discussion of this matter somewhere, though I can't at the moment recall exactly where (and is not limited to just these two methods—don't forget MIDI octave notation). I imagine that, as with the extreme diversity in citation styles all over Wikipedia, everyone agrees that the situation is absolutely intolerable. Of course, when it comes down to choosing one style over the others, this unanimity evaporates like smoke. (I would love for someone to prove me wrong!)—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:02, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
From what I see, the English Wikipedia uses scientific pitch notation almost exclusively. In fact, I don't know which article uses anything else. It's the other way round on the German Wikipedia. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:54, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Helmholtz notation at Viol, Pipe organ, Cimbalom, Classical guitar, Guitar tunings, Banjo, Bartolomeo Cristofori, etc. And an example I've stumbled across only two days ago: Les Vingt-quatre Violons du Roi. Some of the previous examples are pages I'd never visited before and that have just showed up right now in simple 5 minutes search. And I've seen many other cases along the years although I have of course not kept track of them. And I even remember there were articles where the two were used concurrently.
The Helmholtz pitch notation is indeed used on the English WP or I wouldn't have asked the question.
But this was a digression. To get back to my question: Assuming you have noticed, like I have, the concurrent use of several styles of pitch notation: Are you happy with the situation? Are you as sceptical as Jerome Kohl we might one day get some standardization?
Contact Basemetal here 11:12, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
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I prefer the scientific pitch notation because it's easier to read and almost unambiguous in its notation (apart from C5 vs. C5 vs. C5). Although having grown up with Helmholtz, I find it very hard to read on web pages and I assume that different modifiers are used, as shown on the right. Nevertheless, I do share Jerome's doubts on being able to achieve a uniform style. Moreover, I don't think it's terribly important to have consistency across all articles as long as each occurrence links to the method used. I assume that the current inconsistencies arose from the use of the respective method in the sources for the various articles. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:27, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

(Something in Michael Bednarek's answer seems to be messing up the heading of the following section.) "As long as each occurrence links to the method used". Indeed. Contact Basemetal here 12:41, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

More on notation[edit]

Do we yet have figured-bass notation? I mean things like V4/3 properly superscripted and subscripted without the slash. And do we have the French carat (is it called that?) to signify scale-degrees? Tony (talk) 08:17, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

We certainly have the carat for scale degrees. There is a template: {{music|scale|2}} produces scale degree 2, for example.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:38, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
If we have carats for (very expensive?) scale degrees then just imagine what we could do with (very inexpensive!) carrots? :-) Contact Basemetal here 20:43, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Title disambiguation of popular songs[edit]

Apropos of this bold move I was wondering if there is a guideline or convention concerning how to title articles for ambiguously named popular songs. For example, we have several articles about songs named "Queen of Hearts". What should go in the parentheses to disambiguate the them? Should we use…

My inclination is preference should be given to whoever is most associated with the song, which would normally be the first or third options above. (It's often the case that a very popular song is first recorded by a little-known artist who doesn't score a hit with it.) If this is a settled matter in the general case I would be glad of a pointer to the guideline or discussion. —Psychonaut (talk) 20:28, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree with you. Generally we decide how to disambiguate on a case-by-case basis. And we usually take into account the other uses. So if this is the only song by that name, then the disambiguation is just (song). But if there are multiple songs with that same name, then we need more specific disambiguation, which of course is what you're talking about. The main factor to consider is what is the best-known characteristic of each song that distinguishes it from the others. That can be any of the above, or sometimes the name of the band solely or most associated with it (e.g., Black and White (Three Dog Night song), Julia (Beatles song)). --B2C 21:41, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
B2C is correct... This needs to be a case-by-case determination. HOW we disambiguate depends on WHY we need to disambiguate. Each case is different. Blueboar (talk) 14:04, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
As for which of the available options for "Queen of Hearts" is best... I don't know the song well enough to answer that definitively... I think all of them are at least acceptable. So... I would apply the "principle of least surprise"... I assume that the disambiguations not chosen will be made into redirects (pointing to the one that is chosen)... we need to ask: would readers be surprised by the redirect? Go with whichever will cause the least amount of surprise. Blueboar (talk) 14:58, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
The principle of least surprise may not work as well here. There are songs written by a songwriter in the early 50s, made popular by another person in the late 50s, and then re-recorded and made popular all over again by a new artist in the 90s. If you're familiar with the 90s version you may not even realize it's a cover. If you're familiar with the 50s version you may not be aware of the remake. The constant is the songwriter. It is probably both safe and respectful to defer to the songwriter to distinguish the name even if the songwriter is not very well known. We can use that as a default, and then make changes on a case by case basis where other aspects of the song history are overwhelming. - WPGA2345 - 21:18, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - Its certainly the case that Juice Newton gets many more refs for this song than Dave Edmunds, and Dave Edmunds many more than Hank De Vito - though I personally did think the songwriter was more encyclopedic/neutral, per also User:WPGA2345's comments. However creating redirects and italic cat entries can solve these problems. In ictu oculi (talk) 01:36, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I've gone ahead and reverted the move, as the consensus so far is clear that there is no policy- or guideline-based preference to disambiguate according to the artist who made the first recording, and because Dave Edmunds has a much weaker association with the song than Juice Newton, who scored an international hit. Whether to keep it at Queen of Hearts (Hank DeVito song) or to move it back to the even earlier title of Queen of Hearts (Juice Newton song) isn't something I have particularly strong feelings about. —Psychonaut (talk) 21:52, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Band names with prepositions capitalisation[edit]

"Standard English text formatting and capitalization rules apply to the names of bands and individual artists (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Proper names)." How does this apply to a band name like Lead into/Into Gold or From Autumn to/To Ashes? I'm having trouble finding something either in this MOS or the linked MOSs that says to capitalise or not to capitalise those words. Do we go with something similar to WP:ALBUMCAPS, or with what the band/reliable sources use, or every word capitalised? If someone can quote me something I missed from any of these MOSs, I'd appreciate that too. MrMoustacheMM (talk) 01:18, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Follow the same guidelines stated at MOS:CT. Prepositions of fewer than five letters should be lowercase, so it should be "Lead into Gold" and "From Autumn to Ashes" (as indeed it already is). Deor (talk) 01:28, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Punctuation within song title quotes now?[edit]

I've always been under the impression that with song titles all punctuation went outside of the quotation marks, like this... Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album includes the songs "Like a Rolling Stone", "Tombstone Blues", "Ballad of a Thin Man", and "Desolation Row" among others. Certainly the old, abandoned WP:MUSTARD page outlined that this is how song titles should be formatted within a sentence (under the "Punctuation" sub-section). However, recently I've seen a fellow editor placing commas within song title quotes, like this... Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album includes the songs "Like a Rolling Stone," "Tombstone Blues," "Ballad of a Thin Man," and "Desolation Row" among others. Knowing that the editor in question is an experienced Wikipedian, I went to The Beatles article (which I've found can usually be relied upon to exhibit all the latest music manual of style trends) and I see that in that article, the commas and other punctuation are all indeed within the quotation marks of the song titles.

This Manual of Style/Music page appears not to address this subject at all, like the old MUSTARD page did. So, my question is, has there been some new or new-ish consensus reached among editors whereby commas and other punctuation are now to be placed within song title quotes? And if so, can someone please point me in the direction of the relevant discussion or somewhere where this new formatting trend is outlined on a guideline or policy page? I'm posting this on the WikiProject Albums talk page too. Thanks. --Kohoutek1138 (talk) 13:42, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

I can't imagine that this was an instance of finding some odd wrinkle in the Wikipedia style guidelines that exempt song titles from normal punctuation rules. It looks like the sort of thing that an experienced American editor would do as a matter of reflex, since American punctuation styles generally favor this practice. The Wikipedia guidelines very plainly specify that punctuation marks are placed inside the closing quotation mark only when a part of the quoted material. This is the predominant British practice, and is also followed by a minority of publishers in the US. In the case of "Help!" or "What Kind of Fool Am I?", obviously the closing punctuation, as part of the song title, goes inside the quotation. In a phrase like, "Can you tell me, please, whether to put the punctuation inside or outside of the closing quote when referring to the song 'Help!'?", well, the answer is fairly obvious, isn't it? (Do things get a little trickier if you ask the same question about "What Kind of Fool Am I?"? Perhaps.)—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:38, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
The discussion at this location appears to favour punctuation outside the quote marks as well. MrMoustacheMM (talk) 22:42, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
It should definitely go outside, per general logical quotation guidelines and long-standing practice in music articles. I've been bold and have added it to the "Popular music" section of this page. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:01, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Citation of first line[edit]

For many songs - two particular examples which come to mind are classical songs and non-English language songs - the citation of the first line of a song may help in identifying a song. This is particularly key with traditional songs/folk songs, but also with non-ABC-alphabet Indian/Far East songs which may have an English ABC "marketing name" to enable such songs to be listed easily on mp3 retail sites and so on. The phenomenon of English names for songs which don't include a word of English is probably increasing due to cross market retailing in Asia (Korean boy bands with English titled Japanese-language songs in Japan, Tamil artists issuing English titled Hindi-language songs in India, etc.)

I believe it would be helpful to add to Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Music#Lyrics a 4th comment as follows:

4. In the case of a non-English language song with an English title it may be helpful to readers to mention the first line, or first phrase, of the song with (a) original script (b) romanization (c) translation. If this is done the name of the lyricist(s) and a WP:RS source should also be given. The phrase must represent only up to 10 percent of a copyrighted musical composition, and no more due to Fair Use restrictions on poems and lyrics.

In ictu oculi (talk) 10:53, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Note the potential conflict with:
1. Copyrighted lyrics can only be used under the WP:Non-free content provision.
As this is a legal issue, this may be something to run past the Wikimedia Foundation first. sroc 💬 11:24, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Good point, it would be worth indicating the limitation on lyrics is tighter than normal book citation: "In the case of poetry and song lyrics, which are highly condensed forms of writing, fair use guidelines apply, but with some restrictions." Copyright for any form of writing only becomes an issue when a "significant portion" is cited. In the case of poems the benchmark of "Up to 10 percent of a copyrighted musical composition" is repeated in many works on copyright. This applies to 10% of a poem, song lyric, or musical notation staff. I have amended to include the 10% rule above. In ictu oculi (talk) 11:33, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
In terms of the relevant guideline, the examples in WP:LYRICS#Copyrighted works show that you can quote a few lines of a lyric under fair use, and that would certainly include quoting the first line. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:36, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
WP:LYRICS is not actually indicated as a guideline, but in any case the examples illustrate quoting particular lyrics in a discussion/analysis of those lyrics, not merely for identification purposes. This may make a difference in whether "fair use" or "fair dealing" provisions apply, so be careful not to extrapolate from those examples that quoting the first line in any song (without analysis) will always be OK. Also consider Wikipedia's non-free_content policy which sets out various requirements, including:
8. Contextual significance. Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the article topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding.
sroc 💬 13:59, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I assume Sroc's point is that those who read 4. may not read 1. I don't think it would hurt to effectively repeat 1 in 4. and mention the 10% line. In ictu oculi (talk) 11:40, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
My concern is not necessarily that editors will not read 1, but that they may see 4 as an exception. I am not only aware of any the "10 percent rule" as a myth, however, WP:LYRICS#Copyrighted works states:
However, how much of a song you can quote is open to interpretation, but you should follow the Non-free content policy.
In any event, as this is a legal issue which could potentially implicate WMF in copyright infringement claims, it is not really for us to decide on WMF's behalf what should be adopted as a guidelines for appropriate usage of lyrics, least of all on a carte blanche basis (since it may depend on the particular circumstances of each case). sroc 💬 12:55, 5 March 2014 (UTC) [edited 14:14, 5 March 2014 (UTC)]
Sroc, what background do you have with copyright? The 10% rule is very well known and widely repeated from the Music Guidelines of 1976. In ictu oculi (talk) 13:00, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Do you mean the Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music, which relates to academic purposes? Surely this would not apply to Wikipedia.
I'm a lawyer specialising in intellectual property, however, I do not practice in the US. In any case, this is not about what I think is the case, as it's WMF that would be liable for copyright infringement claims. sroc 💬 13:30, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, I have posted this at Wikipedia:Copyright problems/2014 March 5 so hopefully someone specialising in these issues will see this and comment if necessary. sroc 💬 13:44, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Not wanting to sound like a party-pooper, I think it's a good idea in principle if quoting one or two recognisable lines aids the reader to recognise the song being discussed. Since some articles include excerpts of actual recordings, this may well be fine from a legal perspective, but it's ultimately WMF's call to make. sroc 💬 14:08, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, no you don't sound like a party-pooper, if done it should be done properly. I have one foot in academic publishing, we reference Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music (“Music Guidelines” 1976) as a benchmark in our citation rules, though fair use is not as simple as % of text - I'm aware of that but 10% does get mentioned. Anyway, I'm more than happy to get WMF's expertise. That's fine. Among the 7 existing "model lyrics use articles" cited at the guideline Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan which includes selected lyrics in block quotes and audio excerpts is perhaps the best benchmark for this. As it stands all 7 examples are English songs, not non-English. It might be good to bring one Hindi/Japanese/etc song up to Like a Rolling Stone standard so it can be added as an 8th example. For background I started thinking this after the naming discussion on a Faye Wong song which had 3 English names none of them featured in the the 100% Chinese lyrics... In ictu oculi (talk) 16:34, 5 March 2014 (UTC) a related thought, generally too many of our song articles actually say anything whatsoever about the song (as opposed to the product, the single or EP). There might be some content on the song in a Leiber and Stoller or John Lennon song article, but the bulk of our pop articles are purely commercial product data - which record label, minutes, what chart position, not a word about the song itself. This is particularly bad with non-English language songs. Encouraging Like a Rolling Stone-article type first line or other citation could potentially redress this a little. In ictu oculi (talk) 16:39, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have now raised this at Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 62#Quoting lyrics, which is apparently the more appropriate forum to flag copyright issues.

BTW, I note that the "Like a Rolling Stone" article not only quotes lyrics but includes discussion on their meaning, which may legitimate their "fair use"; it may not be "the best benchmark" for a blanket rule on quoting lyrics to identify songs, which may not qualify as "fair use". I can't offer a legal opinion on that, just suggesting to exercise caution. sroc 💬 22:44, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Also, for the record, I revised the list of examples at Wikipedia:Lyrics and poetry#Copyrighted works, as the accompanying information was rather unclear. I had to delete "Hey Jude" because the sheet music being referred to had been deleted due to a copyright violation, so it certainly was not a good example! sroc 💬 22:47, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Coming from NFCR, while I doubt we'd get into hot water for quoting one or two lines from a song (with a normal amount of lyrics), I strongly recommend against this practice as a general allowance. I can see something appropriate if sources note that the song is often recognized by its opening lyrics, as you are providing a transformative reason to use the lyrics. If you can't quote that, I'd avoid it completely, give the typical problems that giving lyrics have been in the past by various legal groups (not for WP but outside that). --MASEM (t) 22:52, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Ms Dennis. Much appreciated! sroc 💬 21:18, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Plural vs. singular for band names, musical acts[edit]

It is convention in modern music journalism to refer to bands and musical acts using plural verbs in most contexts (rather than singular), with the exception of acts that center around a single performer; e.g., The Beatles are the greatest band in the world. Nickelback are opening for Justin Bieber. U2 are involved in Irish politics. Prince is a musical genius.

Is there anything pertaining to this in the MoS? If not, should there be? I think both conventions are ok (leaning toward plural because it is industry convention), but it would help if there was some consistency. | ozhu (talk·contribs) 21:40, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

This is discussed at MOS:PLURALS. Rationalobserver (talk) 22:06, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Consistency in page titles re -flat vs ♭ and -sharp vs ♯[edit]

Section 4.2 Abbreviations states the following, tho I'd like to see this removed:

Note: ♭, ♯ and ♮ signs should not be used in article titles or headings.

All the flat and sharp notes in Category:Musical_notes violate that, e.g. B♭ (musical note), and I think these page titles are fine. That's how it has been written for centuries and is not an abbreviation. Can we use the unicode symbols ♭ and ♯ consistently in all wikipedia page titles rather than -flat and -sharp? Or would that cause problems, e.g. with older devices or browsers? Tayste (edits) 02:33, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Please don't. There's more at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Music theory#Consistency in page titles re -flat vs ♭ and -sharp vs ♯. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:04, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Including the definite article in band name wikilinks[edit]

I don't think the definite article should be included in wikilinks to band pages. That means we should write:

the Velvet Underground


the Velvet Underground

We write the United Kingdom, the White House, the Kyoto Protocol etc without including "the" in the wikilink, so band names should follow the same pattern, right? Popcornduff (talk) 15:23, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

Had this been Wikipedia's approach from the beginning, we could have avoided the hassle, a couple of years ago, of convincing people that capitalising the T (The Velvet Underground) was wrong in mid-sentence. That battle is fortunately over. But now, while I remain sympathetic, I must point out that it would take an enormous amount of work, renaming/redirecting pages such as "The Beatles" to just the "Beatles", quite probably in the face of opposition. Rothorpe (talk) 15:56, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
You've tempted me now, though. I mean, why is it Spice Girls but not Beatles? We should probably standardise it. Popcornduff (talk) 16:49, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
That said, there's nothing in the MoS to prevent you. As you have already shown, it's possible in many cases. The Doors? The Rolling Stones? The Smashing Pumpkins? Yes, they all work. So I think you can just go ahead. Rothorpe (talk) 16:09, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
@Rothorpe: When you say "they all work", you know the first one refers to "a moving structure used to block off, and allow access to, an entrance to or within an enclosed space"? It rather illustrates the problem, doesn't it? sroc 💬 17:17, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
There is a grammatical distinction that may help put your mind at ease with the apparent discrepency: the United Kingdom is a kingdom; the White House is a house; the Kyoto Protocol is a protocol; the Velvet Underground is not an underground. I'm surprised The The isn't listed as an exception. sroc 💬 16:11, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, but I don't follow. What has the literal meaning got to do with it? A pub named the Plough is not a plough. And why would the The would be an exception? (Point of interest: the Guardian style guide ( brings the The up explicitly.) Popcornduff (talk) 16:49, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
The brackets enclose the article name, so it's the Velvet Underground. Otherwise you create an unnecessary redirect, or in the case of the Doors, a misguided link. Piriczki (talk) 16:55, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Right, but you can fix that by changing the destination of the link. Popcornduff (talk) 16:57, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
That sounds like an article-naming question, not a wikilink issue. Piriczki (talk) 16:59, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
I think Popcornduff means by piping the link: the [[The Doors|Doors]] → the Doors. But, yet, that is more fiddly. sroc 💬 17:11, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
@Popcornduff: Sorry, I was just trying to offer some justification. I couldn't view your link to the Guardian (or is it The Guardian?) but our article The The capitalises both words throughout, as I think it should. sroc 💬 17:14, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Interesting - why do you think it should? How is it any different from the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Popcornduff (talk) 18:03, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm surprised. I thought it had been changed to the The throughout around the time of the original discussion, Names (definite article), above. Rothorpe (talk) 21:36, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
@Popcornduff: I guess I just don't like it. Maybe because all the others are The + [noun phrase] so omitting the definite article is barely essential; whereas both words are essential in The The to the intended meaning. You can refer to bands as Spice Girls or The Spice Girls, Beatles or The Beatles, Velvet Underground or The Velvet Underground, and you'll be understood; but you can't just say The. sroc 💬 22:43, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm not trying to be funny here, but why not? Surely capitalizing the word is sufficient to distinguish it from a common, garden-variety definite article (unless, of course, it occurs at the beginning of a sentence, but there are ways around that).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:16, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree. Try saying it out loud: "I'm listening to the The". Or even pretend the band's just called The, and say "I'm listening to The". Chances are you naturally emphasise "The" so it sounds like a noun, and it's surprisingly comprehensible, I think. Same thing written down: the capitalising of the proper noun does the job. Of course, the name is deliberately and inescapably weird in the first place. Popcornduff (talk) 23:20, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
This is a resolved issue. See WP:Manual of Style/Music § Names (definite article): An authoritative source will determine whether the word "the" is part of a band's name. For example, it should be included in the case of the Velvet Underground, but not in that of Black Sabbath. --hulmem (talk) 23:31, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Need to make exception to lower-case "t" in "the" rule when bands' names are presented in blue links[edit]

I realize that administrators Wiki have made up their minds about the issue of how to use a definite article (i.e. a lower-case "t" in "the" before a band's name) and do not want more discussion about it here, but I think that the issue needs more discussion, because the present guidelines are insufficient when dealing with names of bands presented in blue links. So an exception must be made to accommodate this situation. Let me be clear about where I stand:

  • I fully agree with the current policy that in continuous prose, the "t" in "the" in front of a band's name should not be capitalized...that is when the text is written in normal black lettering.
  • But, I think an exception should be made when the name of a musical band or act is presented in a blue link or bold--a capital "T" should be allowed in those instances. The format should look something like this: "After the Beatles released Rubber Soul, other artists responded to the perceived challenge, for instance Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys began work on Pet Sounds."

There are several reasons why Wiki needs to allow the capital "T" for blue links: First of all, when the name of a band or musical act is presented in a blue link it is essentially being featured or highlighted for the sake of placing more emphasis to inform. But, a lower-case "t" dulls that effect. It makes the blue link stand out less and look sloppy and unsightly, which can have the unintended consequence of causing confusion on the reader's part. It decreases the emphasis, clarity, and informative value which is required in the case. Our primary duty is to inform and educate. A term presented in a blue link is a different entity from regular text and needs its own specially tailored set of guidelines. Garagepunk66 (talk) 08:04, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above this is relevant to your idea. I agree that it looks weird, but I don't think capitalising in the case of blue links isn't the answer, and only creates more inconsistency. My vote is to always exclude 'the' from the link, using a piped link if necessary - just like we write "the White House". (In my very contentious opinion, 'the' should be excluded from the band article names, too, just like the White House article.) Popcornduff (talk) 17:27, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with the suggestion that the presence of a blue wikilink changes any of our rules on typography and style. The wikilink should not change anything at all in the style except to make a link. Binksternet (talk) 17:43, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Some thoughts:
  • I can understand that some would not wish to make an exception to the rule for blue links, though I still think it makes sense. Keep in mind that we are not only displaying the name of the band, but also the title of Wiki article. Also, it will make it harder for editors to create Wiki-links, because we will have to go through extra steps due to the loss of the capital letter--just one more thing to inconvenience editors who are trying to write.
  • However, I acknowledge that leaving the "the ..." in black may be one possible solution, as Popcornduff indicated (although it will ivolve taking extra time to creat a Wiki-link, which would be inconveniencing to editors).
  • On the other topic... I think that titles for articles about bands whose names include a definite article need to have the "The..." placed in the title (displaying band's whole name)--it is just too essential, and could become confusing otherwise. There is a big difference between Animals and The Animals. Whoever did the White House article should have put a definite article in the title when they created the article. Without the definite article, it could be perceived as just any 'ol white house, not the White House. As always clarity and informative value should be our utmost concern.
Then there is the issue of red-links. A lot of people are going to punch-in/create articles for bands whose names appear in red links, but will forget to change the first letter definite article into a capital letter (for the name of the new article). This could cause a lot of problems, and make it such that names of article titles will have to be changed more often. As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time writing about 60s bands--sometimes where many are mentioned in one article--and most of them have definite articles in their names (a characteristic of 60s bands I cherish). The present guidelines are not constructive to the needs of the topics I cover, and probably been decided by people who are not used to writing in these areas. However, something could be done to tailor the policy of Wiki-links. Garagepunk66 (talk) 23:03, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
This is not a problem. Try clicking on your link above, red-links. It invites you to write an article called Red-links. Also have a look at Rolling Stone magazine's site: it's full of links styled with lowercased 'the', like the Beatles. Rothorpe (talk) 00:38, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

That is good to know. I guess I'll have to make do, but I wish there was another way. Garagepunk66 (talk) 22:43, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

What I would like to know is what should make bands an exception to the rule? We lowercase and do not itlaicize the definite article (except when beginning sentences, of course) for the Last of the Mohicans, the Once and Future King, the Simpsons, and the "Tyger", for music publications like the Musical Quarterly, and even for "classical" music groups such as the English Concert. In fact, there are even redirects for most of these items from the "article-less" form of the names, presumably to deal with cases just like these.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:21, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
That's an alternative way, but space-filling (in mark-up) and time-consuming. It works without piping in some cases, such as the Beatles (again). And I agree it's better looking in some cases, though not in others (The Simpsons). Rothorpe (talk) 00:48, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. This has nothing to do with mark-up. I just want to know why "bands" (I assume this means popular-music bands, rather than bands like the famous Coldstream Guards Band) should be treated any differently than works of literature, publications, or "classical" music ensembles. Why are they something special?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:01, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Ah, yes, I see. We don't append 'the' to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra or the Amadeus Quartet. I once suggested at Citizendium omitting the The and was met with contempt. It seems the The is the Thing with popular ensembles. Rothorpe (talk) 03:25, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
"It's part of the name," I was told here when I complained that people were capitalizing the "the" in running prose. Rothorpe (talk) 03:30, 2 July 2015 (UTC)