The Music Ontology

The Music Ontology is an attempt to provide a vocabulary for linking a wide range music-related information, and to provide a democratic mechanism for doing so. Anybody can publish Music Ontology data and link it with existing data, in order to help create a music-related web of data.

For example, John Doe may publish some information about a performance he saw last night (like the fact
that he was there, and a review). Mary Doe may publish the fact that she attended the same performance, that she recorded it using her cell-phone, and that the corresponding item is available in her podcast.

The Music Ontology provides a vocabulary to express information like:

In this performance was interpreted a particular arrangement of the Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert.
This work was performed ten times, but only two of these performances were recorded.
Ten takes of this particular track have been recorded, each of which with a particular microphone location.
"Come as You Are" by Nirvana was released on a single and the "Nevermind" album.
During this gig, the band played ten songs. During the last one (a cover of "Eight days a week"),
 the drummer from the support band joined them to play with them.

The Music Ontology is divided in three levels of expressiveness - from the simplest one to the most complex one. Everything is clustered around the following categories:

  • Level 1: aims at providing a vocabulary for simple editorial information (tracks/artists/releases, etc.)
  • Level 2: aims at providing a vocabulary for expressing the music creation workflow (composition, arrangement, performance, recording, etc.)
  • Level 3: aims at providing a vocabulary for complex event decomposition, to express, for example, what happened during a particular performance, what is the melody line of a particular work, etc.

A detailed specification of the Music Ontology can be found at

The Music ontology may also be browsed using the OpenLink RDF Browser.

Here is a brief tutorial about writing Music Ontology RDF.