Work Type for "Instrumental" Music

Our current definition of “Song”, as seen when selecting the type in the work edit page, says:

A song is in its origin (and still in most cases) a composition for voice, with or without instruments, performed by singing. This is the most common form by far in folk and popular music, but also fairly common in a classical context (“art songs”).

This suggests that it is meant for voice, but it doesn’t explicitly limit its use for non-vocal music because of the whole mess which is the English language. I’d be happy to limit it further, if there’s anywhere approaching community consensus about it, but I remember this being fairly controversial in the past.

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Huh… I almost said in my previous message “nowhere in Musicbrainz docs…”
I feel like it’s a bad thing for the only documentation of a particular (sub-)rule to be in the context-documentation of the edit page.

And/however, I agree that the wording there (the context-doc) is not very “rule”-ish.

This topic shows that it’s eventually not everyone, who would say song for instrumental.

And actually, if you see this text when editing:

Could you please revert your song edits?


Shouldn’t soundtracks (be it for film, television or video games) be set to the work type of Soundtrack ?

" A soundtrack is the music that accompanies a film, TV program, videogame, or even book. "

The soundtrack itself should, but each piece inside a soundtrack is not itself a soundtrack, in the same way that each track inside an album is not itself an album :slight_smile:


Just my 2 cents here - should production music have a separate category or it already falls into some existing one?

Do you mean music produced for use in things like broadcast television or the royalty free libraries used for things like YouTube?

At the moment, so long as it has no lyrical content you want to use - Type [blank], Lyric Language [None]

If it has lyrics then it should be - Type [Song], Lyric Language [the language of the lyrics]


I don’t understand why we have incidental music type because I don’t understand the meaning.
I have some (rock) instrumentals that have been edited to incidental music work type.
It does not sound right to me because I don’t understand what is incidental word and how it can mean anything.


I wasn’t familiar with this either, but it seems to be the proper English term used for musical background in film or theater:

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The general way I’ve used this is as the “soundtrack” equivalent for a theatre play or whatnot, I think the French term is “musique de scène”?


I don’t know if we have a specific term for music that is specifically written to accompany stage performance in French.
Maybe yes, in some expert circles! :wink:

But in my case then it’s wrong, it’s the regular instrumental you can find on your pop rock records.
So it should be blank.

I have reverted the Incidental edits back to blank type.


“or some other presentation form that is not primarily musical”

In addition to music accompanying events on-stage (i.e. any music written for a theatre play), the term is often used for off-stage worldly incidents (however “staged”) ranging from ‘occasional’ to ‘specific’ and even ‘unique’.

Dufay: Nuper rosarum flores (for the consecration of the Florence Cathedral)
Händel: Music for the Royal Fireworks
Bach, JS: Ratswahl Cantatas (29, 71, 120)
Bach, CPE: Einführungsmusik für Pastor Friderici (H821g/W251) resp. Diakon Schäffer (H821m/W253)
Roman: Golovin Music (eponymous for the Russian emissary to Stockholm, on the occasion of the coronation of tsar Peter II), Drottningholm Music (for the royal wedding of heir apparent Adolf Fredrik to Lovisa Ulrika)
Stenhammar: Stockholm Exhibition Cantata
Ibert: Ouverture de fête (for the celebration of the 2600th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese empire)
Isles of Wonder: Music for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Worldly incident not to be confused with artistic intent (Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps) or ambient (Eno: Music for Airports).

Still (even more) difficult for me to understand.
And the French Wikipedia is more easy but it says:

Il ne faut donc pas confondre « musique de scène » et « musique pour la scène », cette dernière regroupant tous les genres musicaux destinés « à la scène » : opéra, ballet, opérette, comédie musicale, etc. — y compris, bien sûr, la musique de scène.

Don’t mistake incidental music (stage music) with music for stage (opera, ballet, opérette, etc.)!

I’m happy not having to deal with incidental music work type and am now 200% happy with no types + no lyrics for my instrumentals! :face_with_hand_over_mouth::rofl:


For me, work types are feeling more and more too much close to music genres (which I don’t do either).


Just to complete this thread:

Are the guidelines that support the style approach for Instrumetnal Music mentioned here.

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