Cover image for A dictionary of music titles : the origins of the names and titles of 3,500 musical compositions
A dictionary of music titles : the origins of the names and titles of 3,500 musical compositions
Room, Adrian.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
298 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML102.T58 R66 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music

On Order



Often, the title of one of the world's great musical compositions is not a clear or simple matter. An allusive title, particularly in a foreign language, or a title that does not seem related to the work, can confuse even the most devoted music lover.Here are histories of the creation of 3,500 titles for symphonies, operas, oratorios, ballets, orchestral works, choral works, chamber music, keyboard compositions, and songs, ranging from the popular to the obscure. Titles are arranged alphabetically by most common form, English or other language (with French, German, Italian and Spanish titles usually given in those languages), and each entry includes alternate titles and non-English language versions of the title where appropriate, the composer's name, date of composition and first performance, opus number where appropriate, a description of the work, and the origin of the title or any story behind it. A bibliography and an index of composers are included.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

These two works have a common purpose: to provide explanations or clarifications of the titles of thousands of creative works. In one, the creative works are visual (mainly paintings and sculptures but also performance art and video installations); in the other, they are aural (symphonies, operas, oratorios, orchestral and choral works, chamber music, keyboard compositions, and songs). Ballet, although primarily a visual art, is usually performed to music and thus is included with the music titles. A common format is used as well. Entries in both books are two paragraphs in length, the initial paragraph providing the title of the work, followed by an alternate or foreign language title, name of the artist or composer, dates of composition, execution or first performance, and, in the case of visual art, the work's current location. The second paragraph of each entry supplies further background information: for example, who or what is depicted in the picture, what does the title refer to or mean, what do particular images or objects symbolize, why or for whom was the work created. There is also a brief plot synopsis in the case of an opera or ballet. The names of composers of ballets are given in the first paragraph, while choreographers are noted in the second. A system of cross-references is in place in each book so that related works are linked and alternate versions of titles are connected to main entries. Each volume also includes a bibliography of relevant titles, and in some entries these works are cited. Entries are indexed by artists in Art Titles and by composers in Music Titles. The amount of information provided and the way that information is organized make both titles well suited for use in general and ready-reference collections as well as in more subject-specific collections of academic and public libraries.