IMSLP:Score submission guide/Manual of Style

This is the official guide to correct submission style on IMSLP. It is targeted at IMSLP moderators/admins, and anyone who wants to help with the maintenance of IMSLP. It is also very helpful for file submitters.


Composer Pages

Please consult this page for the correct form of a composer name.

Collection Pages

A collection is any publication or assembly of works (pieces) which are not obviously intended to be performed in one hearing. Nearly everything before Beethoven's lifetime except large works (like operas) was issued in a collection, often with a bewildering number of conflicting opus numbers by a number of publishers. This was due to the high cost of paper (all basically made by hand) plus the physical size of the sheets and the number of sheets sold as a unit. It wasn't very practical to publish a single sonata given the set-up time on a press and the sheets needed to be printed to use the allotted ink on the plates, so they were typically issued in groups (12, 6, 4 and 3 are commonly encountered groupings). Even with an instructional work such as Bach's WTC, which was organized as 2 distinct units and carefully ordered by the composer, note that Schmieder assigned separate BWV numbers for each prelude and fugue. Collections can be published or manuscript, they can contain the works of a single composer or multiple composers.

To avoid the "Various" collection category becoming like a telephone directory, collections should be assigned to a composer (or person) category if at all possible. Single composer collections are obvious: A collection of 50 favorite organ pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach goes under Bach's collection category. With multi-composer collections, the category should be a) the person who assembled the collection (which will often be the editor or the arranger in the case of a collection made up of arrangements of one person); b) the arranger, the editor, or c) the publisher (easier for the earlier issues when publishers were actually individuals). The generic title rule is applied less strictly for collections. A major reason for this is a weakness in wiki architecture which means that two pages with the identical title cannot exist. Different publishers often issued collections of well-known groupings like Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas using slightly different title configurations, which works to an advantage with collection page titles.

Collection pages are intended to have the complete collection present - preferably in a single file. Adding individual works - especially new arrangements or editions to these pages should be avoided if possible. Note that opus numbers, while often corresponding to works in composers from Beethoven forward, actually are more indicative of a collection for composers before. (Heinrich Schütz serves as an excellent example of the former principle.)

Work Pages

Page Title

The page title should uniquely identify the work, and be as short as possible. It will usually take the form:

Work Title, Catalogue Number


Use the main title of the work in the language in which it was first presented by the composer:

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Symphonie fantastique
Le nozze di Figaro
Variationen über ein russisches Volkslied

The Library of Congress Authorities Catalog or Hofmeister database can be helpful in establishing the original language of a work. If in doubt then use the main title as it appears on the edition you are uploading, applying the capitalization rules shown below.

For vocal works (works containing lyrics), the language of the libretto to which the lyrics were written should be considered the original language (even if the work was first published or performed in translation).

For other works, the original language is usually (although not always) either the composer's native language or the language used in the composer's country of residence.


  • If the title is the name of a standard, generic type or form of work (e.g. symphony, concerto, sonata, suite, string quartet, piano trio, nocturne), then English is preferred:
Symphony No.6
Violin Concerto No.2
Concerto for 2 Pianos

Leave out any spaces between "No." and the following number.

  • If the original title is in a non-Latin alphabet (e.g. Russian or Chinese), then a better-known English translation or transliteration may be used:
Pictures at an Exhibition
Swan Lake
  • If the title of a collection of pieces starts with a number, then use numerals at the start:
10 Lieder
12 Morceaux
6 Pieces

Do not include subtitles (e.g. "Symphonie pathétique"), or descriptions like "Overture to Shakespeare's play" in the main title. These can be included in the "General Information" box on the work page.


For English titles, capitalize the first and last words, together with all nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives:

Variations on an Original Theme
Serenade for String Orchestra

For German titles, capitalize the first word and all nouns:

Grosse Konzertfantasie über spanische Weisen
Gesang der Geister über den Wassern

For Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese, capitalize only the first word and all proper names:

La forza del destino, Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, L'italiana in Algeri, Il re Teodoro in Venezia
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, La belle Bourbonnaise, Carnaval parisien, Jean de Paris, L'enfant et les sortilèges
El sombrero de tres picos, Los sobrinos del capitán Grant, La jaca de Terciopelo, El Dios chico
Saudades das selvas brasileiras, Lá no largo da Sé, Um anjo à Virgem Santa

In all other languages, capitalize the title as if it were a sentence in that language.

Ignore any numerals at the start of the title (e.g. 12 Morceaux, not "12 morceaux").

Opus/Catalogue Numbers

Separate opus or catalogue numbers from the main part of the title with a comma and a space:

  • Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut, BWV 173
  • Symphony No.6, Op.74
  • Le nozze di Figaro, K.492

If a work has both an opus number and a catalogue number, look at pages for other works by the same composer to see how these should be used in the title. Leave out any spaces between "Op." and the opus number. Spacing for catalogue prefixes can vary, so follow the established spacing used for works by the same composer. For sub-divisions of opuses, use this format:

  • Piano Sonata No.7, Op.10 No.3 (not "Op.10/3" or "Op.10, No.3")


Only include the names of instruments in the title if they are needed to avoid confusion between similar types of works:

  • Violin Sonata
  • Piano Sonata
  • Sonata for Horn and Violin
  • Piano Concerto No.1
  • Concerto for Flute and Harp
  • Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

The names of the instruments should be in the same language as the rest of the title (which in practice will usually be English), and follow the same capitalization rules for that particular language.


Do not include key signatures in the title unless they are needed to uniquely identify individual works:

  • Polonaise in A-flat major (Chopin, Frederic)
  • Polonaise in B-flat major (Chopin, Frederic)
  • Polonaise in B-flat minor (Chopin, Frederic)
  • Polonaise in G minor (Chopin, Frederic)

The key signature should always be given in the English language after the word "in", followed by "major" or "minor" (which are always in lower-case). The use of a hyphen in "A-flat", "C-sharp", etc. is optional, but be aware that the {{flat}} and {{sharp}} templates do not work in page titles.

Other Information

If there is still potential for confusion between works with similar titles, then a short description or part number can be added as necessary:

  • Romeo and Juliet, duet (Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich)
  • Romeo and Juliet, overture-fantasia (Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich)
  • Pieces de Clavecin, Book 1 (Dandrieu, Jean-François)
  • Pieces de Clavecin, Book 2 (Dandrieu, Jean-François)