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Topic: Tagging classical music - artist and performer (Read 14133 times) previous topic - next topic
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Tagging classical music - artist and performer

I'm tagging my classical music, and was wondering if there is a standard entry for the "artist" and "performer" tags.  For example, is the "artist" the conductor or the orchestra?  Same question for the "performer" tag.  What if you have a soloist playing with an orchestra -- which is the artist and performer?

Tagging classical music - artist and performer

Reply #1
I'm tagging my classical music, and was wondering if there is a standard entry for the "artist" and "performer" tags.  For example, is the "artist" the conductor or the orchestra?  Same question for the "performer" tag.  What if you have a soloist playing with an orchestra -- which is the artist and performer?

I believe it's been answered before (search the forums) but here's what I found:
ID3v2 frame specification:
Artist is the lead/soloist, performer tag is not in the specification (If I read correctly, foobar2000 treats it as a TXXX frame.)
Note: the informal specification describes the TPE1 field as "main artist(s)", so I think non-lead performers can be included under "artists" if they are important.
Vorbis field names:
Artist is the composer, performer is conductor, orchestra and soloists (using multiple entries in the header).

So it will depend on what format you're tagging (I can't even find the specifications for other containers!)


Tagging classical music - artist and performer

Reply #3
So there's a real problem: some systems use the Artist field for the composer, other systems use the Composer field (or is that just an iTunes improvisation?)

Classical tagging is one of those areas where there are plenty of standards to choose from; one practical suggestion would be to use whatever tagging system your favourite label uses. I have a lot of Naxos disks, and the tags they put out are pretty close to what I'd use anyway, so I use that system.

Tagging classical music - artist and performer

Reply #4
Why would you put the composer in the "Artist" field and not "Composer" field. Sounds strange to me.

Tagging classical music - artist and performer

Reply #5
Why would you put the composer in the "Artist" field and not "Composer" field. Sounds strange to me.


Probably for the same reason that most of us use the <artist> field in situations where nitpickers would argue that <performer> would be more in line with the dictionary -- namely that whatever is put in the artist field serves the function of being the primary sorting criterion, and that it is more crucial to get this functionality right than arguing over whether the art is created by the composer or by the performer, and whether the dictionary is imprecise on the matter?

Tagging classical music - artist and performer

Reply #6
I'm one of those freaks who puts the composer in the composer field, the main performer(s) in the artist field and any significant other performers in the comment.  I also do weird stuff like put the actual name of the CD album title in the album field; I want to see directory names that are as close as possible to the names on the spine of the CD case, and track titles identical or as as close as possible to those on the back cover.  This is all fine using vorbis comments and playback software on PC which doesn't arbitrarily fail to acknowledge the existence of all available tags and which allows the user to specify how the metadata and file names are displayed (or not).  Personal players tend to be more limited so if an album contains the works of multiple composers then I'll add the composer name to the track title, so instead of '01 - a song.ogg' it will be '01 - john smith - a song.ogg'.  This works well enough so that on a player with good tag support I can see what is what and on a player with bad tag support I can at least read the file name.  This can lead to long file names on tiny screens, and long names built from tags on PC playback software, but it works in that whatever device is used there is at least the basic information of composer, performer, track, album either presented or readily accessible.

It seems to me is that people setting tagging standards over the years, official or not, have mostly either completely failed to notice/care/understand that works/albums/performances with multiple composers, performers and genres all on the one disc (hardly unusual) are not going to fit into the genre/artist/album/track template.  Most playback software/apps still don't even read the composer tag.  Rigidly following the supposed standards means having music that is poorly named, inadequately described and needlessly difficult to navigate.  Whatever system or syntax you adopt you will find CDs that defy being easily accommodated, so some flexibility is needed.  Ideally you need a rational directory structure and a database based player that understands all tags and then you can usually do something that makes sense when you find you have a CD which defies easy categorisation.

All the above is from the point of view of enjoying a personal collection.  If one is selling or otherwise distributing then one has to make more compromises (or probably receive a lot of complaints from people with crappy playback software/devices).  Even record labels are inconsistent with metadata and naming on the tracks they sell as downloads, and to add insult to injury they often try to solve this by supplying a giant pdf 

Tagging classical music - artist and performer

Reply #7
I been using a Apple TV 2 for my hifi and an iPhone for a while now and it supports the composer tag. I wasn't aware there was so many devices that didn't support the composer tag. It would totally make my browsing of music very awkward.

Edit: Just tried XBMC and PLEX and yeah without the composer tag it's totally makes it impossible to browse Classical music. I can see how adding the composer to the Artist field would help in this case.