Finnish Music Group Proposed Revisions for Recording Preferred Titles of Musical Works

31 July 2015

Finnish Music Group Proposed Revisions for Recording Preferred Titles of Musical Works



Submitted by Damian Iseminger, Chair, JSC Music Working Group

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11 Responses to Finnish Music Group Proposed Revisions for Recording Preferred Titles of Musical Works

  1. John Myers says:

    The alternatives proposed by the Finns suggest that the main rule might warrant re-examination from an internationalization perspective. Are the current specifics of the rules in question more a matter of application profile, that is, the application profile of the Anglo-American cataloging tradition (or looking farther afield, possibly even the application profile of the western music tradition)?
    I particularly wonder about this in light of the issues raised in MusicWG/14.

  2. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    I have always thought that the instruction about singular vs. plural is not helpful because it requires the cataloger to figure out whether there is only one, or more than one composition of the type in order to decide whether to record the type as singular or plural; and if the decision is “singular” and then later the composer composes another work of the same type, the preferred title of the first has to be changed to plural. I think RDA should accomodate the Finnish practice by adopting it–always record in the plural, don’t make the cataloger do research to figure out this detail.

  3. Kathy Glennan says:

    6JSC/Music/2/rev specifically addressed the rationale for modifying the sentence “Record the accepted form of that name in a language preferred by the agency creating the data” to “Record the accepted form of that name in a language preferred by the agency creating the data if the name has a cognate form in that language or if the same name is used in that language.”

    The justification included:
    * We don’t believe that instructing catalogers to always give names of types of composition in a language preferred by the agency creating the data is desirable.
    * Translating the name of a type of composition into a language preferred by the agency creating the data generally satisfies the principle of representation ( because nondistinctive titles are most often given, in reference sources and in resources embodying the
    work, in the language of the audience that is targeted by these sources
    * This principle is no longer served when the forms are not cognate and therefore bear little if no resemblance at all with each other (e.g., Pieces, contrasted with the German Stücke).

    I think the Finns could accomplish their goals by adding a policy statement, rather than having the JSC incorporate this change into the text of RDA itself. For example, an LC-PCC PS existed before the latest change was made to that said: “Record the accepted form of name in English if the name has an English cognate form or if the same
    name is used in English.”

  4. Kathy Glennan says:

    I think the real question for choice of language is what role the principle of representation plays in selecting the preferred title.


    • Matthew Haugen says:

      It seems to me that the principles of Uniformity ( and Common Usage or Practice ( are also in play here. But, I wonder, if the principle of representation is only served to the extent that cognate terms resemble each other, why not just leave them in the original language? Aren’t reference sources just as likely to be in the language of the composer’s country of origin as in the language of the cataloging agency’s audience? And if the terms are cognate, users can recognize them in either language. And do reference resources and resources themselves follow the same distinction between cognates and non-cognates? E.g., would an English reference source or score translate Konzert to Concerto but not Lieder to songs?

      And looking at the examples, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether the term is considered to be a translation or to be the same term in both languages; for example, why is Concerto Grosso pluralized Concerti Grossi, but Concerto is pluralized Concertos, not Concerti?

  5. Kathy Glennan says:

    If we want to support the alternative to always use the plural, I think it needs to be reworded. The phrase “form of the name” is simply too broad here. This could look something like:

    Always record the name of the type of composition in the plural form.

  6. Diane Napert says:

    I like Kathy’s statement that the objective could be resolved for by the Finnish group adding a policy statement vs. changing the text of RDA

    In my mind collation is what assists a patron in finding like items in a catalog, not a variety of titles assigned to the same piece by different publishers (or assists staff in helping a patron find all versions of a piece)

  7. Diane Napert says:

    I am on the fence about using singular plural forms in, but am leaning toward precision
    How important is it that one can quickly see John Cage wrote one concerto and more than one sonata? One can tell this from the authority record and preferred titles. Looking at a reference source to set up an authority record/preferred titles at the start may be helpful for future catalog searching (but probably only for catalog librarians or reference staff with a cataloging background)

    If it is changed for simplicity’s sake, I agree with Kathy’s wording

  8. Diane Napert says:

    From Jennifer Vaughn-ARSC Cataloging Committee – I think a policy statement should cover what the Finns currently need, and perhaps a longer discussion could ensue about the benefits or costs of always using the plural in preferred title types.

  9. Matthew Haugen says:

    And as for singular/plural form, I like the proposed alternative. The LC-PCC PS goes into additional detail on anticipating whether a living composer intends to composer more works of the same type, and revising singular titles to plural when this happens, all of which seems unnecessarily complicated, so the proposed alternative seems to allow for simplification of this.

    But I’m not sure I would go as far as to change the rule to always record the plural form. The Finnish music group may wish to always use the plural, but I could also see an agency making the case to always use the singular for individual works even if the composer wrote more than one, and plural for collected works of one type, e.g.:
    Enesco, Georges, 1881–1955. Sonata, violin, piano, no.1, op. 2, D major
    Enesco, Georges, 1881–1955. Sonata, violin, piano, no. 2, op. 6, F minor
    Enesco, Georges, 1881–1955. Sonata, violin, piano, no. 3, op. 25, A minor


    Enesco, Georges, 1881–1955. Sonatas, violin, piano (for a collection of all three)

    As with other conventional titles, there seems to be some holdover from the card-catalog approach. Other systems might collocate and relate these titles differently.

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