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DATE: June 18, 2009

NAME: Adding new codes to Music 008/18-19 (Form of composition) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library of Spain)

SUMMARY: This paper proposes adding codes for four important musical forms of composition in field 008 (Fixed length data elements - Music) character positions 18-19 (Form of composition). The codes can also be used in field 047 (Form of musical composition) subfield $a.

KEYWORDS: Field 008/18-19 (Music) (BD), Field 047 (BD), Form of composition (BD), Form of musical composition (BD)


06/18/2009 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

07/12/2009 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Approved as amended. The committee decided that the name of the tl code be changed from "lyric theater music" to "teatro lirico" in order to define it more specifically as a Spanish form of music, rather than as a broader form of musical theater. It was agreed that the codes should also apply to the 047 field.

08/05/2009 - Results of LC/LAC/BL review - Agreed with the MARBI decision.

PROPOSAL NO. 2009-09: Adding new codes to Music 008/18-19 (Form of composition) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format


The Biblioteca Nacional de España and other Spanish libraries have been able to code for four common musical forms common in Spanish music for many years in their IBERMARC format. These were used as additions to the ones already defined for MARC 008/18-19 and listed in the MARC 21 format. Now that the library community in Spain is adopting MARC 21, they need to have these forms added to the MARC list so they can retain these distinctions.


The Biblioteca Nacional de España is requesting that four new codes, based on Spanish forms of musical composition, be added to the two-character alphabetic code list for field 008/18-19 (Form of Composition). If the four codes are approved for field 008/18-19, then they could also be utilized in field 047 (Form of musical composition), subfield $a (Form of musical composition code) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.

The codes requested by the Biblioteca Nacional de España are based on terms for traditional Spanish forms of musical composition that are referenced in a significant amount of preserved documentation. These terms, along with their requested codes and accompanying descriptions, are:

za - Zarzuelas
Term applicable to all musical plays taking that name, from the “fiestas de zarzuela” of the 17th/18th-centuries to the so-called “zarzuela moderna” (“modern zarzuela”) from the mid 19th to the mid 20th-century.
fl - Flamenco
Generic term which refers to all the Flamenco styles, or “palos”, and to other forms of song and dance coming from the folkloric tradition of Spanish gypsies.
vi - Villancicos
This is a very characteristic form of Spanish polyphony, religious or secular, from the 16th to 18th centuries, with a rich representation in Spanish and American archives and libraries. Religious villancicos were usually sung in important ceremonies (including Christmas, when these songs were sometimes called “pastoradas”). The documents preserved amount to many thousands. The term is sometimes erroneously associated with only one of its meanings, that is, the popular Christmas songs known in English as “carols”. Such meaning should never be exclusively associated to the whole variety of forms, very rich and varied, that are traditionally known as “villancicos”.
tl - Lyric theater music
This code is for a large number of more specific terms which describe Spanish and Spanish American theatre music: “tonadilla escénica” (Spain has not less than 3,500 manuscript “tonadillas escénicas” from the 18th-century), “fiestas de música”, “sainetes líricos“, “entremeses cómico-líricos”, etc. In addition, there are many other theater music forms with vast representation in the Biblioteca Nacional de España's preserved collections of musical theatre from the 16th to 20th centuries. There is much richness and variety in this area in Hispanic music traditions (until the 20th century Spain had the largest theater production in the world), so while there are other terms associated with newer styles of musical theatre (e.g., Musical revues and comedies) they only represent single types of very recent repertoires (from the 20th-century).


In field 008/18-19 (Music / Form of composition) of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format add the following coded values:

Appendix A

Current list of musical forms of Composition on the MARC list for Music 008/18-19:

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