Revisions to Numeric Designation of a Musical Work (6.16)

31 July    2015

Revisions to Numeric Designation of a Musical Work (6.16)



Submitted by Damian Iseminger, Chair, JSC Music Working Group

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21 Responses to Revisions to Numeric Designation of a Musical Work (6.16)

  1. John Myers says:

    I confess confusion at the revision on p.5, where the paragraph below the Alternative includes “Use inclusive numbering for an individual work that is identified by consecutive serial numbers …”

    Linguistically and logically, how can an INDIVIDUAL work be identified by CONSECUTIVE serial numbers? Doesn’t the existence of the consecutive serial numbers imply more than one work?

    I realize the rule is addressing situations like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (or at least I hope it is), where the individual concertos are identified and numbered in their own right. The proposal, in substituting “individual work” for “aggregate work” seems to introduce as much difficulty as the original wording.

    Would the following be an improvement:
    Use inclusive numbering for a work that is comprised of distinct components as evidenced by consecutive serial numbers … ”

    I fear we are up against the challenges of aggregate works, in all their permutations and complexity.

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    CHANGE #1


    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      Why must a numeric designation *always* include a caption? This seems to fly in the face of the principle of representation. If it doesn’t have a caption, it doesn’t have a caption, and it isn’t clear to me why one must be supplied. “We’ve always done it this way” is not a principle.

      Note: I have the same criticism of Other types of works that are numbered seem to manage without supplying a caption. What is the *music*-related reason that musical works must be treated differently?

  3. Kathy Glennan says:

    CHANGE #2

    New 2nd paragraph: I’ve been struggling with this. Given the expanded definition of numeric designation in the Scope, I guess this includes language, but I think the primary focus here is the language of the caption. Is this a distinction worth making? At least for numbers from thematic indexes, the numeric designation should be recorded in the language of the source. (Although that’s really addressed in
    I also do not agree with final clause “if there is a satisfactory equivalent in that language.” This phrase appears in RDA, but only in the context of titles of people (royal persons & bishops, etc.).

    New alternative: I suppose I have no objection to this concept, although, I’d really prefer to focus on the language selected for the caption. However, this whole alternative really seems to fall into the new 2nd paragraph about choosing the language preferred by the cataloging agency. I’ve never fully understood whether that phrase was supposed to be applied in all cases (i.e., always use English), or if it is flexible enough to be applied selectively (i.e., under these situations use English, under these use French, under these use German, etc.). Any thoughts from CC:DA about this musing would be welcome.

    3rd paragraph (immediately after Alternative): I do not agree with the reference to 1.8; that instruction only applies to attributes of manifestations and items. Instead, this should use the phrase from (or if the plural is needed): “Record the numeric designation as a numeral.” Given that this is such a basic part of the instruction, its placement within should be reconsidered (i.e., I think it might need to be worked in to the 1st paragraph).

    As to the replacement of “aggregate” with “individual”, I don’t think this wording change solves the confusion. (See John Myers’ comment above.) The problem is exemplified by the existing RDA example for Beethoven’s violin sonatas no. 6-8; the three sonatas are known as “op. 30” in the thematic index. I think that makes them an aggregate work. If so, retaining the Beethoven example in is problematic. Question: Is there a real reason this distinction needs to be made in the first place?

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      More on change #2:

      I wonder if needs to be split between instructions for recording numbering and instructions for recording captions.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      Regarding Issue #3:

      After consulting 6JSC/CCC/9, Proposed revision to instruction, “Recording Numeric Designations of Musical Works”, I don’t know how the Music WG reached the conclusion that the original intent was to reference individual works. Clearly the changes proposed by CCC in 2012 were specifically about these oddball aggregate works.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      The distinction might be so that inclusive numbers are not recorded for a collection of a composer’s Symphonies no. 4-7, for example. However, that raises a few questions:
      1. Would that be a problem?
      2. If so, how is the Beethoven op. 30 no. 1-3 situation different?

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      Again, this flies in the face of the principle of representation. The proposed alternative (record in the language in which it appears) should be the instruction, and the proposed instruction should be the alternative (if available at all).

  4. Kathy Glennan says:

    CHANGE #3

    If is about individual works, how can there be multiple serial numbers? (Yes, this is essentially the same comment as those above relating to the replacement of “aggregate” with “individual”.)

    I recommend replacing “if any” with the more common RDA phrase “as applicable”.

    The new 2nd sentence could be simplified a bit: If a serial number has no caption associated with it, record it as a numeral and precede it with the abbreviation for number (see appendix B (B.5.4)).
    [Note: I think that “numeral” and “cardinal number” are equivalents — please correct me if I’m wrong!]

    I think the Beethoven example (“no. 6-8”) should be removed.

    I’m still having problems considering “numeric designation” to include “captions”, so I would like to see some greater clarity brought to the new paragraph. (Hmm, with the clarifications brought in change 1 above, this may be a non-issue. I obviously need to spend more time thinking about this.)

    Although the proposed text references B.5.4, it does so only in the context of recording the numbering, not recording the caption. A second reference to B.5.4 is needed to justify the abbreviation of “bk.” in the revised examples, unless the reference to that appendix in suffices.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      There’s no reason 6.16 can’t be applied to aggregate works. It’s not clear to me that it’s “about individual works”. The definition of the term “work” in RDA makes it clear that when the word is used it includes individual and aggregate works, and parts of works. I don’t see why the Beethoven example is inappropriate. It exemplifies recording the musical designation for an aggregate work.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      The “in some cases” clause doesn’t seem to be in keeping with RDA practice–wouldn’t it be better worded as an “if” “then” — “if sources for consecutively numbered series use different forms … then select one form …”?

      • Tracey L. Snyder says:

        From my Canadian colleague Daniel Paradis of the BAnQ (who is speaking as an MLA member but also happens to be a member of the JMWG):

        The phrase “In some cases … When this occurs …” has been used at least 14 times in RDA, particularly in chapters 2, 3 and 6. Although it has not been used as frequently as the If-then” clause, it can certainly be considered as a recurring phrase in RDA.

  5. Kathy Glennan says:

    If CC:DA agrees to my suggestion to substitute “if any” with “as applicable” in, I think we should also recommend a similar substitution in relation to opus numbers in, which could be reworded as:

    Record the opus number and the number within the opus, if applicable.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      If we’re being picky, there’s nothing in that says to record the caption “op.” — and nothing that says to record the number as a numeral either. So, what guidance is needed at the highest level ( and what is needed at the sub-instruction level?

  6. Kathy Glennan says:

    CHANGE 4

    While I’d really like to see this reworked to include the phrase “numeric designation”, the rewording isn’t straightforward, so I can accept the WG’s suggestion.

    However, we still have to deal with the plural problem. Is it appropriate to add “or numbers”? The Brandenburg concertos are 6 separate works….

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      Since the purpose of this change was to remove the restrictive language so it isn’t implied that only certain composers get this treatment (which I agree with), the word “recognized” should be removed, too. Recognized by whom? It isn’t necessary language and if a certain community wants to restrict it to thematic indexes that it “recognizes” that is an application profile. I suggest simply “Record the number or numbers assigned to a work in a thematic index.”

      On the plural, remember that “a work” in RDA includes aggregate works.

  7. Kathy Glennan says:

    Basic question: how should the instructions differ between this instruction (specifically serial numbering) and (numbering of a part of a work). Yes, they are different situations, but when are the same general principles in play — and when aren’t they?

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      I think both should follow the same general principles (whatever those may be). In my reading of the only caption that gets abbreviated is “Number”; in 6.16 all captions are abbreviated if found in the appendix. What is the principle behind this difference?

  8. Kathy Glennan says:

    CHANGE #5

    I do not agree with the proposed additional 2nd sentence for the Glossary. Because this is a 2nd paragraph in the scope statement (, adding this does not conform to RDA style about what is included in Glossary definitions.

    • Tracey L. Snyder says:

      From my Canadian colleague Daniel Paradis of the BAnQ (who is speaking as an MLA member but also happens to be a member of the JMWG):

      The paragraph was included in the Glossary to follow the pattern established with the definitions of “numbering of part,” “numbering of serials,” “numbering within series” and “numbering within subseries.” For these terms, the second paragraph appearing in the scope statement was also included in the Glossary. If the paragraph is not included in the definition of Numeric designation of a musical work, equivalent paragraphs should be deleted in the other definitions listed above.

  9. Matthew Haugen says:

    General comment: Since numeric designation is recorded rather than transcribed, I’m OK with captions being abbreviated/translated/supplied etc, and numbers being normalized from words, roman numerals, ordinals, different language forms, etc. for the agency, for the sake of consistent access points, following RDA principles uniformity, and common usage/practice.

    Change 1 and 5: This definition seems fine to me.

    Change 2: I share others’ confusion over the inclusive/individual language in change 2.

    Change 3 seems mostly fine to me. But I agree I don’t quite understand why Serial numbers don’t include the same language as Number of part ( Can it be “precede it with the abbreviation for number or its equivalent in another language”?

    Change 4: I agree with the change to expand this from the restrictive language of “certan composers” and also Bob’s suggestion to cut out “recognized” thematic index. I would similarly question “a generally accepted abbreviation.” This was something we discussed in the proposal on referential relationships; this is a numeric designation of the work but also a referential relationship to the thematic index. Couldn’t the authorized access point for the thematic index work here?

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