When should MB Works for soundtrack recordings not be merged?

This is the documentation on MB Work distinctiveness:

Although soundtracks don’t fall under Classical, here’s what Classical has to say about arrangements:

Based on my understanding of the documentation, I opened 3 edits to merge what I consider to be duplicate works between Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy IV. In https://musicbrainz.org/edit/70681138 specifically, the claim is being made that,

For soundtracks, unless it is explicitly stated as “from game/movie/tv show X” it is usually considered a new work by the publisher and composer. “Version of” would be a better fit in this case.

Is this a valid reason to prevent MB Work merges? @reosarevok?

Here are two of the top YouTube videos I could find carrying copies of the works in https://musicbrainz.org/edit/70680477 :

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICBR9zCgAT8
Target: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa7xHRhe_7E

I have a hard time hearing anything worthy of a distinct MB Work. In my opinion, the only significant difference is the name of the recording. How do others feel about this case?


I voted no on the work merge because they aren’t being credited as the same work. In a situation like this it is more appropriate to use the version of relationship instead as the composers, publishers and performing artist all consider these separate works.

For an example of when the original work should be used, here is the soundtrack to Final Fantasy: Dissidia, which has multiple tracks taken from other FF games and directly credited that way.

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The 3 merges in question:

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Looking at a broad view, not the edits in question, my naive take is that a specific Work is that specific Work no matter how it is creditted.

What am I missing?

I can see that if they are different versions or different arrangements then they would be different Works.

In classical works there is often a parent Work and then multiple child version Works.

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Can you give an example of a past case where two works were created due to different credits?

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Here is an argument in favour of what I understand CyberSkull to be doing.

Deciding what constitutes a specific Work and not some other Work is something that MB Editors are very rarely properly equipped to do.

If the significant Artists involved say the Works are different Works then, unless it can be thoroughly demonstrated otherwise, MB Editors are better to accept the Artists claims.

This leaves Editors able to categorise the Relationships between such Works.

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I’m arguing that it is better to leave specific versions of works associated with specific soundtracks in place as the composers/game developers/publishers/arrangers all refer to those specific versions of the works in their releases.

If you look at the _ The Legend of Zelda SOUND & DRAMA_ release, you can see that between The Legend of Zelda and A Link to The Past that there are more than a few derivative works, but they are credited differently and we have the “version of” relationship in place to reflect this.

How does the Zelda SOUND & DRAMA album prove your point? The booklet just has a tracklist where disc 2 has two sections, each representing a different game. How does a simple tracklist with two section headers augment your claim that

the composers/game developers/publishers/arrangers all refer to those specific versions of the works in their releases.

I don’t see any evidence that they’re referring to any specific MB Work at all.

My understanding was that an MB Work was always about the music, not how a tracklist is printed.

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It generally is, but as an example of when I generally wouldn’t merge stuff that might or might not be relevant: if a classical suite takes music from a bigger work, and one of the movements of the suite fully matches the original piece in the bigger work, I’d still have two works - one is meant as a movement of the suite, and one of the original work. Otherwise, it’d lead to a weird situation where we have a work linked as a part of two separate works, one of which it doesn’t match by name (confusing!), and it just makes things messy.

@reosarevok: maybe off-topic, sorry for that – but since you bring up the classical examples: Any objections to using the same Work (La traviata: Preludio/Overture) as part of “La traviata (original italian version)” AND as part of the same score sung in English or German? https://musicbrainz.org/work/f9b14267-0661-346a-a7f9-7c923b93e6f6

Same, to avoid messyness: we usually create two separate works when a song from a [theatre] work becomes a jazz standard. “Summertime”, as such will spell “Summertime (American songbook standard from 1935 opera Porgy and Bess)”; while in operatic context what could be considered to be the same work, following classical guidelines, will be named “Porgy and Bess: Act I, Scene I. “Summertime” (Clara)

Since Legend of Zelda was attempted to be presented as a reason not to merge works, I’d like to address a case from that series.

Linking to random user uploads because I’m not aware of the tracks being available on streaming platforms.

Same melody, initially performed/synthesized by strings:

  1. Kakariko Village from Link to the Past: Kakariko Village - The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - YouTube
  2. Kakariko Village 2 from Ocarina of Time: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time OST - Kakariko Village (Orchestra Version) - YouTube

Same melody, initially performed/synthesized by an acoustic guitar:

  1. Kakariko Village from Ocarina of Time: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time OST - Kakariko Village - YouTube
  2. Kakariko Village from Link to the Past 2: Kakariko Village - The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - YouTube

I assume nobody would have a reasonable objection to merging the Works that represent these recordings? Again, per Style / Classical / Works - MusicBrainz and Relationship Type / Other version - MusicBrainz , I don’t think different instrumentation of the same melody/harmony warrants a different work.

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It seems there is an added ocarina line but I did not listen to it very thoroughly, I’m in the street. :grin:
Maybe it’s just playing a note from the chords.

Edit #85111839 - Merge works

I might disagree with this point, as that’s essentially what arrangement is.

for example, you’ve got the original solo organ piece Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Bach, along with orchestrations and arrangements like Toccata and Fugue in D minor from Fantasia written for an orchestra, along with several others. a bit of an extreme example, I know, but it’s the first one that came to mind.

another more popular example would be White Christmas. I could see a benefit to having The Drifters’ version as an arrangement (the Acapella version from Home Alone and more), as it’s a very popular example, and has been recorded by other artists. this work doesn’t exist yet, but I think it should.

we should be careful of adding works for every single arrangement, at least until we can see all arrangements on a single page somehow… then the data becomes hard to navigate

I really wish people would stop taking my quotes out of context. You are taking issue with Style / Classical / Works - MusicBrainz so please include it in your quote.

One of the reasons we don’t create new Works for straight cover recordings is that Works are supposed to group performances of the same structure of music, regardless of which persons performed what instruments or vocal types. Swapping an instrument or person is not a significant change to the music.

What would be considered a significant change is the introduction of brand new passages to the music, or a significant counter-melody.

I apologize about that, it’s been edited.

it’s quite possible I’ve got a different idea of what a work is than the community in general. as a musician myself, when I think of work, I think of the sheet music to reproduce a recording, including all the instrumentation, melodies, harmonies, counter melody, all that jazz (sometimes literally) :wink:

I do agree, swapping out instruments and voices doesn’t make a new work though, that’s just reading the music wrong :grin:

edit: related discussion here, it is a different case, but might be applicable in part.