[mb-style] RFV-SomethingElse: Updated wording for Performance AR "instrumental" attribute (expires 2011-07-29)

Ryan Torchia anarchyriot at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 00:03:54 UTC 2011

On Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 1:33 PM, Calvin Walton <calvin.walton at kepstin.ca>wrote:

> On Wed, 2011-07-27 at 13:14 -0700, Ryan Torchia wrote:
> >         “instrumental”
> >                This indicates that the lyrics are not relevant for this
> >                performance of the work, such that the lyricist would not
> be
> >                credited. Examples include instrumental arrangements, or
> “beats”
> >                from hip-hop songs which may be reused with different
> lyrics.
> > Just out of curiousity, would something like "The Great Gig in the
> > Sky" be categorized as an instrumental based on this rule?
> I have to admit that I had to look it up on Wikipedia to find out
> exactly what happened in this song...
> In this case, the song never had any lyrics to start with - there would
> be no lyricist credited on the work in Musicbrainz. This would then be
> covered by the existing guideline:
>      * Use the instrumental attribute when the recording is an
>        instrumental version of a work that is not instrumental in
>        itself.
> And thus: no "instrumental" attribute set.
> That's my interpretation, anyways :)

Argh...sorry, my fault.  I need to start providing links to my examples.
Anyway, here's a recording <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUVt6MqrWgk> if
you're interested.   Basically there's a wordless, but very prominant vocal
part, so the question is really: Does "Instrumental" mean no *lyrics* or no
*voices*?  If it means no lyrics, it makes sense that this is already an
instrumental and wouldn't ever need to be specially designated as such.  But
that creates some odd situations:
1) Basically we're telling users "If it's an instrumental, don't mark it
2) By that definition, a song could be an acapella instrumental (though we
wouldn't mark it as an instrumental).
3) I can think of some edge cases like where a piece that originally had no
vocal part was covered or remixed with a vocal part (and lyrics) added.  In
that case, would the original recording be marked "instrumental"?

(And while my ADD is kicking in, do you think "acapella" would be worth
adding to the Perfomance AR?)

Also, with the hip-hop reference, I'm not sure what exactly you're referring
to here.  Are those instrumental hip-hop recordings released with the*intent
*that the listener write and sing different lyrics, or are they just a
version with the original vocal line removed for no reason other than to let
people hear the backing track more clearly?  If it's the former -- and the
intent is that the listener provide a lyrical part, it's really not that
easily distinguishable from karaoke.  True, karaoke feeds the singer the
lyrics, but it's kind of common for the singer to filk (i.e. make up their
own lyrics).  In both cases, the intended result is a performance of the
work where vocals are performed live by the listener.

And...actually, now that I think about it, there is one other minor
problem.  Your definition says: "The lyrics are not relevant for this
performance of the work, such that the lyricist would not be credited."
'Lyricist' is a Work level AR, so even an instrumental Performance of a Work
is going to include that Lyricist AR.  How about something like this:

This attribute is used to indicate a Recording that omits its Work's lyrics
or vocals. Examples include arrangements in which an instrument plays a
melody line that is normally sung, an alternate mix that includes a song's
backing tracks without the vocal track.

     * This attribute indicates that the Recording deviates from the
original Work by excluding the lyrics.  If the Work itself has no lyrics,
the attribute should not be used.
     * Karaoke versions of songs should not be marked as instrumental.  The
vocal line is intended to be sung live, so the result will be a performance
of the work that includes lyrics.  Instead, the karaoke track should be
linked to the *original recording*(*) with the [Karaoke Relationship Type].

* The Karaoke Relationship is Recording-Recording?  Shouldn't it be
Recording-Work?  I think tracks are frequently (usually?) recreated without
vocals rather than stripped down from the original tapes.

Anyway, sorry I didn't catch all this before the RFV.  I won't veto this
because I kind of doubt any of these issues are going to cause mass panic or
nuclear hissy fits.

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