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048  Number of Musical Instruments or Voices Code (R)

Input Standards

1st Indicator  Undefined
blank character Undefined
2nd Indicator  Source of code
blank character MARC code
7 Source specified in subfield ‡2
Subfields (R=Repeatable  NR=Nonrepeatable) Input Standards
‡a Performer or ensemble (R) Required if applicable/Required if applicable
‡b Soloist (R) Required if applicable/Required if applicable
‡2 Source of code (NR) Required if applicable/Required if applicable


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     ‡b vn01 ‡a 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 ( blank character). 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 ‡a Data in 048
String quartet 048     sa02 ‡a sb01 ‡a sc01
Sonata for clarinet and piano 048     wc01 ‡a ka01
Piano trio 048     ka01 ‡a sa01 ‡a sc01
Large orchestra 048     oa
String orchestra music 048     oc
Chorus 048     ca
Chorus (SAB) 048     ca03
Two choruses 048     ca ‡a ca
Two four-part choruses 048     ca04 ‡a ca04
Chorus (SA) and organ 048     cb02 ‡a kb01
Dance orchestra (trumpets, saxophones, violins, clarinets, etc.), using scored arrangements 048     oe
Jazz ensemble (unspecified instrumentation) with named vocalist 048     oe ‡a vn01
Concerto grosso for oboes and strings 048     wb ‡a su
Concerto grosso for two oboes and string orchestra 048     wb02 ‡a oc
O'Bryant's Washboard Band (clarinet, piano, washboard) 048     wc01 ‡a ka01 ‡a pz01
Jazz septet (piano, trumpet, drums, banjo, clarinet, trombone, and bass) 048     ka01 ‡a bb01 ‡a pd01 ‡a tz01 ‡a wc01 ‡a bd01 ‡a sd01
Songs for soprano and piano and for tenor and piano 048     va01 ‡a ka01
048     vd01 ‡a ka01
Accompanied soloists, subfield ‡b Data in 048
Soloists (SSATBB), chorus (SATB), and string orchestra 048     ‡b va02 ‡b vc01 ‡b vd01 ‡b vf02 ‡a ca04 ‡a oc
Concerto for flute with the orchestra arranged for piano 048     ‡b wa01 ‡a ka01
Concerto for piano with the orchestra arranged for piano 048     ‡b ka01 ‡a ka01
Solo for English horn with string quartet accompaniment 048     ‡b wf01 ‡a sa02 ‡a sb01 ‡a sc01
Concerto for guitar and orchestra 048     ‡b tb01 ‡a oa
Solo for bassoon accompanied by string orchestra and harp 048     ‡b wd01 ‡a oc ‡a ta01
Code a solo instrument that is not accompanied as a performer (subfield ‡a), not as a soloist (subfield ‡b) 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 ‡a ka01
Piano four hands 048     ka02
Two piano music 048     ka01 ‡a ka01
Duet for trumpet (or horn) and trombone (or baritone) 048     bb01 ‡a bd01
048     ba01 ‡a bd01
048     bb01 ‡a bf01
048     ba01 ‡a bf01
If it is clear that the featured soloist is the only soloist on the selection, code the soloist in subfield ‡b Data in 048
"Chicago" featuring Coleman Hawkins, only soloist, with the Ramblers 048     ‡b wi01 ‡a bb02 ‡a bd01 ‡a ka01 ‡a wi01 ‡a pd01
Blind Lemon Jefferson, blues singer, accompanying himself on the guitar 048     ‡b vn01 ‡a tb01
Featured trumpet and alto saxophone solos with large jazz ensemble 048     ‡b bb01 ‡b wi01 ‡a 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 ‡a ke
Sonata for bassoon and two unspecified continuo parts 048     wd01 ‡a ke02
Trio-sonata for two violins and continuo, with continuo specified for harpsichord and cello 048     sa02 ‡a kc01 ‡a 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 ‡a 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 ).

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 (http://www.loc.gov/standards/valuelist/marcmusperf.html).


Source specified in subfield ‡2. The source of the instruments or voices code is indicated by a code in subfield ‡2.


‡a 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 ‡a sa01 ‡a sc01
[Piano trio]
048     ‡b vi01 ‡a ka01
[For medium voice soloist and piano accompaniment]
048     ka01
048     kb01
[For piano or organ]
048     ‡b oe01 ‡a oa
[Concerto for dance band with orchestra]
‡b 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     ‡b va02 ‡b vc01 ‡b vd01 ‡b vf02 ‡a ca04 ‡a oc  
[Soloists (SSATBB), Chorus (SATB), and string orchestra]
‡2 Source of code

The source of the instruments or voice code. See Musical Instrumentation and Voice Code Source Codes (http://www.loc.gov/standards/sourcelist/musical-instrumentation.html).

Use code iamlmp to indicate a code from the list of Medium of Performance codes maintained by the International Association of Music Libraries: http://www.urfm.braidense.it/risorse/searchmedium_en.php.

048   7 svl01 ‡a kpf01 ‡2 iamlmp
[Sonata for violin and piano, using the IAML Medium of Performance codes]

This page last revised: May 12, 2016