Today I listened to Schubert's Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667. I can't find anywhere that says what the "D." stands for. Secondly why abbreviate something and make it impossible to find what the abbreviation stands for?

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    Related question, where answers list a few other composers. – guidot Feb 13 at 7:52
  • Another link to an answer on music fans, where this question would probably better fit. – guidot Feb 13 at 8:05
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    You didn't look very hard! A Google search for "Schubert classification" turned up this link. – TonyK Feb 13 at 17:29
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    Google "schubert d" seems more natural to search. first sentence of the first result gives the answer – Michael Curtis Feb 14 at 18:54

In Schubert's music, "D" stands for "Deutsch Number." Otto Erich Deutsch prepared a catalog of Schubert's compositions and thus got his name on the catalog.

Ludwig von Köchel did the same for Mozart and thus Mozart gets "K" numbers.

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    (Although for Mozart it is often written KV for “Köchel-Verzeichnis” — Köchel catalogue) – 11684 Feb 13 at 6:48

I think it is understandable that you did not realise what was going on if that was one of the first classical pieces you listened to. As you have probably gathered by now, the works of many classical composers have been catalogued, and the reference numbers are usually quoted to specify a piece. Looking at a decent article (e.g. Wikipedia) on the composer will probably tell you reasonably fast what applies to any given composer. In the case of Schubert, you see in the Wikipedia article (in the table of contents, if you have chosen to display it) the section Deutsch catalogue, which tells you what you want to know, namely that it refers to the catalogue by Otto Deutsch.

An alternative is opus (work) numbers, usually abbreviated to “Op.”, but these are usually given out during the composer’s lifetime, and may omit some pieces or otherwise be less reliable.

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