Input and request for votes needed on join phrases

style
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fe3d3bb97c0>

#1

I wanted to get some more input on a couple edits before they expire: 41458579 and 41458473. There’s a lot of discussion there already, so if you don’t want to endure all that, here’s the short version:

This release is a musical by John Adams with a libretto by June Jordan. The names are distantly separated on the cover with no connecting punctuation. On the spine, they’re listed as “John Adams/June Jordan”. The edits I submitted would change them to match the spine: joined by a slash with no surrounding spaces. My reason for that is the AC style guideline says: “Artist credits should generally follow the actual credit used on the release / track, including the join phrases.” It gives some examples, the third of which matches this situation exactly: the names are separated on the cover with no join phrase, so the credit (“Fennez + Sakamoto”) is “as on the spine”.

The arguments against these edits are that the spines aren’t sufficient evidence of Artist Intent, so the AC should be standardized, and that a slash implies a different relationship. (If this isn’t a sufficient summary, I encourage you to read the discussion itself.)

My counter is that AI isn’t part of the argument (it applies when trying to decide whether to correct things like typos or weird capitalization), no guideline defines a standardized join phrase, a slash without surrounding spaces has no special implications, and nothing in the edits is prohibited by any guideline. Basically, I don’t see a compelling reason not to use what’s on the release.

I also opened a bug report about the guideline not including a standardized join phrase for collaborators.


#2

I don’t know the CSG rules and the discussion if it is CSG or not CSG.
But if this release has to use normal Artist Credit (AC) like in pops, then I don’t see why it should use comma:

  • An AC constructed from the front would be « John Adams libretto by June Jordan »
  • An AC constructed from the spine would be either « John Adams/June Jordan » or « John Adams / June Jordan »

The spine AC looks more logical to me.
In any cases, I don’t see a comma.


#3

For “theatre” https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Specific_types_of_releases/Theatre we have a standardized join phrase for Composer & Librettist collaborations (when given equal credit): It’s the ampersand. I don’t see why (but for the use of the full names) we should not follow the examples given in the guidelines: “Kander & Ebb”; “Rodgers & Hammerstein” etc.


#4

[quote=“chabreyflint, post:3, topic:167108, full:true”]
For “theatre” https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Specific_types_of_releases/Theatre we have a standardized join phrase for Composer & Librettist collaborations (when given equal credit): It’s the ampersand. I don’t see why (but for the use of the full names) we should not follow the examples given in the guidelines: “Kander & Ebb”; “Rodgers & Hammerstein” etc.
[/quote]"The following commonly credited composer/lyricist collaborations should be expressed as joint artist credits to the composer and lyricist:"
That’s very clearly intended to define how those specific five collaborations should be credited, since it contradicts the MB standard of using one artist credit for long-time collaborations. I really don’t understand why those five are an exception, but it has nothing to do with this. There’s really no way you could possibly read that and interpret its intent as standardizing join phrases.


#5

This “exception” was introduced at a time, when the generic guideline for theatre still asked to credit “composer only”, for use in the cases where the librettist was getting equal credit as the composer. It has nothing to do with [quote=“Torc, post:4, topic:167108”]
the MB standard of using one artist credit for long-time collaborations
[/quote]

It is still an exception from other such cases as last names only should be used.


#6

OK, so I reached the wrong conclusion because the guideline is out of date and the intent of the example wasn’t given. Now that the reason for this has been changed, why hasn’t this been removed? Why isn’t there a joint artist for those collaborations?

And if you knew that was the purpose of that section, why did you present it as if it was to standardize ampersands?


#7

Because it applies a more specific standard to these 5 than just “however their names are printed on the cover”, and that might still be desirable (I’ve never listened to anything by any of them, so I wouldn’t know myself).

We’ve traditionally never had joint artists for any sort of classical(ish) collaborations, but it’s possible that it makes sense for these, especially if they’re usually credited together in covers (and the scores).


#8

bad idea IMO. At least before we have implemented what SaiyanRiku asks for:


#9

[quote=“reosarevok, post:7, topic:167108”]
Because it applies a more specific standard to these 5 than just “however their names are printed on the cover”, and that might still be desirable (I’ve never listened to anything by any of them, so I wouldn’t know myself).[/quote]

It just seems weird to me that what they sound like should have any effect on how they’re cataloged. Why should that matter? Why do we want to put that additional burden on editors? Anyway, you’ve probably heard their stuff. Here’s something from each of them:
Getting to Know You
I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General
Cabaret
Thank Heaven for Little Girls
The Lady Is a Tramp

I think long-term collaborations like these are rare in the Classical world, especially before 1920. Wikipedia has two articles of interest: a list of opera librettists and a list of Classical collaborations. The first list does show a few instances where the same composer and librettist worked together multiple times, but from what I’ve read, even then it seems more like the composer commissioned the librettist and they worked separately, and not a co-credited songwriting team like what was more common in the 20th century. The second list only has three entries I could find that really fit the description of a long-term collaboration: François Rebel and François Francœur, Luigi and Federico Ricci, and Federico Chueca and Joaquín Valverde Durán.

I’m really split on how to best approach this. The main problem is that with some of these teams, they’re so well-known as a unit that users are going to expect to treat them that way, and MB is really bad at that if they’re split. If I search Discogs for albums by Rodgers & Hammerstein, I get plenty of results. But on MB, it’s a nightmare: they don’t appear as a team in an Artist search, the Overview page for either individual shows solo, joint, and any other collaborations all mashed together, and the filter only allows one unique AC – it treats split releases, additional performer credits, different join phrases, etc. as separate filters. The works page doesn’t have a filter, if you want to browse those you have to use a search with advanced syntax. So it’s definitely not the most user friendly thing in the world.

And it applies to any well-known songwriting team, not just Theatre or Classical: George and Ira Gershwin, Leiber and Stoller, Goffin and King, etc. The Sherman Brothers wrote nearly everything together, but have no joint profile. We even have a separate artist page for Holland-Dozier-Holland (granted, because they recorded one EP as such), but a few works that use the group with the credits, and Discogs uses their joint profile for most of their writing credits.

On the other hand, trying to combine all those those ARs would be a pain.

I definitely don’t like the idea of singling out the exceptions. If there’s a pattern to this, we should include the pattern in the guideline instead, and cite those as examples rather than exceptions. Something like: “Non-performing collaborations should be credited as individuals whenever possible. Work (and Recording?) relationship credits for duos or groups should be credited to individual members whenever known, even if the album and track is credited to the joint artist.” People tend to do this anyway – give composer credits to the members even if the release just credits the band as writers, but it’s actually not covered in the guideline. Should it be the group, the individuals, or both?

I’m not sure what to do about the name formatting, but I’d be inclined to allow it to be as credited on the release. I don’t see the point of forcing the credit to be “Gilbert & Sullivan” if you can’t actually search for Gilbert & Sullivan.

Last thing, the link for Hart is broken in the Theatre guideline.