Beethoven has an Opus 81a (Piano Sonata No. 26) and Opus 81b (Sextet for Horns and String Quartet).

Why is this Opus divided/labeled this way, instead of split into Numbers as opus cataloguing usually dictates?

  • Hi! After investing on this question, I found that there is no strict rule about Opusing a composers work. Sometimes you'll seem to find a rule until you find a counter example... – Bebs Feb 13 '18 at 10:45
  • @Bebs That's true (and also true of most things in music), but why this particular deviation from the norm? – Kyle Strand Feb 13 '18 at 17:53

My best guess is, that numbers are used more frequently, when grouping very similar works, for Beethoven the violon sonatas, the string quartets op. 18 and op. 10 piano sonatas.

Here there is not much common beneath the time of creation (1810).

As the piano arrangement of the violin concerto shows, directly derived works also receive a letter, as op. 61a opposed to op. 61.

  • Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it sounds like you're contradicting yourself; "directly derived works" are more similar, not less, correct? – Kyle Strand Aug 13 '18 at 23:36

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