Music Cataloging at Yale Preferred titles

Recording medium of performance for musical works (RDA 6.15)

Changes to this document that reflect the recent update to RDA are in process but are not complete

Medium of performance is the instrument, instruments, voice, voices, etc., for which a musical work was originally conceived.

Instrumental music: one performer to a part | Individual instruments | Accompanying ensembles with one performer to a part |
Music for orchestra, string orchestra, or band | One or more solo instruments and accompanying ensemble
Vocal music: Solo voices | Choruses | Accompaniment for songs, Lieder, etc.
Indeterminate/unspecified medium
(6.15.1.2) Sources of information
Take information on medium of performance from any source.
(6.15.1.3) Recording medium of performance

Record the medium of performance by applying these instructions, as applicable:
     ° instrumental music intended for one performer to a part (6.15.1.4)
     ° instruments (6.15.1.5)
     ° accompanying ensembles with one performer to a part (6.15.1.6)
     ° instrumental music for orchestra, string orchestra, or band (6.15.1.7)
     ° one or more solo instruments and accompanying ensemble (6.15.1.8)
     ° solo voices (6.15.1.9)
     ° choruses (6.15.1.10)
     ° indeterminate medium of performance (6.15.1.11).

Record medium of performance as a separate element, as part of an access point, or as both. For instructions on recording medium of performance as part of the authorized access point, 6.28.1.9-6.28.1.11.

If there is more than one part for a particular instrument or voice, record the number of parts.
     Exception:
          If the term percussion is used (6.15.1.4), record the number of players if there is more than one.

Use continuo for a thorough bass part whether it is named as basso, basso continuo, figured bass, thorough bass, or continuo, and whether the individual instrument or instruments of the continuo are specified or not.

For guidelines on recording details about the medium of performance, apply the instructions for medium of performance of musical content at 7.21.

Best practices for music cataloging, draft: If giving the medium of performance as a component of an access point, routinely also give medium of performance in a 382 field. For other works, give medium of performance in a 382 field if readily ascertainable.

Instrumental music
(6.15.1.4) Instrumental music intended for one performer to a part
Record each instrument by applying the instructions at 6.15.1.5 and 6.15.1.11
Exceptions:
     ° 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.
     ° If the medium includes a continuo part, record the name of the part (6.15.1.3)
     ° If the medium includes instruments acting as an accompanying ensemble, record a term for the accompanying ensemble (6.15.1.6)

Best practices for music cataloging, draft: There is no limit to the number of medium elements recorded, either as components of access points or in 382 fields.
(6.15.1.5) Instruments
When recording an individual type of instrument, use a term in a language preferred by the agency creating the data whenever possible.
LC-PCC PS: Use a term in English whenever possible.
Best practices for music cataloging, draft: Follow LC-PCC PS
Descriptive Cataloging Manual (DCM) Z1, 382, Medium of performance: Best practice: Record the medium of performance using RDA terminology when available.
If a required term is not listed in RDA, use a term from a controlled vocabulary, such as LCSH.

Use the following list of terms as a guide:
     ° cello or violoncello (LC-PCC PS: LC practice: cello)
     ° cor anglais or English horn (LC-PCC PS: LC practice: English horn)
     ° double bass (not bass viol or contrabass)
     ° double bassoon or contrabassoon (LC-PCC PS: LC practice: contrabassoon)
     ° harpsichord (not cembalo or virginal)
     ° horn (not French horn)
     ° kettle drums or timpani (LC-PCC PS: LC practice: timpani)
     ° viol (for sizes of viola da gamba other than bass)
     ° viola da gamba (not bass viol or gamba)
     ° viols (for viols of different sizes)
LC-PCC PS: Use the following instrument names: cello, English horn, contrabassoon, timpani.

LC-PCC PS: LC practice: In applying RDA 6.15.1.5, if a composer wrote works for or including various keyboard stringed instruments such as harpsichord, piano, or clavichord, use the one that predominates in the composer's works of a given type of composition in all preferred titles for works of that type. If no predominant instrument is apparent, use the term "keyboard instrument" in the medium of performance element.

6.15.1.5.1: Number of hands:
For one instrument, specify the number of hands if other than two:
     piano, 1 hand
     piano, 3 hands
     keyboard instrument, 4 hands
     marimba, 8 hands

For two or more keyboard or mallet (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, etc.) instruments, specify the number of hands if other than two per instrument.
     piano (2), 3 hands
     pianos (2), 8 hands


6.15.1.5.2: Pitch and range of instruments :
If considered important for identification and access, record the designation of key in which an instrument is pitched and/or terms indicating the range of an instrument.
Optional omission:
     ° a) the designation of the key in which an instrument is pitched
     ° b) terms indicating a range alto, tenor, bass, etc.
          » Best practices for music cataloging, draft: If deemed useful for identification and access, give specific ranges of instruments, etc. in a note


6.15.1.5.3: Alternative instruments:
Record the names of alternative instruments.


6.15.1.5.4: Doubling instruments:
Record the names of doubling instruments.
Optional omission:
     ° Omit doubling instruments.

Examples:
violins (2), viola, cello
strings
piano, violin, viola, cello
horns (2), violin, viola, cello
timpani, tom-tom, snare drum
bassoon, violin, viola, cello
piano, flute, clarinet, marimba, violin, cello
flute, harp, violin, viola, cello
piano, flutes (2), clarinets (2), oboes (2), horns (2), trombones (2), bassoons (2), trumpets (2)
harpsichord, Jew's harp, violin, viola, cello
piano, flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion, violin, viola, cello, double bass
celesta, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, harp, violin, viola, cello, double bass
     ° Celesta is considered a keyboard instrument and is given first
organ, trumpets (4), horns (4), trombones (4), baritone, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, violin, viola, cello, double bass
flute, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion, harp, violin, viola, cello, double bass
flutes (8), oboes (6), clarinets (6), bassoons (6), horns (6), trumpets (6), trombones (6), tuba, timpani, percussion
celesta, harpsichord, piano, piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinets (3), English horn, saxophone, bassoon, contrabassoon, trumpets (3), trombones (2), fl├╝gelhorn, horns (2), baritone, tuba, glockenspiel, harp
(6.15.1.6) Accompanying ensembles with one performer to a part
For an accompanying ensemble with one performer to a part, record the appropriate term for the instrument or family of instruments followed by the word ensemble
The ensemble consists of: Record:
the same instrument or from the same family of instruments record the appropriate term for the instrument or family of instruments followed by the word ensemble
     ° guitar ensemble, string ensemble
instruments from two or more families of instruments instrumental ensemble when a more specific term is not available
Alternative: For an accompanying ensemble with one performer to a part, record the appropriate term for each instrument of the accompanying ensemble instead of the name of the ensemble.
(6.15.1.7) Instrumental music for orchestra, string orchestra, or band
Record an appropriate term from the following list:
     ° orchestra (use for both full or reduced (chamber) orchestra)
     ° string orchestra
     ° band

Don't list the individual instruments.

Disregard continuo when it is part of an orchestra or string orchestra.

The Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus for Music (LCMPT) gives scope notes for "orchestra" and "string orchestra":
  • orchestra: a large ensemble consisting of bowed string instruments and some combination of wind and other types of instruments, or such an ensemble whose relative size is not specified. For a small orchestra so specified, use chamber orchestra.
    • Keep in mind that the terms in the LCMPT are intended to be used in field 382 of MARC 21 bibliographic records, and not necessarily in the medium of performance of authorized access points. "Chamber orchestra" is not used in authorized access points.
  • string orchestra: an orchestra consisting solely or primarily of string instruments.
    • Use "string orchestra" even when there are keyboard, percussion, and/or plucked instruments. It is the presence of one or more wind instruments that would define the ensemble as an orchestra.
(6.15.1.8) One or more solo instruments and accompanying ensemble
Record the term for the solo instrument or instruments and the term for the accompanying ensemble, in that order.
     ° For the solo instrument(s), follow 6.15.1.4-6.15.1.5 and 6.15.1.11
     ° For the accompanying ensemble, see 6.15.1.6-6.15.1.7

LC-PCC PS: For an accompanying ensemble that has only one performer to a part, use the word "ensemble" preceded by the appropriate qualifying term (e.g., "string ensemble," "jazz ensemble," "wind ensemble") in the part of the medium of performance element that follows the solo instruments.
Best practices for music cataloging, draft: Follow LC-PCC PS.
Vocal music
(6.15.1.9) Solo voices

Record an appropriate term from the following list to identify a type of solo voice:
     ° soprano
     ° mezzo-soprano
     ° alto
     ° tenor
     ° baritone
     ° bass
     ° other terms as appropriate (e.g., bass-baritone, countertenor)

If no specific voice types or ranges can be ascertained for two or more solo voices of different ranges, record an appropriate term from the following list:
     ° mixed solo voices
     ° men's solo voices
     ° women's solo voices
     ° other terms as appropriate (e.g., children's solo voices)

For compositions that include solo voice(s) with chorus, record only the appropriate terms for the chorus (6.15.1.10) and the accompaniment, if any.

(6.15.1.10) Choruses
Record an appropriate term from the following list to identify a type of choral ensemble (two or more performers to a part):
     ° mixed voices
     ° women's voices
     ° men's voices
     ° unison voices
     ° other terms as appropriate (e.g., children's voices)
          » Best practices for music cataloging, draft: other commonly used terms: equal voices, treble voices
(6.15.1.11) Accompaniment for songs, Lieder, etc.

If:
     ° the work is not in a "popular" idiom
          and
     ° the preferred title for the work consists solely of the name of a type, or of two or more types, of composition for solo voice (e.g., Lieder, Mélodie, Songs)
          and
     ° the voice is accompanied by anything other than a keyboard stringed instrument alone,
record the name of the accompanying instrument(s) or ensemble (following 6.15.1.3 to 6.15.1.9), followed by the word accompaniment.

Examples:
flute accompaniment
violin, piano accompaniment
flute, electronics accompaniment
piano, clarinet, viola accompaniment
clarinet, viola, cello accompaniment
violins (2), cello accompaniment
orchestra accompaniment

RDA doesn't cover what to do when the voice and instruments are equal in the ensemble. Current practice is to name all the instruments (following 6.15.1.3 to 6.15.1.6) but don't add the word accompaniment.
Examples:
high voice, flute, oboe, vibraphone, violin, cello
medium voice, violin, piano
voice, flutes (2), clarinet, trombone, violin, viola, cellos (2)

If such a work is not accompanied, record unaccompanied.

(6.15.1.13) Indeterminate medium of performance
If the specific medium of performance, or any part of it, is not stated in the resource or other source, record that part of the medium of performance as follows, in this order of priority:
RDA Medium indicated by the composer or available from any other source: Record:
6.15.1.13.1 one family of instruments or voices (6.15.1.10), or a collective term for other media the family, collective term, etc.
     ° plucked instrument, chordal instrument, bass instrument, keyboard instrument
6.15.1.13.2 only the range or general type of instrument or voice the range or type
     ° low instrument, treble instrument, melody instrument, male voice
6.15.1.13.3 some parts of the medium are indicated
and
other parts are unspecified or are indicated as unspecified or a similar term
the individual parts of the medium as instructed at 6.15.1.4-6.15.1.12
     ° use unspecified or a similar term, as appropriate.
          ° unspecified instrument
6.15.1.13.4 no medium is indicated
and
two or more such works by the same composer have the same preferred title
the number of parts or voices
     ° use voices to indicate both instrumental and vocal parts
          ° voices (3), voices (5-6)
RDA Medium is not indicated by the composer and is not available from any other source: Record:
6.15.1.13.5 no medium unspecified


Comments to Mickey Koth Yale University Music Library
©Yale University Library Last revised June 18, 2014.