Template talk:Composer

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Dear admins, I hope you don't mind my tweaking this template, I found it necessary sometimes to put complementary text after composer name (like, say, (attributed)), but the template's line break would throw the extra text to next line. My aditions may be reverted if necessary. Perhaps it's a good idea to protect it too. -- CarlosTalk 16:03, 20 April 2008 (PDT)

Extending this template

Would it be possible to extend this template to allow for more than one composer? The following score pages need the extension: Bicinia, Sive Cantiones (4 chansons) (Andreas Pevernage and Cornelius Verdonck), Messe des pêcheurs de Villerville (André Messager and Gabriel Fauré). Thanks! --Bobnotts talk 17:19, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Composer vs Arranger

I'd like to discuss a bit the differences between these terms and the appropriateness of using this template for arrangers. If someone creates an arrangement of a traditional work, the default procedure has been to put "Traditional" as the composer name, and a link to the arranger page. If one creates an arrangement of another composer's work, the same happens: the work is categorized only in the Composer_compositions category, not in an Arranger_compositions category. If all a composer has done in his life were harmonizations and arrangements, should his name appear in the title of the works as composer or not? Is it really necessary (and useful) to have a category for someone's arrangements? In this case, wouldn't it be more convenient to call it Arranger_arrangements? Anyway, I'd say I feel a bit unconfortable using the Composer template for arrangers; perhaps it's just me, but I'd prefer an specific Arranger template. Sorry for all these questions, but I feel that this subject is not very clear for many people, not just me. CPDL would profit from creating rules to define when an arrangement is an arrangement and when it's an unique composition that deserves a page of its own. —Carlos Email.gif 15:36, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Reply by: Chucktalk Giffen 16:32, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


This has bothered me, too, Carlos. There seem to be grey areas between compositions and arrangements/harmonizations. I'm of the opinion that, if the source is simply(?) "melodic material", then probably the resulting work is more of a composition than an arrangement. Simply making minor harmonic adjustments here and there might well qualify a work as an arrangement - then again it might not if, for example, there is new melodic material added.

Case in point: I composed "double descants" for what is usually given as the standard harmonization (by Mendelssohn) of Hark! the herald angels sing ... does this qualify the work as a composition by me or an arrangement by me? For the record, I list the work on my composer page but the work (arrangement?) does not appear on a separate page from the page mentioned above, and the fact that it is an "arrangement" appears only in the Edition notes. I'm not arguing for a change in this case, but simply pointing out that there is a grey area here. In fact, on the other hand, my festival hymn-anthem setting (arrangement?) At the Lamb's high feast we sing is given as a separate composition, even though some of the harmonization is derived, in part from Bach, but there are extensive reharmonizations in later stanzas as well as a final stanza descant.

What actually precipitated my raising this issue about arranger vs. composer elsewhere is that a "composer" (appearing in Composers is represented at ChoralWiki by a single work where he is listed as an "arranger". I encountered this when trying to figure out just what to do in synchronizing the Composers category with the the Compositions by composers (and hidden analogue) categories. I added the ability (via the optional parameter "composertype" to designate a composer as an arranger for individual editions, thus making the "composer/arranger" name appear in both lists.

I suppose the question may be viewed from other perspectives. Our perspective on a work might well be that a work is "merely" an arrangement and the person making the arrangement was not functioning as a composer - but that person might very well feel that he/she is indeed composing. So, on which side should we err? It would be nice to have other viewpoints, because I'm pretty sure that I don't know exactly what is best (if there is a "best" way to proceed).

You raised good points, Chuck. Some more examples for our consideration: Abel di Marco's works are almost exclusively arrangements of traditional melodies and harmonizations of Gregorian chants. Seeing his arrangements under your perspective (which coincides with mine), we may well consider them as compositions (and change their titles accordingly). As for his harmonizations, simple as the term may sound, but it involves a good deal of creativity to make a 4-voice work out of just 1 voice. If we consider that different people can harmonize a melody in different ways, achieving consequently different musical results, then we could also argue that a harmonization can also be considered a composition. Two more cases: Ave Maria (Jacob Arcadelt) is in fact based on a work by Arcadelt, but "composed" by Pierre-Louis Dietsch. He kept only the Soprano line from Arcadelt's work, modified the remaining two voices and added a Bass line. Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod) is the well known work by Bach to which Gounod added a Solo line. Should we consider these two cases arrangements too? I defend the view that everytime creative work is incorporated to a work, it becomes a "new" work, not just an arrangement. By "creative" I really mean a substantial change, not just exchanging notes between voices. More food for thought. :) —Carlos Email.gif 00:44, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
There was a subsequent discussion of this (in the context of automating composer pages) in a forum. As implied above and in the forum, automation works better with creation of a Category:<Name> arrangements, so that new compositions can be separated from arrangements on the composer's page. For examples, see Ananias Davisson or Jeremiah Ingalls. What is needed is changes to {{Composer}} (or {{Arranger}}), so that listing a person as Arranger creates the category.
Several years ago, I had a question about whether a person should be listed as composer, if actually an arranger. Carlos wisely answered that it depends on how well-known the arranger is, and how well-known the composer is. Very often, an arranger is listed as composer when the actual composer is Anonymous (or Traditional); for example the sacred works of Thomas Ravenscroft. And there are many examples where an arrangement might appear on both pages, because both composer and arranger are well-known. But regardless of which course an editor takes, the important parts (to me) are that proper credit is given, and the history is documented somewhere, preferably in the Description section (please, not in Published!) of the pages involved.
I agree, there are gray areas here. Transposition, translation, editing a few notes for consistency, re-barring and such are editor's tasks; it would appear as an edition, not a new work. – Barry Johnston (talk) 16:02, 16 December 2017 (UTC)