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Tagging classical music

The issue of properly tagging classical music may be of interest for some (foobar-)users.

The basic logic behind my approach is, that the primary order criterion is the work and its recording(s), not the CD it was originally on (though this information is still kept). I created the following custom tags:
- composer (e.g. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus)
- composer's year of birth
- composer's year of death
- genre (e.g. chamber music, opera)
- work (e.g. Piano Concert No. 21 C-major KV 467)
- year of composition
- year of recording
- conductor (e.g. Harnoncourt, Nicolaus)
- ensemble (e.g. Vienna Philharmonics, Emerson String Quartet)
- Soloist (e.g. Kempff, Wilhelm)

Using foobars custom UI, I created filter columns "Composer" (%composer% %year of birth%-%year of death%), "Genre" (%genre%), "Work" (%work% %year of composition%), "Recording" ([%conductor%, ][%orchestra%, ][%soloist%] %year of recording%), which is my default setup for browsing and listening. "Album" (%album%) is available and used to restore the original compilation of an album (rarely used, though). Also, I created an alternative column for "Work" as %year of composition% %work% which lists all compositions of a genre or a composer (depending on the pre-selection) chronologically and an alternative column for "Recording" as %year of recording% [%conductor%, ] and so on to list all recordings of a work/a genre/a composer/the entire collection chronologically. The order of the columns can be changed, depending on what exactly I'm looking for.

It took quite some time to complete the tagging for all 10.000+ CD's I have, but the effort was well worth it!

My rock, pop and jazz collection is kind of included: I set %composer% = "Rock, Pop, Jazz", "Genre" = the artist (e.g. "Norah Jones") and "Work" = %year% %album%. In the strict sense I should set %genre% = "Rock, Pop, Jazz", but that would "pollute" my classical composers with pop/rock/jazz artists, so I decided to take the pragmatic approach...  :))

Screenshot attached to visualize the result (I'm German, so "genre" translates to "Werkgruppe", "recording" into "Aufnahme" etc).

Hope, this helps people with classical music collections.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/147457693@N07/39859623642/in/dateposted-public/

 


Re: Tagging classical music

Reply #1
A bit of input can be found in these threads:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,92049.0.html
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,105591.0.html
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,19635.0.html
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,28420.0.html

My rock, pop and jazz collection is kind of included: I set %composer% = "Rock, Pop, Jazz"

For classical albums, I populate the Album Artist tag with composer. What, to me, distinguishes out the "classical" part of my collection is that it is largely composer-oriented. And that reflects my needs: I buy a "Bach" album for music composed by Bach, and I buy a Metallica album for music performed by Metallica.
So whoever actually plays the music, is Performer in that "classical" part of the collection.

It fits "Boulez Conducts Zappa", which to me should be filed under Zappa, but I cannot really aviod issues like LaiBachKunstDerFuge -  which to me is both a Bach interpretation and a Laibach album.

"Genre" = the artist (e.g. "Norah Jones") and "Work" = %year% %album%. In the strict sense I should set %genre% = "Rock, Pop, Jazz", but that would "pollute" my classical composers with pop/rock/jazz artists, so I decided to take the pragmatic approach...  :))

I have seen many bootlegs tagged with <Genre> = Zappa, which probably is a different kind of statement ;-)
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.”
- Donald Trump, May 2017

Re: Tagging classical music

Reply #2
Curious to see how others deal with this when not using the 4-frame approach Saitenblick has used. I like to have all of my classical music visible in one playlist pane so that I can shuffle.

An issue I keep coming across is that classical CDs so often compile two or three works from different composers, meaning that the CD lacks a single 'album artist'/top-level criterion. Particularly with minor composers, this can mean that they rarely appear outside of being a bolt-on to another composer. When I display my library, this means that their music is dispersed seemingly at random throughout the playlist.

Any thoughts for addressing this? I like what Saitenblick has done, but as it's so far away from my existing pop music structure/UI, I fear I'd have to run a second instance of Foobar just for classical.

Re: Tagging classical music

Reply #3
An issue I keep coming across is that classical CDs so often compile two or three works from different composers, meaning that the CD lacks a single 'album artist'/top-level criterion. Particularly with minor composers, this can mean that they rarely appear outside of being a bolt-on to another composer.

I find a lot of split releases elsewhere, and it has been a thing in metal for a while, in particular since the resurrection of vinyl made a thing for split EP's (each band takes one vinyl side). Seems to be a good idea for two bands to promote themselves to each others' fans.  A lot of those are released digitally as well, so I have a few on hard drive.  It is of course not "new", I have things like https://www.discogs.com/Mercyful-Fate-King-Diamond-A-Dangerous-Meeting/release/1762600 , https://www.discogs.com/IR8-vs-Sexoturica-Untitled/release/1036135 , https://www.discogs.com/Anata-vs-Bethzaida-War-Vol-II/release/584738 , https://www.discogs.com/Gluecifer-The-Hellacopters-Respect-The-Rock/release/1719767 , https://www.discogs.com/Thorns-Vs-Emperor-Thorns-Vs-Emperor/release/367924 ...

Suggestion: Assign a separator string that does not occur elsewhere, so that Album Artist becomes e.g.
Gluecifer ++ Hellacopters
or
Gluecifer && Hellacopters

Rimsky-Korsakov && Mussorgsky works the same way. Except if you use performer in (track) Artist, then you need to be sure that you have populated Composer.
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.”
- Donald Trump, May 2017


Re: Tagging classical music

Reply #5
Few additional things that you might consider:
I have a separate label for opus number; and I tend to use the %genre% tag for the compositional era, rather than ensemble size (though I can see why you'd go for that).
Era doesn't quite work well for all composers (beethoven esp., and 'modern' really is a terrible era moniker), but overall I find it much more useful and intuitive than having to care about birth and death dates, which I don't include for that reason.
Recording venue is sort of fun to be able to search; dedicatee, less useful.
CD (catalog) number / label can be useful for transfers of older recordings, if you ever go down that rabbit hole. ;)
'Instrument' for some pieces (eg the well-tempered clavier, which can be performed on anything from an organ to a harp to piano/harpsichord, of course). Key, though that's largely meaningless when it comes to sorting pieces.

 

Re: Tagging classical music

Reply #6
Key, though that's largely meaningless when it comes to sorting pieces.
Sorting, maybe; searching, thank goodness it is often given as part of the "title" that the work is most commonly known by. But that probably means one does not need a separate tag.
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.”
- Donald Trump, May 2017

 
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