from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Discography (from ancient Greek. Δίσκος "disk" and γράφειν "write"; ie recording of records; also discography and discography ) is a list of published sound carriers that is compiled according to certain criteria, often in chronological order .


Like the bibliography in literature , the discographies - which appeared much later - should systematically list the published sound carriers ( singles , LPs , EPs , CDs or DVDs ) in order to give interested parties a complete overview. In this form, they are an important part of an artist's biography . Sorting features can be music titles , singers , musicians , bands , composers , record labels or a certain music style . Scientific and musicological- oriented discographies also contain further information such as the recording studios involved , recording dates , the catalog number of the music label, the listing of the line- up or accompaniment by name and the musical instrument played , the matrix number , the takes used in the mix or the playing time in chronological order. It becomes difficult when unpublished recordings, radio and private recordings or even bootlegs are to be recorded. Gordon Stevenson demands this in his essay, which also provides a historical overview of discographies. People who primarily deal with the creation of discographies are called discographers.


The primary sources of a discography are the records of the recording studios or the record labels. The liner notes can be used as secondary sources . In the recording studio, the entire cast is recorded in a recording sheet . In addition to the date of recording, the recording protocol includes the specific recording period (required to settle the studio costs) as well as the names of the people involved and thus forms the decisive basis for later discographies. This recording protocol is the basis for later musicological evaluations. The first discography appears in the liner notes attached to the sound carrier. Record labels use their published repertoire to create catalogs from which discographies can be derived.


In the USA and Great Britain in particular, discographies are normal in the music industry . The first discographies created in 1935 for the jazz of Charles Delaunay . His first discography appeared in March 1935 under the title "Discographie de Bix et Trumbauer", was still selective and therefore lacked completeness. Delaunay's book was first published in the United States in 1943. Around the same time as the first French jazz discography, an "Encyclopedia of Recorded Music" was published in New York in 1936. In the second edition of the American edition of Delaunay's work, the author wrote that since 1936 discographic research had become a real science to which specialists around the world had devoted themselves. In 1942 a periodical list was first published in England under the name "Discography". D. Russell Connor demanded in his 1942 paper "What is Discography: Its Goal and Methods?" That the discographer should also consider electrical transcriptions , radio recordings , film music , unpublished material, private recordings of concerts and other performances. The term discography became common worldwide in 1968 when the book "Bibliographies, Subject and National" by Robert L. Collison was published. Discography techniques were agreed at a meeting of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections between November 17 and 19, 1971.

Published, detailed discographies are still rather a rarity in Germany. The former Deutsche Musikphonothek published a "Deutsche Diskographe" from 1964. This was continued from January 1970 by the record directory published by the German Music Archive of the German Library. Since June 1973 there has been a compulsory deposit of sheet music and sound carriers to the German Music Archive. A team under Rainer E. Lotz has been working on a private initiative since 1991 to put together a German National Discography . It is divided into the sectors of cabaret, dance music, German vocal recordings / songs, voice recordings, ethnic recordings and Judaica. The compilation is limited to German shellac records with 78 rpm (i.e. no LPs) in the period between 1890 and 1960.

Discography standards

Internationally, the following discography scheme has established itself in terms of form and content:

Joe Turner With Vann 'Piano Man' Walls' Orchestra
Taft Jordan (Trompete), Budd Johnson (Altsaxophon), Freddie Mitchell (Tenorsaxophon), Arleem Kareem (Baritonsaxophon),
Harry Van Walls (Piano), Rector Bailey (Gitarre), Leonard Gaskin (Bass), Connie Kay (Schlagzeug), Joe Turner (Gesang)

Atlantic Recording Studios, New York City, 20. Januar 1952

Matrizen-Nr.	Titel				         Label-Katalog
786	        I'll Never Stop Loving You	         Atlantic 960
786-	        I'll Never Stop Loving You (alt. Take)	 Atlantic LP 8033
787	        Sweet Sixteen	                         Atlantic 960, EP 536, LP 8005, LP 8081;
                                                         Atco SD 33-376
788	        J.T. Blues	                         unveröffentlicht
789	        Don't You Cry	                         Atlantic 970, LP 8033
790	        Poor Lover's Blues	                 unveröffentlicht
  • Explanations:

First of all, the discography contains precise information about the name of the artist, followed by the name of the recording studio and the place and date of the recording session. The matrix number is the order code of a recording studio under which the master (or mother) tape is registered, which contains the final mix of a piece of music. This is followed by the title of the piece of music and the catalog number under which the record label published the title. From the example it can be seen that “Atlantic 960” appears twice, so there are two titles that must have been published on a single. The single Sweet Sixteen / I'll Never Stop Loving You actually came out in March 1952, just under two months after the recording session. Some tracks have only been released on EP or LP, the JT Blues and the Poor Lover's Blues, however, have remained unreleased.

tasks and goals

Discographies largely meet the information needs of collectors and the interests of the music industry, for which they are a by-product of the phonograms and catalogs. Discographies organize the musicological data and record the sound carrier production as completely as possible. They can be created regardless of the music style, so it doesn't matter whether it's a recording of Gustav Mahler's First Symphony by Eugene Ormandy & The Philadelphia Orchestra or the West End Blues by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five. Discographies are an indispensable aid in studying the development of pop music and jazz and an important basis for making decisions for the collector.

Discographies according to various criteria

With regard to the music style , discographies can be distinguished in book form :

  • There are opera discographies by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Karsten Steiger, for example .
  • In the blues there is a classic compilation which in 1971 was extended to the period 1943–1970.
  • Tony Russell recorded over 20 years of country music development .
  • In jazz many discographic publications have appeared. Brian Rust was a famous British discographer, who in particular brought out the standard work Jazz Records 1897-1942 with over 32,000 jazz recordings since 1961. A good discography for the German market offers the Bielefeld Catalog of Manfred Scheffner , who is also freely available on the Internet. Tom Lord presented the most extensive discography for this genre .
  • The recorded pieces of music can also be sorted by artist . There are, for example, numerous discographies on Johnny Cash with an expansion of an index of all recording sessions from 1954 to 1993. Fred Waring's discography lists all recordings by this dance orchestra .
  • In the field of record labels , the history of Okeh Records was painstakingly put together. One of the most important cross-style discographers is Michael Ruppli , who has presented discographies on MGM Records and Mercury Records , among others .

A large number of discographies are available on the Internet, for example from Muddy Waters , from the British band leader Jack Hylton or from the record label Sun Records and its performers.

For the methodology of discography in the field of classical music, see Martin Elste : Evaluating discographies of classical music. In: Phonographic bulletin. No.54 (July 1989), pp. 64-77.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Wieland Ziegenrücker / Peter Wicke , Sachlexikon Popularmusik , 1987, p. 105
  2. Horst Zander, PC-aided restoration of audio signals , 2009, p. 24.
  3. ^ Gordon Stevenson, Discography: Scientific, Analytical, Historical and Systematic , July 1972, pp. 101 ff.
  4. Sample of a studio track sheet ( Memento from September 27, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
  5. ^ Charles Delaunay, Hot Discography , in: Hot Jazz , Paris 1936, pp. 271 ff.
  6. ^ Hot Jazz 1, March 1935 edition, p. 21; Bix Beiderbecke and Frank Trumbauer were meant
  7. ^ Gordon Stevenson, Discography: Scientific, Analytical, Historical and Systematic , July 1972, p. 101
  8. ^ Robert D. Darrell comp, The Gramophone Shop, Encyclopedia of Recorded Music , New York, The Gramophone Shop, 1936
  9. ^ Charles Delaunay, New Hot Discography , Walter E. Schaap / George Avakian (eds.), 1948, p. Ix: "Since 1936, discographical study has become a veritable science to which numbers of specialists throughout the world have devoted themselves."
  10. ^ D. Russell Connor, in: Studies in Jazz Discography I, 1942 p. 3
  11. Lockwood, 1968, pp. 189, 191
  12. Severin Corsten / Bernhard Bischoff, A-Book: Lexicon of the entire book system , 1987, p. 324
  13. ^ Gordon Stevenson, Discography: Scientific, Analytical, Historical and Systematic , July 1972, p. 108
  14. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Discography , 2005
  15. Karsten Steiger, Opera Discography , 2008, De Gruyter
  16. Mike Leadbitter / Neil Slaven, Blues Records: A Complete Guide To 20 Years of Recorded Blues 1943–1966 , May 1968.
  17. ^ Tony Russell, Country Music Records: A Discography 1921–1942 , 2004.
  18. ^ John L. Smith, Johnny Cash Discography and Recording History (1955–1968) , 1969
  19. ^ Peter T. Kiefer, The Fred Waring Discography , 1996.
  20. ^ Ross Laird / Brian AL Rust, Discography of OKeh Records: 1918–1934 , 2004.
  21. Michael Ruppli / Ed Novitsky, The MGM Labels Discography 1961–1982 , Vol. 2, 1998.
  22. Michael Ruppli / Ed Novitsky, The Mercury label discography ., 1993
  23. Phil Wight, The Complete Muddy Waters Discography (PDF; 991 kB)
  24. Jack Hylton Complete Discography , September 2007 (PDF; 486 kB)
  25. John Boija, Sun Records