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Classification schemes for scores: analysis of structural levels.

from CC, including much of CC's notation. OC represents something of a re-invention of the wheel, though CC's music schedule has never been completed. Thus OC can be viewed as an attempt to work out and apply the principles of CC to a music library.

OC consists of six tables: Generalia Classes; Main Classes; Instrument Numbers; Common Subdivisions; Chronological Divisions and Author Numbers; and Geographic, Ethnic, and Philological Divisions. Since OC accommodates literature as well as scores, not all of the tables--or all sections of all tables--are employed in classifying scores.

As with all faceted classification schemes, the enumerations presented in the In his essay "The Origins of Modern Music Classification,"(1) Donald W. Krummel provides an overview of more than a dozen bibliographies and catalogs dating from 1548 to 1840 that are either exclusively devoted to scores, or include scores among their contents.(2) Working from the historical record provided by these items, Krummel points out the basic systems of organization they employ to impose order on the scores they list.

Systematic organization of bibliographical materials is often taken for granted. The simple arrangement created by imposing alphabetical order is so commonplace that many people outside librarianship tend to think of it as the only ordering system in use. Alphabetical order can be imposed on scores through composers' names and/or distinctive titles. The concept of "distinctive title," is crucial since many musical works bear generic titles such as suite, sonata, prelude, symphony, waltz, etc., making arrangement by title alone meaningless in such cases. Similarly, alphabetized subject arrangement is probably impossible with most instrumental works (What is the subject of Beethoven's first symphony?) and difficult at best with much vocal music (What is the exact subject of Debussy's enigmatic song La Flute de Pan, or perhaps more accurately Pierre Louys' poem of that title?).

Upon reading Krummel's essay, one quickly realizes that though the items he discusses are diverse in chronology, nationality, language, and purpose, they come to grips with the problem of bibliographical ordering of scores in essentially two ways. Most systems used since the sixteenth century, to one degree or another, continue to fall in line with one or the other of these practices. One method employed is to organize scores by musical forms or genres, thus bringing all the madrigals, masses, sonatas, quartets, etc., together under their relevant headings. This primary division by form or genre is then usually subordinated by instrumentation. The second method organizes scores by instrumentation -- grouping together all the flute music, works for solo voice, music for violin and piano, and so forth. This primary division by instrumentation is then generally subordinated by musical forms or genres.

Realizing the ubiquitousness of these two systems of ordering leads directly to two questions: Are there other elements present in scores besides forms and genres and/or instrumentation that permit bibliographical organization? and, Have modern library classification schemes discovered such elements and developed methods of applying them? A search through the literature on music classification reveals that efforts have been made to identify additional organizational elements present in scores. Starting from the findings reported in the literature, identification of elements capable of classificatory organization, standardization of terminology, and an analytical method by which modern classification schemes can be examined and compared are developed and described in the following section.


At the 1974 meeting of the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) in Jerusalem, the Classification Subcommission of IAML's Cataloguing Commission advanced a set of seven concepts called Facetten as universals in addressing the classification of music materials.(3) The seven IAML Facetten are: Besetzung (performing medium), Formen und Gattungen (forms and genres), Zeit (time), Raum (space), Zweck (purpose), Anlass (occasion), and Inhalt (contents). The last three concepts presented difficulties due to their inherent vagueness and overlap, and eventually a special thesaurus was published to assist in dealing with their intricacies.(4) Possibly influenced by the IAML concepts, Brian Redfern proposed a set of elements for music which he also called "facets."(5) Redfern's facets include seven concepts applicable to scores: Composers, Instruments, Size of Ensemble, Forms, Musical Character, Space, and Time.

Working from these two formulations, a set of terms was synthesized for this study that would allow the elements presented by classification schemes to be identified, compared, and uniformly labeled--in essence, a metataxonomy capable of transcending the various terminologies used within the respective schemes. The IAML concept Besetzung and Redfern's Instruments and Size of Ensemble facets were merged into an element called MEDIUM. Formen und Gattungen and Forms were combined to make an element called FORMS/GENRES. IAML's Zweck, Anlass, and Inhalt were combined with Redfern's Musical Character to form an element simply called CHARACTER. The clearly equivalent concepts of Zeit and Time formed TIME. Raum and Space were combined to form an element called PLACE. Redfern's concept of Composers was also adopted, though simplified to the singular, COMPOSER.

Though the terms that were adapted from IAML and Redfern provided for a number of concerns, both sets addressed only internal bibliographical aspects of what might be called the "contents," and did not address external bibliographical aspects of what might be called the "container." Thus one additional element was developed in response to the concern for bibliographical form some schemes present. This additional element, called FORMAT, allows discussion and comparison of features contained in those schemes that respect differences among documents' physical forms such as printed scores or manuscript scores, collections or single works, full scores or reduced scores, and so forth.

These elements combine to form a metataxonomy of seven terms for description and comparison that includes the traditional ordering concepts of musical forms and genres (FORMS/GENRES) and instrumentation (MEDIUM), plus five additional concepts: CHARACTER, TIME, PLACE, COMPOSER, and FORMAT.

Following the synthesis of the terminology described above, the next steps were to formulate an analytical technique by which the classification schemes could be examined. Once again scholarly literature provided a model, though in this case the source was the literature of music theory.

During the 1920s and 1930s Heinrich Schenker published a body of remarkable analyses of numerous musical masterworks. Schenker's method was based on a profound knowledge of species counterpoint combined with techniques of reduction and a search for quintessential universals. While Schenker's work is confined to music theory, a basic concept of his method lends itself quite well to considerations of other structured objects. Schenker conceived of a musical work as the combination of three transparent layers called Schichten superimposed upon one another. The deepest layer of the structure is the Background, above this level is the Middleground, and above this level is the Foreground. The Background contains the essential structure of the work, indeed it is Schenker's concept of the fundamental, universal composition: the Ursatz. The Middleground contains the elaboration and development--Auskomponierung, literally, "composing out"--of the universal fundamental structure. The Foreground contains the details of the work, and at the very surface of the Foreground is the score itself. These levels are not only stacked upon one another, but each level has its own depth and flows into and out of the level or levels above or below it. This concept of a telescoping structure allows for discussion of "more foreground" and "more background" levels within the Middleground, for example. Schenker was able to illustrate his points of analysis through graphs called Urlinie-Tafeln, which employed modified music notation and some special symbols. By means of these graphs, Schenker was able to illustrate his analyses with great clarity while employing a minimum of textual explanation.

Though the Schenkerian model used in this study was derived from music literature, the concept of Background, Middleground, and Foreground structural levels was actually applied to library classification in 1910. Writing in Library Journal, Fremont Rider employed a tripartite--level concept in the closing section of an article that compared the Dewey Decimal Classification with Cutter's Expansive Classification.(6) Interestingly enough, this closing section is entitled "The Foreground of Classification."

The finer the subdivision of any classification the more quickly it becomes, in its details, obsolete and inadequate. One might compare such a classification with the landscape seen from a swiftly moving train. The far distant mountain peaks--the main subdivisions of human knowledge--remain for a long time practically unchanged, turning very slowly varying faces to the swiftly moving tide of progress, changing as slowly in proportion, indeed, as do our interpretations of such fundamental denominations as "literature" and "art."

Meanwhile, however, the nearer foothills form and dissolve slowly but surely before our eyes, just as the relative importance of such subjects as 621.3 "Electrical Engineering" loom in turn large in their allotted subordination, and such formerly relatively important subjects as 936 "History of the Kelts" sink in the comparative scale.

And all the while the finer subdivisions, the intimate details of the nearer foreground, dance by with a shifting rapidity that merges by the track side into an indistinct blur.(7)

In this article, Rider was concerned with the need to update continually the fine detail of a classification scheme's Foreground level. The present study is concerned with examining the element, or combination of elements, found at the Background level on which a scheme's fundamental system of ordering for scores is founded, and then observing how other elements are worked out in the Middleground and Foreground levels as the scheme unfolds from out of the Background. While Rider's approach was from the opposite direction and for a different purpose, his use of the tripartite-level model, coupled very nicely with his analogy of a landscape viewed from a moving train, suggests that the Schenkerian model is an appropriate one for studying the structure of classification schemes.

As in Schenker's work, reduction plays an important role in this study. Mere recitation of a schedule would simply reproduce the surface level of its Foreground, with all the fine subdivision that Rider describes. Though recitation of portions of a schedule may be given to illustrate a point from time to time, generally the schemes will be discussed and analyzed in reduction without reproducing their schedules, much in the same way that Schenker presented his analyses without reproducing the actual scores. In some instances, a number of analytical elements may be encountered in the early stages of a scheme's schedule. However, their appearance will not always signify the uncovering of the fundamental structure, and it will be necessary to dismiss these false trails and work deeper into the structure through more reduction. It is essential to identify those elements that establish the base from which a scheme unfolds as it works its way from the Background fundamentals toward the Foreground details. The flow of elements through the levels in this telescoping effect signifies the uncovering of the fundamental structure.

Schenker's graph concept also proved transferable to the present study, and in selected cases graphic representation of a scheme's fundamental structure is presented along with the textual discussion. Figure 1 illustrates the basic type of graph employed in these cases. The three structural levels are each represented by a rectangle, with the rectangles drawn in perspective to one another to suggest a sense of depth. In Figure 1 the three levels have simply been labeled Background, Middleground, and Foreground, but in the remaining figures the levels are labeled with the appropriate element or combination of elements.

The reductive analytical technique described above is applied to twenty-four classification schemes drawn from a variety of countries and cultures. Arranged here in two groups, the first fourteen items are music schedules within general schemes that attempt to classify all knowledge. The last ten are all special schemes developed solely for music.


DDC appears to be one of the most widely used schemes throughout the world. A 1968 survey of classification schemes in use among IAML member countries indicated that of seventeen countries responding, five (29%) reported that DDC was used by some or all of their music libraries.(8) In 1977 Ingetraut Dahlberg reported DDC in use by libraries of all types in 100 countries.(9) Despite this apparent popularity, the original formulation of DDC had a long history of problems in dealing with music. Redfern called it ". . . the least satisfactory of all schemes in its treatment of music."(10) This dissatisfaction with DDC's handling of music is reflected in the revisions devised by McColvin and Reeves, and by Sweeney and Clews, both of which will be discussed subsequently.

With some modification, the revision proposed by Sweeney and Clews was adopted for the twentieth edition of DDC in an effort to end the long history of dissatisfaction with its music schedule. Though the twentieth edition is included in this study, analysis begins with the nineteenth,(11) since it seems likely that this edition marks the last published appearance of Dewey's original conceptualization of music. By analyzing the basic structure of the original formulation it is possible to gain some understanding of why there has been so much disagreement with DDC's approach to music.

The first analytical element encountered in DDC 19 is FORMAT, occurring at 780.81-780.84. These class numbers are provided to deal with the external matters of collected works, anthologies, and miniature scores:


.81 Collected scores and parts by individual composers. (conventional size)

.82 Collected scores and parts by more than one composer. (conventional size)

.84 Miniature pocket scores.

Despite its early appearance, FORMAT cannot really be said to be the fundamental element of DDC 19's Background, since the scheme does not unfold from this point, and the element is left in a rather detached state.

In a similarly detached fashion, the element of PLACE makes a brief and partial appearance at 781.7-781.79 as DDC's acknowledgement of racial, ethnic, and national music. Perhaps surprisingly, the initial subdivision here is by literacy, then by location:


.7 Music of ethnic groups and various specific countries and localities.

.71 Of nonliterate peoples.

.72-.79 Of literate peoples.

.72 Of various specific racial, ethnic, national groups.

.73-.79 Of specific countries and localities.

Once again a basic element has been presented. However, a glance at the way in which literacy superordinates location helps make it clear that PLACE is not the fundamental element in DDC's Background, and that the scheme does not unfold from this point.

Arriving at 782, the element of CHARACTER appears--with the presentation of dramatic music. The enumeration of the FORM/GENRE element for dramatic music follows with opera, theater music, ballets and related music. CHARACTER appears again at 783: sacred music. After a short digression, the FORM/GENRE element for sacred music begins to unfold at 783.21 with the mass followed by oratorios, choral works, chants, songs, Christmas carols, assorted special forms, and hymns.

MEDIUM makes its strongest appearance at 784-789 where vocal music and instrumental music divide with enumerations through FORM/GENRE for vocal music and further subdivisions of MEDIUM (string instruments, wind instruments, etc.) for instrumental music. Within each subdivision of MEDIUM the FORM/GENRE element unfolds. Though not clearly stated, the superordination of 784-789 is still CHARACTER, and could be labeled "secular music," if DDC 19 were to make this distinction.

The Background in DDC 19 is CHARACTER: dramatic, sacred, and "secular" (though this term is not used). The Middleground does not exist as a unified whole, due to the fact that FORM/GENRE is the next level for dramatic and sacred music, while MEDIUM is the next level for "secular" music.

The Foreground level is also divided as it unfolds out of the divided Middleground. For dramatic and sacred music, the element of CHARACTER re-emerges in more finely wrought subordinations. These more detailed enumerations allow for incidental music, different religions, different liturgies, hymns, music for feasts and holidays, and other special types of music within the broader CHARACTER element. "Secular music" shows FORM/GENRE as its Foreground level.

The graph of DDC 19's fundamental structure in Figure 2 exhibits certain variations due to the divided structure of the Middleground and Foreground levels. Distinctions of the types of music involved have had to be made, and the re-appearance of CHARACTER on the left side of the Foreground has been shown in smaller type to indicate its subordination to CHARACTER in the Background.

Though it would appear that DDC's original concept broke free of traditional arrangement either by MEDIUM or by FORM/GENRE within the Background, the choice of CHARACTER as the fundamental ordering element was clearly not without its problems. The detached handling of FORMAT and PLACE suggests that these elements were given rather short shrift. The mixing of FORM/GENRE as both a Middleground and a Foreground element also creates a sense of confusion, and the re-appearance of CHARACTER in the Foreground underscores the shakiness of DDC's original choice of Background element. Perhaps these structural problems are at least in part the cause of Redfern's negative assessment.


This revision of DDC exists in three bibliographical incarnations. It was first presented by Lionel McColvin in 1924.(12) In 1937 McColvin published a revised version of his scheme with Harold Reeves.(13) In 1965 Jack Dove edited a new version of McColvin and Reeves's book.(14) Despite these three appearances and resultant expansion and correction, the scheme's principles remain relatively unchanged from their original conception. It is perhaps presented in its clearest and fullest form in the 1937 version, which will serve as the source for the present analysis.

McColvin disagreed with DDC's practice of grouping scores and music literature together in one enumeration. Though he retained all of DDC's numbers, McColvin reassigned them to create two separate sequences--one for scores and one for literature. The scheme was intended for use in public libraries with the idea of handling relatively small collections in a simple way. This premise seems to have been sound; Redfern reports the scheme still in use at the Central Music Library in London,(15) and the 1968 IAML survey also reports continued use of McColvin's revision by "a handful" of British libraries.(16)

McColvin and Reeves first divide scores by MEDIUM, creating two initial categories: vocal music and instrumental music. Instrumental music is further subdivided within MEDIUM by solo and duet music, and chamber and orchestral music.

In the vocal music section, the scheme passes quickly through FORMAT, which allows collocation of collections, and a synthesis of PLACE and CHARACTER to allow arrangement of national music by country. Vocal music continues to unfold through CHARACTER by presenting songs of special natures (sea-songs, chanties, hunting songs, etc.). A quick enumeration of vocal music by ensemble size (duets, trios, etc.) interrupts, and then CHARACTER returns to accommodate sacred and dramatic music.

Instrumental music follows the lead of vocal music by passing through FORMAT to provide for collections, but without integrating this element into the fundamental structure. McColvin and Reeves instruct that further subdivision be made alphabetically by COMPOSER, and at this level the scheme essentially ends. A simple enumeration of ensemble music closes the scheme, but this element is still an aspect of MEDIUM, and the next level above remains COMPOSER. FORMAT makes a very brief appearance under piano solos in order to place arrangements of operas, though this appearance has no effect on the fundamental structure.

Initial division by MEDIUM clearly makes this element the Background of the scheme. The Middleground--like DDC's--is a divided one, with CHARACTER for vocal music and COMPOSER for instrumental music. The scheme lacks any true Foreground, reminding one of Rider's observations on the need for constant revision of this level. By avoiding the detail contained in a Foreground, McColvin and Reeves assured their schedule long life with little need for revision. Clearly this scheme is too basic for large collections or academic research libraries--note for example the complete absence of the FORM/GENRE element--however, its continued use attests to its extreme practicality in organizing a relatively small collection in a quick, simple, and reasonably efficient way. Figure 3 presents a graph of this scheme.


In 1980 Forest Press, the publishers of DDC, took an unprecedented step by issuing a proposed revision to the music schedule as a separate monograph.(17) The proposal was introduced by a carefully-worded disclaimer: "Publication of this separate music schedule is not a guarantee of complete acceptance by either the Press or the Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee; rather it is an attempt to permit classifiers and librarians, who have long recognized the need for a thoroughly revised music schedule for Dewey, to test its pragmatic value."(18)

Though originally conceived as an enumerative system, DDC has been undergoing a series of changes toward a synthetic--or faceted--system for some time. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the revision proposed by Sweeney and Clews is based upon the most fully faceted system yet devised for music--British Catalogue of Music Classification (BCMC). BCMC is the last scheme analyzed in this study, but the adoption of its format by Sweeney and Clews necessitates some discussion at this point.

BCMC was designed by Eric J. Coates for the British National Bibliography Ltd., and first appeared in 1957. It is a fully faceted scheme, owing its concept--though not its realization--to Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan. BCMC is highly touted in British writings,(19) but as the British respondent to the 1968 IAML survey, Eric T. Bryant, noted "Although this country has seen the formulation of what is undoubtedly the most detailed and advanced schema for classifying music, in the British Catalogue of Music, no library (to my knowledge) has adopted it for its stock."(20) The fact that BCMC, though held in high regard as a system for organizing a national bibliography, has not yet found application as a classification scheme in a library reinforces the question of how well the scheme will work in actual practice. Since the 1982 issue, the British Catalogue of Music has ceased using BCMC's notation, and simply employs the DDC numbers as they appear in Sweeney and Clews's revision. This change underscores the fact that the structure of Sweeney and Clews's revision--as it applies to scores--is exactly the same as BCMC's structure. Three basic facets are employed in organizing scores: Executant, Forms, and Character. In the present study, Executant converts to MEDIUM, Forms to FORM/GENRE, and Character to CHARACTER.

Faceted classification schemes require a system that explains the sequence in which the facets are to be assembled. This sequence is called the scheme's citation order. The citation order given by Sweeney and Clews adds Techniques and Standard Subdivisions to the first three facets. The Techniques facet includes composition, performance, and recording. While this aspect has clear ramifications for music literature, it seems likely that its only real impact on scores is its provision for pedagogical works. For the purposes of this analysis, Techniques will be considered an aspect of CHARACTER in the sense that teaching pieces are a special type of music, as are patriotic songs, sacred music, and so forth. Standard Subdivisions apply to scores in terms of bibliographical, geographical, and chronological concerns. The elements of FORMAT, PLACE, and TIME in this study's terminology provide equivalents for the analysis.

The revision's citation order places MEDIUM at the Background level of its structure and FORM/GENRE at the Middleground level. The Foreground is predominantly based on CHARACTER, with additional accommodations for FORMAT, PLACE, and TIME near the surface of this level for those occasions when they are needed. The citation order clearly indicates this scheme's fundamental structure and Figure 4 presents it as a graph.


Nine years after the appearance of Sweeney and Clews's proposed revision Forest Press issued the twentieth edition of DDC.(21) During the ensuing years, reactions to the proposed revision had been collected and considered. Changes were made to Sweeney and Clews's original proposal, these changes being summarized in DDC 20's manual.(22) However, these changes do not affect the fundamental structure. Since DDC 20's music schedule is now a faceted system it employs a citation order that reveals the scheme's structure. DDC 20's citation order reverses the scheme's enumeration, starting at 788 and working toward 780 as the facets are assembled to express a document's features. The citation order unfolds in this manner: Voices and instruments (782-788), Musical forms (781.8), Sacred music (781.7), Traditions of music (781.6), Kinds of music (781.5), Techniques of music (781.4), Composition (781.3), Elements of music (781.2), Basic principles of music (781.1), and Standard subdivisions (780.1-.9). By reduction and application of this study's taxonomy to DDC 20's citation order, the same fundamental structure as originally proposed by Sweeney and Clews emerges with MEDIUM in the Background, FORM/GENRE in the Middleground, and a Foreground primarily consisting of CHARACTER with additional special accommodations for FORMAT, PLACE, and TIME very near the surface. A graph of DDC 20 would be identical to the graph in Figure 4.

Though questions of implementation remain outside the scope of this study, the complete reformulation of a music scheme as widely adopted as DDC's cannot be passed over without comment. The tasks imposed on a library choosing to adopt this revision are considerable. An entirely new way of classifying must be learned in converting from an enumerative scheme to a faceted one, all the materials must be re-marked, all the shelves reorganized, and all the users must learn new meanings for previously familiar numbers. As Redfern puts it:

I shall be interested to see how many American libraries change to the new schedule; British as well for that matter. Even in my day there was wide variation between libraries in which Dewey edition they used. I suggest many libraries will continue to use edition 19, even 14!(23)


In 1902, Charles Ammi Cutter published a short article in Library Journal(24) in which he stated his opinions on music classification as a rebuttal to Clarence Ayer's Harvard Classification, which is examined later in this study. Cutter's views were based on his experiences with classifying music at the Boston Athenaeum and the Forbes Library in Northampton, Massachusetts. The "Forbes Plan" Cutter described in this article is nearly identical to the music portion of his Expansive Classification.(25) Cutter disagreed with Ayer's idea of making FORM/GENRE subordinate to COMPOSER, claiming that he had tried the same approach for three years and finally gave it up in favor of its reverse. Cutter's rationale was user-influenced. He claimed that his users requested primarily forms of music, rather than works by specific composers.

Though Cutter begins the music section of EC with the concept of FORMAT by creating a category for collections, he does not establish this element as the scheme's Background. EC allows collections for one instrument (such as a collection of piano music) to be classed under that instrument, thus preventing any systematic unfolding from collections as a pure class in itself. True to the preferences stated in his criticism of Ayer, Cutter attempted to establish FORM/GENRE as the Background level of EC. However, Cutter's idea of musical form is not one that is likely to have occurred to anyone with formal musical training.

EC establishes a genre called "Concerted Music" at VY1. This genre includes orchestral music, national music and folk songs, chamber music, dance music, military music, opera and related secular forms, overtures, sacred music, and symphonies. Cutter's concept of musical form proves to be a strange amalgam of MEDIUM, PLACE, CHARACTER, and FORM/GENRE, without any clear ordering among these elements. Cutter's second section--VZA to VZZ--works entirely in its Background with the element of MEDIUM, by listing enumerations for instrumental music and vocal music. However, there is no clarity in approach here either, since the scheme for instruments is interrupted by sections for collections of vocal music (FORMAT), special kinds of songs (CHARACTER), and works for vocal ensembles of various sizes--then the scheme closes with listings for wind and woodwind instruments.

EC seems to suffer from two serious weaknesses that prevent it from having a clear and logical fundamental structure. The first weakness has already been alluded to--Cutter's apparent lack of musical knowledge. The second weakness is Cutter's inordinate fondness for alphabetical arrangement. In the chamber music section, for example, octets are not followed by nonets or septets, in either an ascending or a descending arithmetic logic, but by quartets, quintets, septets, and trios, following alphabetical order. Even the section dealing with individual instruments is arranged alphabetically, explaining why vocal music suddenly appears in an enumeration of instruments between violoncello and wind instruments.

Within the sections for individual instruments EG divides by FORM/GENRE, but, as already indicated above, the vocal music employs FORMAT and CHARACTER to provide for collections and for special kinds of songs (children's, college, etc.). Vocal music (VZV) is further complicated by VZVD, VZVF, VZVS, and VZVT which mnemonically stand for Duets, Four-part songs, Solos, and Trios. Once again the citation order is locked into an alphabetical sequence. These types of works would seem to be more logically placed among EC's category of "Concerted Music."

With alphabetical rather than structural concepts as the base of EC's composition, no readily apparent Background, Middleground, or Foreground levels can be said to exist in the scheme. However, Gutter's rebuttal of Ayer makes it clear that he actually thought EC did have a logical structure based on user demand--no doubt responsible for the heavy leaning on alphabetical order. If one can accept Cutter's concept of "Concerted Music" as musical form, then a structure does emerge, though there are gaps in its unfolding.

In fairness to Cutter, it is possible that EC's peculiar concept of musical form may be due to a kind of user warrant. If Cutter's users thought of the types of music his "Concerted Music" category embraces as forms and actually requested them that way, then for EC they were indeed forms--a librarian's equivalent of "the customer is always right."

Accepting Cutter's idea of form for the sake of analysis, and applying enough reduction to compress gaps in the scheme's unfolding, it is possible at least to suggest an idealized fundamental structure for EC. FORM/GENRE is at the Background of the scheme, as Cutter imagined it to be. The Middleground is formed by MEDIUM, and the Foreground by CHARACTER.


Unlike Charles Cutter, James Duff Brown had a good knowledge of music and was among the earliest authors on music librarianship. His creation of SC gave him an opportunity to express his views about music's place in human knowledge and activity.(26) Like DDC, SC places scores and literature together. In fact, SC does not even provide a notational device to mark the distinction. Also like DDC, this feature excludes FORMAT from consideration within SC's structure.

Brown had two strong objections to DDC and similar schemes, and these objections influenced the way SC was formulated. First, he did not approve of the "fine arts" and "useful arts" labels generally used to place music within a scheme. Brown's concept was to place every activity in proximity to the branch of science he felt it either stemmed from, or was most nearly related to: thus in SC Music follows Acoustics.

Brown's second objection was with DDC's grouping by subject and purpose--pure versus applied, for example. Brown reasoned that an item could occupy only one place on the shelf and should therefore also occupy only one place in a scheme. While this objection has profound ramifications for music literature, it has little impact if any on scores.

Though developed well before Ranganathan's work, SC contains features that make it resemble a faceted scheme more than an enumerative one. From C440 through C504 a listing of musical forms appears that includes instrumental forms, dance forms, and vocal forms. These elements of FORM/GENRE are apparently to be applied either to literature about the forms or to scores corresponding to the forms. For instrumental scores, the classification lists instruments by organological families from C603, bowed stringed instruments, through C753, tuning forks--the latter considered a mechanical instrument by Brown.

SC does not give very clear examples of how its elements are to be combined, nor is its intended depth of indexing addressed. Following the apparent intent to combine instruments with form, SC's method of synthesis can be demonstrated best through example.

Assume the need to formulate the notation for a score of a violin and piano sonata. By combining the MEDIUM "facets" (C610--Violin, and C647--Pianoforte) with the FORM/GENRE "facet" (C442--Sonata) the notation, C610 + 647 + 442 is produced. (The use of the plus sign (+) is used here only as a means of illustration; SC does not indicate the employment of this symbol.)

A work such as the hypothetical sonata described above is not chamber music by SC's definition--it takes three to nine instruments to qualify for that genre. In this portion of SC, chamber ensembles are listed in decreasing size, starting with nonets (C771) and ending with trios (C777). Unfortunately, SC does not indicate if a chamber ensemble's constituents are to be specified. For example, would a sonata for violin, flute, and piano be C777 + 610 + 687 + 647 + 442 (indicating trio, violin, flute, piano, and sonata)? It may be that the simpler C777 + 610 + 687 + 647 (trio, violin, flute, piano) is closer to Brown's intentions, but this concept ignores the aspect of sonata form present in the score. Alternatively, C442 + 610 + 687 + 647 (sonata, violin, flute, piano) might be equally valid with form coming before instrumentation and the concept of trio implied, rather than directly expressed in the notation.

Though the present study is not concerned with matters of notation, these examples do serve to illustrate how the essence of faceting is present in SC, and how a potentially useful scheme has apparently been impaired by the lack of a clear citation order for more complex syntheses. However, one must not be overly critical of SC's lack of citation order. It appears that Brown, like McColvin and Reeves, intended his scheme for small public library collections with relatively simple needs, and was not very concerned about depth of classification. Indeed, Redfern points out that SC has been used successfully by a number of British public libraries.(27) In addition, one must also consider that SC's lack of a citation order may have been intentional, thus allowing individual libraries the flexibility to construct their own citation orders. For example, the illustrations used above could be arranged by violin, flute, or piano--depending on which instrument one wished to collocate under--or by sonata or trio if one wished to use FORM/GENRE as the element of collocation.

In keeping with this apparent philosophy of flexibility, SC does not include a preferred method for indicating PLACE and TIME. Instead, more than a half-dozen alternatives are suggested--including Cutter's tables--and the choice of how to indicate these concepts, or even if to indicate them at all, is left entirely up to the individual library. Indeed, these "facets" do not even appear in the schedule proper. In this way FORMAT, PLACE, and TIME play no direct role in SC's fundamental structure.

The order of elements as presented in the schedule makes it appear that SC's Background level is MEDIUM, remembering that this element includes size of ensemble. The Middleground is FORM/GENRE and the Foreground--really applied only to special types of vocal music--is CHARACTER. Rearrangement of the elements is apparently possible if a library were to choose a different citation order.


Henry Evelyn Bliss devoted most of his life to the development of BC and was still working out the scheme at the time of his death. The version of BC published in 1953 serves as the source for the present analysis.(28) After Bliss's death the Bliss Classification Association was formed, absorbed all rights to the scheme from H. W. Wilson, and has been engaged in the long and laborious process of producing a second edition of BC for some years. The outline for music in revised BC is also analyzed in this study.

Though concepts of FORMAT, PLACE, and TIME are present in the schedule, BC provides a very clear, very traditional fundamental structure in ordering scores. BC's Background is MEDIUM--its first division at VHX separates vocal from instrumental music. Instrumental music begins at VXM (orchestral music), and enumerations for individual instruments by organological families follow from VXQ (harp) through VXP (piano). The listing of instruments is not without some peculiarities. For example, the harp is the only instrument represented in what should logically have been a section for plucked strings. Redfern notes the absence of a place for guitar music.(29) Lute music (VXW) is rather strangely placed in the section for bowed strings, between viola music (VXV) and viola music (VXY). While there are certain relationships among these three instruments, it seems more logical to group instruments by their means of sound production than by questions of tuning and organological ancestry.

The Middleground in BC is occupied by FORM/GENRE. This level is expressed by the unfolding of sacred and dramatic music out of vocal music. BC treats sacred and dramatic music as genres rather than elements of CHARACTER, as they might otherwise be considered. The forms and genres of instrumental music initially unfold from orchestral music (VXM). Bliss also instructs the use of Schedule 22--a list of forms and genres for piano--to be added to the enumeration of individual instruments for further division.

The Foreground of BC is occupied by CHARACTER. Though sacred and dramatic vocal works can be considered expressions of CHARACTER, Bliss appears to have viewed them as genres and provided for further division by specifying an additional level for categories of CHARACTER, such as VXLE--Epic and historical operas, VXLI--Romantic and idyllic operas, VXLQ--Humorous and comic operas, and so forth.


Due largely to the efforts of Jack Mills, the Bliss Classification Association has been in the process of revising BC for nearly thirty years. A revised schedule for music has yet to be published, though a draft version was circulated for users' suggestions in 1971.(30)

The structure of the revised BC music schedule's section for scores is based on BCMC. This fact is not surprising given that Eric Coates, author of BCMC, is also a consultant for revised BC. In addition to Coates, the draft also extends thanks to Brian Redfern and Derek Langridge for providing additional advice on the music schedule.

Though this study has not yet discussed BCMC in its own right, its concepts have already been introduced in the discussions of Sweeney and Clews's revision of DDC and DDC 20. BCMC's structure for ordering scores is a clearly delineated one with MEDIUM at the Background, FORM/GENRE at the Middleground, and CHARACTER at the Foreground. Though the faceted structure of revised BC was based on BCMC, the revision's fundamental structure remains identical to the original BC's ordering: MEDIUM, FORM/GENRE, and CHARACTER.


Given Fremont Rider's interest in classification, it seems logical that he should have devised a general classification scheme of his own.(31) When one further considers Rider's concern with overly fine division in the Foreground, it also seems logical that IC is a broad scheme with little detail. Like DDC, IC places music literature and scores together in one section.

Music appears in this scheme at WS--Popular vocal music. This descriptor is a synthesis of MEDIUM (vocal music) and CHARACTER (popular music). Dramatic music and sacred music follow at WT, and upon reaching WUG one encounters piano music. Organ music follows, then bowed and plucked strings, and wind and percussion instruments. Each category is followed by lists of forms and genres. The music portion of IC concludes with orchestral music.

Rider seems to have had a rather curious view of chamber music. Throughout the schedule, whenever it becomes necessary to deal with combinations of instruments he refers to "So-called chamber music for two instruments. For three instruments. For four, or more, instruments." It is unclear if Rider meant that he did not consider works for two instruments to be chamber music, or if he was opposed to the concept of chamber music altogether. In any event, the only instrumental ensemble recognized by being given its own place in the schedule is the orchestra.

Despite its introduction of popular music at the opening of the music portion, IC actually makes its first division on the basis of MEDIUM, placing that element in its Background and unfolding the scheme from there. Thus vocal music and instrumental music are separated. IC follows the same reasoning as BC in considering popular, sacred, and dramatic music as genres, thus placing FORM/GENRE at the Middleground for vocal music. Instrumental music agrees with FORM/GENRE for the Middleground, with enumerations for sonata, fugue, rondo, dance forms, and so forth, following the specific instruments. CHARACTER emerges at the Foreground. Here IC presents such concepts as film, radio, and television music (WTH); "old fashioned dance music" (WUP); "modern dance music" (WUQ); and didactic works for individual instruments. Reflecting Rider's concern that a scheme be simple and require little revision, IC builds its section for music scores upon a fundamental structure that reflects a now familiar arrangement: MEDIUM, FORM/GENRE, and CHARACTER.


In 1895 the first International Conference on Bibliography was held in Brussels. Out of this conference grew the Institute Internationale de Bibliographie with the aim of producing an index to all publications. Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine undertook the task of providing a classification scheme for the proposed index. Otlet and La Fontaine decided that the fifth edition of DDC offered solid possibilities, due to its general approach to subject, the relatively universal acceptance of its notational system based on Arabic numbers, and its hospitality to elaboration through the use of a decimal system. Dewey agreed to allow the adaptation of DDC, provided that DDC's order of main classes and their subdivisions be retained and that the new scheme be as compatible as possible with its progenitor.

UDC follows DDC's practice of combining literature and scores, though it does not maintain the concept of three-figure integrity. Thus while music is 780 in DDC, it is 78 in UDC. This analysis utilizes the English Full Edition of UDC 78, published by the British Standards Institution in 1971.(32)

UDC's elements are capable of providing great depth of indexing, so deep in fact that the instructions caution against excessive application of subject expression resulting in numbers of unwieldy length. Components are assembled following the formula of main number--special auxiliaries--common auxiliaries. The main number is derived from 782-785 "Kinds of music." This heading breaks down into: 782 (dramatic music), 783 (sacred music), 784 (vocal music), and 785 (instrumental music), an enumeration identical to DDC 19 at its comparable level.

Special auxiliaries for scores cover the elements of FORM/GENRE and FORMAT. Common auxiliaries provide for the expression of PLACE and TIME. A final element for scores can be added to express COMPOSER.

To illustrate the unfolding of the system and to explore UDC's fundamental structure, consider constructing the notation--thereby expressing the ordering--for a quartet for piano, violin, viola, and violoncello. The notation commences with the number 785 (instrumental music) drawn from 782-785, types of music. The number .74 is added to indicate a quartet: 785 + .74. To this number are added the numbers for the instruments prescribed by the score: 786.2 (piano), 787.1 (violin), 787.2 (viola), and 787.3 (violoncello). UDC expresses relationships through use of the colon, thus the notation for this score would be 785.74 : 786.2 : 787.1 : 787.2 : 787.3.

As UDC grew out of DDC, it seems logical that UDC's Background is the same as DDC in its original formulation--CHARACTER. As Redfern puts it, "Vocal music has the same unfortunate arrangement of the main divisions as that used in DDC, so that what are in effect the subdivisions 782 Dramatic music and 783 Sacred music appear before the main division 784 Vocal music."(33) He might have added "785 Instrumental music," as well. The composition of 782-785 can be seen as identical to DDC 19's first division of dramatic music, sacred music, and "secular" music (vocal and instrumental). UDC's Middleground is nearly identical to DDC 19's combination of FORM/GENRE for dramatic, sacred, and secular vocal music, and MEDIUM for instrumental music. However, the special auxiliary FORMAT can also be expressed within the Middleground for dramatic, sacred, and secular vocal music: FORM/GENRE and FORMAT both being special auxiliaries.

UDC's Foreground level shows the greatest variance from DDC 19. Through the application of common auxiliaries for dramatic, sacred, and secular vocal music, the elements of PLACE, TIME, and COMPOSER can be expressed, if desired. Instrumental music in UDC places FORM/GENRE in its Foreground, as does DDC 19. However, UDC allows for expression of the same auxiliary elements for instrumental music as it does for dramatic, sacred, and secular vocal music: FORMAT, PEACE, TIME, and COMPOSER. Instrumental music expresses FORMAT in its Foreground with FORM/GENRE, as vocal music does in its Middleground. The common auxiliaries for PLACE, TIME, and COMPOSER are left to reside at the uppermost levels of the Foreground for instrumental music. Thus the same elements are present and unfold through both sides of the structure, but do so at different levels and rates of speed for dramatic, sacred, and secular vocal music on the one side, and instrumental music on the other.

Figure 5 presents a graph of UDC's fundamental structure. Note that the common auxiliaries TIME, PLACE, and COMPOSER for instrumental music are shown in smaller type, indicating their presence in the most forward levels of the Foreground.


When one considers that UDC was intended as an international system of classification, it seems natural that it has influenced the structure and concepts used in several national schemes such as the Soviet scheme, BBK. Like UDC, BBK is a decimal-based system that does not maintain the concept of three-figure integrity. Though UDC was used within the Soviet Union--catalog cards issued by the All Union Book Chamber always provided both UDC and BBK numbers--BBK brought Communist ideology into the realm of book classification.

In its apparent final state BBK was published in four volumes that enumerate the scheme and also provide special tables and schedules.(34) The first volume of the scheme is devoted to Marxist-Leninist thought, with the entire classification unfolding from the Party's ideological viewpoint according to the way its founders viewed the world and human activity. BBK's outline is first organized by a Cyrillic letter, then--like UDC--by Arabic numbers operating in a decimal-based system. Music appears in the fourth volume of BBK under letter III (shch) at 85.31, where the enumerations of musical methodology and theory begin and are followed by subordinations for musical literature.

Scores in BBK have a special materials table (Tablitsa Klassifikatsii Hothyx Izdanii), commencing with 85.9, located near the back of the fourth volume. An aspect of FORMAT is addressed at the opening of the table, by providing placement for collected editions (Sbornini) of various types and complete works (Sobraniya Sochinenii). However, the treatment of these items is much like DDC 19--the problem of bibliographical form is recognized and dealt with quickly, but the scheme itself does not unfold from this point.

The Background of BBK is encountered at 85.92 and 85.93. Here the scheme makes its first clear attempt at ordering scores, with 85.92 collocating "Compositions the people create" (Proizvedeniya Narodnogo Tvorchentva) and 85.93 gathering "Scores for the study of historical music" (Notnye Materialy dlya Izucheniya Istorii Muzyki). Thus scores are first organized on the basis of folk music and "historical" music--that is to say learned composition. The Background of BBK shows itself to be CHARACTER, dividing by folk music and art music. Unfolding from this division, at the upper levels of the Background, BBK provides for the concepts of PLACE and TIME. Under folk music come 85.92(0) and 85.92(2): "World Folk Music" (Mirovoi Muzykal'nyi Fol'klor) and "Folk Music of the SSSR" (Muzykal'n'ii Fol'klor CCCP). Both of these divisions are further subordinated by more detailed geographic schedules. Under "historical" music come 85.93(0) and 85.93(2): "World Historical Music" (Vseobshchaya Istoriya Muz'iki) and "SSSR Music" (Muzyka CCCP). After being ordered by PLACE, "World Historical Music" is further ordered by a chronological schedule that divides TIME into three epochs--the fourth through eighteenth centuries, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries up to 1917, and the twentieth century after 1917. "SSSR Music" is further subordinated by a geographic table for the Soviet Socialist Republics, providing a more detailed aspect of PLACE.

BBK Middleground is MEDIUM. Folk music is further ordered by the addition of -4, -5, or -6 to the main number. The first addition, -4, indicates vocal music, -5 indicates instrumental music, and -6 indicates a work that combines voices and instruments. "Historical" music divides at 85.94 for vocal music, and 85.95 for instrumental music. Ensembles of various sizes and of various combinations of voices and/or instruments follow 85.94, while the instrumental music works its way through an enumeration of the organological families.

At the Foreground of BBK is FORM/GENRE. Here are encountered operas, oratorios, cantatas, and the like under vocal music, and fugues, suites, sonatas, symphonies, etc., under instrumental music. A place is also provided within the genre aspect of FORM/GENRE for various types of incidental music, such as film, radio, and television music.

BBK's placement of music made by the people over music made by trained composers reflects Soviet aims of glorifying the proletariat. Its penchant for separating SSSR music from all other types of music may hint at the isolationist and adversarial attitudes of the Cold War, while its subdivision of the Twentieth Century into pre- and post- revolutionary epochs demonstrates the view that time started anew in October of 1917. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the former Republics' general rejection of Communist vestiges, including imposition of the Cyrillic alphabet, it seems rather unlikely this scheme will receive further development or continued application.

Zhong Guo Tu Shu Guan Tu Shu Fen Lei Fa (CLC) [Chinese Library Classification]

Though the English translation of Zhong Guo Tu Shu Guan Tu Shu Fen Lei Fa is literally, "Chinese Library Book Classification," the scheme is referred to in the literature as simply "Chinese Library Classification."(35) In its present form,(36) CLC represents a combination of influences from DDC and BBK. A glance at the history of CLC's development shows how this combination came about.

Proponents of CLC claim a 2,000 year-old history for the scheme, based on a number of ancient Chinese classification schemes founded on various philosophical principles.(37) However, a major event took place in 1909 when DDC was introduced in China, making an enumerative, numerical system available for the first time. Though DDC came into widespread use in China, Chinese librarians felt that it did not fully meet their needs.(38) After the creation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, a number of attempts were made to revise DDC into a scheme that would reflect the ideals of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. The failure of these efforts brought about the decision to create a new scheme that would better reflect China's political views. Obviously BBK provided a potent, ready-made model based on Communist ideology.

In 1959, the Ministry of Culture undertook development of CLC. From 1966 to 1970, all work stopped as the Cultural Revolution wracked China, but in 1971 efforts began again and CLC's first edition was published in March of 1973. A revised version followed in October of 1975, a second edition in 1980, and the current edition in June of 1986.(39)

CLC resembles BBK in that Communist ideology forms the basis of the scheme's outlook and ordering. CLC consists of five sections: Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedongist Thought, Philosophy, Social Science, Natural Science, and General Bibliographies. Notable here is the lack of a category for the arts. This absence reflects Mao's recognition of only two types of knowledge--one type derived from the struggle for production, and the other type from class struggle. The struggle for production gave rise to the natural sciences, while class struggle brought forth the social sciences.(40) In keeping with Mao's thoughts, CLC considers the arts--music among them--a part of the social sciences.

Within CLC, main classes are notated by a roman letter and main subdivisions by an Arabic number. Subsequent divisions are indicated by additional Arabic numbers in a decimal-based system that, like UDC and BBK, does not maintain three-figure integrity. Thus music (Yin Yue) in CLC begins at J6.

Unlike DDC and UDC, CLC separates literature from scores, which are not encountered until J633. At 633 the enumeration of scores begins with "National Music of Foreign Countries" (Ge Guo Min Zu Yin Yue). At 64 "Chinese Music" (Zhong Guo Yin Yue) appears, and at 65 "Foreign Music" (Ge Guo Yin Yue). Thus at the very opening of its section for scores, CLC shows that its Background is PLACE.

As with a number of schemes already discussed, CLC dispenses with FORMAT quickly by providing places at 641 and 651 for Chinese and foreign "Collections of Various Musical Works" (Yin Yue Zou Bin Zong He Ji), but without integrating FORMAT into the fundamental structure.

After dealing with FORMAT, the Middleground is introduced as CLC divides Chinese Music into vocal music (642 Ge Qu, literally "Songs") and instrumental music (647 Qi Yue Qu). The same division unfolds at 652 and 657, providing for foreign vocal and instrumental music and demonstrating that MEDIUM occupies CLC's Middleground. Chinese instrumental music enumerates first the organological families and ensembles of western instruments from 647.1 through 647.68, with the organological families and ensembles of Chinese instruments following from 648.1 through 648.9.

The Foreground of CLC is a combination of FORM/GENRE and CHARACTER. In CLC there are no provisions for western musical forms (sonatas, fugues, etc.), but a number of both western and Chinese genres are recognized. CHARACTER is present at the near foreground level through such categories as Chinese and foreign "Revolutionary songs" (Ge Ming Ge Qu) and religious music.


There has perhaps been no event in library classification that has had a more profound effect than the development of CC by Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan. Though it seems that Brown may have anticipated the concept of a faceted scheme, Ranganathan certainly developed it much further and drew more attention to it. Despite its fame, it appears that CC has received little actual use in libraries. Though Dahlberg claimed that 2,500 libraries in India employed CC, more recent surveys by Mohinder Partap Satija indicate that the actual figure is probably much smaller. Unfortunately for this study, Satija does not list any music libraries in his surveys.(41)

The great difficulty in understanding how CC accommodates music is that none of the editions of the scheme, including the most recent(42) gives a complete schedule for music. The clearest explanation of how CC is applied to music may well be the one provided by J. K. Khanna,(43) yet here too the music schedule remains incomplete.

CC places fine arts at N and music at NR. It appears that literature and scores are to be classified by the same schedule, though it is possible that scores are not intended to be included at all. Ranganathan conceived of five elements (isolates) in his scheme: Personality, Matter, Energy, Space, and Time, this sequence being CC's citation order. Recognizing that aspects of an isolate may appear or reappear at different points in the expression of a subject, Ranganathan allowed for multiple expressions of an isolate through what he called levels and rounds.

When expressing citation order to demonstrate the scheme or instruct students in CC's construction, the isolates may be abbreviated as P, M, E, S, and T. Arabic numbers are used to express levels and rounds. Levels are indicated by placing the appropriate number after the relevant isolate's letter. Rounds are expressed by placing the number before the letter.

Only three of the five isolates are expressed in music and there are only four instructions for citation order. The isolates are Personality (in three levels and two rounds), Matter, and Energy. Using Ranganathan's notation to express this formulation, music is presented as: NR [P1], [P2] [P3]; [M]: [E] [2P]. NR indicates the subclass "Music" within the class "Fine Arts," P1, P2, and P3 represent three levels of Personality, and M one level of Matter. Joined to this structure are one level of Energy and a second round of Personality.

A CC instruction manual by Satija sheds a bit more light by explaining that "[P1] and [P2] constitute the style; [P3] is the kind of music; [M] is the musical instrument; [E] cum [2P] means the technique of music. Isolates have not been enumerated. They are to be worked out."(44) Though this explanation helps, the exact nature of Ranganathan's concept of style, [P1] + [P2], remains unclear. Khanna indicates that style consists of a combination of the Geographical Device and the Chronological Device.(45) However, both Satija and Khanna indicate that the concept of technique remains to be worked out.

To clarify CC's concept of music, it may help to put the explanation in more narrative terms. The first level of Personality is occupied by CC's Geographical Device. The second level of Personality is occupied by CC's Chronological Device. These two levels of Personality are combined to form an element called Style. The third level of Personality indicates the type of music. The first level of Matter is the musical instrument. The first level of Energy is to be combined with the second round of Personality to form Technique, though the development of this concept has not been completed.

If the terminology of the present study is substituted for CC's terms, the description becomes: PLACE + TIME + CHARACTER + FORM/GENRE + MEDIUM + [?], with the bracketed question mark indicating where the synthesis of Energy and the second round of Personality is to form the still undeveloped concept of Technique. A view of CC's fundamental structure thus emerges, but with certain portions still unclear.

The first question of whether CC is intended for classifying scores remains. The second question is what Ranganathan intended the Technique facet to represent. If CC is intended for use with scores, it may be that the meaning of the Technique facet is inconsequential.

In other classification schemes, the idea of musical technique is applied only to literature to express discussions of specialized techniques involved in composition, counterpoint, harmony, solfege, sound production, sound recording, and conducting. Obviously scores are not concerned with such a concept of technique. With no clear definition of the term, and no indication of whom is to work out the enumerations, CC's definition of musical technique remains unknowable. There is only one other fine art in CC that employs the Technique facet. Painting at NQ uses the Technique facet to express processes of painting such as water color, fresco, oils, tempera, etc., implying at least that the view of musical technique stated above may be correct, and therefore irrelevant to classifying scores.

If CC can be applied to scores, and if technique is relevant only to literature, the fundamental structure of CC has a combination of PLACE and TIME in its Background. The Middleground is occupied by a combination of CHARACTER and FORM/GENRE, as these concepts could be viewed as representing types of music. The Foreground of CC is occupied by MEDIUM.


This scheme brings the present study to a certain point of transition. All of the systems analyzed thus far are portions of general library classification schemes intended to organize all knowledge, including music. LC, though usually thought of as a general scheme, is actually a combination of thirty-four separate, specialized schedules. While still connected to one another within a general framework, each schedule was developed by one or more subject specialists. In the case of music the specialist was one of America's first musicologists, Oscar George Theodore Sonneck.

In the introduction to the first edition of LC-M,(46) Sonneck wrote that his scheme was based in part on the arrangement used by music publishers in their catalogs. LC-M subdivides into three subclasses: M for scores, ML for music literature, and MT for literature pertaining to music theory, instruction, and study. It appears that Sonneck may have been trying to recognize three types of music library users: the performer, the reader (both scholarly and general), and the student or teacher.

In its present form,(47) LC-M shows little major change from its 1904 predecessor. LC-M appears to have become the choice of classification for most academic music libraries in the United States, and has found growing acceptance in other countries as well. LC-M benefits from having been devised to organize one of the largest and finest music collections in the world. Many music librarians feel that a system capable of providing good order in so large and varied a collection will work very well in smaller ones.

Because this study is concerned with classifying scores rather than literature, the abbreviation LC-M will hereafter be used to indicate only the M portion of the schedule. LC-M opens with a provision for collected works, anthologies of various kinds, and complete works of individual composers (M 1 through M 5). This recognition of external, bibliographic concerns is an aspect of FORMAT. As in the cases of so many schemes already examined, the structure of LC-M does not unfold from this element. However, the presentation of FORMAT at this point in LC-M is not its full appearance. FORMAT, as will be demonstrated presently, does play a role in LC-M's fundamental structure, but not at this initial stage. Recalling Sonneck's use of publishers' catalogs for guidance, one realizes that LC-M's separation of critical, monumental collections of scores from general performing editions reflects a practice commonly employed by publishers of the great Gesamtausgaben in the arrangement of their catalogs.

At M 6 one encounters the opening of a long section of music for individual instruments. M 6 represents organ music, and solo instruments are enumerated through M 195 (Harmonium). At M 200 an enumeration of duets by instrumentation ensues, with M 300 presenting trios, M 400 quartets, M 500 quintets, and so on in a helpful mnemonic fashion through M 900 for nonets. At M 1000, the enumeration of orchestral music begins, including band, string orchestra, wind orchestra, chamber orchestra, dance orchestra, and other variant large ensembles. Upon reaching M 1495, one encounters the opening of LC-M's enumeration of vocal music. From this outline, one can perceive that the Background of LC-M's fundamental structure is MEDIUM, a founding that is logical considering that Sonneck's basis came from publishers' catalogs where arrangement by elements other than MEDIUM is virtually unknown.

LC-M's Middleground is occupied by FORM/GENRE. Sonneck's musicological studies in Germany made him fully aware of the philosophies of formalist structure in music prevalent at the close of the nineteenth century, and his knowledge of this Germanic viewpoint comes through quite clearly at the Middleground level. Under each enumeration for the individual instruments come subdivisions for standard forms: suites, sonatas, marches, dances, and so on. Vocal music also follows this concept, beginning with dramatic music, choral music, songs, etc.

At the Foreground of LC-M the concept of FORMAT re-emerges, but this time it plays a major role in ordering. Throughout its enumerations for instrumental and vocal music, LC-M provides numbers for collections and separate works, original works and arrangements, full scores and reduced scores. The Foreground also unfolds the aspect of CHARACTER, particularly for vocal music with its separation of sacred and secular music, and songs of special natures (student songs, war songs, holiday songs, political songs, etc.). The presence of national music at this level demonstrates that PLACE is represented at the upper levels of LC-M's Foreground, while TIME also makes a minor appearance near the Foreground's surface at M 2065 through M 2068 and similar places where sacred music accommodates special days and seasons of the liturgical year.


With HC, this study enters into analyses of specialized classification schemes intended only for music materials. Special schemes for music generally tend to be simpler than general library schemes. The influences acting upon the ordering employed in specialized music schemes are often either the ordering used by most music publishers in their catalogs (MEDIUM--FORM/GENRE--CHARACTER), thus representing a kind of literary warrant in formulation, or schemes of ordering devised by or for special groups of library users, thus representing a formulation informed by user warrant based on the patrons of a specific library, or a particular type of library--usually a public, academic, or conservatory library.

Among specialized music classification schemes, HC remains something of a mystery. Writing in Library Journal in 1902 Clarence W. Ayer, then librarian at the Brockton Public Library in Brockton, Massachusetts, gave a brief description and an outline of a system he said he helped design for Harvard College at an unspecified time in the past.(48) Ayer's article moved Cutter to set down his thoughts on the organization of music as a rebuttal in a subsequent Library Journal article.(49) Even the name of Ayer's scheme is somewhat speculative since he never really spelled it out, though the form of name used in this study is supported by the literature.(50)

HC provides for classification of both literature on music and scores. For the most part literature and scores are separated, but literary works by composers or about composers--such as autobiographies or correspondence, and biographies or criticism--are classed (and shelved) after the composers' musical works. Thus these forms of musical literature are mixed with the scores, while all other forms of literature are located in a separate portion of the schedule.

HC's schedule places materials into three classes, each designated by a roman numeral and each preceded by the abbreviation, "Mus." Mus. I is "Works on Music," Mus. II is "Collections," and Mus. III is "Individual Composers." Within each of these sections HC enumerates materials through sequential Arabic numbers running from 1 to 895, with Mus. I containing 1-400, Mus. II containing 401-600, and Mus. III containing 601-895.

Scores are first encountered at Mus. II 401: Collections, and again at Mus. III 601: Individual Composers. The ordering elements evident in HC's Background are FORMAT and COMPOSER. The synthesis of these two elements is brought about by the fact that the aspect of FORMAT on which the scheme is based revolves upon the number of composers represented in the score. This situation exists because HC divides by works published in collections and works published as separate entities, and then unfolds through the element of COMPOSER. Collections in HC are defined as "Books containing music by more than two composers."(51) Apparently collections containing works by only two composers are to be classed under Mus. III Individual Composers, but no indication is given as to how one accounts for the second composer.

Following the initial division by FORMAT and COMPOSER, HC separates instrumental and vocal music in both Mus. II and Mus. III, thus revealing MEDIUM as the element occupying the Middleground. Subordinations for FORM/GENRE and CHARACTER follow the MEDIUM division in both Mus. II and III, and the synthesis of these two elements forms HC's Foreground.

The Ayer-Cutter controversy carried in the pages of Library Journal centered around the question of whether subordination by COMPOSER should take place before or after subordination by FORM/GENRE. Ayer claimed superiority for HC's placement of COMPOSER over FORM/GENRE, though he neglected to take into account the intervening element of MEDIUM in HC. Cutter preferred the opposite order, claiming to have rejected HC's ordering after using it himself without success for three years (see the analysis of EC).

Ultimately, it appears that the superiority of one ordering over the other is merely a matter of what works best for a particular library's users. Cutter's users were not attached to any educational institution and were likely amateur players interested in music for whatever ensembles they could put together, hence their interest in FORM/GENRE. Ayer's users at Harvard, on the other hand, were likely accomplished professional musicians and their students. These musicians would have had greater knowledge of various repertories and their composers; hence the emphasis placed on COMPOSER. This interchangeability of FORM/GENRE over COMPOSER, and COMPOSER over FORM/GENRE was not lost on George Sherman Dickinson, as this study will demonstrate later in its analysis of Dickinson Classification.


In 1954 R. K. Olding, then in charge of the music collection of the Public Library of South Australia, published an outline of a special--but unnamed--classification scheme he had devised for his collection.(52) In his description, Olding explained that he had devised the scheme as a faceted classification system, apparently believing he had created something original. It was only after his first draft was completed that Olding became aware of CC and Ranganathan's concept of faceting--he seems to have remained unaware of Brown's earlier work in SC. The published outline of OC borrows many features
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Author:Elliker, Calvin
Date:Jun 1, 1994
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