Could I please get some help deciding what Work entities and Relationships to use for “26 Italian Songs and Arias” (medium high voice) (Release/e2b8c)?
What’s notable about this Release is that it’s a book of carefully edited scores of arias and songs from the classical music tradition. The editor goes to pains to explain how the changes to the notes and accompaniment result in a score which is truer to what the composer intended, and is based on careful scholarship. So, it seems relevant to note the editing and scholarship, not just the music performance, and to credit the editor’s role.
Why is a book in MusicBrainz? Because bound into the book is a CD. The CD has recordings of a pianist playing the instrumental part of each song or aria in the book. It is a CD release, but packaged in a large book, instead of being packaged in a plastic box with a small booklet.
The CSG/Works guidelines seem to say that an arrangement Work should only be created if there are at least two Recordings of the new Work available, and if the differences in the arrangement change the sound to the non-specialist ear. Changing the instrumentation counts as “arrangement”. Transposing the piece does not. Presumably correcting the notes and the dynamic markings does not count. And, “If in doubt, do not create a new work.”
That says I should relate the Recordings in this Release to existing Work entities. But then how do I record the basic facts about the carefully-edited scores which are the whole point of this Release? How do I note that Paton edited the score? How do I say that Dunn translated the Italian lyrics into English? How do I say that Alfred released this edition?
The scores have both the original Italian lyrics and a translation of lyrics into English. But the accompanying CD has instrumental-only performances. The translator of the lyrics gets a credit in the book. Should they get credit in MusicBrainz, even if we can’t hear their work? If so, how?
As you look at the track list for “26 Italian Songs and Arias” (Release/e2b8c), you will see that they are presently a hodge-podge. In some cases (tracks 1-9, indeed any track which says “publisher: Alfred Music Publishing”) I created a new Work to represent the arrangement. In other cases (tracks 11-19, and any track which says “publisher: G. Schirmer”) I linked this Recording to an existing Work.
Part of the problem is that the MusicBrainz entity named “Work” doesn’t align well with what I understand a musical work of composition to be. MusicBrainz has style guidelines for representing audible differences that can be traced back to musical notation (e.g. arrangements for different instrumentation). It doesn’t seem to have guidelines for representing differences which aren’t easy to hear, but that still can be traced back to notation (e.g. subtle edits, different editions, etc.). The Work entity doesn’t seem to relate directly to editions of printed scores. Putting “catch-all” in the disambiguation has the feel of an expedient work-around for a complex reality. This has the feeling of getting into a part of music information for which MusicBrainz is not yet ready to be the “ultimate source”. So maybe any choice will be messy.
If I link these Recordings to existing Work entities used by other Recordings, then how do I note that for these Recordings in particular, the editor and arranger is known? An Artist-Recording “Arranger” relationship?
Should these works be related with Publisher to a Label (as, say, Work/f27cd and Work/3e33c are)? Since a Work entity can correspond to an unknown set of different editions of published music scores from different publishers, in what circumstances is a Publisher relationship between Work and Label meaningful? I love being able to identify one Work as “the Schirmer edition” and another as “the Alfred edition”, but I fear Work entities don’t have that meaning.
One more layer on the cake: the same editor and scholars and performers made a companion book, “26 Italian Songs and Arias” (medium low voice) (Release/c1fc5). This Release is also a book of carefully-edited scores, with a CD bound in. However, these scores are transposed a few steps lower than the scores in Release/e2b8c. Should the recordings of Release/c1fc5 point to the same Work entities as Release/e2b8c?
Thanks for helping me figure this out. Once I understand how to handle this Release, I’ll go back and clean up the Work relationships.