This is motivated by situations that can occur with Classical Music, but may potentially have a wider impact.
I’m looking at Bruckner’s 7th Symphony as an example. There are three common performing editions, the Gutman, Haas, and Nowak. Of the three, the Haas is the most common. In the Musicbrainz DB, the Hass and Nowak editions are listed as revisions of the Gutman edition. This can all be seen here:
When adding a new release of a recording of this Work to the Musicbrainz DB, you are obliged to select one of these three editions to associate the recordings to. This gives rise to two problems. First, it is often the case that you cannot readily determine which edition is the one that was used on the recording, and if you don’t know what the edition is, you can’t choose the correct one, and there isn’t an option for “Unknown Edition”. Second, the process for making the association to the MBID of the selected Work is such that if you don’t actually know that there are a selection of editions that you can choose from, then you end up choosing one of the editions randomly.
I think two things need to be done about this. The first is that there needs to be a “Generic” version of every Work which is the “Parent” Work in the Musicbrainz DB. Then, if multiple editions exist, those individual editions can be listed as revisions of the Generic Work. If the actual edition used in the recording is unknown, or to be more accurate, is not specifically known to be one of the listed editions, then it should be associated with the “Generic” or “Parent” version. Only recordings known to be of a listed edition should be associated with the revision of listed edition. This is what I would like to see a wider discussion of.
The second thing that needs to be done, and this should really be left to a separate discussion once the First question is resolved, is this. If a User wishes to associate a recording to a Work, how do we alert that user to the existence of multiple revisions? How can the UI be modified to accommodate this?
Thank you for your attention