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Music Naming Systems
#2988335 06/06/20 04:00 AM
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So I'm seeing a lot of notation for music with opus numbers and other stuff. All these different numbering systems can get a bit confusing.

Let me see if I got this right. After op. becomes no. Which is a subset of op. After no. becomes movement which is a subset of no.

Then there is some music that has a K number which is a better system because it only uses a single number.

Also, there are a lot of terms. Sonata, Prelude, Concerto, etc... is there a place where I can find out all of the different names that are used. I'm starting to build a list and google the terms, but it would be nice to figure out what they all are all at once.

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Re: Music Naming Systems
ThePenist #2988349 06/06/20 05:30 AM
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Whether there is such a list I don't know, but I can tell you that for many composers the "opus" number is not used. Instead is used another numbering system, named for the person who did the inventory list.

For example, Mozarts works are normally referred to by the "K" number, based on the inventory done by a man named Köchel. Schuberts works have a "D" number, from the name "Deutsch".

J.S.Bach's works are given with a "BWV" number, referring to "Bach Werke Verzeichnis" (Bach works inventory).


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Re: Music Naming Systems
ThePenist #2988353 06/06/20 06:14 AM
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Actually, it's all as clear as mud, like anything to do with music. thumb (Mud is therapeutic if it comes from the right source, so I've been told......though the one from the Dead Sea didn't turn the clock back 100 years on my skin cry).

Opus is Latin for work (or art). Composers or their publishers may assign opus numbers to their compositions, whether a one-minute mazurka or a ninety-minute five-movement symphony. And there may be more than one piece grouped into each opus (often because they were published together), therefore Sonata in C# minor, Op.27 No.2 (not 'Moonlight' please).

But given composers' inconsistent or inexistant assignment of opus numbers, especially during the Baroque (1600–1750) and the Classical (1750–1827) eras, musicologists have developed other catalogue-number systems; among them the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV number), and the Köchel-Verzeichnis (K- and KV-numbers) which enumerate the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, respectively.

D.Scarlatti's sonatas have been catalogued by a few people. For many years, Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas were conventionally identified by their Longo (L) numbers, but these were later superseded by those found in Ralph Kirkpatrick's catalogue. (Kk numbers - don't use K to avoid confusion with Köchel for Mozart).

However, some works are so famous that no-one (except me - rarely) bothers with opus numbers or musicologists' assigned numbers to identify them:
Thus J.S.Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, but since The Silence of the Lambs, everyone knows all about Count Hermann Karl von Keyserling's insomnia, so we don't bother with the BWV number generally. We just call it "The Goldberg" grin.

As for Handel's Messiah, whoever bothers with the HWV (Händel-Werke-Verzeichnis) number?? Everyone who's anyone has sung it in the bath.

And Mozart's Symphony No.41 in C, K551 "Jupiter", but as everyone knows all about Jupiter (and I don't mean the one in the Solar System), we don't bother to use the K number, nor the numbering of the symphony, and just call it the Jupiter Symphony.

Similarly for Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony (Symphony No.6 in F, Op.68).....but don't confuse it with his 'Pastoral' Sonata, Op.28 whistle.

Schubert is a funny case - only a small minority of Schubert's works were published in his lifetime. Not all published works were allocated opus numbers, and the sequence of opus numbers that were allocated bore little relationship to the order in which the works were either composed or published. Thus came Otto Erich Deutsch to clear up all the confusion, especially with all those posthumous opus numbers. We should stop using opus numbers with Schubert because they are utterly confusing, and stick to D numbers, if it's required for identification.

Here is his paen to music, An die Musik, D.547 (disregard Op.88 No.4):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TDEyW9JLuc
......but again, everyone who's anyone knows it, so we don't bother with numbers. Just identify it by the name of the song. (Just like pop singers smirk ).

Cheers! To Music!!


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Music Naming Systems
ThePenist #2988355 06/06/20 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ThePenist
Also, there are a lot of terms. Sonata, Prelude, Concerto, etc... is there a place where I can find out all of the different names that are used. I'm starting to build a list and google the terms, but it would be nice to figure out what they all are all at once.
Other than buying The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, you can look up this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_music_terminology


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Music Naming Systems
ThePenist #2988377 06/06/20 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ThePenist
Also, there are a lot of terms. Sonata, Prelude, Concerto, etc... is there a place where I can find out all of the different names that are used. I'm starting to build a list and google the terms, but it would be nice to figure out what they all are all at once.

The number of terms is extremely long. What you are looking for is a dictionnary. The new grove is very complete and very expensive, eithe as printed or online subscription. You can alternatively get the Harvard disctionnary, not so complete but much more affordable or you can just google each time you encounter a new term.

Re: Music Naming Systems
bennevis #2988452 06/06/20 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Actually, it's all as clear as mud, like anything to do with music. thumb

LOL! Very good description.

It's the same for musical terms, like "sonata", which meant something different in different eras.

Re: Music Naming Systems
bennevis #2988554 06/06/20 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Here is his paen to music, An die Musik, D.547 (disregard Op.88 No.4):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TDEyW9JLuc
......but again, everyone who's anyone knows it, so we don't bother with numbers. Just identify it by the name of the song. (Just like pop singers smirk ).

Cheers! To Music!!


Elly Ameling and Jörg Demus...perfection! Thank you for this.


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