Identifying Pieces of Music

Identifying pieces of music


1. Op., Opus: (means “work”) generally refers to the publication order of a composer’s works, not necessarily the order in which they were written. When an opus number contains several complete works, each work gets a secondary number: (Opus 59, #1, Op. 59, #2, and Op. 59, #3, for example.)


2. B.: for Jarmil Burghauser, who catalogued all of Dvořák’s works, chronologically. S.: for Otakar Šourek, who catalogued most of Dvorak’s works chronologically. B. and S. numbers do not coincide. Many of Dvorak’s works also have Opus numbers, but beware; some works have had as many as four different Opus numbers.


3. BWV: for Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue) by Wolfgang Schmieder: organized by category of work rather than chronology.


4. D.: for Otto Eric Deutsch, who catalogued Schubert’s works chronologically. New research has required revisions – some works have a new number followed by a letter.


5. G: for Yves Gérard, who listed Boccherini’s works by category. These numbers are the most reliable, because many of Boccherini’s works were given different opus numbers by different publishers.


6. H.: for Anthony van Hoboken, who listed Haydn’s works by category. The only compositions of Haydn’s for which we still use Opus numbers, instead of Hoboken numbers, are his string quartets.


7. KV. or K: for Köchel Verzeichnis (Köchel Catalogue) or Ludwig Ritter Köchel, who catalogued Mozart’s works chronologically. New research has required revisions.


8. Sz.: for András Söllösy, who catalogued most of Bartók’s works, generally chronologically.


9. WoO: Without Opus: numbers assigned by Hans Halm and Georg Kinsky to Beethoven’s published and unpublished works that do not have Opus numbers.


10. By Key: Works are often identified by their home key, especially if they are limited in number – Brahms’ three string quartets, for example, are in c minor, a minor, and B-flat major. On the other hand, Haydn wrote 72 string quartets, eleven of which are in E-flat major, and Bartók’s quartets have no assigned key at all.


11. By Genre Number: sometimes pieces are identified by their category and order of composition; for example, String Quartet No. 14 or Piano Quintet No. 3.