DATE: December 2, 1994
NAME: Form of Music Codes in Bibliographic Records
SOURCE: National Library of Canada, Music Cataloging Section
SUMMARY: This paper explores the need to represent form of composition and genre for music as coded values in field 008 for music. It also discusses whether new codes should be added for forms/genres not currently assigned specific codes for use in field 008/18-19 and field 047.
KEYWORDS: Field 008/18-19 (Music); Form of composition; Field 047; Form of Musical Composition Code
12/2/94 - Forwarded to the USMARC Advisory Group for discussion at the February 1995 MARBI meetings.
2/6/95 - Results of USMARC Advisory Group discussion: A proposal may be needed based on the results of MLA discussion at its meetings in mid February. The proposal may suggest making field 008/18-19 (Music) and field 047 (Form of Musical Composition) obsolete. It should specify that if these coded data elements are retained as valid in the format, better maintenance is required. The Group agreed that codes need not be added by proposal. They could be published in one of the existing USMARC codes list publications.
DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 81: Form of Music Codes in Bibliographic Records 1. INTRODUCTION This paper discusses the pros and cons of defining new codes for use in field 008 (Fixed-Length Data Elements) positions 18-19 (Form of composition) and field 047 (Form of Musical Composition Code) in the USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data. The music cataloging community is not unanimous on the issues of what musical aspects to code and what codes to define for form of composition. Some music catalogers want to add new codes; others want to do away with these coded data elements altogether. The general direction of the USMARC formats to improve consistency, eliminate redundancy, and overall, make the formats easier to use, needs to be considered in the discussion to add more codes. 2. DISCUSSION Beginning with the original specifications for music, which were first published as the MARC Format for Music (1976), data elements have been defined for providing a coded representation of the form of music composition. Compositional forms (e.g., concertos) can be coded in USMARC records in addition to being represented by full-text subject headings in the 6XX (Subject Access) fields. These codes were defined to support qualification searching. Catalog users could locate materials by forms of composition in combination with other search arguments. Access through forms of composition and musical genres have traditionally formed part of the cataloging information provided for music scores and sound recordings. In the early 1970s, it was debated whether only a few codes, limited primarily to classical musical forms, should be defined or whether encoding should be broadened to include other musical genres. In the end, the list of codes to be used in field 008/18-19 (and field 047, when more than one form of composition or musical genre was involved) covered some, but not all forms and genres. In the almost twenty years since the USMARC code list for field 008/18-19 and field 047 was initially approved, only a few codes have been added. The variety of musical genres has grown, especially for popular music, yet the codes for popular forms has remained limited. The establishment of new subject headings in LCSH for musical forms for use in the 6XX fields has continued while the coded compositional forms has not been changed. Requests have been made to add new codes to the USMARC list used in field 008/18-19 (Music) and field 047, particularly for popular musical genres that catalogers want to identify more specifically than is possible with the code "pp" (Popular music). The National Library of Canada has requested that the code list be updated to add codes for newer compositional forms. In 1989, the Library of Congress announced that it was abandoning the practice of including field 047 in records when more than one USMARC music composition code is appropriate. The difficulty and expense of providing codes, in addition to subject headings, was one of the reasons LC decided on the change in practice. (LC has continued to code field 008/18-19.) Reaction to the announcement that field 047 would no longer be used was mixed, and not as strong as had been anticipated. It was not and is still not clear how widely musical composition codes are actually used. 3. POSSIBLE OPTIONS a) Expand the current USMARC code list for use in field 008/18-19 (Music) and field 047 to cover a wider variety of forms of musical composition and genres. The existing broad, general codes (e.g., "pp" = popular music) would continue to be valid for those that did not want to use a more specific code. The advantages include a better synchronization with forms of composition and genre terms recorded in the 6XX fields, a simplification of the decision-making process for selecting a code, and better data for those systems that can already make use of coded form/genre information in searching. Field 008/18-19 and/or field 047 codes could be based more closely on subject terms if more codes were defined and the code list updated in conjunction with establishment of new forms in LCSH in the future. b) Make the current USMARC field 008 positions 18-19 (Music) and field 047 obsolete. Since form of musical composition and genre are generally recorded as full-text strings in one of the 6XX fields, there may be no loss in usability of the cataloging records. The main disadvantage would be the loss to those systems and catalog users that currently make use of this coded data. The searching of full-text strings is often not as efficient as searching coded values. 4. EXISTING AND PROPOSED MUSIC CODES Existing USMARC codes for field 008/18-19 (Music) and field 047: (* = Term not yet covered by LCSH) Type of Music Code Anthems an Ballets bt Bluegrass music bg Blues bl Canons and rounds * cn Cantatas ct Canzonas * cz Carols cr Chaconnes ca Chance compositions cs Chansons, polyphonic cp Chant, Christian cc Chants, Other religious * cb Chorale preludes cl Chorales ch Concerti grossi cg Concertos co Country music cy Dance forms df Divertimentos, etc. * dv Fantasias ft Folk music fm Fugues * fg Gospel music gm Hymns hy Jazz jz Madrigals md Marches mr Masses ms Mazurkas mz Minuets mi Motets mo Moving picture music mp Multiple forms mu Nocturnes nc Not applicable nn Operas op Oratorios or Overtures ov Part-songs pt Passacaglias ps Passion music pm Pavans pv Polonaises po Popular music pp Preludes * pr Program music pg Ragtime music rg Requiems rq Ricercars * ri Rock music rc Rondos rd Sonatas sn Songs sg Studies and exercises * st Suites su Symphonic poems sp Symphonies sy Toccatas tc Trio-sonatas ts Unknown uu Variations vr Waltzes wz Other forms of composition zz Proposed additions to the USMARC list of Form of composition codes: (* = Term not yet covered by LCSH) Type of Music Code Aires ai Bagatelles * ba Cappriccios * ci Christmas music cx Computer music cm Dance music dn Disco music ds Electronic music ec Elegies * eg Fanfares ff Funky music * fy Gavottes gv Hard rock music * hr House music * hs Incidental music ic Intermezzos in Jug band music * jg Lieder li Musique concrŠte mq National music na New wave music nw Polkas pk Psalms (Music) pl Raggae music re Rap (Music) rp Rhythm and blues music rb Rock operas * ro Sinfonias * si Ska music * sk Soul music sl Square dance music sq Tarantellas tr