0xx Fields

Contents   Fixed field   Access points   0xx   1xx   2xx   3xx   4xx   5xx   6xx   7xx   8xx   9xx   Control subfields

048  Number of Musical Instruments or Voices Code (R)

Record Type


Input Standards

Field (Full/Minimal)
1st Indicator  Undefined
blank character Undefined
2nd Indicator  Source of code
blank character MARC code
7 Source specified in subfield ǂ2
Subfields (R=Repeatable  NR=Nonrepeatable) Input Standards (Full/Minimal)
ǂa Performer or ensemble (R) Required if applicable/Required if applicable
ǂb Soloist (R) Required if applicable/Required if applicable
ǂ2 Source of code (NR) Required if applicable/Required if applicable
ǂ8 Field link and sequence number (R) Optional/Optional


The medium of performance for a musical composition in coded form. Also contains the number of parts, indicated by a two-digit number immediately following the code for the musical instruments or voices (e.g., va02, a two-part composition for Voices - Soprano). The function of the instrumentalist or vocalist is represented by the choice of subfield code. If the number of parts is not specified or cannot be determined, it may be omitted.

Generally, use field 048 for:

  • Works for which the medium of performance is stated explicitly or can be easily identified
  • Arrangements for specific instrumentation
  • Chamber music
  • Choral works with or without soloists
  • Music for a specified large ensemble
  • Solo instrumental music
  • Songs with specified accompaniment

Do not use field 048 for:

  • Works for which the medium is not stated explicitly in the item and cannot be inferred
  • Collections of miscellaneous instrumentation
  • Folk music
  • Folk songs
  • Hymns and liturgical chants
  • Musical comedies
  • Operas and other large vocal works with unspecified instrumentation
  • School songbooks without specified instrumentation
  • Sound recordings of popular music

You may also use field 382 to record medium of performance information in textual form.


Use the following guidelines.

  • Arrangements are coded for the medium of the work being described, not for the original medium.
  • Codes are recorded in score order, if possible, listing soloists first.
  • If a performer plays more than one instrument in a composition, code for the principal instrument if that can be determined. Code for the first instrument, if it cannot.
  • If in doubt, use the more specific code. For example, use code vh for high voice only if the score is not more specific indicating soprano, tenor, etc.
  • Use code vn for a narrator or speaker. If the item has monologues with music (Orchestra), enter:

    048     ǂb vn01 ǂa oa
  • Use unspecified codes if the composition has been prepared without specific instrumentation. If the item is a sextet for woodwinds, enter:

    048     wn06
  • Use the various unknown codes if you cannot determine the specific instrumentation.

If you use the MARC 21 Instruments or Voices Codes below to specify the instruments or voices, code the 2nd indicator blank. These MARC 21 codes are recorded in lowercase alphabetic characters. After each code, enter a two-digit number indicating the number of parts, not the number of performers (except, code for the number of performers in the case of percussion). If the number of parts is unknown, enter only the code for the instrument or voice.

ba Horn
bb Trumpet
bc Cornet
bd Trombone
be Tuba
bf Baritone
bn Brass, unspecified
bo Other (obsolete; use bz)
bu Brass, unknown
by Brass, ethnic (includes lur, Russian horn, shofar, etc.)
bz Brass, other (includes alpenhorn, bugle, cornett, euphonium, fluegelhorn, ophicleide, sackbut, etc.)
ca Mixed
cb Women's
cc Men's
cd Children's
cn Choruses, unspecified
cu Choruses, unknown
cy Choruses, ethnic
cz Unspecified (obsolete; use cn)
ea Synthesizer
eb Tape
ec Computer
ed Ondes Martenot
en Electronic, unspecified
eo Other (obsolete; use ez)
eu Electronic, unknown
ez Electronic, other (includes Theremin, Trautonium, etc.)
ka Piano
kb Organ
kc Harpsichord
kd Clavichord
ke Continuo
kf Celeste
kn Keyboard, unspecified
ko Other (obsolete; use kz)
ku Keyboard, unknown
ky Keyboard, ethnic
kz Keyboard, other (includes harmonium, etc.)
Larger ensemble
oa Full orchestra
ob Chamber orchestra
oc String orchestra
od Band
oe Dance orchestra
of Brass band (brass with some doubling, with or without percussion)
on Larger ensemble, unspecified
oo Other (obsolete; use oz)
ou Larger ensemble, unknown
oy Larger ensemble, ethnic (includes gamelan, klezmer, etc.)
oz Larger ensemble, other (includes concertina ensembles, flute ensembles, zither ensembles, etc.)
pa Timpani
pb Xylophone
pc Marimba
pd Drum
pn Percussion, unspecified
po Other (obsolete; use pz)
pu Percussion, unknown
py Percussion, ethnic (includes mridangam, tabla, tambour, etc.)
pz Percussion, other (includes glass harmonica, Jew's harp, vibraphone, etc.)
Strings, bowed
sa Violin
sb Viola
sc Violoncello
sd Double bass
se Viol
sf Viola d'amore
sg Viola da gamba
sn Strings, bowed, unspecified
so Other (obsolete; use sz)
su Strings, bowed, unknown
sy Strings, bowed, ethnic (includes hardanger fiddle, hu ch'in, etc.)
sz Strings, bowed, other (includes arpeggione, baryton, hurdygurdy, keyed fiddle, lyra-viol, etc.)
Strings, plucked
ta Harp
tb Guitar
tc Lute
td Mandolin
tn Strings, plucked, unspecified
to Other (obsolete; use tz)
tu Strings, plucked, unknown
ty Strings, plucked, ethnic (includes balalaika, bouzouki, Celtic harp, cheng, dulcimer, koto, vina, yüeh ch'in, etc.)
tz Strings, plucked, other (includes banjo, cimbalom, mandola, tambura, theorbo, etc.)
va Soprano
vb Mezzo soprano
vc Alto
vd Tenor
ve Baritone
vf Bass
vg Counter tenor
vh High voice
vi Medium voice
vj Low voice
vn Voices, unspecified (includes narrator, speaker, etc.)
vu Voices, unknown
vy Voices, ethnic
vz Unspecified (obsolete; use vn)
wa Flute
wb Oboe
wc Clarinet
wd Bassoon
we Piccolo
wf English horn
wg Bass clarinet
wh Recorder
wi Saxophone
wn Woodwinds, unspecified
wo Other (obsolete; use wz)
wu Woodwinds, unknown
wy Woodwinds, ethnic (includes bagpipe, biniou, bombarde, pipe, ti tzu, etc.)
wz Woodwinds, other (includes basset horn, crumhorn, flageolet, kazoo, obeo d'amore, shawm, etc.)
zn Unspecified instruments (includes accordion, bajan-accordion, bandonion, etc.)
zu Unknown
zz Unspecified (obsolete; use zn)


Performers or ensembles, subfield ǂa Data in 048
String quartet 048     sa02 ǂa sb01 ǂa sc01
Sonata for clarinet and piano 048     wc01 ǂa ka01
Piano trio 048     ka01 ǂa sa01 ǂa sc01
Large orchestra 048     oa
String orchestra music 048     oc
Chorus 048     ca
Chorus (SAB) 048     ca03
Two choruses 048     ca ǂa ca
Two four-part choruses 048     ca04 ǂa ca04
Chorus (SA) and organ 048     cb02 ǂa kb01
Dance orchestra (trumpets, saxophones, violins, clarinets, etc.), using scored arrangements 048     oe
Jazz ensemble (unspecified instrumentation) with named vocalist 048     oe ǂa vn01
Concerto grosso for oboes and strings 048     wb ǂa su
Concerto grosso for two oboes and string orchestra 048     wb02 ǂa oc
O'Bryant's Washboard Band (clarinet, piano, washboard) 048     wc01 ǂa ka01 ǂa pz01
Jazz septet (piano, trumpet, drums, banjo, clarinet, trombone, and bass) 048     ka01 ǂa bb01 ǂa pd01 ǂa tz01 ǂa wc01 ǂa bd01 ǂa sd01
Songs for soprano and piano and for tenor and piano 048     va01 ǂa ka01
048     vd01 ǂa ka01
Accompanied soloists, subfield ǂb Data in 048
Soloists (SSATBB), chorus (SATB), and string orchestra 048     ǂb va02 ǂb vc01 ǂb vd01 ǂb vf02 ǂa ca04 ǂa oc
Concerto for flute with the orchestra arranged for piano 048     ǂb wa01 ǂa ka01
Concerto for piano with the orchestra arranged for piano 048     ǂb ka01 ǂa ka01
Solo for English horn with string quartet accompaniment 048     ǂb wf01 ǂa sa02 ǂa sb01 ǂa sc01
Concerto for guitar and orchestra 048     ǂb tb01 ǂa oa
Solo for bassoon accompanied by string orchestra and harp 048     ǂb wd01 ǂa oc ǂa ta01
Code a solo instrument that is not accompanied as a performer (subfield ǂa), not as a soloist (subfield ǂb) Data in 048
Violoncello solo 048     sc01
Solo for piano or organ 048     ka01
048     kb01
Solo for saxophone or viola 048     wi01
048     sb01
Song for soprano and piano 048     va01 ǂa ka01
Piano four hands 048     ka02
Two piano music 048     ka01 ǂa ka01
Duet for trumpet (or horn) and trombone (or baritone) 048     bb01 ǂa bd01
048     ba01 ǂa bd01
048     bb01 ǂa bf01
048     ba01 ǂa bf01
If it is clear that the featured soloist is the only soloist on the selection, code the soloist in subfield ǂb Data in 048
"Chicago" featuring Coleman Hawkins, only soloist, with the Ramblers 048     ǂb wi01 ǂa bb02 ǂa bd01 ǂa ka01 ǂa wi01 ǂa pd01
Blind Lemon Jefferson, blues singer, accompanying himself on the guitar 048     ǂb vn01 ǂa tb01
Featured trumpet and alto saxophone solos with large jazz ensemble 048     ǂb bb01 ǂb wi01 ǂa oe
Since continuo indicates either one or two instruments, do not enter the number of parts, unless the number is specified Data in 048
Sonata for oboe and continuo 048     wb01 ǂa ke
Sonata for bassoon and two unspecified continuo parts 048     wd01 ǂa ke02
Trio-sonata for two violins and continuo, with continuo specified for harpsichord and cello 048     sa02 ǂa kc01 ǂa sc01
For large ensembles, code for the number of ensembles when more than one such ensemble is specified Data in 048
Three percussionists and two string orchestras 048     pz03 ǂa oc02
Two chamber orchestras 048     ob02
When coding the medium of performance for percussion music, whether for a single performer or more than one, code for the number of performers, rather than for the number of parts or instruments Data in 048
Percussion ensemble for drums, cymbals, triangle, gong, and timpani for three players 048     pz03

1st Indicator

Undefined. The 1st indicator position is undefined and contains a blank.

blank character


2nd Indicator

Source of code. Source of the instruments or voices code used in the field.

blank character

MARC code. The source of the code is the MARC Instruments and Voices Code List.


Source specified in subfield ǂ2. The source of the instruments or voices code is indicated by a code in subfield ǂ2.


ǂa Performer or ensemble

An alphabetic code for a performer or ensemble and, if applicable, a two-digit number specifying the number of parts (except, code for the number of performers in the case of percussion). If the number of parts is unknown, enter only the code for the instrument or voice.

048     ka01 ǂa sa01 ǂa sc01
[Piano trio]
048     ǂb vi01 ǂa ka01
[For medium voice soloist and piano accompaniment]
048     ka01
048     kb01
[For piano or organ]
048     ǂb oe01 ǂa oa
[Concerto for dance band with orchestra]
ǂb Soloist

An alphabetic code for an accompanied soloist and, if applicable, a two-digit number specifying the number of parts. If codes for soloists are present, list them first. If the number of parts is unknown, enter only the code for the instrument or voice.

048     ǂb va02 ǂb vc01 ǂb vd01 ǂb vf02 ǂa ca04 ǂa oc
[Soloists (SSATBB), Chorus (SATB), and string orchestra]
ǂ2 Source of code

The source of the instruments or voice code. See Musical Instrumentation and Voice Code Source Codes.

Use code iamlmp to indicate a code from the list of Medium of Performance codes maintained by the International Association of Music Libraries.

For information about subfield ǂ2, see Control Subfields.

048   7 svl01 ǂa kpf01 ǂ2 iamlmp
[Sonata for violin and piano, using the IAML Medium of Performance codes]
ǂ8 Field link and sequence number

For information about subfield ǂ8, see Control Subfields.


Field 048 is not indexed.


For more information, including content designator history, see MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data, field 048.

This page last revised: January 10, 2023