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Uniform Titles : What They Are And What They Do

Why Should I Use Uniform Titles

Library catalogs contain uniform titles for the purpose of bringing together a musical work that has a variety of titles and spellings. Put simply, a uniform title unites all manifestations of one work. The three types of uniform titles are:

1. Distinctive titles.

2. "Form" titles.

3. Collective titles.

Distinctive titles


Distinctive titles are those which are given by the composer in its original language. Here are some examples of popular titles by composers, and the uniform titles for those works in their original languages:

 Bartók, Béla Bluebeard's Castle Kékszakállú herceg vára
Messiaen, Olivier Quartet for the end of time Quatuor pour la fin du temps
Stravinsky, Igor The rite of spring Vesna svi︠a︡shchennai︠a︡
Debussy, Claude Prelude to the afternoon of a faun Prélude à l'apres-midi d'un faune
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Magic Flute    Zauberflöte

Form Titles

Form titles are used when referring to the title of a composition that is a musical form, such as the quartet, the etude, the concerto, the symphony, the mass. The format of the uniform title in form titles is

Form, Instruments, Numbers, Keys:

Haydn, Joseph String quartet in C major "the bird" Quartets, strings, H. III, 39,  C major
Chopin, Frederic   12 etudes for piano, op. 10 Etudes, piano, op. 10
Barber, Samuel   Piano Concerto (2-piano score) Concertos, piano, orchestra, op. 38;  arranged
Beethoven, Ludwig Van     Symphony no. 3 in E-flat "Eroica" Symphonies, no. 3, op. 55,  E♭ major
Bach, Johann Sebastian Mass in B minor Masses, BWV 232, B minor

Collective Titles

Collective titles contain multiple titles by the same composer (collections). Collective titles can refer to performance medium, form, mixed types:

Liszt, Franz Complete works Works
Chopin, Frederic   Complete works for piano   Piano music
Mozart Neue Mozart Ausgabe (scores) Works, 1995