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Composers
Basic Library

Geographical Roster

Index of Forms & Styles

Glossary

General Note: Composers whose names appear within brackets '[ ]' anywhere in any of the files are not among the 500 who have individual entries in the "Composers" list.

Composers

The "Composers" list is the master file in this service; it contains, arranged alphabetically by composer name, information on 500 individuals. This information appears in several 'fields,' not all of which appear in each composer's record. These 'fields' may be individually described as follows:

Name/Dates/Geographical Affinities: The first line of each record gives the composer's name (including less frequently used middle names given in parentheses, and alternate language names given in brackets), his or her year of birth (and year of death, if deceased), and applicable geographical affinities. This is followed by:

Style/Period: Information in this field relays primary (and sometimes secondary) stylistic and period affinities.

Genre Profile: This field attempts to provide a shorthand 'profile' of the relative importance of the composer's output as divided up into nineteen 'genre categories.' The profile itself appears graphically as nineteen digits, grouped into six supercategories. The nineteen genre categories so grouped are as follows:

     1a. Symphonies
     1b. Orchestral: From Stage
     1c. Orchestral: Self-Standing


     2a. Single Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Keyboard Instruments
     2b. Single Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Violin, Cello or Viola
     2c. Single Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Other
     2d. Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Multiple Instruments/Concerti Grossi

     3a. Chamber Music: Five to Nine Players
     3b. Chamber Music: Four Players
     3c. Chamber Music: Three Players
     3d. Chamber Music: Two Players

     4a. Works for Solo Piano
     4b. Works for Other Solo Keyboard Instruments
     4c. Works for Other Solo Instruments

     5a. Ballets
     5b. Operas & Operettas

     6a. Sacred Vocal/Choral Music
     6b. Secular Vocal/Choral Music
     6c. Electronics-Based Music

These groupings, it should be noted, represent the same main categories into which the "Basic Library" file is divided. On each of these genres the output of the composer is rated on a 0-3 scale, where '0' means "did not compose in this genre," '1' means "produced work of only minor import," '2' means "produced significant work," and '3' means "produced work of major musical import." The ratings are subjectively assessed, and could be quibbled over, but in general the difference between a '1' and a '3,' at least, should be fairly obvious. Importantly, only the 222 highest-rated composers have been assessed in this fashion; further, from these 222 only composers primarily active after about 1700 have been profiled.

So, a profile that visually appears as: '303-2222-1112-111-00-11x' would signify a composer who produced important symphonies and orchestral pieces (but no orchestral overtures or the like from stage works), a series of moderately important works for various featured instruments and orchestra, minor chamber music works (except for some successful works for two instruments), minor works for solo instruments, no ballets or operas or operettas, minor works for voice, and some electronic music (the last being unscaled here and, when present, indicated with an 'x').

Quantity of Work Produced: This field has also been prepared for the top 222 rated composers only; it describes in general terms the absolute quantity of musical output by the composer by assigning one of five ratings in the ascending order: 'small,' 'modest,' 'considerable,' 'extensive,' and 'immense.'

Best Known For: This field attempts to indicate those kinds of music the composer is best known for. An effort has been made to set these out in something approximating the order in which they are best known (though quibbling is again possible here, and in many instances justified) for a given individual, starting with the most important first. It should be noted the 'Best Known For' and 'Notable Works' fields are combined for some composers into a single 'Best Known Work' field, as convenient.

Notable Works: This field lists in chronological order (as much as is possible) compositions by the composer that are outstanding. Here, "outstanding" is defined in terms of music in general, and not the output of any one composer. The result is that quite a few composers on the list are not distinguished in this fashion; these are individuals who may have created a solid body of work from which no individual piece stands out. It should be noted the 'Best Known For' and 'Notable Works' fields are combined for some composers into a single 'Best Known Work' field, as convenient.

Musical Influences: Lists individual and group musical influences ON a given composer. Names that appear IN CAPS represent major, even dominating, influences. An additional enhancement employing plus and minus signs before the influence's name conveys information on the time lag of influence involved. Thus, a '---' designation indicates that that composer died (or disappeared, in the case of group influences) at least 100 years before the subject composer was born; '--' indicates a death 25 to 100 years before the subject composer was born; '-' indicates a death 0 to 25 years before the subject composer was born; no designation indicates that the influencing composer was older than the subject composer, but alive during the latter's lifetime; '+' indicates that the influencing composer was actually younger than the subject composer.

Has Influenced: Lists individuals and groups influenced BY a given composer. Names that appear IN CAPS represent major, even dominating, influences. Additional enhancement regarding time lags is again provided by plus and minus signs: '-' indicates that the composer influenced is older than the subject composer; no designation indicates that the subject composer is older than the composer influenced, but was alive during the latter's lifetime; '+' indicates that the composer influenced was born 0 to 25 years after the subject composer's death; '++' indicates that the composer influenced was born 25 to 100 years after the subject composer's death; '+++' indicates that the composer influenced was born at least 100 years after the subject composer's death.

Basic Library

The "Basic Library" file takes all the individual compositions recorded in the "Composers" list and groups them into lists according to genre; these are the same groupings that make up the 'Genre Profile' field provided for most of the 222 highest rated composers in the "Composers" list. Most of these genres are broken down further in the "Basic Library" such that, for example, symphonies from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are individually grouped. Within each such grouping, items are listed under composer's name, and within each composer grouping, chronologically.

Again, the nineteen main genre groupings are:

1a. Symphonies
1b. Orchestral: From Stage
1c. Orchestral: Self-Standing

2a. Single Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Keyboard Instruments
2b. Single Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Violin, Cello or Viola
2c. Single Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Other
2d. Featured Instrument & Orchestra: Multiple Instruments/Concerti Grossi

3a. Chamber Music: Five to Nine Players
3b. Chamber Music: Four Players
3c. Chamber Music: Three Players
3d. Chamber Music: Two Players

4a. Works for Solo Piano
4b. Works for Other Solo Keyboard Instruments
4c. Works for Other Solo Instruments

5a. Ballets
5b. Operas & Operettas

6a. Sacred Vocal/Choral Music
6b. Secular Vocal/Choral Music
6c. Electronics-Based Music

Geographical Roster

The "Geographical Roster" lists the 500 composers treated here on the basis of their geographical affinities. Composers who were associated with more than one place are listed under each country involved. Composers are listed in chronological order within each country grouping.

Index of Forms & Styles

The "Index of Forms & Styles" re-arranges information found in the "Composers" list such that one can determine which composers share particular styles or forms, or which composers have produced works of rather specific genre (sonatas or concerti for a particular instrument, for example). Entries are alphabetically arranged; within each entry the names of the composers listed are also alphabetically arranged.

There are two main enhancements. In many of the entries (especially the longer ones, or ones characterized by composers with a wide range of fame with respect to the subject) some of the names of the composers appear IN CAPS to imply their greater celebrity with regard to that subject. Also, where date ranges are given for the subject, plusses '+' and minuses '-' are placed in front of the names of composers who flourished during the most recent, and least recent, respectively, thirds of the date range indicated. For example, under the entry 'ballet' there is a '1900 to present' division, and all of the composers listed under this either have a minus preceding their name, or nothing preceding their name. This suggests that, roughly speaking, the last third of the twentieth century has not seen much in the way of remarkable new music for ballet.

Note that a composer may be listed under an "Index of Forms & Styles" entry for particular compositional achievements noted in either the 'Best Known For' or 'Notable Works' fields of the "Composers" file.

Glossary

The Glossary gives definitions for about 150 terms used in this particular service. For coverage of the terminology of music in general, consult a full-fledged dictionary of music.


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