Piece Information Fields

The following information can be entered about pieces. Many fields are optional and free-form. But some fields are used to automatically set the piece’s categories and tags, so they have special requirements, as noted below.

I have attempted to disable direct editing of the categories and tags using the checkboxes and widgets on the right side of the editing screen. It’s possible that you can find a way around that, but doing so will result in weird behavior for your piece, since the editor will keep trying to change the categories on you, based on what you enter in the fields. Instead, let the system take care of the categories and tags, and all will be well.

There is error detection in some fields. For instance, if you enter an invalid number of minutes, the field will turn red. If you enter an unknown language, the field will turn yellow, indicating that we’ll let you save the listing, but we don’t recognize the language, and will treat it as “other”. Hovering over a red or yellow field will bring up an error or warning message.

If the Update button in the upper right is disabled, it means there’s an error somewhere, or else the right-side pane is set to Block instead of Listing or the right-side pane is minimized (use the gear icon to display the pane). You might ask why that matters. It’s the best I could do after fighting to make the error checking as well as I could. Sorry for the potentially confusing UI behavior.


The Music Catalog has two types of entries: pieces and composers. This page covers the information you can enter about pieces. To create an entry about a composer, select Composer from the Type dropdown, and see the Composer Information Fields page for the relevant information.


The composer name is required. It should be the full name as you want it to appear in the catalog. Make sure to spell the composer name the same way each time, or the tags that let you browse through all the composer’s pieces won’t work properly. For instance, if the composer has a middle initial for one piece, they should have that initial for all pieces. It’s usually easier to leave middle initials out unless the composer invariably uses it.

Composer Last Name

The composer last name field is never displayed. It is used only for sorting. We probably should have called it Composer Sort Order or something, but there you are. It is required.

Composer Nationality

Free-form. You can put whatever you want.

Composer Date of Birth

Free-form. We usually just put the four-digit birth year.


The author or source for any lyrics in the piece. Leave it blank if there’s no text. Free-form.

Year Composed

Free-form. A four-digit year. This is important for groups like C4 that sing music after a certain date.


Free-form. The number of pages in the score, if relevant.


The length should be a whole number of minutes, the minutes and seconds in mm:ss format, or a range of minutes of mm:ss, separated by a dash. For instance, “3-3:30” is a valid value. The length is used to place the piece into a length category:

  • short (< 3 minutes)
  • medium (3-6 minutes)
  • long (6-10 minutes)
  • very long (> 10 minutes)

You can leave the field blank, but then it won’t be listed in any length category.


A dropdown box that you can use to select one of our difficulty levels. If you choose a level, the piece will be listed under that category on the main page.


The language of the text of the piece. If there is more than one language, separate them with semicolons. We currently have a hardcoded list of languages, which we use to set display the categories on the main page. If you specify other languages, the Other language category will be selected. If you find yourself repeatedly using a language that is not on our list, let us know, and we can add it. But we don’t want to add too many languages that will rarely be used; that would clutter up the main page.

“Wordless” is a language. Specify it explicitly if you want it.


One of our preset voicing categories (4 part mixed chorus, 4 part treble chorus, etc.). If there is more than one possible voicing (for instance, if the piece is available in multiple settings), separate them by semicolons. The supported categories are:

  • 2 voices
  • Double chorus
  • Flexible chorus
  • Low voice chorus
    • 3 part low voice chorus
    • 4 part low voice chorus
    • 5+ part low voice chorus
  • Mixed chorus
    • 3 part mixed chorus
    • 4 part mixed chorus
    • 5 part mixed chorus
    • 6 part mixed chorus
    • 7 part mixed chorus
    • 8 part mixed chorus
    • 9+ part mixed chorus
  • Treble chorus
    • 2 part treble chorus
    • 3 part treble chorus
    • 4 part treble chorus
    • 5+ part treble chorus
  • Triple chorus
  • Unison

You can use the parent labels like “Mixed chorus”.

Note that standard descriptions like SATB are not supported. The problem with describing things that way is that our list of options would need to include SSATTB, SAATB, SSATBB, SAATBB, and so on, a potentially bewildering number of combinations. A choral director would probably treat SSATTB the same as SAATTB: dividing the upper voices into three parts. The details are not important. To keep the list short enough to be manageable on the main page, we use the system above.

That said, you can include the exact part distribution in the piece description, so people can see which parts you’re expecting.


Whether or not the piece uses divisi. Generally, we recommend using divisi only if they’re short. If the piece actually has eight independent parts, don’t call it four parts with divisi. That would make it difficult for a choral director to search for only pieces that can be sung with a specific number of parts. On the other hand, if the voices divide up to make certain chords sound richer, the choral director might be ok with asking their chorus to do that.


Free-form field. Any solo parts the piece might require. If none, leave the field empty.


Any instruments required by the piece. If there is more than one instrument, separate them with semicolons. You can add the word “optional” in front of an instrument. For instance, this is a good field value: “Glockenspiel, Optional live electronics”.

We have a hardcoded list of instruments, so we can show categories on the main page, allowing the user to look for pieces with a flute part and so on. If you specify an instrument that’s not in our list, it will show up in the Other category. If you leave the instrument field blank, the piece will be put in the A Cappella category.

Extended Techniques

Checkboxes indicating whether the piece uses extended techniques. Indicate the details of those techniques in the description.


Checkboxes indicating whether the piece has a video component. Indicate the details in the description.

Sacred or Secular

Multiselect box indicating whether the piece is Sacred, Secular, or both. It’s up to you to determine what that means.


One or more mood labels appropriate to the piece. Separate multiple moods with semicolons. If your piece has a restrained section and a rhythmic section, you can specify both moods. The moods are:

  • Caring (Caring, warm)
  • Dramatic (Dramatic, with dynamic contrasts)
  • Humorous
  • Inspiring
  • Joyful
  • Relaxed (Relaxed, dreamy, introspective)
  • Restrained (Restrained, holding back)
  • Rhythmic (Rhythmic, with steady energy)
  • Sparse (Sparse, distant, minimal)
  • Tense (Tense, with some edge)

Many of the categories have a one-word abbreviation and a longer description. You can enter either one. If you enter a one-word mood, it will automatically be expanded to the full description.

We recognize that you may feel like none of the moods fully capture your piece. It’s not Rhythmic, it’s Defiantly Rhythmic. And so on. However, we need to keep the total number of moods to a small number to make the database searchable. Analysis showed that most moods could be accurately described with a combination of labels: Joyful and Rhythmic, Tense and Rhythmic, Humorous and Rhythmic, and so on. As always, you should clarify in the description the exact mood of the piece. The mood categories are just for initial searching.

Audio Credit

If you have an audio or video clip on the page, indicate the recording credit here.

Web Page URL

The URL of a webpage giving more information about the piece. This could be on your own website, a publisher, or whatever.

Link Text

The link text to display for the Web Page URL. Used only if Web Page URL is filled in.


The name of the piece’s publisher or distributor, if any. If you want to link to the publisher/distributor’s page for the piece, use Web Page URL above.


A multiselect listing any group or groups that have performed the piece. This is used to put the piece in one or more group categories on the main page.


Any performances the piece has received. Separate multiple performances with semicolons (this means that you can’t have embedded semicolons in the performance information; sorry about that). This field is partially to tout the piece, but also to remember when the group actually performed it. We recommend the following format: “Group: Date (Concert Name),” possibly followed by the conductor and an indication of premiere status. For instance:

C4: 2008 Nov 22 (Brazen Guns and Gentle Doves), cond. Cheah (New York Premiere)

If you vary the format a little we’ll probably let you get away with it, because this field isn’t used to select any categories. But try to at least put the group name first, with a semicolon after it.