Numbering of Mozart violin sonatas

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f7cfb9dc900> #<Tag:0x00007f7cfb9dc838>

I noticed that many of the Mozart violin sonatas, as well as names of recordings of them, have been given numbers that don’t correspond to what’s given on their IMSLP pages. I made a start correcting these, starting with the work names. Then I looked a bit further and found that all these changes were made about 10 years ago by a certain editor with a reference to a now-historical page that goes some way to explaining the numbering given.

Which numbering system should we actually use? That used by IMSLP (and seemingly Wikipedia), or that described here? The current situation is quite unsatisfactory – there are many works like this whose corresponding recording titles have a mixture of different numbers in their titles.

Votes on my edits to the work titles (for or against) are also welcome.

Or we could you the Neue-Mozart-Ausgabe numbering which is again different :slight_smile:

Joke aside, it seems that both the numberings you mention are used more or less equally in recording titles. I don’t really have an opinion about which one to choose, but I think we need to have both possibilities as aliases, and possibly as disambiguation comment (“sometimes no. 30”)
If you are motivated to add work aliases, this script might help

Does IMSLP actually use the numbering? The IMSLP page for your example work lists it as “Violin Sonata in D major, K.306/300l” (no number given); one of the scanned scores it has says ‘Sonaten und Variationen für Pianoforte und Violine, Bd.2, No.30”. Most of the scores never give it a number.

Is there a source or some explanation to be cited for why there are two different numberings? Without that, including numbering just seems to add to the confusion.

Edit: Also, the recordings don’t show a particular preference at least on your example; there are four using “23” and four using “30”. Eight do not give a number (just using the K number) and one lists it as “no. 3” but I guess that’s a typo of some kind?

Not in the work title, but in the ‘Misc. comments’ section on the IMSLP page for all these sonatas there is a list including the numbers (in quotation marks).

Given the lack of consensus, I’m inclined to think we should not include these numbers at all in the principal work names. They could be included in aliases. It seems that most actual releases don’t include the numbers in their track listings, usually just quoting a K number (or numbers).

That’s my thought as well, but if we’re going to do that it seems to me that there should be some justification for the two different numbering systems. Were they invented for two different catalogs, or what?

One of them (the one I was trying to move away from) was apparently following the numbering from an 1879 publication by Breitkopf & Härtel. Then there is the NMA numbering. There is some discussion of Wikipedia’s numbering on this page, but no clear indication of its origin.

Perhaps if the works were linked to two series, one for the NMA scheme and one for the B&H publication, that would cover most bases.

1 Like

I agree to just use the K numbers in the works.

sounds like a good idea.


OK, I added the two series, for the B&H and NMA numberings.

The origin of the third numbering, which differs from both of the above for some sonatas (K 301–306, 379, 454, 481, 526, 547), is favoured by the IMSLP pages (though not in the actual titles), Wikipedia, allmusic (not thoroughly checked but at least for some), is still a mystery to me. And I found one set of Hyperion releases that seems to use it on the front covers:

I wonder if this should be added as a third series. I’m hesitant to do so without a definitive source but it does seem to be moderately widely used.


Odd that the hyperion releases put the numbers on the front cover only - not in the booklet.

Third series added for completeness. Now I think the numbers can be removed from the work titles.

1 Like