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Please help me tagging of orchestral works

Please recommend a "good" tagging practice for me. It's about classical works, as an Example, we have:

Composer: Kurt Atterberg
-> Symphony No. 3 "West coast pictures"
Conducted by: Ari Rasilainen
Played by: NDR Radio Philharmonics Hannover
From CD, title: Syphonies Nos. 3&6
Titles of Movements...

(I left easy tags like Tracknumber or Genre out)

If there's singing, there's a list of Artists as well....

What I do now, is (one example track):

Code: [Select]
ARTIST: Kurt Atterberg (most people choose conductor and orchestra for this!)
COMPOSER: Kurt Atterberg
TITLE: Soldis - Sun Smoke: Lento (this is the name of the movement. Lots of people place the name of the composer and work here as well, but I do not like this, because of visibility in foobar columns)
ALBUM: Symphony No. 3 'West coast pictures'
CONDUCTOR: Ari Rasilainen
PERFORMER: Radio-Philharmonie Hannover des NDR


The problems I see:

- Redundant Artist/Composer tag. WHO is the artist?
- Album tag loses its binding to the original cd. Is there a special tag for the name of the work?

If I made bad mistakes I hope, I will be able to easily apply changes on hundreds of files. The problem is the time stamp change of files because of backups and having to re-backup the complete files then.

Please help me tagging of orchestral works

Reply #1
Quote
Please recommend a "good" tagging practice for me.
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Well, purists would dislike what I do intently, but my classical files have the composer as the artist, and the conductor/orchestra/soloists etc in the comments field.

Please help me tagging of orchestral works

Reply #2
For me it breaks down into a number of cases.  It is necessary to have a complicated scheme to represent such a complicated problem.

1>  If the album is one opus (e.g., "Symphony No.9", "Don Carlos", , then I put the piece as the ALBUM, the composer as the COMPOSER (last name, first name), and the musician(s) (just last names) as the ARTIST (if the composer and musician are one and the same, then I drop the COMPOSER field, usually, and use the full name for the ARTIST field)
1a> If the opus is divided into movements I handle them thusly as TITLE (an imaginary piece):
  (track 1)    mvmt i [Allegro non troppo]
  (track 2)    mvmt ii [Adagio]
  (track 3)    mvmt iii - Minuet [Allegretto]
  (track 4)    mvmt iv - Finale - Introduzione [Largo]
  (track 5)    mvmt iv - Finale [Presto]
1b> If the opus is divided into subworks I just set TITLE to the name of the subwork (e.g., the title of a song in a set of Lieder), and break out any movements (or other forms of subdivision) underneath them (i.e., to the right).  Ex.:
  (track 4)  A Beautiful Forest
  (track 5)  A Beautiful Lake
  (track 6)  Sunset - part i [Allegro]
  (track 7)  Sunset - part ii [Adagio]
  (track 8)  Sunset - part iii [Allegro]
2> If the album is a collection of pieces by one composer (e.g., "Piano Trios") with one artist, then I use the album title as the ALBUM, the composer as the COMPOSER, etc.
2a> Each piece gets the first part of the TITLE field, with subdivisions of the piece as the next part.  Ex:
  (track 5)  Piano Trio op.53 (in A) - mvmt i [Grave - Allegro]
  (track 6)  Piano Trio op.53 (in A) - mvmt ii [Adagio]
  (track 7)  Piano Trio op.72 (in f)

If the album is a set of pieces by different composers (e.g., "Songs by Dowland and Purcell") then I decide if I want to keep it as one album or split it up into separate albums.  After all, it isn't necessary to have a one-to-one ratio between CD and "album".  If I really want to keep it as one album (e.g., "Jussi Bjoerling sings German arias"), then I put the composer in the title field before the name of the piece:
  (track 4)  Beethoven - Adelaide
  (track 5)  Schubert - Was ist Sylvia?
  (track 6)  Squeller - Three songs - 1. Don't hurt me
  (track 7)  Squeller - Three songs - 2. Recommend me a cuesheet convention
  (track 8)  Squeller - Three songs - 3. This is ridiculous
  (track 9)  Mozart - Don Giovanni - Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata

If the musician is an orchestra or similar ensemble, I'll do something like "Karajan, BPO".  If there are soloists in addition, I'll list their last names and the instrument, e.g., "Fisher-Dieskau, barit.; Yo-yo Ma, cello; Cahill, piano; Abbado, CPO".  Note that in places where it might be confusing otherwise, I'll use the full name (e.g., "Yo-yo Ma").

For operas, I'll put the conventional name of the segment (usually the opening line) at the end, after information like "aria", "duetto", "recitativo", etc.

If you have a track that is a medley, well, then you're just fucked.  Fortunately, I don't have any of those (and in most cases, there would probably be a "composer" and a name for the medley).

For arrangements, I'll add something to the album title if that person arranged the pieces for the whole album (e.g., "arr. Schoenberg"), otherwise I'll just add something in the comment field (e.g., "arranged for chamber orchestra and piano by Schoenberg").

In general, I try to be consistent about whether I use opus numbers (or its equivalent) or posthumous numberings (e.g., Sonata No.30), at least to be consistent for a particular composer.  If I feel like including the key of the piece I write it in parentheses as (in Af) using a capital letter if it is a major key or a lowercase letter if it is in a minor key, appending f or s for flat and sharp, respectively.

If the CD is one of a set (e.g., "Beethoven Symphonies"), then, unless I don't care about the music enough to go through the tedious effort, I join them together as one album and adjust all the track numbers.  Alternatively, if I don't care much about the integrity of the collection (e.g., A 4-CD collection of Poulenc song cycles by various artists), then I am likely to break it up into a bunch of albums divided into some logical fashion.

Even more important than being consistent, however, is that your method be obvious. When you look at your tracks, it should be obvious how you've organized it (as I feel is the case for most of my tracks).  That way, even if you change your scheme at some point, or you forget how you did it, you can still figure out exactly what you're listening to.  A good way to determine how effectively you've done this (what may seem obvious to you when you've been thinking about it for a week may not seem obvious to you a year later) is to ask someone who is moderately familiar with classical music to figure out how you've arranged your information for some relatively complicated situation (say, a collection of renaissance chants performed by a few different vocal groups).

As I'm sure you know, classical music is extremely hard to categorize (especially when dealing with compilations) and no single, simple scheme will contend with the problem satisfactorily.  Depending on how sizable your collection of classical music is (or will become), you may want to consider writing up a short set of guidelines to help you be consistent, which you can modify as you encounter new problems.

This was such a headache for me that for a long time I wouldn't rip any of my classical CDs until I had figured it out.  Once I recognized that no single, simple solution would suffice and that it would be impossible to maintain perfect consistency without periodically going back and "correcting" all of my work to match my new methods, I came to terms with the problem.  My current headache is dealing with internationalization when titling my Japanese CD rips.  Yuck.  So far I've only ripped Pizzicato Five, for which I can for some reason live with having transliterated track names.

I'm curious to see how other people approach large collections of classical music.


 

Please help me tagging of orchestral works

Reply #4
Quote
- Redundant Artist/Composer tag. WHO is the artist?
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ARTIST is too generic. It could mean:
-the composer
-the arranger (Ravel for Pictures at an Exhibition's orchestration...)
-the soloist (for a solo work, but also for concerto)
-the soloists
-the conductor
-the ensemble (orchestra, string quartet ensemble...)
-the librettist

Quote
- Album tag loses its binding to the original cd. Is there a special tag for the name of the work?

You must create it. I'm using "composition". "album" is filled for compatibility with most players, but is often useless.
You can be moe precise, and add some variations:
-composition
-composition date or composition year
-composition part
-opus or opusnumber
-catalog code(Op., BWV, KV, RV, HOB...)

The task is endless...

Please help me tagging of orchestral works

Reply #5
Quote
I'm curious to see how other people approach large collections of classical music.
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I've a large collection of classical recordings and, like Jun-Dai, gave a fair amount of thought to what scheme of classification (tagging) I was going to use before I started out on the mammoth task of transferring it onto my HDD, which process I am still only part of the way through.  (Incidentally, the most time consuming part of the process for me is not copying and compressing, but entering details to the standard, and in the format, that I require.  The online information sources for the great majority of my CDs are either missing, inaccurate, incomplete, or some combination of these!)

The scheme that I am using is consistent and works well for me.

Album artist: *conductor* or, where none, *instrumentalist*
Album title: *composer* *work*
Composer: *composer*
Year: *year of recording*
Track title: *movement title*
Track artist: *orchestra*; *conductor*; [*soloist 1*], [*soloist 2*], etc

This system depends, of course, on separating original CD albums into albums based on single works.  Occasionally this is not very useful, eg where the CD comprises a large number of very short works, in which case I keep the CD intact as the album – for instance under a title such as “Bach-Stokowski Orchestral Transcriptions”.

I use abbreviations to shorten display information - eg ov = overture, cto = concerto.  Symphony is understood if I simply place a numeral after a composer’s name in the album title, eg Shostakovich 5 = Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony.  I use surnames only, but will add an initial if necessary (eg Davis, C for Sir Colin Davis, as opposed to Davis, A).  Orchestras are normally identified according to abbreviations - eg BPO, VPO, LSO, BBCSO - but occasionally are spelled out, if necessary.  An example would be 'Philadelphia Orch', of which I have few recordings, rather than PO which I reserve for the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which I have many (esp 50s and 60s under the baton of the late, great Dr Otto Klemperer).  Where I have two or more recordings of the same work by  the same conductor, I will add (in brackets) the year of the recording to the album title in each case to differentiate them.

Depending on what software or player is used to retrieve and play music, there are then a number of different ways to find a piece.  Through an alphabetical directory structure, you can go to the folder representing the composer, the conductor (ie album artist), the orchestra (ie in orchestral music the artist identified for tracks) or the year of recording.  (Incidentally, I feel the year of issue is practically meaningless in classical music.  Many of my recordings have been re-issued countless times over the decades since they were recorded.)  If the software or player in use doesn't have the ability to search under directories as above, you could still find the work under the full list of albums which will invariably be displayed alphabetically according to composer.

I suppose the weakest link is the ease of finding a work according to a soloist, eg in a concerto, where the conductor will have been tagged as the album artist under my system, and the soloist only added to the track artist fields.  If this were sufficiently important to me, I could set up a custom field for soloists and (software permitting) this field could be added to the available directory structures.  In practice, I just type the name of the soloist into a search window and then select from the results.

Personally, I often think of core repertoire (especially) in terms of conductors, and I often feel like playing something (unspecified, until I’ve had a quick browse) by a particular conductor.  That is one reason why defining the “album artist” as the composer of the work would be a poor practice for me.  I need the album artist field in order easily to view items in the collection under a given conductor.

Here is an example of an actual CD tagged according to my system. It’s split between two different composers and is tagged as two separate albums.  The CD is a live stereo recording in the VPO 150th anniversary edition, published by DG in 1991 – CD 435 327-2.  (The recordings are currently available - on separate discs, with other works - in Testament’s recently released Klemperer / VPO box set, which is to be recommended, but I digress ..)

Album: Schubert 8 ‘Unfinished’
Album artist: Klemperer
Composer: Schubert
Year: 1968
Track 1 title: I Allegro moderato
Track 1 artist: VPO; Klemperer
Track 2 title: II Andante con moto
Track 2 artist: VPO; Klemperer

Album: Beethoven 5
Album artist: Klemperer
Composer: Beethoven
Year: 1968
Track 1 title: I Allegro con brio
Track 1 artist: VPO; Klemperer
Etc for remaining 3 tracks – you get the idea!

The system described above might not suit everybody, but it serves me well.

 

Vigo Brogs

Please help me tagging of orchestral works

Reply #6
Quote
Album: Schubert 8 ‘Unfinished’
Album artist: Klemperer
Composer: Schubert
Year: 1968
Track 1 title: I Allegro moderato
Track 1 artist: VPO; Klemperer
Track 2 title: II Andante con moto
Track 2 artist: VPO; Klemperer

What I essentially do is splitting my collection on hd in logical works, independent from which cd or media they came from. This allows me to re-number all tracks. If maybe I have an Atterberg-Symphony No. 6, which is the second one on CD, I re-number it from 1 to 3.
Reason: I want to make use of the "track" tag. Then I can leave the numbering in the title tag out, whereas you use "II Andante". In order to save some space.
I don't need separate artist tags as well
If I want to keep the binding to the original media, I use the comment field and add e.g. "CPO 6522416"

Result in foobar2000:
Screenshot - Trackinfo panel code - Columns UI fcs file

 
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