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


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.


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.


     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.  


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

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