How to link alternate takes to a recording

Alternate takes of the same title often appear on Jazz releases and may be very different from the original (in performance and duration). Should they be linked to the same recording? For example:

  1. Title A recording of Title A
  2. Title A (alt. take x) (partly?) recording of Title A
    or create a new recording?

Without being too familiar with the usage of this term in Jazz, from your description it sounds like these should be separate Recordings of the same Work.


In your sentence, you can replace these words to get the correct MB types to use:

  • Takes = recordings
  • Title = work

And yes, you should link all these takes (recordings) to the same title (work).


Thanks, but what about the ‘partly’ option for the link? When is it appropriate?

When the song is not sung completely, for example.

That doesn’t fit for the examples I had in mind.
To go back to (in general) instrumental Jazz:
What if the alternate take differs in, let’s say, an improvised solo part or a changed intro/outro? Isn’t that partly too, compared to the work?

I would say if a part is improvised (or, in some genres, you would expect parts of pieces to be improvised anyway), use the same work.

A rule of thumb can be “could someone ‘cover’ this new recording”. If yes, then a new work. But every situation is different.

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I would make separate recordings for each take. As they use a new bit of tape in the studio.

I’d link them all to the same work as they all read the same sheet music to base their improvisation on.

I’ve always visualised “recordings” and “works” in this way.

When I’d make a new work is if a specific improvisation becomes a new “standard” way of playing that song. If Fred’s version is so good that everyone now starts to copy him instead of the original, then I’d note that with a new work. But I’d also add a disambig to it to note it is (Fred’s version)

Similar to Jazz you get remixes in the pop world where someone else comes in the studio and totally rearranges the sound on a recording, but those stay linked to the same work even if they now sound very different to the original single.


I’d agree with this.
If I got it right as quite a newby to MB:
There’s a track of a release linked to a recording which is linked to a work. Ok?
But I’m still confused with this: Someone adds a new release with a track not yet in MB, thus creates a new recording and work which eventually is not the original. Let’s say ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses is entered before Bob Dylan’s original and supplied with additional relations like publishers. If Dylan’s version is entered later his recording will/should be linked to this work? Or the live reggae version is entered first?
Maybe this is a bad example but I hope you get my thoughts.

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when you relate a recording to a work, you can denote that the recording is a cover, in the same place you can denote a partial recording or the recording date(s)

a recording can also be linked to multiple tracks, like the Smooth Criminal cover shown above

(I just realized I didn’t actually answer your question directly… leaving what I originally wrote tho… lol)

in general, yes, they would all be linked to the same work. an exception would be if there’s new or significantly altered lyrics. there could be other exceptions, but that’s the main one


Have a look a the example Work you chose:

As @UltimateRiff explains, you can add a work and tick “cover”. If you don’t know who it was written by, you don’t have to fill that detail in. Then over the next weeks\years other people add more details. Fill in the actual writers, etc. Whilst linking more and more Recordings of that Work.

Also notice on that same page you can see there are links to translated versions. And links to alternate arrangements and parodies. This is the beauty of a relational database - it allows the data and details to grow and stay tied to other variations.

Tracks: Guns and Roses released their Recording of Knocking on Heavens Door on Use your Illusion II. So each “Release” lists this “Track”, but they all share the same studio Recording. A Track is when this is listed on a CD/LP somewhere. That may be an original release, or a compilation. It was “Track 4” on Use You Illusion II, but appears as “Track 5” on their Greatest Hits album. These are all still using that same Recording. That same bit of tape from the studio.


Thanks for this really helpful link and your further explanations.
Though I’m quite experienced in working on discogs there’s a lot of new stuff to learn about MB, I guess.


One of the main differences is how much more connected every little bit is here at MusicBrainz. Click on the links on the page and you can follow it all around.

The forum usually has someone around ready to help and explain. But the best way is just dive in, make mistakes, correct them, and just get experience.

I found I learnt the most by taking a small band I had some CDs for and just diving in and expanding the details MB had. Smaller bands with smaller output are easier to get your head around initially than a Guns and Roses or Bob Dylan. But the big bands are good to look at for examples of how it all links up.


To close it up, here’s one of my first (more complex) attempts and I hope it’s ok so far:

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One last remark: The biggest problem I have with this is a missing draft status. If the mistakes are essential I have to wait for 7 days until they are corrected.


Yeah, no draft but you do have up to 24 hours after the initial edit to correct things. If you have just added a new release, you can make multiple changes in that 24 hours. Only after then does it drop into the edit queues.

Everything else will drop into the 7 day queue, but it just means things move at a different pace here. There is no rush for perfection. And if you get votes on it then it goes through quicker.

And a quick look at the release, and is all looks good. Some of your images are showing at the wrong angle. I guess those are the inside of the gatefold, I’d set them as “other”


On my laptop they are all in the right angle and were only turned after scan months ago. (???)
Forgot ‘other’, sorry.
Just found out: if you click on them the orientation is correct.

Yeah, I noticed this too. Unusual.

Actually - it is weirder than that. Click on the 250\500\1200px and it is shown sideways. But Original is displayed correct.

I wonder if this is something about how the editing program has set the orientation? When I download a copy it is fine on my PC too. I don’t know enough about EXIF data to be able to know how to understand what it says. Looks very different to what paint dot net sets.

As far as I remember the orientation was fixed in MS explorer after scan.

AH… so Windows did a rotate on the image? Not exactly an unusual app then.