Translator request:

IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library is a large resource of public domain sheet music. Scores/parts (and sometimes audio files) are listed on a page representing a given work (e.g.,_Op.125_(Beethoven,_Ludwig_van)).

Zotero users have requested a bibliographic item type for music scores (see, and a translator for IMSLP that creates these entries along with the score PDF would be an obvious next step.
  • Can you bump this if and when the music score type comes through? I'm not sure how strong the metadata is on scores at IMSLP, but it'd certainly be great to support it.

    And please mention anything that's missing from the music score proposal-- it's a little lacking in detail so far.
  • @ajlyon: I'm not a musicologist (or a librarian), but here are some thoughts:

    I think "arranger" would need to be an additional creator role (as well as "composer", "lyricist", "librettist").

    Additional fields:
    • "instrument" or "instrumentation", esp. for parts/arrangements
    • "opus/catalogue number", as pointed out earlier—possible values would include "Op. 71a", "WoO 59", "K266". See
    • "key"
    • "composition date" (vs. date of publication, especially for works that were revised by the composer)
    IMSLP pages include quite a bit of metadata, with individual scores as well as under "General Information" for a work. I have listed the fields that strike me as most important.
  • Can you provide examples of how the key and instrumentation are used in citation?
  • and discuss citation conventions for music. In their examples I can only find the key/instrumentation mentioned in naming the piece or describing the arrangement. The Holoman & Kern text listed at the second link might be of more help.
  • @ajlyon: What new materials / info would be useful to help with the "music score" type addition? I checked out the sites
    and both of them seem rather old so I didn't want to add to them, moreover I wasn't sure how, exactly, to add to them. Thanks!
    is still the one we're using, so add there. You just need a github account and then can use that like a wiki.
  • @adamsmith: thanks, and I've signed up and can now edit (made a tiny edit just to check).

    I'm a musicologist, and I'm going to work with a music librarian and, hopefully, a tech person and/or cataloger in our library in order to get this fully fleshed out. None of us have done Zotero development before, but I'm hoping to get this moving in time for inclusion in 3.5, so please let me know if there's anyone else who should be involved etc.

  • great.
    read this:
    and this

    generally, keep in mind that the general approach in Zotero and CSL is to limit field and item names as much as possible - e.g. there almost definitely won't be multiple music score item types, having fields that are only relevant for music scores should be kept to a minimum etc.
  • Thank you, confirmed. Will report back on this thread (unless I hear otherwise).
  • Sorry for the delay in reporting back. I have consulted with two music librarians, and we came up with the following to create a musicScore item type. Here is a first round of suggestions, subject to improvements of course. (Apologies for any weird HTML; I'm doing it just to make it easier, hopefully, to see there are only a few changes, as underlined.) The process should be straight forward because we suggest that it be based on the pre-existing item type "Audio Recording" with a few changes and a few additions from the item type "Book," as follows in this outline of "Audio Recording":

    Title: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Creator: use the basic fields from "Audio Recording"; add to it (from "Book") "Editor" and "Series Editor"; change "Performer" to "Arranger"

    Abstract: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Format: change to "Plate or Pub #" (this is also sometimes called the plate number, the matrix number, the issue number, and the videorecording number for videos; it is also in the MARC 028 field in scores, and this is information that is commonly available on IMSLP; further, these are more common, especially in older scores, than an ISMN, so they are a better unique number to look for).

    Series Title: same as "Audio Recording" (same as "Series Number" and "Series" in "Book")

    Volume: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    # of Volumes: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Place: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Label: change to "Publisher" (from "Book")

    Date: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Running Time: change to "# of Pages" (from "Book")

    Language: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    ISBN: change to ISMN (new!)

    Short Title: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Archive: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Loc. in Archive: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Library Catalog: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Call Number: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    URL: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Accessed: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Rights: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Extra: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Date Added: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

    Modified: same as "Audio Recording" (and "Book")

  • edited December 12, 2012
    so here's my concern: For citations, music scores are cited both as books:
    Copland, Aaron, Concerto, Clarinet and String Orchestra (with Harp and Piano): Reduction for Clarinet and Piano (New York: Boosey & Hawkes, 1950).

    and as book chapters:

    Schumann, Robert. 'Kennst du das Land', in Claude V. Palisca (ed.), Norton Anthology of Western Music, 2nd edn (2 vols, New York: Norton, 1988), vol.2, pp.338-342.

    That would kind of require two citation types.
    The two things that are peculiar for Music Scores are the ISMN and the Plate# - are these ever cited? I can't find a single example where that's the case. If they're not, I'm still wondering if we're not better of just adding "composer" (and maybe one more role - arranger?) to the book item type and store ISMN and Plate in a note. I'm mostly thinking aloud here, I'm not completely opposed to the music score item type, but currently I'm not convinced that that's actually the best way forward.
  • Thanks adamsmith, I appreciate the thinking aloud. I'll respond in a similar vein.

    I do understand that score and book citations look alike (and like chapters if in an anthology). From a musicological user standpoint, however, it's also having an ICON for music score to distinguish what it is -- because even if the citation looks similar, the thing itself is different, and therefore needs to look different in Zotero.

    When we get to a composer such as John Luther Adams, who writes books that are full-fledged books but that are also titled the same as a composition, it's complicated. Check out his _The Place You Go to Listen_ -- it's both book and composition (not really a score, admittedly, but something we would cite as a score/recording but isn't either). Furthermore, JLA wrote other books and many other compositions, and keeping them straight in a bibliography is needed.

    As for ISMN and Plate #: You're right, those are rarely cited for modern works. For historical works, however, plate # is often used to distinguish printings (for example, different versions that Casa Ricordi published of Verdi operas and pieces). But what about ISBN, is that cited for books? Rarely, but it does have a place for specialized use. So ISMN might as well.

    I welcome further thoughts, thank you!
  • The icon is no argument - every field would like more item types. I'm a political scientist and I have to make do with the same item type - report - for academic working papers, grey papers by NGOs, and publications by international organizations. And don't even get the historians started, or we'd have 200 item types in no time.

    The next version of Zotero will likely have color coded tags, so a more visual distinction would be possible that way.

    How are you distinguishing between scores and books in a bibliography? The citations look the same to me?

    Do you have an example for the use of Plate# for an old score?

    ISBNs are cited for books in non-anglo settings, yes. The ISO norm, which gets used in Eastern Europe a lot, requires ISBNs for book citations. If we do get a score item type we should definitely include it, the question is still whether that's needed.

    To be clear, because that may have gotten lost among the rest:
    My biggest concern is that "music scores" can be published in multiple ways: As "books," "book sections," and even "manuscripts" (for unpublished scores). Any solution we find needs to be able to accommodate those without creating two or three new item types. We already have these as general item types, so if we can adapt those to work better for music scores that would solve this. If that's not the way we go, we need a solution for this.
  • Greetings-
    I'd like to echo asallen's suggestions for a musicScore item type. Enough specific differences exist to make it worthwhile, IMHO. I'm a music librarian as well as a musicologist, and frequently teach students to use Zotero. It's quite frustrating when this great tool can't accommodate the format we frequently cite in papers, articles, dissertations, etc.

    thank you!
  • At this point it would be really helpful to get some type of response to the concerns I've stated repeatedly.
    We need to get away from the "music scores are important" part of the discussion. I believe you that they are, you don't have to reiterate that.
    The relevant question is: How can music scores be incorporated in Zotero in a way that is flexible enough for the various ways in which they appear and are cited? (see my posts above).
    Without any satisfactory answer to that it's going to be hard to get scores as an item type into Zotero, because we wouldn't even know how to structure the item type.
    The secondary question is your claim that
    Enough specific differences exist to make it worthwhile
    Which exactly? Again, I'm not trying to be obnoxious about this, but I've been unable to get any real answers to those two questions so far.
  • Specific differences:

    ISMN is relatively new for scores (<10 yrs) and is not consistently used across all publishers. The publisher number and plate number designations were more consistently used since the 1700s through the 1900s. This is important for those tracking different printings/editions in historical research.

    I'm looking at a reference book (Hinson's <i>Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire, 3rd ed.), and he provides the publisher and plate or edition number for each entry. Out of a page with 12 entries, 9 have plate or publisher numbers. Granted, I just turned to the Haydn entry (p. 389), representing publishing going back a few years, versus a composer such as Samuel Barber (single publisher, and few if any reprintings were necessary).

    Sorting. Sure, call me a wuss. But please make it easier to sort my bibliography by format when I have many, many items. I'm sure I'm missing some sort of trick to that.

    Thank you for your response.
  • How does the plate# look in a citation?

    Even if I accepted they're different, that still doesn't help me with my primary concern, though:
    My biggest concern is that "music scores" can be published in multiple ways: As "books," "book sections," and even "manuscripts" (for unpublished scores). Any solution we find needs to be able to accommodate those without creating two or three new item types.
  • adamsmith: I just joined to comment on this because I am switching from RefWorks and to my surprise, after importing, all my music scores were converted to "Audio Recording".

    Addressing several comments:
    1) Plate numbers / ISMN: Generally these are *not* cited if the other information provided is unambiguous (just like ISBN isn't either, in the US). If they are, either or both of these numbers would go where the ISBN would go for a book citation, with the plate number first if both, identified as: "Plate <NUMBER>."

    2) Yes, there are several sources for music scores these days-- "internet" is another common source now. Nevertheless, I think just having the one type, and allowing all the fields that would identify it as books, book sections, manuscript or web pages, would be a big step forward from not having one. There could be a heuristic that looks at what fields are filled in that determines whether the citation looks like a book, book section, manuscript, or web page source. Like others have mentioned, this can be refined later.

    Another, more radical idea would be to allow some kind of marking of other item types *as* Music Scores. This would allow them to use the underlying type's mechanics; but be sorted, indicated, and iconized as Music Scores. In the UI, it could be a dropdown that allowed you to indicate which kind of music score citation you needed (it should most likely default to the book-like one).
  • edited May 6, 2013
    I will try to add something worthwhile to this discussion. I have seen music scored cited in several ways: different styles and according to the reference source type. As @adamsmith said, there are many ways to present a score. It may be by itself as a large or small individual item. It may be published in a collection of scores -- the complete works of J.S. Bach in several volumes. It may be in manuscript form as an unpublished item. It may be a reproduction of a composer's hand written manuscript (with or without contemporary comments). It may be a complete score or a reduction or transcription for, say, piano. I'm sure that there are other ways of publishing music scores.

    When included in a reference list:
    A full score published alone is similar to a book.
    A score published with other scores or the same or different composer is similar to an anthology or edited volume with chapters.
    A complete works would be akin to a book series with different volumes.

    There cannot be a single score type for Zotero. It wouldn't be possible to correctly format the citation and bibliographic reference properly according to standard styles. Cataloging rules are more straightforward than a database for reference management. With a catalog entry there is one way in and one output format. Yet, even the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (this used to be the library catalog bible) recognizes that there are several ways that scores may be presented and that these ways are summarized in my list above.

    While Zotero can be used as a catalog of items in a collection (and if used as a catalog more data fields may be needed), its primary purpose is as a database of document (in the broad sense) metadata that can be treated in a way that facilitates manuscript preparation. Consider what is required of authors who submit manuscripts to musicology journals. The Journal of Musicology, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the Journal of Musicological Research, all use the Chicago Manual of Style and (if you will look at the bibliographic information that accompanies articles in these journals) the references fit the book, book section, and manuscript types. Others, (Radical Musicology, for example) have developed their own styles ( but for each journal that I have found, the metadata needed for proper referencing can be fit into existing Zotero types and fields.
  • Reading my own and DWL-SDCA's comments, I'm definitely starting to lean toward not a separate musicScore type but some way to mark an item as a Music Score (for sorting and iconizing purposes). Marking it this way could then cue the UI to offer "Composer" instead of "Author"; "Arranger", "Librettist", "ISMN", "Plate Number" and any other useful fields specifically for music.

    So far after a day of citing, the only manual change I've had to make in an exported citation is "Arr." instead of "Ed." for arranger. Would be interested to hear what other issues people are running into using existing item types.
  • Another thought - how much of these additional fields do we need for scores published in a collection?
    I'm thinking we could add the score item type and use it for individually published scores - it should be possible to wrap online scores e.g. from IMSLP into that as well. And if we could then get what we need for scores published in a collection by adding one (ideally only one) creator type - composer I guess - to the list for chapters that should get us mostly there, no?

    A related question - is the composer ever labelled as such? In the examples I have above, Copland and Schuman aren't marked as composers, you're just supposed to know. Do we ever get something like (compos.) or so? It would actually make things easier if we didn't, then we didn't even need a composer item type for chapters and could maybe add an arranger?
    Though how about songs? I assume when you cite a Schubert song you'd want to include the lyricist? How is that done?
  • For citation purposes, a composer is an author, unless they aren't the primary artist for some reason, then they get a separate after-title credit like "Composed by <composer>."

    I've seen text authors handled a number of ways:
    1) not cited (this seems the most common for art songs, especially ones in cycles)
    2) credited as co-author with no additional indication (usually standalone songs)
    3) credited with separate indication after title, "Text by <author>", "Libretto by <author>", or similar (see this mostly for operas)

    When there is a text author cited, often there's a translator credit as well: "Text by Heinrich Heine. English version by Michael Rosewell." for example.
  • OK, that sounds like we can just treat composers as authors - the case where they're not treated as primary creators we can't handle anyway (i.e. Zotero doesn't allow you to specify who is and who isn't a primary creator - that's defined by the roles). That's good. We'd refer to the person as "composer" in a music score item type but probably just map that to "author" CSL wise, since that makes things easier.

    I don't really want to distinguish between a "lyricist" and a "librettist" - I realize these are two different things, but that's going a bit far. We might just go with "Text by" across the board and opera people will have to deal... suggestions for how to call that role are welcome.

    Again, we won't have a great way for dealing with that for works in collections. But people will just have to deal.

    Translations we can just handle as for any other work. We currently can't do the language sth. is translated from/into but that's a general limitation and has nothing to do with music item types.

    So to summarize: My suggestion would be to add a music score item type along the lines of what asallen suggests above. The only new CSL variable we'll need is ISMN. We'd map plate number to csl's "number".
    For works in collections, people will just have to treat them like book sections. We could add one additional creator role if needed. From what I'm reading so far, "Arranger" or "Librettist/Lyricist" would be my preferred choice. Both of those will also require a new CSL variable.
  • Are there any new developments on this?
  • field updates will be in 4.2
Sign In or Register to comment.