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In a library catalog, you expect to find all the different versions of the same work filed alphabetically together under the author's or composer's name. This is usually easy to do for books, which are unlikely to change title from one edition to another. But a musical work may be printed or recorded with titles that vary as to language or wording.

For example, different title pages of the same piano concerto by Mozart might begin with different letters of the alphabet, depending upon the language of the country of publication, or particular wording used by the publisher.

Concerto in A major for piano, K. 488
Konzert A Dur, K. 488 für Klavier
Piano concerto in A major, K. 488

To bring all these different titles together alphabetically in the catalog, a distinctive or Uniform Title is created by the library cataloger according to fixed rules. This uniform title appears as the title on the catalog records for that composition.

To find all library holdings for a certain piece, the uniform title must be used.

The uniform titles for the preceding examples appear in the catalog as shown below, so that all sort together alphabetically among Mozart's works under the uniform title "Concertos, piano, orchestra, K. 488, A major."

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791.
Concertos, piano, orchestra, K. 488, A major
Concerto in A major for piano, K. 488...

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756- 1791.
Concertos, piano, orchestra, K. 488, A major
Konzert A Dur, K. 488, für Klavier...

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756- 1791.
Concertos, piano, orchestra, K. 488, A major
Piano concerto in A major, K. 488...

Another example: Catalog entries for editions in different languages of Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Un ballo in maschera" (known in English as "A masked ball") appears as follows:

Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901.
Ballo in maschera
Un ballo in maschera ... (title page in Italian)

Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901.
Ballo in maschera
A masked ball ... (title page in English)

Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901.
Ballo in maschera
Ein Maskenball ... (title page in German)

The title in its original language is the uniform title for the piece.

There are three general types of uniform titles:

These, along with additions to uniform titles, will be discussed in the next 4 sections.




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