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Scores, Musical Recordings & Musical Videos in the University of Arizona Library

Uniform Titles

     A great deal of variety exists as to the exact wording of the title that appears on the cover of published scores, musical recordings and musical videotapes.  As you can see in the following examples, this occurs for several possible reasons: (1) the same title may appear in different languages on the covers of different scores, recordings or videotapes of the same composition,   (2) the many identifying elements (form, instrumentation, opus number, key, etc.) can be arranged in an amazing variety of  patterns, and (3) many musical compositions have become known by "descriptive" or "popular" titles, e.g. "Drum Roll Symphony,"or  "Trout Quintet."

     Therefore, in order to provide a more standardized means for users to locate all of the library's scores, recordings or videotapes of a particular composition, without having to guess at the variable wording of cover titles, music librarians often add another title, known as a "UNIFORM TITLE"  above the cover title on the cataloging records they input into their library's card catalog.  In many systems, this added title is identified in a field labeled as "uniform title."  In the University of Arizona's system, SABIO, the software of which is purchased from a company called Innovative Interfaces, Inc., the cover title and uniform title appear together in a field labeled "title," and the "uniform title" is always above the cover title.  In the examples below, uniform and cover titles have been labeled as such in order to underscore their differences.

     There are three different types of uniform titles: (1) "distinctive" titles (Example 1), which appear in the language of the composer's original, unique title, e.g. "Die Dreigroschenoper," "Symphonie Fantastique,"  (2) "form" or "genre" titles (Example 2), where the composer has not provided a distinctive, unique title, but has used the work's musical form as the title, e.g. "Symphony No. 2," "Fourth Piano Concerto," and (3) "collective" titles (Example 3), which represent all of a composer's works within one broad category, e.g. "piano music" or all of a composer's works, e.g. "works."

Last modified: August 11, 2009