Attribute Set


Searching Music Materials



First Draft

as of 27 November 2000


The Music Materials Attribute Set identifies the set of attributes for use in searching databases that describe music materials.  This set is a superset of the Bib-2 Attribute Set, using the complete set of attributes within that set, in addition to new attributes that are specific to the Music Materials Attribute Set. 

Music Access Point Attributes

The following table lists the access point attributes that are defined as part of the Attribute Set for Searching Music Materials.  with an indication (X) whether any additional attributes (either Content Authorities (CA), Functional Qualifiers (FQ), or Semantic Qualifiers (SQ)) are defined for use as qualifiers for each of the music access point attributes types.


Access Point










Musical Arrangement





Musical Instrumentation





Musical Key





Musical Theme















Resource Identifier





Definition of Music Access Point Attribute Types

Date (Cross-Domain)

Date.  A date associated with the creation or availability of the resource. [Cross-Domain set]

Semantic qualifiers for Dates


Date of composition[b1] 



Performance date



Recording date



Musical arrangement

Key of the original arrangement. [Bib-1] Arrangement of the work (e.g. Piano Trio, String Quartet). [Bib-1] 

Semantic qualifier?

Semantic qualifiers for Arrangement, Instrumentation and Musical Key


Original work



Derivative work



Musical instrumentation

Musical instrument used in the work (e.g. Piano, Violin). [Bib-1]

Semantic qualifier?


Musical key[b2] 

Key of the musical composition.


Musical theme

External, text.  A representation of a musical theme either as string format (e.g. Plaine and Easie) or as an EXTERNAL object. [Bib-1]


Name (Cross-DOmain)

String.  A name given to the resource. [Cross-Domain set]

Functional qualifiers for MUSIC Names








Number (Bib-2)

Text.  Alpha-numeric strings representing control and linking numbers, standard numbers, and classification and call numbers that relate to the bibliographic item described in a record.

Content authorities for MUSIC Numbers



British Catalogue of Music


McColvin Classification Scheme


Semantic qualifiers for MUSIC Numbers



International Standard Work Code


Matrix number of recording

[MARC21 028 1]


Music publisher number

[MARC21 028]


Number of copies

Number of copies available (in the case of searching for performance sets for an ensemble)


Number of distinct instruments[b3] 

Number of distinct instruments (e.g., for a string quartet with two violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, value would be 3)


Number of instruments

Total number of instruments (e.g., for a quartet, value would be 4)


Publisher's plate number

[MARC21 028 2]


Resource Identifier (Cross-Domain)

An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context. [Cross-Domain set]

Content authorities for MUSIC Resource Identifiers



British Catalogue of Music



International Standard Music Number [ISO 10957]



International Standard Recording Code [ISO 3901]



Change History

The First Draft of the Music Attribute Set was created, November 2000, by extracting the music access point attributes from the Bib-2 Attribute Set, during the preparation of the 4th Draft of that set.



TC46 SC4 WG4 sponsored the activity to develop the Attribute Set for Searching Music Materials. Barbara Shuh, National Library of Canada is the primary editor, with contributions from Matthew Dovey, Oxford University and advise from Lennie Stovel, RLG, primary editor of the Bib-2 Attribute Set.

Page: 19
 [b1] DATE/(SQ) Date of composition:  How does “Date of composition” differ from the Cross Domain Creation Date?

Page: 20
 [b2] MUSICAL KEY:  Is there a need for Semantic qualifiers for MUSICAL KEY?  The table could indicate the circle of keys (major and minor)…Don’t think that this is a MARC tag, so I’m not familiar with how the information is recorded.

Page: 21
 [b3]  MUSIC NUMBER/(SQ) Number of Distinct Instruments:  I’m uneasy about this interpretation of Number of Distinct Instruments in MUSIC NUMBERS.  Is this how the Music Online Catalogue Clump is doing it? Tag 048 of MARC21 provides for the recording of the number of parts for each instrument specified - but there is no way to total up the number.