The Library of Congress >> Especially for Librarians and Archivists >> Standards

MARC Standards

HOME >> MARC Development >> Discussion Paper List


MARC DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 2020-DP12

DATE: May 29, 2020
REVISED:

NAME: Moving Form of Musical Notation from Field 546 to Field 348 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: Music Library Association

SUMMARY: This paper proposes moving Form of Musical Notation from Field 546 (Language Note) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format to a redefined or unused subfield in Field 348 (Format of Notated Music) and renaming Field 348 “Notated Music Characteristics.”

KEYWORDS: Form of Musical Notation (BD); Field 348 (BD); Format of Notated Music (BD); Field 546 (BD); Language Note (BD); Subfield $b, in Field 546 (BD); RDA Value Vocabularies (BD); Vocabulary Encoding Schemes (BD); Recording Methods (BD); Linked Data (BD); RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign Project; RDA

RELATED:

STATUS/COMMENTS:
05/29/20 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.


Discussion Paper No. 2020-DP12: Moving Form of Musical Notation from Field 546 to Field 348

1. BACKGROUND

RDA 7.13.3 defines and provides instructions for recording the expression element Form of Musical Notation, which is a core element for LC/PCC. RDA 7.13.3.3 contains a controlled list of terms (vocabulary encoding scheme) to be used in recording this element; the beta RDA Toolkit includes a virtually identical list as a VES. The list, RDA Form of Musical Notation, has been registered as an RDA value vocabulary with the RDA Registry. The same list of terms is available at id.loc.gov as the MARC Music Notation List.

RDA Form of Musical Notation is currently recorded in a note field—Field 546 (Language Note), subfield $b (Information code or alphabet)—that does not permit recognition of and linkage to the controlled vocabularies from which the terms generally used to express this element are taken. While the beta RDA Toolkit allows RDA Form of Musical Notation to be recorded as an unstructured description, it also provides options for recording the element as a structured description (using the RDA VES or "another suitable vocabulary encoding scheme"), an identifier, and/or an IRI. The ability to encode this element in a field that permits the latter three methods of description would ensure that all four recording options for RDA Form of Musical Notation available in the beta RDA Toolkit could be realized in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format, thus potentially supporting linked data applications that could benefit users searching for pertinent notated music resources.

Field 546 is currently defined in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format as follows:

Field Definition and Scope:
Textual information on the language or notation system used to convey the content of the described materials. A description of the alphabet, script, or other symbol system (e.g., Arabic alphabet, ASCII, musical notation system, bar code, logarithmic graphing) may also be included. Coded language information is contained in fields 008/35-37 (Language) and/or 041 (Language code).

Subfield $b in field 546 is defined as follows:

$b - Information code or alphabet
Specifies the alphabet, script, or notation system that is used in the resource.
This includes specialized scripts, typefaces, or codes (e.g., Arabic alphabet, Arabic numerals, ASCII, bar code, BCD, braille, ciphers, Cyrillic alphabet, EBCDIC, Fraktur, Greek alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, hieroglyphics, musical notation systems, pictograms, Roman alphabet, Roman numerals, or logarithmic or semilogarithmic graphing, etc.).

546 ## $3 John P. Harrington field notebooks $a Apache; $b Phonetic alphabet
546 ## $3 Marriage certificate $a German; $b Fraktur.
546 ## $a Latin; $b Roman alphabet
546 ## $b staff notation
         [for an instrumental piece: String quartet for two violins, viola, and cello]

In 2013, while reviewing drafts of the Music Library Association’s RDA Best Practices, one commentator expressed discomfort with the notion of providing information about musical notation in the same field as language information and suggested giving the musical notation information separately, "to avoid burying it amidst unrelated information." This suggestion was adopted, with the result that the MLA BP for RDA 7.13.3 (Form of Musical Notation) makes the following recommendation:

Encode form of musical notation and/or details of form of musical notation in a separate 546 field from language and script.

and gives as an example:

546 ## $a English, French, Italian and Azerbaijani words.
546 ## $b Staff notation.

Note that the MLA BP for RDA 7.13.3—and, for that matter, the MARC Field 546 documentation itself—includes examples of coding for form of musical notation, but not for details of form of musical notation. Several examples of such details, however, are found in RDA 7.13.3.4 (Details of Form of Musical Notation) and include phrases such as "Second book in mensural notation" and "Lute tablature and staff notation on facing pages." In 2015, the MLA group looking at Best Practices for recording these details appears to have reached the conclusion that these details should be recorded in a general note field (Field 500)—but not before the deadline for making additions/changes to the Best Practices had passed.

As noted above, RDA 7.13.3.3 provides a list of terms to be used in recording Form of Musical Notation. The list, RDA Form of Musical Notation, has been registered as an RDA value vocabulary with the RDA Registry, with the suggested prefix (source code) rdafmn. The same list of terms is available at id.loc.gov as the MARC Music Notation List. The beta RDA Toolkit includes the same list as a vocabulary encoding scheme, except that the term "solmization" is replaced by the term "syllabic," which carries a shortened version of the "solmization" definition found in the current RDA Toolkit.

Field 546, where form of musical notation is currently recorded, is a note field that does not allow for the recording of source of term codes or links as most of the 34X fields do, and thus does not support the beta RDA Toolkit options of recording this information as a structured description, an identifier, and/or an IRI. To remedy the situation, this discussion paper proposes expansion of Field 348 (currently, Format of Notated Music)—a field used to record an expression element that bears a strong relationship to form of musical notation—to record this element.

2. DISCUSSION

2.1. Field 348

Field 348 is currently defined in the MARC 21 Bibliographic format as follows:

Field Definition and Scope:
The musical or physical layout of the content of a resource that is presented in the form of musical notation.
Multiple formats from the same source vocabulary or code list may be recorded in the same field in separate occurrences of subfield $a (Format of notated music term) and subfield $b (Format of notated music code). Terms from different source vocabularies are recorded in separate occurrences of the field.

Subfield Codes

$a – Format of notated music term
Term for the format of notated music in the resource.

348 ## $a vocal score $a piano conductor part $a part

$b – Format of notated music code
Code for the format of notated music in the resource.

348 ## $a vocal score $b [code for vocal score] $2 [code for source vocabulary]
348 ## $a piano conductor part $b [code for piano conductor part] $2 [code for source vocabulary]
348 ## $a part $b [code for part] $2 [code for source vocabulary]

2.2. Options for Placement of Form of Musical Notation in Field 348

A perusal of the field 348 subfield codes indicates that subfield $c is unused and thus could be defined to hold a form of musical notation term. On the other hand, in regard to field 348 subfield $b, NDMSO has not yet defined a set of coded values for Format of notated music, and there is no indication that there is any intent to do so. Indeed, it would be unusual were this to be done, as, although this may be the norm for the 33X fields, there is no other example of a vocabulary term paired with a vocabulary term code (not to be confused with a source vocabulary code) in any 34X field.

2.3. Current Usage of Field 348 Subfield $b

Not surprisingly, given the lack of a defined set of coded values for Format of notated music, out of 130,105 occurrences of Field 348 in the OCLC database (as of March 27, 2020), there are only 772 instances of subfield $b, compared with 155,497 instances of subfield $a. Many of these are clearly in error: for example, there are over two hundred instances each of subfield $b coded as "rda" or as "rdafnm"; if these alone were properly coded in subfield $2, instances of subfield $b in the OCLC database would drop by more than half.

Additionally, 224 of the records in the OCLC database that include instances of subfield $b in Field 348 appear to be using MARC 008/20 Format of music (FMus) codes. OCLC’s Bibliographic Formats and Standards for Field 348, noting that "A controlled code list is not yet available" for subfield $b, provide what are apparently placeholder examples using codes "taken from MLA BP for [RDA] 7.20, based on the codes used in FMus."

It should be noted that the MLA BP for RDA 7.20 (Format of Notated Music) does not suggest using these codes in Field 348 subfield $b, while the MLA BP for RDA 7.13.3 (Form of Musical Notation) makes no mention of the FMus codes at all. Note further that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between the FMus codes and the terms in the RDA 7.20.1.3 Format of Notated Music vocabulary used in Field 348 subfield $a when cataloging with RDA as the content standard.

2.4. Proposed Disposition of Field 348 Subfield $b

Seeing that Field 348 subfield $b is not commonly coded and currently cannot be coded correctly, redefining it to hold form of musical notation terms could be beneficial, particularly as such a redefinition has the possibility of eliminating the apparent subfield $b confusion that currently exists.

If the redefinition of an existing subfield is nevertheless considered too potentially problematic a solution, subfield $b should be made obsolete, in which case subfield $c could be defined to hold form of musical notation terms, as suggested above. On the other hand, defining a list of format of notated music codes corresponding to any vocabulary that might be used in subfield $a (as well as another to parallel a newly-defined subfield $c) may have serious and potentially unwelcome implications for the other 34X fields, since, as mentioned above, none of these currently provide subfields for recording codes corresponding to the structured vocabularies recorded there.

The proposed changes below, then, present two options for Field 348: Option (1) would take the tack of redefining subfield $b; Option (2) would define a new subfield $c and make subfield $b obsolete.

3. PROPOSED CHANGES

In Fields 348 and 546 of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format, make the following changes:

3.1. Rename Field 348

Rename Field 348 to expand its content to include form of musical notation as follows:

348 – Notated Music Characteristics (R)

3.2. Revise the Field 348 Definition and Scope


Option 1:
Revise the field definition and scope to read:

Field Definition and Scope
The musical or physical layout of the content of a resource that is presented in the form of musical notation[, as well as the form of musical notation itself].

Multiple formats from the same source vocabulary or code list may be recorded in the same field in separate occurrences of subfield $a (Format of notated music term) and subfield $b (Format of notated music code [Form of musical notation]). Terms from different source vocabularies are recorded in separate occurrences of the field.

Option 2: Same as Option 1, but change the "subfield $b" reference to "subfield $c."

3.3. Disposition of Field 348 Subfield $b


Option 1: Rename and redefine Subfield $b as follows:

$b – Form of musical notation term
Term for the form of musical notation in the resource.

Option 2: Make Subfield $b obsolete and define a new Subfield $c as follows:

$b – (Obsolete)

$c – Form of musical notation term
       Term for the form of musical notation in the resource.

3.4. Revise the Field 546 Definition and Scope

Revise the field definition and scope to read:

Field Definition and Scope
Textual information on the language or notation system used to convey the content of the described materials. A description of the alphabet, script, or other symbol system (e.g., Arabic alphabet, ASCII, musical notation system, bar code, logarithmic graphing) may also be included. Coded language information is contained in fields 008/35-37 (Language) and/or 041 (Language code).

3.5. Revise the Definition of Field 546 Subfield $b

Revise the current guidelines for applying content designators for Field 546 subfield $b as follows:

$b - Information code or alphabet
Specifies the alphabet, script, or notation system that is used in the resource.
This includes specialized scripts, typefaces, or codes (e.g., Arabic alphabet, Arabic numerals, ASCII, bar code, BCD, braille, ciphers, Cyrillic alphabet, EBCDIC, Fraktur, Greek alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, hieroglyphics, musical notation systems, pictograms, Roman alphabet, Roman numerals, or logarithmic or semilogarithmic graphing, etc.).

546 ## $3 John P. Harrington field notebooks $a Apache; $b Phonetic alphabet
546 ## $3 Marriage certificate $a German; $b Fraktur.
546 ## $a Latin; $b Roman alphabet
546 ## $b staff notation
         [for an instrumental piece: String quartet for two violins, viola, and cello]

4. EXAMPLES

4.1. Option 1 Examples


348 ## $a score $a part $2 rdafnm
348 ## $b graphic notation $2 rdafmn

348 ## $a score $2 rdafnm
348 ## $b staff notation $2 rdafmn
348 ## $b chord symbols $b guitar chord diagrams
(adapted from MLA Best Practices for RDA 7.13.3: resource is a “piano-vocal-guitar” score; two of the applicable terms are not currently included in the RDA Form of Musical Notation list, or in any other controlled vocabulary)

348 ## $a study score $0 http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/mmusicformat/studyscore
348 ## $b mensural notation $0 http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/mmusnotation/mensu 

4.2. Option 2 Examples


348 ## $a score $a part $2 rdafnm
348 ## $c graphic notation $2 rdafmn

348 ## $a score $2 rdafnm
348 ## $c staff notation $2 rdafmn
348 ## $c chord symbols $c guitar chord diagrams

348 ## $a study score $0 http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/mmusicformat/studyscore
348 ## $c mensural notation $0 http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/mmusnotation/mensu

5. BIBFRAME DISCUSSION

Moving form of musical notation to field 348 might permit conversions between MARC 21 Bibliographic and BIBFRAME 2.0 to be made in a manner analogous to the current conversion for format of notated music (BIBFRAME Property: musicFormat; BIBFRAME Class: MusicFormat). What is unclear is how such a conversion might be affected by the fact that there is no BIBRAME Property: musicNotation—the Property is "notation," as MusicNotation is a SubClass Of: Notation.

Note that current BIBFRAME conversion specifications indicate that Field 348 subfield $b is to be ignored.

6. QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

6.1. Does either of the proposed solutions meet the needs discussed? Is one of the proposed solutions to be preferred?

6.2. Are there any alternate solutions that should be considered?

6.3. Regarding RDA 7.13.3.4 Details of Form of Musical Notation, is there any reason why recording such details in Field 546 subfield $b is preferable to recording them in a Field 500 note? Would recording them in a Field 500 note be preferable?

6.4. Is there a need for code lists corresponding to controlled vocabulary lists such as the existence of Field 348 $b seems to suggest? Is the ability to identify and link to controlled vocabularies via subfields $2, $0, and $1 insufficient in some way?

6.5. Assuming that the answer to Question 4. is yes, what are the implications for the other controlled vocabularies used in the 34X fields? What about the treatment of the uncontrolled terms that are used in certain 34X subfields?

6.6. Assuming that the answer to Question 4. is no, do you see any disadvantage to the  redefinition of Field 348 subfield $b proposed here?


HOME >> MARC Development >> Discussion Paper List

The Library of Congress >> Especially for Librarians and Archivists >> Standards
(05/29/2020)
Legal | External Link Disclaimer Contact Us