Classical Music Relational Databases?
February 22, 2006 5:06 PM   Subscribe

What classical music databases exist? I'm not looking for lists or even data. I am looking for relational database DDL that describes/implements a structure sufficient to describe/model classical music. Or, if you don't know of such a database, classical aficionados, give me advice on how to implement such a database.

Such a database would allow one to, e.g., produce results sets of all works by a composer, a particular performer, in a particular era ("Baroque", "Romantic", etc.), all works composed or performed in a particular date range, in a particular key ("D minor"), etc.

If you don't know of such a database but do know classical music, what attributes and relationships exist in classical music, and what are most useful to search or sort on? How many discrete information (attributes, "fields") can you come up with for a particular work or set of works?

This weblog entry gives some indication of the attributes of interest; help me to flesh it out.
posted by orthogonality to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Something like classical archives?
posted by honeydew at 5:13 PM on February 22, 2006

The database at has basically what you describe, minus an elaborate search interface to create the complex queries you require.
posted by gwint at 6:23 PM on February 22, 2006

That is to say they have a large list of fields you could use as a starting point for forming your DDL, and if you had deep pockets to licence their db, easily create the kind of complex SQL queries you require... :)
posted by gwint at 6:26 PM on February 22, 2006

The BBC has some search criteria, if you feel like reverse-engineering....
posted by lilboo at 6:32 PM on February 22, 2006

Classical Digest provides even more detail on recordings.
posted by lilboo at 6:49 PM on February 22, 2006

And this site has links to other Classical databases.
posted by lilboo at 6:57 PM on February 22, 2006

It's library technical, but I'd start looking at some of the standards for cataloging music in libraries. You've picked out a big project here, and a very cool one. As far as research goes, If you've got access to a library or information science database, I'd look for articles on "music cataloging" or "music metadata," which will hopefully turn up the metadata that you'll require.

Schoolwork willing, I'll try and dig up some resources for you.
posted by stet at 8:26 PM on February 22, 2006

Would this help?
posted by infini at 1:09 AM on February 23, 2006

ooops link
posted by infini at 1:10 AM on February 23, 2006

ClassiCat is an offline DB I know of that addresses some of the fields you are talking about.
posted by Sangre Azul at 8:00 AM on February 23, 2006 has downloadable source files and technical information on its construction. I've been told that major orchestras use it as a standard reference for timing; its cataloguing of track lengths may be unique.
posted by zadermatermorts at 8:29 AM on February 23, 2006

Musipedia lets you identify classical music by entering the Parsons Code.
posted by Sharcho at 1:06 PM on February 23, 2006

I work in at a classical music label... I've not found a site that covers everything. Amazon's classical search is pretty good.

Basically what you'd need (keep in mind this is information that wont necessarily all be required for every type of classical music...its not all the same, you know) is Composer, Performer, Soloist, Conductor, Orchestra, Format (symphony, concerto, quartet, etc), period (romantic, baroque, classical, renaissance, medieval).

If your database drills down to the track level you might also consider Movement.

feel free to email softlord at gmail if you need more info.
posted by softlord at 12:58 PM on February 24, 2006

To softlord's attributes, I'll add structure (A-B-A) but that might be taking it too far.
posted by Gyan at 5:42 PM on February 24, 2006

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