Please your input on how to set the type for an original instrumental work of modern music

Hi folks :slight_smile:

As an example only: the instrumental work Dreams

When I read Wikipedia, the proper name for instrumental original pieces of music is instrumental

However, when wanting to set the type of this instrumental, a whole list of types pops up, but most of them meant for classical music, like: opera, overture etc. For modern pieces of music one can only choose from Song or Soundtrack.

A Song in my opinion has lyrics, otherwise it cannot be sung. Wikipedia shares my opinion here.
A Soundtrack according to Wikipedia is no attribute for an original work but for a recording of the work. Also, a soundtrack often has to do with a film, TV-program or game, when I read Wikipedia.

I want to add 14 works to one of my artist pages. He composed 14 jazz instrumentals and I feel uncomfortable to name those soundtracks as they are no recordings of original works neither used for film or TV. They are original instrumentals in the genre jazz.

That said, I propose that we get a new added “type” in the drop down box, with the name instrumental, so we can add the proper type to an instrumental piece of modern music!

Please your opinions and input!

I have been waiting for internal type for very long time. Some say that song covers everything. :neutral_face:
But without this simple type I took the following habit when creating works:

  • If it is a song as we understand it both of us, I set song type and I set the language.
  • If it is an instrumental, I leave the type blank and I set the no language language (zxx).
1 Like

@jesus2099 I think it not right that you leave the field blank for an instrumental, because then people do not know what it is, it even could be not a piece of music but a poem or a ballet (according to the list of possible types). I hope you are not offended, that I say this to you.

Leaving that type field blank is really a pis-aller (worst case scenario, plan B, fallback) for me, until MBS-2766 (or something else) allows me to fill it in with a proper value. :sunglasses:

Then what about naming it a soundtrack just like I do? That is the second worst case I think :slight_smile: :

Hopefully together we can convince them coming days, to add the proper type to the drop down list!

It’s definitely not a soundtrack. Don’t enter wrong data.


I use my tags when I want to remember some stuff fixing for the future but, as I have been missing that instrumental type for quite some very long time, I did not tag them all consistently. I started with instrumental, then instr. or inst. then nothing, because it’s taking too much time to set those tags, all those years. :smiley:
I also used the work comment at some point — most of them that you can see there — but I later was convinced (I don’t remember when nor by whom) to not do this any more.

1 Like

@chirlu it indeed is no soundtrack, but then what do you propose, as long as we do not have the right type to add to an instrumental? Would you propose to call it a song, while per definition a song has lyrics? That definitely also would be entering wrong data!

@jesus2099 I am so very sorry for you, that all those years, you had to struggle and had to try to add solutions with tags, am :cry:-ing for you

This could be a solution:
Site developers:
1.Replace in the types list the “soundtrack” by “instrumental”, that way the right type also automatically will display in all those thousands of instrumentals that were already given the type “soundtrack” because they definitely are no “song” .
2. Add at the recordings the attribute “soundtrack” because is it an attribute belonging to a recording not to a work.
3. Perhaps also automatically apply at works that have no type specified, the type “instrumental”, Or, even Better, give to the Members a tool so they can look up all their “no type” works and apply the right type with selecting all those works and apply the right type in one click :slight_smile:

I don’t agree with using soundtrack because as you say it just means if this or that recording appeared in a film.

  1. A film soundtrack can be a song (with vocals) so it doesn’t replace our sought after missing instrumental type
  2. If I try to understand soundtrack type, I feel it belongs to recordings that appear in films, not works
  3. I don’t understand it

Oh okay @jesus2099 I will try to explain better, what I mean. But it is very difficult for me to explain.
Temporarily we could use “soundtrack” although it is not the right type. Why could we do so? Because when the site developers will agree with us about the difference between “song” and “soundtrack”, and then replace the type named “soundtrack” into “instrumental” in the select options drop down list of types, and also change the output after submitting the type that you chose in the select box, then the type “soundtrack” as type for a work, with some extra coding, automatically could be replaced by “instrumental” as type for the work also at works that already had the entry “soundtrack”, and then you will not have to go to all the works to put it in manually. It would save us a lot of time! Especially as “soundtrack” is an attribute for a recording and not for a work, we safely can replace “soundtrack” in works by “instrumental”.

Hmmm, I was trying to show you a little bit of this in html code to better explain, but oooops then this html code was trying to execute on here! Maybe I can try to make an image of what I meant, be back later today :slight_smile:

P.S. in line 332 of the source of this page you can see a bit of what I mean, they can change there Soundtrack into Instrumental but they also have to change that in the output of the form, otherwise still the word “soundtrack” will display on pages and not the word “instrumental”. This solution is for works, after they have applied the new coding.

For existing works including works that we now and tomorrow enter “soundtrack” because there is no “instrumental”, they can replace on the whole website by themselves, without needing us, with a search-replace batch, the “soundtrack” by “instrumental” and then upload the pages again and overwrite the old pages. So that is why I proposed temporarily we use the type “soundtrack” and they can easily replace with the right word “instrumental”.

For old works that have no type at all, they could give us a tool to search and select those, and then let us choose what to fill in: song or instrumental.

I wish I can explain better to you… :worried: will try to make pictures!

Most of our work types are musical forms. I don’t see instrumental being a type but just an attribute of work. Wikipedia defines instrumental as “a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing”.

Soundtrack type is a little exception and compromise because majority (which is usually wrong :smiling_imp:) didn’t like the idea of adding separate types for film, television and game scores. Not all soundtracks are instrumental.

We often get similar kind of discussions when editors don’t like to leave some form fields empty. It’s good to remember that it’s perfectly fine to leave a field empty if none of the options fit. Most of the modern works (also classical) are breaking traditional musical forms and there isn’t and won’t be suitable types for them. We currently list only the most popular work types. We could easily extend it adding hundreds of types more but some of them can be hard to define.


What a relieve that technically it would be very easy to add more types to the drop down list! :relieved:

So you state, that instrumental should not be added to the list because you see it not as a type (music form) but rather as an attribute that can have many types (e.g. prelude, sonata, overture, requiem, suite, blues, rhapsody, jazz), do I understand right? But then why is song in the list, while that also in this opinion is no more than an attribute that can have many types (e.g. chanson, operetta, carol, serenade, blues, jazz, pop, rock) ?

Most modern works including classical works are indeed breaking traditional music forms as you stated, but I cannot agree with you that there aren’t suitable types for them. We recognize a lot of modern types like jazz, pop, rock, funk, reggae, rap, hip-hop, metal. Why do you provide for the old classical music form a lot to choose from in the list, and not one type to choose from for the modern music? I hope that at least the main modern music forms can be added as types?

I think this is a really bad idea. I am sure the soundtrack type is already in use for plenty of works, which means you cannot automate converting this to instrumental. IMHO both instrumental and soundtrack can apply on both the work and recording level, not much difference there. The instrumental tag can already be set for recordings via the work relationship.

The correct way to do in all cases where MB cannot express the data is to not enter the data and add an annotation instead. Especially in this case it is also a good option to add a folksonomy tag “instrumental”. That way one can easily identify the sings later again to change the type.


Okay I agree with you @outsidecontext about the “soundtrack” as indeed there will be many works that are soundtracks and do not need to be converted!

But I think it such a pity, not to be able to add a right type. And I also notice, that at many works indeed the field type has been left blank, but also they have no annotation! Even in classical works the type has not been set, like this one by one of my favorite classical composers Claude Debussy. One thing good at this example of Debussy is, that they have set the lyrics language at the right side of the page to “no lyrics” to make clear that it is an instrumental :slight_smile:

I wish there come more types to choose from, in future!

[quote=“Samsom_Productions, post:12, topic:164558”]So you state, that instrumental should not be added to the list because you see it not as a type (music form) but rather as an attribute that can have many types (e.g. prelude,
sonata, overture, requiem, suite, blues, rhapsody, jazz), do I understand right?
If Wikipedia definition is what’s commonly used then yes, sonata is also an instrumental.

Song is commonly listed as musical form.

It depends of the definition but for me these are genres or styles instead of work types.

[quote=“Samsom_Productions, post:12, topic:164558”]Why do you provide for the old classical music form a lot to choose from in the list, and not one type to choose from for the modern music?
I believe these types were added because these were the easy ones to add. Most of the time you don’t need to be an expert to select “Sonata” because it’s included on work name. Many other types would need some sort of definitions. For example it seems that “instrumental” is having different meaning for you and me. There’s little use for types which are ambiguous and have different meanings to everyone.

Naturally everyone is free to propose new types and it’s not limited to classical music.

In what we can call pop music, there are two types of tracks, SONGS and INSTRUMENTALS.
Why do we have song but not instrumental.
We do have many many more songs than instrumentals, it’s true. But it is not a rare case at all, especially in hard rock, for instance.
I can call it popular work type as much as song.


I know this piano piece (Debussy, Images, Livre 1, L. 110) pretty well but I have no idea what should be a type for it. Are you saying this should have a type “instrumental”?

Examples for works that simply don’t have a meaningful type include many part-works. E.g. a work may be a symphony, but its second movement isn’t a symphony, and it may not be of any particular type.


Works on side B of Bowie’s LOW album need the instrumental type, they are no songs.

1 Like

Hi folks :slight_smile: Here I am again, after having done a lot of research today on music genres, types and the difference between types and genres, and not only research on Wiki, and came to surprising results, but about that, TOMORROW!

You all have given very valuable input on this thread! Yeah! :stuck_out_tongue:

A few comments: You state that you accept “song” as a “type” because it is “commonly” accepted as a type. And you do not accept “instrumental” as a type because it is not commonly accepted as a type, do I understand right? But earlier in this thread you had your own opinion about “commonly accepted” and even said that "[quote=“, post:11, topic:164558”]
majority (which is usually wrong :smiling_imp:) didn’t like the idea
[/quote] Please understand I do not want to pull your words out of their context, only want to show that “commonly accepted” does not have to mean that it is true, as you said yourself :wink:

@jesus2099 I will come back tomorrow to your statement “popular” work type, as “pop” seems to have a different meaning than we all think. YES Images by Claude Debussy is an instrumental, because it has no lyrics! It has “Piano solo” on the cover of my piano book, and I agree with you in your earlier post, that [quote=“, post:15, topic:164558”]
I believe these types were added because these were the easy ones to add. Most of the time you don’t need to be an expert to select “Sonata” because it’s included on work name.
[/quote] That’s so very right, we should keep it simple, for the many appreciated editors that we have here!

@chirlu You also are right, in one work there can be different “types” of music.

I am building a Tree Model that we all can agree with to let perhaps and hopefully change the drop down list of types we can choose from, while leaving the current “types” intact. So then when you all accept the top of the Tree, we then can discuss how to fill in its branches.
So, before going into “types” or “genres” or “attributes”, I would like your opinion if we all can agree to my next post: