How to contribute data

We gratefully accept all data contributions!

First, please work from a collected works edition or facsimile. If you aren’t sure which source to use, contact us before you begin.

We use Google Sheets spreadsheets to edit and store data, which we then import into VMII. You can use one spreadsheet for each composer, or break up a composer’s works into smaller spreadsheets. The spreadsheet is yours, so you can show/hide/rearrange columns or add colors — just don’t change the column names. Contact us for a template.

We only catalogue vocal works, but we include all movements, including instrumental ones. Each row in the spreadsheet represents a movement. Below are the columns you can use. For columns like work_type that apply to every movement, repeat those values for every applicable row.

Download this PDF to see how a sample score maps to these columns.

Columns pertaining to the whole work

catalogue_name

Abbreviated name of the composer’s works catalogue, e.g. BWV. In the rare case of works in multiple catalogues, you can write multiple values separated by ;.

catalogue_num

Number in the composer’s works catalogue. In the rare case of works in multiple catalogues, separate values by ; (they must correspond to the catalogue_name values).

work_type

One of the following work types (contact us if none of these fit):

air de cour / aria / cantata / chorale / concerto / duo / gloria / konzert / lied / magnificat / mass / motet / ode / opera / opera seria / opéra-ballet / oratorio / passion / pastoral ode / psalm / requiem / sanctus / serenata / song / te deum / tragédie / trio / vocalise

language

Two-letter code for the original language of the work.

en / fr / it / de / la / es

composer

The full name of the composer, given name first. Separate multiple values by ;.

Johann Sebastian Bach

work_title

The title of the entire work in its original language. Separate multiple titles with ;.

Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht; Kaffeekantate

url_imslp

Link for the IMSLP listing for the work, starting with http. Don’t link directly to a PDF — link to the overall listing.

source_full_score

The Chicago Manual of Style citation for the full score, including any volume or series number, with title italicized _like this_. Leave off the page number and put it in source_full_score_page_num.

_Dietrich Buxtehudes Werke_ (Klecken: Ugrino, Abteilung Verlag, 1925), vol. I

source_background

If you referred to a background source such as New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, cite it here using Chicago Manual of Style, including page number (p. 155), with title italicized _like this_.

Alfred Dürr, _Cantatas of J.S. Bach_ (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 155

Columns pertaining to each movement

source_full_score_page_num

Page number of this movement, without “p.” or “page” — just the number. Use the page number printed in the document, not the PDF page number.

movement_num

The movement number from the full score, if there is one.

14a → 14a
14a14[a]
If you added the movement number: <14>

movement_type_orig

Write the exact movement type from the score:

Récit à 4.

movement_type

If the movement_type_orig isn’t listed below, pick one of these standard movement types and write it in movement_type. Contact us if none of these fit.

  • Work: work
  • Aria: air / aria / arie / arietta / ariette / arioso / cabaletta / cavatina / konzert / solo / vocalise
  • Duet: aria a due / duet / duett / duetto / duo
  • Ensemble: ensemble / quartet / quartetto / quatuor / quintet / quintett / quintette / quintetto / soli / terzett / terzetto / trio / tutti
  • Song: canzone / canzonetta / chanson / lied / ode / psalm / song
  • Recit: accompagnato / recit / recitative / recitativo / récitatif
  • Chorus: chor / chorus / chœur / coro
  • Chorale: choral / chorale
  • Instrumental: adagio / ballo / bourrée / chaconne / concerto / contredanse / entrée / gavotta / gavotte / gigue / instrumental / introduction / jigg / lentement / loure / march / marche / menuet / menuetto / minuet / musette / ouverture / overture / pantomime / passacaglia / passacaille / passepied / prelude / prélude / rigaudon / ritornello / ritournelle / rondeau / sarabande / sinfonia / sinfonie / sonata / sonate / sonatina / symphonie / symphony / tambourin / tamburino

movement_title

Movement title in the original language. For instrumental movements where the title is just the movement type (e.g., Sonata), leave this blank.

instrumentation

The instrumentation for the movement, with a new line for each independent musical line. Be careful to preserve all information about the instrument identity (e.g., italics like Flauto dolce), since that’s very practically important for performance. Punctuation, on the other hand, has special meaning in this field, as below.

  • Write the original instrument name from the score, in its original language, with any modifiers: Violino obbligato, not just violin.
  • Differentiate solo/ripieno/choral/unison lines as in the score, for example Soprano chorus, Violini unisoni, or just Violini.
  • Write instrument ordinals with Roman numerals:
    Violino I
  • When multiple instruments are required, separate them with ; :
    Violino I, II → Violino I; Violino II
  • When instrument options are given, separate them with / :
    Violino I or Flauto II → Violino I / Flauto II.
  • If any part of the instrument name is in italics (editorial):
    Violino IViol[ino I]
  • For the continuo line, write Continuo: (or a translation, if that’s what’s written) followed by any specified continuo instruments:
    Basse continue: Orgue + Viole de gambe
    → Basse continue: Orgue; [Viole de gambe]
  • If you add any information, such as solo to highlight solos, chorale to label chorale lines, or Continuo when the score doesn’t have it, use angle brackets to indicate your additions:
    Soprano <chorale> or <Continuo>
  • When a voice part has a character name, use @ and write it after the voice part:
    Rinaldo → Soprano @ Rinaldo
    When a voice part has multiple character names, use @ for each:
    Rinaldo & Almirena → Soprano @ Rinaldo; Soprano @ Almirena
  • If instruments/voices are grouped into Choir 1, Orchestra 1, etc., set them off with = Choir 1, as in the example below
  • If multiple independent musical lines are notated on the same staff, use a separate line for this column.

For example, if the movement has this instrumentation in the score…

CHOIR I
Tromba I solo
Tromba II
Flora (Soprano)
Flauto traverso I or Oboe I + Violini unisoni
Flauto traverso II or Oboe II
Taille + Viola
Harpsichord or Organ

CHOIR II
Violino I, II

…then code this as:

    = Choir I
    Tromba I [solo]
    Tromba II
    Soprano @ Flora
    [Flauto traverso I / Oboe I; Violini unisoni
    Flauto traverso II / Oboe II
    Taille; Viola
    <Continuo>: Harpsichord / [Organ]
    = Choir II
    Violino I; Violino II
    ...

tempo

The tempi, in order of appearance (ignoring repeats), separated by ;.

Note: For French movements like “Air gai,” write Air gai in movement_type_orig, air in movement_type, and gai in tempo.

appendix

If the movement is in an appendix, write the appendix name:

Appendix A or just Appendix

Note: If the movement merely refers to an appendix, you can mention that in notes, but leave the appendix column blank until you add the separately catalogued movement that’s actually in the appendix.

version

If the movement has different versions, make a new row for each version and write the version description here. This field gets turned into a header on VMII, so if the version is long (“Version C, for performance in Vienna in 1734”), it looks better to write a short summary Version C and add “For performance in Vienna in 1734”) to the notes column.

part_num

If the movement belongs to an act or part, write it here: Act 1.

Nice-to-have columns

These columns, especially the texts, significantly enhance the data. But if you don’t have the time to enter these, don’t let that stop you from contributing.

text_en, text_en_orig, text_fr, text_fr_orig, text_it, text_it_orig, text_de, text_de_orig, text_la, text_la_orig, text_es, text_es_orig

List the text in the original language, with translation in English or other languages. If the translation isn’t yours, cite the source in an added column called source_text. Use columns like text_fr_orig for historical spelling. Format character names with @ before them. Format any chorales in bold by enclosing each line in **...**. Indent lines of the B section with . Cite/credit the source in a separate column called text_en_credit (for en, for example).

@ Bertarido
Dove sei, amato bene!
Vieni, l'alma a consolar!
> Sono oppresso da' tormenti
> ed i crudeli miei lamenti
> sol con te posso bear.

range

The range of each corresponding musical line, with octaves in scientific pitch notation. Use b for flat and # for sharp.

C4-C5
Bb2-C3

tessitura

The tessitura of each corresponding musical line, with octaves in scientific pitch notation. Use b for flat and # for sharp.

C4-C5
Bb2-C3

key_start

The key the movement starts in. Use b for flat and # for sharp.

D flat major

key_end

The key the movement ends in. Use b for flat and # for sharp.

d flat minor

meter

Any meters in the movement, separated by semicolons. For “3” in French music, just write 3. For C, write 4/4. For , write 2/2.

2/2; 3/2

num_measures

The number of measures in the movement, ignoring repeats and da capos.

D flat major

structure

Da capo, dal segno, etc. Don’t include plain repeats. Use brackets to indicate editorial additions.

Da [capo]

Work context columns

year

The 4-digit year the work was composed, or a range separated by -. Use ? if the year is uncertain.

1684–1692?

purpose

sacred or secular

occasion

The event the work was composed for, if applicable.

birthday or Trinity II

written_for

The person the work was composed for, if applicable.

Queen Elisabeth I

Optional columns

notes

Any information useful for comprehension or performance. If you quote outside sources, cite them inline using Chicago Manual of Style. Use _this_ format for italics.

score_status

The status of the score availability, to you and/or the modern world

partly lost / mostly lost / music lost / lost / incomplete / score needed / processing / reconstruction / fragment / draft

contributors

List your full name (given name first), so we can credit you. If several people contributed to this row, separate their names with ;.

Jane Doe