Should part titles of a multipart track be considered as a subtitle?

As an example: Tarkus by Emerson, Lake and Palmer
The release has Tarkus as one track, but the tracklist has part names for all six parts of it.

As MusicBrainz now supports adding parts to a work, I think these part titles should no longer be added to the track title. The more appropriate place would be the work. The tracklisting on MusicBrainz lists the part names under the track if they are linked to the work.

So… I made an edit to remove the redundant info. And I get a no vote. I think the guidelines are not clear enough on this. What do you think?

I think part titles are not the same thing as subtitles.

So for cases where the track has all the parts of the “suite”, why list the parts in the track title when there is a more appropriate way to link parts’ titles?

Imagine if a book title had all of it’s chapter titles in it.

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I agree that the parts should be included. They are printed on the release and the only field they would belong in is Title.

However, they should be written as on the release: a) … rather than i. …

On the other hand, the work should not have all the parts listed in the name.

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May I ask you why would you include the parts when the same information is clearly already added to the database? I think including the part names to the track title adds no information and just makes it look a mess.

In my opinion having something printed on the release is not good enough reason. They still are just parts of the song called Tarkus. Nothing more. They are listed on the cover for information. That information is on the database.

While there seems to be no guidelines about this (there should be), it is up to a vote whether we should keep this in the track titles or not.

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I don’t think there should be - this seems like the kind of edge case that should be decided by a case-per-case vote. I’ve removed stuff like this on classical releases before (if the cover mentions the work name and every part, but it’s just one track, I’ll usually keep just the main work name). But it doesn’t necessarily follow that it should always be removed (or always be kept) IMO.

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Edit #85927470 - MusicBrainz

I think this needs attention more. It’s very common on prog rock.


I agree with your thoughts on that edit @tigerman325 . Destruction of data and details is always sad to see. The parts are part of the title. And is how we have done prog rock for many years in so many other edits. Moving it to an annotation is going to loose too much detailed richness from the data.


I’m the culprit of the edit @tigerman325 just linked. :slight_smile:

I am of the opinion that part names should not be part of the title. Simply put, those part names are not part of the title of the song.

The Style / Titles guide offers no, ahem, guidance on what should be done here:

Is it ETI? I don’t think so. While not part of the main title, it doesn’t not serve to distinguish it from different releases or tracks:

Additional information on a release or track name that is not part of its main title, but intended to distinguish it from different releases or tracks with the same main title (such as version/remix names or live recording info), should be entered in parentheses after the main title.

Is it a Subtitle? I don’t think so. The examples here pertain to album titles, not track titles:

Use a colon (:slight_smile: to separate any subtitles. If there is an alternative dividing punctuation mark such as the question mark (?) or exclamation point (!), use that mark instead of the colon.

Are they Multiple titles / Splits? I don’t think so. These are part names, not individual release or songs:

When a release is a re-release of two or more other releases, a track includes two or more songs, or a split release has different titles for each artist, the title should be split as " Title 1 / Title 2" (space, slash, space). For otherwise unnamed split releases, use “Artist 1 / Artist 2” as the title.

Let’s take an example of the following song:

  1. The Ice Bridge
    a. Eyes East
    b. Race Against Time
    c. Interaction

It is clear that “1.” indicates the song title: “The Ice Bridge”. Following the Style Guide, there is no provision suggesting that any further information should be added to this title. While the artwork shows that the are parts within this title that have names, they don’t qualify as Subtitles, ETI or Multiple Titles. Given this, they should be omitted from the track title.

I recognize that we do want to document the part names as part of the release. It is relevant text displayed on the artwork. Other databases like Discogs and Rate Your Music have elegant provisions to include this information within the track listing:

Unfortunately, MusicBrainz has no such provision. Barring such a provision, I suggest it is preferable to add this information to the annotation rather than cramming it into the title. Not only is it a bit of a kludge, it’s simply not accurate information. Those part names are names of parts, not the name of the title.

Your argument is based on an assumption, namely that “those part names are not part of the title of the song”. Obviously me (and others) disagree. We believe, based (not only) on the way they are presented on cover art, that these part names are “full part of the title”, which makes most of your arguments obsolete from the brink. If it’s part of the title it is obviously neither ETI, Subtitle, Multiple title /split or whatever. So, being title, it should not be removed, period.

What can be discussed is simply the way of presenting the data, and I agree that Discogs and RYM (which btw also treat it as full part of the title and not as something else) have a more elegant way to do it. But as long as a similar solution is not implemented on Musicbrainz there’s no other solution – like it or not – than to keep it within the title as it has been done by all (most?) editors until now :slight_smile:


Try and convict me for tone policing here but I think this could better be put more gently.

Which is not to say that I disagree with your reasoning.

Too much of your argument just seems to be saying you can’t find a guideline.

If this was not part of the title of the track then why would the artist write it on the cover? Instead of making three tracks on the CD, they have combined it as a single track. If a CD could have 1a, 1b, 1c then it would not have been a conversation as you could have labelled the parts separately.

I also don’t see anything wrong with @chabreyflint’s tone. Like them, I can see the damage that this would do to the database and where this machine readable data is used externally. Not only loosing any way of adding this to the title, but by putting it into an annotation it is out of reach of even the most complex of scripts.

My apologies if this sounded harsh. It wasn’t meant to. Please always keep in mind that many of us are not native speakers when judging “tone” :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: :wink:

I just wanted to express that @EvilGnome6 put so much good arguments to plead his cause which were to no avail if you didn’t agree on his premise …


Here’s a screenshot showing the song titles as embedded on the CD-Text of the CD:

The part names are absent because those part names are not part of the title of these songs. I understand the reasoning to inject all these part names into the title absent a proper provision to do so, but this is not making the data more complete, it’s making it inaccurate.

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I wouldn’t consider CD TEXT authoritative in any way, it is too limited to be that. E.g. track titles have a maximum of 64 characters, that gets easily used up for titles with multiple parts or titles on classical releases.

Your argument is that it makes data less accurate because “those part names are not part of the title of these songs”. But that is exactly the claim that is under dispute here :slight_smile: If I see how this is presented on the cover I’d argue that they are part of the track title.


For classical, where long and complex titles are frequent, our guidelines suggest to use the most detailed title that can be found. “Note that many classical releases have a less detailed tracklist at the back and a more detailed one in the booklet. When choosing titles, it’s generally better to follow the more detailed one, if available” Style / Classical / Track Title - MusicBrainz.
I can’t see why we should proceed otherwise here


Hi chabreyflint, I was probably oversensitive.
EN is not a great vehicle for negotiating conflicting views even for native speakers. Multiple unintended meanings so often jump from the undergrowth and make things complicated.


Here’s the Official Website for Yes.. They promote the new album and mention some tracks, with links to official videos on YouTube:

They also recently launched a video for the albums opening track – The Ice Bridge – watch the video here:

Note that the referred to the title as “The Ice Bridge” in the text of the official website. Also note that the title of the official video on YouTube is “The Ice Bridge”. Why is it not “The Ice Bridge: a. Eyes East b. Race Against Time c. Interaction”? Because that’s not the title of the song.

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