Replacement of RDA 6.15 Medium of Performance

1 August 2016

Replacement of RDA 6.15 Medium of Performance


Submitted: Damian Iseminger, Chair, RSC Music Working Group

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24 Responses to Replacement of RDA 6.15 Medium of Performance

  1. Tina Shrader says:

    My institution doesn’t catalog music, so I’m not equipped to comment about a lot of the music papers, but I support simplifying and reducing Western bias in the instructions for music cataloging.

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    Note that the proposal uses the text before the RDA Toolkit August release. This should now read:

    Medium of performance▼ is an instrument, voice, and/or ensemble for which a musical work was originally conceived.

    For guidelines on recording the medium of performance of musical content, see 7.21.

  3. Jessica Hayden says:

    Since the instruction for is to record the most specific term possible, I would recommend the a-e items under that be in the order of most – least specific. It seems to me that b) a term for an unspecified instrument, voice… is the least specific and should be moved to the end of the list before the existing and/or f) option.

    On a minor note, I have no idea what the term “Phoenix schedule” means in the first paragraph under Issues requiring resolution on the first page. This is probably just a gap in my knowledge, but if the term is not generally known by others, would it help to add some wording that would help define it if this sentence is considered important?

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      I’ve heard the term “phoenix schedule” in conjunction with DDC, when an entire section of the classification is completely redone, without consideration of the impact of changing the meaning of the previously-assigned classification numbers.

      As it applies to this proposal, the WG was encouraged to completely rewrite 6.15 as needed, without trying to maintain the existing order of instructions, numbering, etc.

  4. Kathy Glennan says:

    I think the first paragraph would benefit from rewording — both for clarity and to better match existing RDA styles.

    I suggest:

    Record the medium of performance using an appropriate term or terms from a standard list, if available (e.g., UNIMARC field 146 Appendix A, the Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus, the listing of medium of performance terms on the Tools Tab of RDA Toolkit: Medium of Performance). Record as many terms as are applicable to the resource being described, such as:

    [list follows]

    Rationale for changes:
    * The proposed Tools Tab list is a controlled list — it’s just not the most complete one available. (I’m not convinced that the wording should still include “if available” with my proposed rewording, but I left it in for now.)
    * “Standard list” appears in 10 RDA instructions; “controlled list” appears in only 2 (and both of those are in Chapter 0).
    * I think it’s important to introduce the “term or terms” language.
    * I’m not convinced that RDA should require using “the most specific term possible”. Listing each of the instruments in a 13-member ensemble would be the most specific, but the cataloging agency might prefer just to give the term “instrumental ensemble” (or its equivalent). It does not appear to me that the WG’s suggested wording would offer this flexibility.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      I’m wondering about the entry for c)

      The e.g. gives singular terms that do not denote a family to me. At the very least, it seems like these should be plural.

    • Diane Napert says:

      I was going to say the words “if available” were not needed in the proposed wording of I don’t think it’s needed in Kathy’s re-wording either (as she mentions)
      If “standard list” is used more, I guess that’s good for consistency. I do prefer the word “controlled”, but maybe that’s bias (I would have use “standardized” then)
      Using “term or terms” makes sense to me
      Good point on whether the most specific term is required
      Many would prefer ensemble above a certain number (but what number) Could the words “unless cumbersome” be added to the end? Of course that would be interpreted differently by different agencies as well

  5. Kathy Glennan says:

    Note that the final paragraph is effectively now part of and should not be here.

  6. Kathy Glennan says:

    I think it’s time to get away from using “names” here; “terms” should be used instead. And, there’s also been a move to use the singular rather than the plural in RDA instructions.

    That would make the 1st sentence:

    Record a term for an alternative instrument or voice.

  7. Kathy Glennan says:

    As in, I think “names” should become “term”.

    That would make the 1st sentence:

    Record a term for a doubling instrument or voice.

  8. Kathy Glennan says:

    By expanding this instruction to encompass “parts or performers”, I will simply note that detailed guidance will be needed in application profiles.

  9. Kathy Glennan says:

    I’m really struggling with the placement of this instruction.

    In this case, the percussion instruments are individual instruments, so it appears that they could be encompassed by — and this could simply be an exception to that.

    However, by using the term “group of percussion instruments”, this is venturing into the ensemble category — it’s an “ensemble” of percussion instruments that the cataloger decides not to name individually.

    I’m leaning toward recommending this as an exception to — thoughts?

    • Jessica Hayden says:

      I think that this could be encompassed entirely by It would only be considered an exception because the word “group” is used, right? I wonder if this is phrased this way because it mirrors the language used in the instructions for medium of performance in access points ( where you do not include number of players for percussion. That’s the only reason I can think of that there’s a specific instruction here devoted to percussion–to emphasize that you construct medium of performance for percussion differently in the 382 than you do in an access point. I believe this fact could be demonstrated by moving the example in to and deleting entirely.

      • Diane Napert says:

        I kept reading these and was leaning toward moving to However, the words “each instrument or voice” seem to fit for other sections of an ensemble better than they do for percussion

        The current Exceptions seems to be more in line with [use more specific instruments if possible]

        If there is more than one percussion instrument, and the names of the individual instruments are not specified by the composer in the original title, use percussion.

  10. Kathy Glennan says:

    I wonder if this wording should be clarified, so that the difference between this instruction & is clearer.

    What about:

    Record the number of ensembles for each type of ensemble, if it can be determined.

  11. Teressa Keenan says:

    I have very little experience cataloging music so don’t feel I can speak about the specifics. I am, however, on board with the idea simplifying the way the rules read (as in Kathy’s suggestion above), making them more flexible to work better with non western materials.

    I also agree with the idea using external vocabularies for the terms.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      Thanks Teressa. It’s important to note that these instructions will be used by specialists and non-specialists alike when cataloging music, so it’s important to hear from those who don’t have a deep background in music cataloging as well as from those who have cataloged little else!

      • Amanda Ros says:

        I am several years removed from doing music cataloging, and even then I never felt that I had a full grasp of its intricacies. I would go so far as to say that music cataloging is one of the most specialized types of cataloging.

        Being somewhere between non-specialist and specialist in my music cataloging knowledge, I think that this proposal makes good strides to addressing the needs of non-specialists in addition to specialists. I also support using external vocabularies.

  12. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    A more global question: what happened to the idea that Medium of Performance should be at the expression level instead of (or in addition to) the work level? I guess that’s perhaps coming with LRM, but why completely revamp the section now at the work level when it (hopefully) will be moved to the expression level, where it belongs? At least I think it belongs there … In my opinion medium of performance bears the same relationship to music as language does to text (and therefore it’s an expression attribute).

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