Template talk:Instruments

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New template discussion

I like it already :-) Should we have this run alongside the regular accompaniment templates? --Bobnotts talk 22:19, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Reply by: Chucktalk Giffen 04:56, 19 May 2009 (UTC)


While I like the template, I don't feel that it is set up to categorize correctly, say, a work whose accompaniment is, eg. flute and piano, or viola (alone - not part of a string ensemble). Indeed, solo instruments seem to get ignored in the way the template is written now; for exmaple, in the current version of the template, flute links (possibly wrongly) to Wind ensemble accompaniment (there is indeed a Flute accompaniment category). I think that we have to try (insofar as is possible) to follow the subcategory structure of Accompaniment if we are to implement a comprehensive template.

The template in its current state will certainly need some adjustments to encompass all instrumentations currently found at CPDL. But you're mistaken about the flute solo, it's already being categorized correctly as can be seen in the template documentation's example. Other categories for solo instruments can be created if necessary (as the viola example you gave), but currently they only exist for flute/guitar/harp/lute, and these are already included in the template. Some were not included yet because of their rarity, as "Brass" and "Jazz band". One complication that I foresee is how to decide when a combination of instruments is a Mixed ensemble and when not. —Carlos Email.gif 08:14, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Reply by: Chucktalk Giffen 14:43, 19 May 2009 (UTC)


Sorry I missed the single flute example, Carlos - my bad! On to some issues/problems to be tackled:

  • Mixed ensemble is one problem, as you mentioned. As I see it there are the following kinds of "ensembles" (which are to be viewed as somehow less than an full (or chamber) orchestra, (concert) band. I'm not sure just how "complete" this list is (perhaps overly complete, perhaps less than complete, depending upon ones viewpoint, but it reflects most of what I had in mind when I began trying to flesh out the accompaniments):
    • String ensemble: consists only of string instruments, which could be, eg., a string quartet or string orchestra, possibly with a keyboard instrument (such as a harpsichord, especially in the case of baroque accompaniment).
    • Brass ensemble: consists only of brass instruments, eg. a brass quartet or a brass band.
    • Woodwind ensemble: consists only of woodwind instruments (and possibly a horn, in the case of a woodwind quintet).
    • Wind ensemble: consists of woodwinds and brass, without percussion, and hence less than a (concert) band.
    • Mixed ensemble: consists of strings and winds, possibly with percussion and/or keyboard, but less than an orchestra (eg. typically at most two players on each string part, one player on each wind part). How much would this overlap the concept of a "chamber orchestra", which might have more than just two players per sring part (at least in violins, violas, and probaly cellos)?
    • Jazz band (or ensemble): clearly an eclectic assignment, but valid. I myself have composed a Kyrie for cantor (celebrant), SATB choir, and jazz ensemble (scored for 3 flutes, 5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, piano/keyboards, and string bass, percussion, with optional harp) - the first part of a w.i.p. Missa polychromia.
    • Consort of viols: pretty clear what this consists of, since it derives from an established early music idiom, but it might also include lute/theorbo/harpsichord/clavichord and/or a violone (but with these additions, does that make it a "string ensemble"? - I tend to feel not, at least in the usual sense of string ensemble).
  • Solo instruments is another problem. There are works composed for voice(s) and one or two (or perhaps even three) solo instruments as accompaniment (sometimes there is also a piano/organ/keyboard part). How to handle these seems somewhat problematic. We already have cases at ChoralWiki with flute and piano. In addtion, sometimes the solo instrument is simply specified as "optional C instrument", which might mean flute, oboe, (sooprano) sax, violin - or any other (typically soprano) range instrument, but the part is only written out in C (appropriate transposition left up to the performer).
  • Harpsichord accompaniment: this seems to have been left out of the template, at least I'm thinking that the "(harps?)" line only picks up harp accompaniments.
  • How do we fit in rarer instruments such as guitar (electric versus acoustic or 12-string), lute, krummhorn(s), cornetto (Zink), harmonica, banjo, saxophone (whether soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, or bass), etc.?

I know the tempation is "to cross that bridge (or those bridges) when we get there" - but I really think that some planning ahead is necessary. Probably not all of these possiblities need to be written into the template yet, but I think we need to know where we are going and just what categorizations should be made. For example, entering something like "string ensemble: violins I & II, viola, cello, basso continuo" should not make a link to string ensemble on the words "violins", "viola", "cello", and I wonder if the "basso continuo" (here and elsewhere) should include a harpsichord accompaniment link (since this is the usual case?).

Anyway, this is all just some food for thought.

- Chuck, I realize there's a lot of work to do ahead, and the list above is a pretty good start! The definition of Mixed ensemble was especially useful, since I wasn't totally sure of what to include in it. Good also that you cited the Chamber orchestra, I was missing it at CPDL, and I agree that there's a good level of overlapping between the two of them, but I have the impression that the latter expression is more commonly used than Mixed ensemble.
- About the solo instruments, it would perhaps be useful to have a clear idea of how much they are present at CPDL. It can be done via the ReplaceText extension (say we try to replace "oboe" with "oboe", it will inform how many pages already have this text), and then create new categories for the most relevant ones. This approach is also valid for the other rarer instruments you cited.
- I would leave off from the template those very generic cases like "optional C instrument"; if the editors won't themselves define what is the best accompaniment, it shouldn't be us to do it; besides, adding all those categories for each fitting instrument would create visual pollution. I particularly have never seen such an instrumentation at CPDL.
- As to adding other instruments to "complement" what the user has written, I don't think it's a good idea. In the case of the Viol consort, for instance, if the user wants to include lute/theorbo/etc., he should have to indicate it clearly. The template shouldn't add instruments that weren't explicitly indicated, in my view.
- Oh, yes I forgot the Harpsichord, will add it soon. :)
- If you and Rob aren't used to Regular Expressions, I suggest you google for this term together with "php" (this is the particular "brand" of RegExp used by the wiki). You'll find plenty of documentation related to this topic and many syntax examples (this is helping me a lot with the RegExp). —Carlos Email.gif 07:03, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Reply by: Chucktalk Giffen 14:04, 20 May 2009 (UTC)


Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Carlos. I'm in general agreement with what you wrote and will try to digest it more later today or tomorrow (it may turn out to be a busy day for me here).

Carlos, thanks for fixing the Harpsichord entry. – Chucktalk Giffen 19:54, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
You're welcome, Chuck! I just realized that I had completely forgotten about this 5 years old discussion. I need to check which of your suggestions have already been implemented. Regards, —Carlos Email.gif 21:52, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

adding explanatory remarks?

Cavalli's (or maybe Vincenti's) spelling of violincino incorrectly adds Category:Violin accompaniment, while

{{Instruments|basso continuo}}

with violincino

is decidedly inelegant in appearance. Is it easy (and indeed desirable) to remove the line break after the template? Richard Mix (talk) 23:48, 11 June 2014 (UTC) Thanks for that fix: I knew something was afoot when I took a second third look at Lauda Jerusalem (Johann Rosenmüller)! Richard Mix (talk) 03:00, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

  1. Viol consort is now linking correctly, as you already noticed :) violincino was also fixed, thanks for pointing it out!
  2. This template is conceptually different from the other accompaniment templates: the idea behind it is to encompass all the descriptive text that comes after it; that's why the line break is already included. The syntax in the example you gave would then be {{Instruments|basso continuo with violincino}}
Regards, —Carlos Email.gif 03:31, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Chuck found a way to avoid the dotted lines at Ave verum corpus, KV 618 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). The 'concept' of nothing outside the brackets would make it impossible to pipe things if one wished, for example, to link using the words keyboard reduction ;-). My issue with that page is only the confusion of "general information" with edition-specific re-arrangements. Richard Mix (talk) 23:09, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

  1. In fact, the two-line layout was unintentionally produced by Chuck when he ran a ReplaceText without noticing that there could be text left after it. Please have a look again at the Ave verum corpus page: what do you think of the single line layout?
  2. I was thinking of a trick that might be helpful in this case: any text inside of parentheses would not be linked at all. In the Ave verum example, individual instruments of the String ensemble would not be linked; would it be of any help?
    Instruments: String ensemble (2 violins, viola, violoncello, contrabass) and organ continuo; may be sung with keyboard accompaniment, or a cappella in some arrangements.
  3. Regarding your example of "Keyboard version/reduction", they are separate categories, why would you want to pipe them? Maybe you are considering that a Keyboard version of an instrumental accompaniment should also be called a reduction? I've always made confusion with these two categories also; a solution might be to rename them so that "Keyboard version" would become "Keyboard reduction of instrumental accompaniment", and "Keyboard reduction" would become "Keyboard reduction of vocal parts".
Carlos Email.gif 14:20, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
  1. It's really not significantly worse ;-)
  2. Parentheses to avoid Cat|Violin accompaniment links sound good, but maybe it's time to consider how (or if) this template could be used for combined searches: on Sundays without a violist I would like to call up works with 2 violins and bc, without woodwind instruments but either with or without colla parte trombones. How can that best be worked towards?
  3. Yes, there's a conversation underway(!) at Category talk:Keyboard reduction. Richard Mix (talk) 23:53, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Parentheses aren't implemented yet, are they? Richard Mix (talk) 07:34, 20 November 2015 (UTC)


Is it feasible to have "piano 4-hands" both in a subcategory Piano 4-hands accompaniment and not duplicated in the parent Piano accompaniment? Richard Mix (talk) 07:34, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it is. I made the necessary changes to the template. See also my reply at Category talk:Piano accompaniment. —Carlos (talk) Email.gif 03:12, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
Wonderful; thanks! Richard Mix (talk) 09:22, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
You're welcome. I just noticed that the new inclusion affected some instances of 'Piano accompaniment'; I'll try to fix this later today. —Carlos (talk) Email.gif 15:19, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
Bug fixed! —Carlos (talk) Email.gif 02:25, 28 November 2015 (UTC)


If parenthetical information comes to be ignored, this will not have been the optimal solution: Jubilate Domino, omnis terra (Dietrich Buxtehude). Should "gamba" before a comma be made to remove "viola" from Category:Viola accompaniment? Richard Mix (talk) 22:21, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Hi Richard. Just added viola da gamba as a new option. Still have to fine-tune for viola da braccio, viola d'amore etc. —Carlos (talk) 18:56, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Orchestra accompaniment

I was just looking again at Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 7 (Johann Sebastian Bach). The usual way to tidy up the line break would be to replace

  • {{Instruments|Orchestra}}: 2 Oboi d'amore, Violino concertate I/II, Violino ripieno I/II, Viola, Continuo<br><br>


  • {{Instruments|Orchestra:2 Oboi d'amore, Violino concertate I/II, Violino ripieno I/II, Viola, Continuo}}

But, is it useful for Category:Viola accompaniment include some pieces with string ensemble and not others, rather than pieces with viola alone or a least obligato parts? What I would wish for is categorization under Orchestra accompaniment alone, eventually searchable by the combination of instruments. Richard Mix (talk) 01:35, 8 November 2016 (UTC)

Yes Richard, this can be done. Just use the following syntax:
  • {{Instruments|Orchestra: |2 Oboi d'amore, Violino concertate I/II, Violino ripieno I/II, Viola, Continuo}}
Just the first part of the text will be analyzed and categorized. The second part is left alone. Best, —Carlos (talk) 13:11, 8 November 2016 (UTC)
Of course! One can even do:
  • {{Instruments|Orchestra: Violino concertate I/II, |2 Oboi d'amore, Strings (Violino ripieno I/II, Viola, Continuo)}}
Thanks, Richard Mix (talk) 20:59, 8 November 2016 (UTC)

Adding Category:Wind ensemble accompaniment

I just added a line of code hoping to include Category:Wind ensemble accompaniment and see that the 'Instruments line at Kantate auf das Dreifaltigkeitsfest (Christian Ludwig Dieter) unexpectedly became blank and the piece is still uncategorized. Is there a guide somewhere I should have looked at? Richard Mix (talk) 00:36, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi Richard. The text used as parameter for the #multireplace function must abide to the rules of w:Regular expressions. Regex is very powerful, and if not properly defined can lead to unpredictable results. You probably based your entry on the Mixed ensemble line; you just left out a closing parenthesis. Regards, —Carlos (talk) 18:13, 1 February 2017 (UTC)


The template seems to be trying something fancy with plurals of some instruments but not others; I wonder how desirable this is, even if the bugginess of example 1 [unsuccessfully trying to add Cat|Wind ensemble] is fixed:

Instruments: 2 flutes

Instruments: 1 or 2 flute(s)

Instruments: 2 violins, viola, viola da gamba, bass viol, and cello

Instruments: strings

Instruments: 5 string instruments

I just dealt with Solomon, HWV 67 (George Frideric Handel) by changing the argument to Orchestra:| Richard Mix (talk) 03:48, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Hi Richard, what is your suggestion regarding the plurals? Should we eliminate the "ensemble" categories unless they are explicitly declared? —Carlos (talk) 17:31, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
My instinct is yes, since we don't get anything useful (like Mixed ensemble or Orchestra, or even Brass ensemble Brass accompaniment for a multi-category search) out of

Instruments: 2 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 trumpets, and strings

In my daydreams the template would look at the argument following Orchestra:| and categorize in Orchestra 2300-0300-str accompaniment. Richard Mix (talk) 02:14, 22 January 2019 (UTC)

It is desirable to keep "consort" as the target for viol/viols though, I think: red just popped up at Media vita in morte sumus (Christian Geist). Richard Mix (talk) 03:46, 27 January 2019 (UTC)

That's fine, I'll do that :) —Carlos (talk) 13:58, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
One doubt, though: should viol (singular) categorize under "Viola da gamba"? The dictionaries I read say that they are synonymous. —Carlos (talk) 14:15, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes, "bass viol" is interchangeable with (as Tobias Hume calls it) "gambo". Some "N-part viol consort" pages might need cleaning up, unless the template checks for the string "viol consort". Richard Mix (talk) 21:20, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

"Keyboard reduction"

Though I still don't like the definition of Category:Keyboard reduction ('rehearsal accompaniment' would be less liable to confusion with 'orchestra reduction' or Category:Keyboard version, the later a non-standard term for 'piano-vocal score'), can the Instruments: template be tweaked to look for the entire string, as at Sing we and chaunt it a 4 (Robert Lucas Pearsall)? Richard Mix (talk) 22:22, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi Richard, a couple of weeks ago I was adding a new work and found it strange that "Keyboard reduction" wasn't among the options in the Instruments field of the Add Work form. But then I understood why: the Instruments line is intended to inform the original instrumentation of a work. Keyboard reduction is something that is made a posteriori by music editors, and this information fits better in the Edition notes field. —Carlos (talk) 22:11, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
I almost agree with you, but the a posteriori becomes murky in Brahms' own nonmechanical rehearsal accompaniments and cases like Pearsall, where the accompaniment is not labeled. There's the same problem with basso seguente parts: I think it would be very elegant for that string to categorize works as a cappella as well as with optional figured bass. Richard Mix (talk) 00:07, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I got convinced by your examples :) It's done. —Carlos (talk) 17:53, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks; you think it better to add a cappella by hand then? Though in the print all have unlabeled 2-staff accompaniments, at Novello's Part-Song Book (2nd series), Vol. 10#Works at CPDL the right hand column shows varied solutions. Even the Hardy Norsemen can be sung a cappella sans intro & 'simfonies', but at that point I begin to hesitate. Richard Mix (talk) 21:59, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, Richard! I completely overlooked the part about the basso seguente. I'm not sure whether we should infer a cappella from it or not; I tend to think that having a cappella written out would be clearer to the reader. But what you suggest can be done, if you like it. For now, I've made basso seguente equivalent to basso continuo. —Carlos (talk) 03:39, 7 December 2019 (UTC)

Oh, I just found several instances of {{Instruments|Piano reduction}} and {{Instruments|Organ reduction}}. They should also link to Category:Keyboard reduction, right? Or shall we create new subcategories for these cases? —Carlos (talk) 21:47, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

I can see it being useful to know about organ vs. piano friendly versions; maybe it would be worth the trouble. Richard Mix (talk) 21:59, 6 December 2019 (UTC)