’Round Midnight work to split


Following this edit Edit #81696416 - MusicBrainz it seems that the work should be split following guidelines since the lyrics were later added to the original work.

There are around 800 recordings attached currently to it so could you give your view about how to proceed with? Problem being not all attached recordings clearly show if they are instrumental or vocal.

  1. Use current work as the original instrumental one and creating a second one for the vocal work
  2. Use current work as the vocal one and creating a second one for the instrumental work
  3. Create 2 new works for instrumental and vocal versions then keep current one for recordings that can’t be identified?
  4. Other?

In all cases there will be some updates required on relationships (ISWC,…) and of course the major ones on recordings.
The 4 pages: https://musicbrainz.org/work/f99aa87a-d665-3d56-8df6-1fb072ab2042?direction=2&link_type_id=278&page=1

Thanks for your help


I own two versions of, both properly marked as instrumental - it is a song with lyrics at the moment.

You’re right, they have to be separated and I think, it should be option 2.

The current one IS the vocal version. So some recordings are really sung and some are flagged “instrumental”. At least they can be safely transferred. For the rest…This will need a big effort, and, as you mentioned, for some it will be impossible to find out.

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On second thought, and after reading Wikipedia… Maybe we should leave it as it is!

The song was not originally an instrumental piece:

The song was copyrighted September 24, 1943 in C minor under the title “I Need You So”, and included lyrics by Monk himself. The first recording was made by Cootie Williams on August 22, 1944 …

Jazz trumpeters Cootie Williams and Dizzy Gillespie further embellished the song, with songwriter Bernie Hanighen adding his own lyrics. The lyrics were copyrighted November 27, 1944 under the title “Grand Finale”… The commonly played intro to “'Round Midnight” was originally composed by Dizzy Gillespie for the end of his arrangement for “I Can’t Get Started”, but later adopted it to the intro for “'Round Midnight”.

We’ve got the the original recording on MB (probably), but it’s titled “Round Midnight” and has the usual work credits.

I suppose, most musicians know this work as “Round (About) Midnight” with the Hanighen lyrics.


If you need to split something so massive, I would go with option #3. Otherwise, you and editor editors will find it difficult to figure out what has already been audited vs. what still needs to be audited.

Even at a smaller scale, I still think it makes sense:


Of course, it would be a good thing to take care of the others. But in this case, it’s probably not a big deal to apply option 2:

Creating a new work for the original song, lyricist Monk, probably with a different title, the basis for 'Round Midnight with lyrics by Hanighen. Only 2 recordings from 1944 (probably to be merged) have to be moved to this new work. All others refer to the new title and possibly include the Dizzy Gillespie composed intro.

After review I agree with this one as doing 3 (even if theoretically better) would create more mess that what exist today.

Digging a bit more it would be really hard to split properly the different recordings

for instance:

So I only created the other listed works on ISWC

Thanks for you help

Since it’s almost always done as an instrumental, option 2 would require updating a large number of recordings to link them to the new instrumental work. Option 1 seems like it would require the least amount of work.


On further thought, I don’t think any splitting of the work is needed. There are lots of jazz standards with rarely performed lyrics, and this is really no different.

Thanks for that.

But I think that proves that they all should be related to the later version. They all are titled "‘Round (About) Midnight’, not the original title, even those crediting Monk only. The 1944 recording by Cootie Williams was recorded in December, so after it was revised.

I agree. I think, we better leave it and add an annotation about the genesis of this work.

Yep ended up to same point after review of first recordings since:

  • Impossible to split properly (and I m neither an expert on Jazz)
  • Many other versions must have some variations (it’s jazz, not classical)
  • There are a field to distinguish instrumental and vocal versions

Keeping it like this should we merge the work crediting only Willians and Monk inside to show the 2 ISWC inside? Work “’round Midnight” - MusicBrainz inside it

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I was not able to verify any fact given on Wikipedia. There are stories and myths. One alternative story goes:
… Monk wrote “‘Round Midnight” when he was just 18 (1935/36). Eight years later, in 1944, at jazz pianist Bud Powell’s urging, Cootie Williams and His Orchestra recorded the song. …
… in 1946, Dizzy Gillespie added his famous introduction and cadenza for his big band arrangement, which proved so popular that Monk added it (albeit an altered version) to his own performance… It is now a standard part of the song.
Jackie Paris introduced it as a vocal in 1949, after Bernie Hanighen added the lyrics.
Source: www.jazzstandards.com

Some details fit, some are contradicted by what is “known” from Discogs. The “1944” release is said to be recorded in August 1944 and includes Hanighen in the writing credits. Is this really the original (first) recording?

I suggest merge. It’s unclear, if there were original lyrics by Monk, when it was written, when Dizzy Gillespie added his intro (ever since standard part of the song) or when the lyrics were added.

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Is it possible there were many performances that happened before it was finally recorded?

Merge here: https://musicbrainz.org/work/f99aa87a-d665-3d56-8df6-1fb072ab2042/edits

According to Robin D.G. Kelley’s biography of Monk (as definitive a work as is out there), Monk composed “I Love You So”, got a friend named Thelma Murray to write the lyrics, and registered it for copyright in 1943. It was in a different key and slightly different melody than Round Midnight, and Monk never recorded it (nor has anyone else, to my knowledge). However it seems worth creating a work for historical purposes.


Also according to Kelley’s book (paraphrased):
Cootie Williams added ‘Round Midnight to his band’s repertoire in 1944, either at the urging of his pianist Bud Powell (according to Powell) or Monk himself (according to Williams). Williams’ contribution to the tune was an 8-bar segment played by the horn ensemble on Williams’ 1944 recording, but omitted from virtually all later performances. It was Williams who first registered copyright under the new title, with the credits to both himself and Hanighan.

It would seem then that there was an “original” version of 'Round Midnight solely composed by Monk, but never registered for copyright; therefore Williams and Hanighan each got a third of the royalties despite the fact that they contributed nothing to the work as it’s usually performed.

Dizzy Gillespie, on the other hand, never got formal credit (or royalties) for his intro which has become a commonly performed element of the work. In a more just world, most recordings of 'Round Midnight would credit Monk/Gillespie as composers.


I have submitted an edit to retitle the work from 'Round About Midnight to 'Round Midnight, which is the form used by Monk and also how it appears on the earliest recorded version.

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