Revision of RDA and, Additions to Access Points Representing Musical Works

1 August 2016

Revision of RDA and, Additions to Access Points Representing Musical Works


Submitted: Damian Iseminger, Chair, RSC Music Working Group

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16 Responses to Revision of RDA and, Additions to Access Points Representing Musical Works

  1. Tina Shrader says:

    With the caveat that I have no music cataloging experience, I’ll say that the logic and rationale of this proposal makes sense to me, and I support the idea of consolidating the instructions for additions to access points in one place.

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    This proposal seems to take two different approaches to mandating an order of elements in an AAP for a musical work.

    * Just a lettered list (2nd paragraph,, with no statement about order
    * “In this order” (3rd paragraph, & giving a detailed order (4th paragraph,

    Last year, in 6JSC/MusicWG/11/ALA response, we said that we thought application profiles were the best place to put specifics about the order in which to add elements, rather than in RDA itself.

    Is this still ALA’s position?
    (I’m sympathetic to the MusicWG’s interest in keeping an established order for elements in an AAP, but that does not offer flexibility to those who are not following the Anglo-American traditions.)

    • Tina Shrader says:

      I personally think that the order of elements should be an issue for application profiles to address, rather than RDA itself.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      On the lettered list in, I was struck by the “as appropriate”, i.e., no explicit preference of one of the elements over another, but on the other hand a strong hint about which ones are most “appropriate” by the ordering. Why not just list them in RDA order, if there really is no intended statement about order of preference?

  3. Kathy Glennan says:

    I continue to have a problem with having a “main” RDA instruction that specifies how and where to record the term “Selections” in an AAP for a compilation of musical works.

    Per, the primary instruction for an incomplete compilation is to identify each of the works separately. The Alternative is to use a conventional collective title followed by the term Selections, ** as part of the preferred title**.

    This results in the following preferred titles, for example:

    Quartets. Selections
    Bagatelles. Selections
    Cello, piano music. Selections
    Sonatas. Selections

    For AAPs, long-standing Anglo-American practice has been to add the medium of performance (if not already present), the numeric designation, and/or the key before the term “Selections”. This results in the following:

    * Pleyel, Ignaz, 1757-1831. Quartets, violins (2), viola, cello, B. 353-358. Selections
    * Whiting, Arthur. Bagatelles, piano. Selections
    * Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix, 1809-1847. Cello, piano music. Selections
    * Boccherini, Luigi, 1743-1805. Sonatas, cello, continuo. Selections

    Changing this practice would be very disruptive, and any changes would likely hinder fulfilling RDA’s user tasks, at least within the Anglo-American community.

    However, having this instruction absolutely goes against RDA principles, since preferred titles are added to when creating an AAP — not broken apart, added to, and rearranged. It’s also exceptional to have a main instruction that specifies what to do when following an alternative.

    Due to these concerns, I am inclined to offer the same solution ALA proposed for this situation in 6JSC/MusicWG/12/ALA Response, perhaps with some rewording in d) to take into consideration the current and propose RDA text:

    When the preferred title includes the term Selections (see alternative), record the elements in the following order:
    a) conventional collective title (see
    b) medium of performance (see 6.15)
    c) Selections
    d) one or more of the additions specified at, as appropriate.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      Since I think medium of performance is actually an expression attribute, it makes sense to me that “Selections”, which is a work-level element, should come before medium of performance (and for that matter, key, which also, in my opinion, is an expression level attribute). Switching “Selections” to come before rather than after language, as RDA did a few years ago, was also disruptive.

      I can’t see sandwiching “Selections” between medium of performance and other additions as a compromise position–wouldn’t that be disruptive also, resulting in preferred titles such as

      Quartets, ǂm harpsichord, flute, violin, cello. ǂk Selections. ǂn op. 17

      Quartets, ǂm saxophones. ǂk Selections, ǂn op. 109, ǂr B♭ major

      (Not sure of what the punctuation would be …)

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      I also agree that the instruction about Selections does not belong in the main rule. It implies that the “Selections” technique should always be used for compilations instead of recording each individual work/expression separately.

  4. Kathy Glennan says:, 3rd paragraph

    I think that this really is an exception, if the “in this order” instruction applies here, but not generally. Otherwise, I don’t think the paragraph is needed at all.

    I do not think that the term “always” should be used here.

  5. Kathy Glennan says:, 2nd paragraph, reference to 6.15

    In thinking about this, I believe that the reference to the medium of performance instructions here should be to what follows (, rather than to 6.15. None of the rest of the elements in the lettered list have special instructions in this proposed revision of, but medium of performance does. It’s *those* instructions that are important in this context. Otherwise, why would a cataloger even find or consult them?

  6. Kathy Glennan says:

    1st paragraph: I recommend adding a reference to 6.15 here, after “medium of performance”.

    Exception a)
    This revision has removed the existing paragraph, leaving the examples to demonstrate this situation:
    “If, however, the medium of performance is not the one implied by the title, add the medium.”

    Is this OK with ALA?

    Exception b
    I think this should be rephrased to reflect the MusicWG’s recommendation for 6.15, along with a little clarification about ensembles:
    “If there is only one part or performer for a particular instrument, voice, or only one ensemble, do not add the number.”

    Exception e
    Should this also mirror the 6.15 language, using “parts or performers” instead of just “performers”?

    Exception g
    As long as this is an entire rewrite of, I think that the order of the exceptions should follow the order in the proposed 6.15. This would mean that this exception for alternative & doubling instruments would become Exception b, with the exceptions currently above this getting renumbered/relettered.

    In addition, this needs to be rephrased, since the proposed wording for 6.15 includes “and voices”:

    “Omit alternative or doubling instruments and voices.”

    Exception h
    Should a reference be made here to a standardized list, from which an appropriate term for an ensemble would be taken?

    Exception j

    Is it possible that a composition falling into this category could have more than one ensemble? If so, the term needs to be “ensemble(s)” in the “then” clause.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      Exception a. I realize the exception has been around a long time and it would be very disruptive to change it, but I question the value of this exception. The medium might be obvious to catalogers, but is it in fact obvious (a.k.a. implied) to users, including non-specialist users who will encounter the authorized access point?

      I think the “but” clause is sufficient to demonstrate what to do when the medium is not implied by the title; I’m OK with that (it’s reminiscent of the “but” clause in the examples to

      Exception b. I agree with Kathy’s revision.

      Exception c. I believe this is a substantive change to RDA, is it not? I think this was in AACR2 but was omitted–presumably on purpose–from RDA. The Yale cataloging page says

      Implied numbering:
      In AACR2, when two or more of a particular instrument or voice was required, the appropriated arabic number in parentheses after the name of that instrument or voice unless the number is implicit in the initial title element.
      In RDA, always add the number of parts in the authorized access point when there is more than one part for a particular instrument or voice.

      I agree with this RDA change and do not agree with changing it back. As with exception a, I don’t like exceptions that depend on catalogers and users having to determine if information is “implied.” I am a relatively informed library user as to music, but of the examples, the only one I would consider obvious or implied is the first example, which clearly must be for two violins. And I suppose the Rosetti, if you do the math, must be for two clarinets and two horns because that’s the only way you can come up with a quartet. But there are several combinations that could come up with a quartet for the Atterberg example. I don’t understand why we shouldn’t just continue RDA’s practice (which has already affected a lot of access points in the NAF) to include the number whether or not the cataloger thinks the number is implicit.

      Exception g. I agree with your rewrite, Kathy, but should it be “or voices” rather than “and voices”?

      Exception h. Some sort of a reference would definitely be helpful here. I’d like to question this exception, though, even though I realize it’s a long-standing practice. It’s not the least obvious from the listed media of performance that the Baker piece is for violin and string quartet. It could be for violin and any kind of combination of string instruments. So I’m not sure how useful “violin, string ensemble” is to anybody.

      Exception j. You’re probably right, Kathy, and this might as well be corrected (though I think the proposed wording is word-for-word exactly what is in RDA now). Do you have an example?

      Exception k. This appears to be a new instruction, no? At least I don’t see a current instruction in RDA telling us to do this. It seems very odd to me to use the word “voices” for instrumental parts. I looked up “voices” in RDA and everywhere else that I see the term clearly applies to human voices, not instruments. If it’s going to be used in RDA to apply to instruments as well as human voices it had better be in the glossary. But I think this is introducing something a bit strange. What about “parts” instead for parts with an unspecified medium of performance?

      If the new definition of “voices” is going to include instruments, then why not in Exception g say “Omit alternative or doubling voices” instead of Kathy’s suggested “Omit alternative or doubling instruments and voices”? For that matter, why not simply use “voices” throughout this instruction instead of “instruments”?

  7. Amanda Ros says:

    Exception a)–I’m okay with this.
    Exception b)–I agree that a clarification is warranted
    Exception e)–Yes
    Exception g)–This does help clarify.
    Exception h)–My question is referencing back to RSC/MusicWG/3: Would a standardized list be definitive, or would there be an option for using additional external vocabularies? (As I’ve said before, I’m not a music specialist, so please excuse me if my question is missing the point)
    Exception j)–If the answer to the question is “yes”, I would support a “then clause”

  8. Mary Huismann says:

    Passing along a question from the music community: It’s a small thing, but would a conventional collective title ever have a key included in it? (See 4th paragraph of revision)

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