I have come across Mozart's composition: 'Sonata No. 8 D major, KV 311'

What is the meaning of KV 311 in the name :'Sonata No. 8 D major, KV 311'.


1 Answer 1


KV is an abbreviation for Köchel-Verzeichnis, which translates to "Köchel catalogue." It is the commonly accepted listing of Mozart's works, originally developed by Ludwig von Köchel in 1862. Its goal is to list all of Mozart's compositions in chronological order.

A complete listing can be found on Wikipedia.

One can find similar abbreviations for other composers. For example, Bach's compositions are often listed with BWV (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis) numbers, and Schubert's compositions often come with a D (Deutsch) number.

  • 7
    And sometimes it is just K311.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 6:49
  • 7
    I would challenge the last paragraph. Opus numbers were typically given by the composer and there is nothing improving there, because no change takes place. Actually it is the other way round, that for an increasing number of composers catalogues are established. It should be mentioned, that BWV relates to Johann Sebastian Bach, which is the most prominent, but far from the only composing Bach. KV comes in two variants as is visible in the first two columns of the linked table. In the newer second colum the mentioned sonata becomes KV 284c.
    – guidot
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 9:40
  • 4
    I would just add that Verzeichnis literally means "numbering (system)," though it is more idiomatic to translate it as "catalogue" or perhaps "index" in this sense.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 16:45
  • 2
    @guidot Agreed, and Opus numbers are not necessarily more reliable either, in terms of chronological order. Chopin's 2nd concerto was written before the 1st, for example, and several of his opus numbers were assigned posthumously. At least 2 of Beethoven's opus numbers are considered to be doubtful (they're just alternate arrangements of previous works, most likely by someone else). And the publication dates can be all over the map with some of these. Additionally there can be delays between when they were written and published which further complicates things. Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 18:27
  • 2
    @phoog actually, no, it doesn't. a Verzeichnis is a directory, an index of things. A numbering system would be a Numerierung in German.
    – WooShell
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 8:53

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