Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: What does Opus __, No___ etc etc mean?

  1. #1
    Newbies
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default What does Opus __, No___ etc etc mean?

    Hi everyone. I'm a new member. I'm a blues and Jazz musician, now redeeming myself at age 51 and finally trying to study classical music I have searched the net but can't find the answer to this:

    When I see, for example:

    "Nocturne #17 in B Opus 62/1" What does all this mean? (I know what "in B" means, lol, the rest is Greek to me)

    1. #17 means what? Is this what Chopin himself called it? Or did somebody arbitrarily call it that after Chopin died?

    2. Opus means? I think it means "Body of work" or something, no? But if so, how did one differentiate between one Opus and the next? Did the composer himself decide this at the time he was composing, or, again, was this something decided on later?

    3. 62/1 - what does this mean? I know it means Opus 62, number 1, but "number one" what exactly? The first nocturne he wrote during that particular Opus, (whatever that is)? And if so, why do we need to call it "Nocturne #17" in addition to calling it "number one"

    Etc etc. As you can see I'm pretty confused about all this. A jazz musician writes a song, calls it "Night Train" and is done with it. I hope one of you could be is kind as to explain the system to me. Many thanks.

    Thanks for help, anyone!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jhar26's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    3,444

    Default

    Opus means work. When you see for example a title like Beethoven's "Symphony No.5 Opus 67" it means that it's his fifth symphony and his 67th work in total.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jhar26's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    3,444

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Taksu7 View Post

    3. 62/1 - what does this mean? I know it means Opus 62, number 1, but "number one" what exactly? The first nocturne he wrote during that particular Opus? And if so, why do we need to call it "Nocturne #17" in addition to calling it "number one"
    I suppose because he wrote 16 other nocturnes before he got to Opus 62. But you have to keep in mind that opus numbers are not always 100% accurate - they are in most cases only approximately right. When different works are part of the same opus they are usually ordered in the way that the composer prefers.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

  4. #4
    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    4,279

    Default

    To help clarify this a little - an Opus might be a set of Nocturnes, or whatever, all published at the same time. They would have been bought as a set.

    So Beethoven's Opus 1 is a published set of three piano trios:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_T...28Beethoven%29

    Presumably those were his first published works, though I believe he had some WoO (Works without Opus numbers) appear in journals before the trios.

    Another group of numbers you will stumble on are catalog numbers compiled by music historians or scholars. They will either be based on the scholar's name or the composer's. For example:

    K. = the Köchel catalog of W. A. Mozart works - or,
    K. = the Kirkpatrick catalog of Domenico Scarlatti works
    D. = the Deutsch catalog of Franz Schubert works
    BWV = Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue) = S. = Schmieder listing of J. S. Bach works.
    Hob. = the Hoboken-Verzeichnis listing of Franz Joseph Haydn works.
    etc.

    Some of these catalogs are arranged roughly chronologically and some are arranged by genre. I find the complexity fascinating, but I admit it does make it awfully hard to remember the "name" of a piece.

    I envy you. You have several hundred years of new music to explore. Enjoy.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MJTTOMB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    334

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Taksu7 View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm a new member. I'm a blues and Jazz musician, now redeeming myself at age 51 and finally trying to study classical music I have searched the net but can't find the answer to this:

    When I see, for example:

    "Nocturne #17 in B Opus 62/1" What does all this mean? (I know what "in B" means, lol, the rest is Greek to me)

    1. #17 means what? Is this what Chopin himself called it? Or did somebody arbitrarily call it that after Chopin died?

    2. Opus means? I think it means "Body of work" or something, no? But if so, how did one differentiate between one Opus and the next? Did the composer himself decide this at the time he was composing, or, again, was this something decided on later?

    3. 62/1 - what does this mean? I know it means Opus 62, number 1, but "number one" what exactly? The first nocturne he wrote during that particular Opus, (whatever that is)? And if so, why do we need to call it "Nocturne #17" in addition to calling it "number one"

    Etc etc. As you can see I'm pretty confused about all this. A jazz musician writes a song, calls it "Night Train" and is done with it. I hope one of you could be is kind as to explain the system to me. Many thanks.

    Thanks for help, anyone!
    Nocturne no. 17- the seventeenth published nocturne written by Chopin.

    Op. 62- The 62nd published work by the composer in chronological order of publication, not particularly composition.

    /1- The first piece in said published work. He did not publish all of his nocturnes in one set but rather in smaller groups throughout his body of work.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    Another group of numbers you will stumble on are catalog numbers compiled by music historians or scholars. They will either be based on the scholar's name or the composer's. For example:

    K. = the Köchel catalog of W. A. Mozart works - or,
    K. = the Kirkpatrick catalog of Domenico Scarlatti works
    D. = the Deutsch catalog of Franz Schubert works
    BWV = Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue) = S. = Schmieder listing of J. S. Bach works.
    Hob. = the Hoboken-Verzeichnis listing of Franz Joseph Haydn works.
    etc.

    Some of these catalogs are arranged roughly chronologically and some are arranged by genre. I find the complexity fascinating, but I admit it does make it awfully hard to remember the "name" of a piece.
    The dedication of these people is admirable, but they still sometimes got it wrong. Pieces can sometimes be put in the wrong chronological order or even list a piece later proved to be by another composer. They were limited by the academic knowledge of their day regarding a composer's work.

    Generally though they did a fine job and sometimes there are subsequent revisions to correct slight faults (so KV numbers replacing some K numbers for Mozart for instance).

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    319

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Taksu7 View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm a new member. I'm a blues and Jazz musician, now redeeming myself at age 51 and finally trying to study classical music I have searched the net but can't find the answer to this:

    When I see, for example:

    "Nocturne #17 in B Opus 62/1" What does all this mean? (I know what "in B" means, lol, the rest is Greek to me)
    I'm truly amazed you couldn't find the answer on the net. It's just about the easiest thing in the world of classical music to sort out. All I had to do was place "meaning of opus numbers" into the Google search bar and it came up with dozens of sites including the first one at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_number, which explains it all.

  8. #8
    Newbies
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Many thanks

    So many helpful replies in just a day. Many thanks to all of you. Opal's right - I should have tried Wikipedia first, that article was excellent, as was all of your posts.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kopachris's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Jackpot, Nevada
    Posts
    972

    Default

    Although, sometimes that "/1" will be moved to the '#' by the category of the piece, e.g. Nocturne #1, Op. 9 would be the first nocturne out of his ninth work, while Nocturne #1, Op. 72 would be the first nocturne out of his seventy-second work. It's usually that way for short pieces grouped together that aren't part of a bigger whole, unlike such things as symphonies and concerti. That's my preferred way of titling tracks in my library, anyway. -_-

  10. #10
    Newbies
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default

    ty so much i had the same question

Similar Threads

  1. Beethoven's Leonare/Fidelio Opus 72
    By HarpsichordConcerto in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Dec-27-2013, 05:26
  2. The Idea of a 'Magnum Opus'
    By Polednice in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Jan-03-2010, 08:23
  3. Schubert's Impromptu, opus 90 n°3
    By babaz in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Jan-15-2008, 19:53
  4. Beethoven - 'Moonlight' Sonata
    By Roni22 in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: Nov-10-2007, 10:30
  5. Mr. Holland's Opus?
    By Mahler Maniac in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Jan-02-2007, 13:51

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •