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Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Popular music is easy to tag. I never have a doubt, but when someone decides to "feature" their friends on a track, and I ignore all that, for the sake of simplicity and shorter file names. But I've started collecting classical music . . . .

Classical music gives me fits. And, yeas, I have read up on it. There is a commendable article here: https://carstenknoch.com/2012/12/managing-itunes-metadata-for-classical-music/

That said, every time I think I know what I will do, I bump into another consideration that throws my plans out the window. File name length is a legitimate concern—not for various device displays, but for our operating systems. Processing and file transfers can be blocked when paths become onerous.

I use FLAC or MP3 files, only. I rip with EAC. I generate metadata with MP3 Tag. There is room for all sorts of information in the metadata; however, I limit file names to ARTIST - TITLE. My collection is large enough that everything is grouped by genre, artist, and album—so I'm never distracted by simplicity or repetition in file names.

I'm looking at an "easy" problem, now: Messiah by George Frederick Handel, performed by the London Philharmoic Orchestra & Choir, and conducted by John Alldis. This is "easy," because there are no movements, numberings, or other performance notes.

With regard to EAC, I need advice for the following fields:

CD Title
CD Artist
CD Performer
CD Composer
Comment


I'm asking for help, as this this the part I find most disconcerting. What I enter into EAC isn't just for my benefit, but for anyone else who uses it—hence my agitation. I actually want to get this right, and in a way that will be most useful for everyone else out there. If I can get EAC metadata "right," then MP3 Tag won't be a problem—besides, you guys will never see that part of it.

I think the CD Title would be Handel: Messiah. The CD Artist would be The London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, John Alldis? Now, bear with me: Wouldn't such formatting often result in some enormous file names? Be that as it may, is this the format most everyone expects?

I have to wonder if it would not be best to list the composer as the CD Artist and put the conductor and orchestra in the Comment field. Soloists would be entered into the CD Performer field. This affords me those shorter file names and all the other relevant information for everyone else. Then again, perhaps I'm supposed to enter performance notes into the comment field? Ugh . . . .

Beethoven's Overtures is the next disc in my stack, so I'm clearly in need of some direction, here. I might shift it to the bottom and work on the pop stuff for a while, as simply reading the track titles off the back is triggering the heck out of my lizard brain. After Beethoven, there's a Bach disc labelled in German, and that will likely send me back to bed in a depressive episode lasting days!

Help?  :-\

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #1
I must admit I’m wondering what your problem really is.
Now I don’t use EAC, I use dBpoweramp instead.
Major reason is dBpoweramp uses paid databases and these are in general more consistent.

Sonate für Klavier und Violine F-dur Opus 24 [Frühling]
Sonata No. 5 "Frühlings - Sonate"
The Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major “Spring”, Opus 24

Are all referring to the same composition but our media players won’t understand this.
Better get them spelled uniform...

Maybe the following links are of use.
http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/TG/2_Classical.html
http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/TG/database.html

A must read are the articles here: https://musichieu.wordpress.com/tagging-audio-topics/
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #2
Though I assume you're ripping one track per file, the only tags mentioned in your original post are the same for the whole CD. Some players do read file tags in addition to the CUE file for Image+CUE so it may be helpful for others reading this thread to know if you're ripping to Tracks or Image.
korth

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #3
OK. I'll be ripping entire discs as a collective of individual tracks, not as a "range," nor as a disc image. Therefore, [artist] - [title] refers to an individual track—the file name of an individual track. The fields I listed in bold apply to the entire disc, indeed. I suppose I failed to mention the more obvious Title field, which is exclusive to individual tracks, and directly affects the length of my file names and paths—which is its own concern.

EAC can fill in metadata automatically, but this is limited to the accuracy and knowledge of the human beings who enter the information. There are times when there is no information available, or, more often, key fields remain empty for me to figure out. That aside, I'm not paying for metadata. I'd much rather learn enough about the various conventions to do the work myself as needed.

I am looking at those links right now. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #4
I think you should decide on how you want to fill each tag field before you try to implement in EAC. Then you can decide which EAC placeholder will fill which tag field.
http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=EAC_placeholders

A few notes:
Quote
I limit file names to ARTIST - TITLE
[...]
I think the CD Title would be Handel: Messiah. The CD Artist would be The London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, John Alldis? Now, bear with me: Wouldn't such formatting often result in some enormous file names? Be that as it may, is this the format most everyone expects?
In EAC %artist% - %title% = Track artist - Track title
Track artist(s) can be the same as the CD Artist (%albumartist%) or each Track artist can be different.
There is also a Track composer placeholder %composer% that can be used to expand the track artist, performer, soloist per track. This is not the same placeholder as the CD Composer %albumcomposer% which would be the same for all tracks.

When you tick the 'Add ID3 Tag' option for MP3 the CD Performer (%albuminterpret%) is used for the AlbumArtist tag TPE2. This is normally where you would put 'Various Artists' or collective name(s) that describe the album artist(s) when all the Track Artists aren't the same.
EAC's configuration wizard also sets CD Performer for the FLAC AlbumArtist tag in the Additional command-line options -T "ALBUMARTIST=%albuminterpret%"
Using the placeholder this way allows you to 'force' the AlbumArtist tag when the Track Artists are not the same and exclude the tag when they are.
You can change this behavior of course but you will need to use the Additional command-line options to tag MP3.
korth

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #5
Mess around with it until you find your own way. Generally you're working with artists/musicians versus composers. You've basically hit upon my scheme:

Artist = Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759)
Composer = Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759)
Album = Messiah (Alldis)
Comment = [soloists], London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir/John Alldis
Title = Sinfony
Track = 01

Here the artist and album work in themselves, as you want, while the %comment% field can be looked up if you need the info. (The separate artist and composer fields have to do with the way the audio is processed in some programs). Obviously my way isn't the only, and was formed through ten or so years of trial and error. If you develop your own method (which, if you rip enough CDs, you will) you'll sort out the artist-versus-composer problem yourself. Having the musicians tagged separately from the artist info also works well with jazz, if you're into that.

Edit: I don't get your problem with file names. Wouldn't it just be something like "01 - Sinfony.flac" or "Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759) - Messiah (Alldis) - 01 - Sinfony.flac" at the most?

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #6
File name length? It's a serious problem when you create filenames for classical music. You are limited to 256 characters, including path names, below Windows version 10. With Windows 10, there is supposed to be a way to allow full path names of some 32K characters, but you have to know about this and find the setting. There may be some registry tweaks or other such voodoo, but, honestly, WTF am I going to do with path names of 32K characters?

I think the limit under Windows XP was smaller, and I had run into problems then (go look at Buckethead's music!), with files failing to copy from one drive to another, or failing to write to CD/DVD archives.

All that aside, what software or device will even display those long classical music file names well enough to tell one track from the next?

There are some conventions people smarter than myself are pushing for, and I am trying to learn them. I've a small collection of discs I want to rip and store to my hard drives, after all.

In short, the file names you assign classical music actually matters a lot.

I am working on this disc right now:

Johann Sebastian Back (1685-1750) Kantaten BWV 106 • 31 • 66, published by Berlin Classics in 1995.

Some people expect the following information in their track titles:

WORK TITLE >> COMMA >> SPACE >> CATALOGUE NUMBER >> COLON >> SPACE >> MOVEMENT NUMBER >> DOT >> SPACE >> MOVEMENT TITLE

It can add up. I find it may get to a point where I must abbreviate in some way. I have this mess of song titles in EAC right now:

BWV 106: 1. Sonatina
BWV 106: 2a. Chorus. Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit
BWV 106: 2b. Ariosa. Ach, Herr, Lehre uns bedenken
BWV 106: 2c. Arioso. Bestell dein Haus
BWV 106: 2d. Chorus. Es ist der alte Bund
BWV 106: 3a. Aria. In deine Hände befehle ich meinen Geist
BWV 106: 3b. Arioso & Choral. Heute wirst du mit mir im Paradies sein^Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin
BWV 106: 4. Chorus. Glorie, Lob, Ehr und Herrlichkeit
BWV 31: 1. Sonata
BWV 31: 2. Chorus. Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret
BWV 31: 3. Recitativo.  Erwünschter Tag! sei, Seele, wieder froh
BWV 31: 4. Aria. Fürst des Lebens, starker Streiter
BWV 31: 5. Recitativo. So stehe dann, du gottergebne Seele
BWV 31: 6. Aria. Adam muß in uns verwesen
BWV 31: 7. Recitativo. Weil denn das Haupt sein Glied
BWV 31: 8. Aria. Letzte Stunde, brich herein
BWV 31: 9. Choral. So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ
BWV 66: 1. Chorus. Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen
BWV 66: 2. Recitativo. Es bricht das Grab und damit unsre Not
BWV 66: 3. Aria. Lasset dem Höchsten ein Danklied erschallen
BWV 66: 4. Recitativo à 2. Bei Jesu Leben freudig sein
BWV 66: 5. Aria. Duetto. Ich furchte zwar nicht des Grabes Finsternissen
BWV 66: 6. Choral. Alleluja


Some would expect "Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, BWV 66" or even "Bach: Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, BWV 66" instead of my abbreviated "BMV 66," but those file names are already HUGE, and still missing the orchestra and composer!

Orchestra and composer?

Thomanerchor zu Leipzig, Hans-Joachim Rotzsch

or even

Thomanerchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; Hans-Joachim Rotzsch

So, how's this for a filename:

Thomanerchor zu Leipzig, Hans-Joachim Rotzsch - Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, BWV 106: 3b. Arioso & Choral. Heute wirst du mit mir im Paradies sein^Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin

That's 178 characters with spaces, not counting the full path name, and I've actually left stuff out! Compare that monster to a selection of popular music:

Linda Ronstadt - It Doesn't Matter Anymore

It gets ridiculous, fast. It is often the case that the tempo and volume of a selection is expected to appear in the file name, as well. I am thinking of how I might massively reduce file names while leaving all that high-brow syntax for the actual metadata, which does not have the same restrictions, to the best of my knowledge.

People who genuinely understand the myriad structures and history of classical music struggle with digital conventions. I'm only beginning to collect classical music and my second language is high school Spanish. I'm screwed!

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #7
I am thinking of how I might massively reduce file names while leaving all that high-brow syntax for the actual metadata, which does not have the same restrictions, to the best of my knowledge.

Do, no reason to use the file name in the ridiculous way you mentioned.
Indeed the tags are for this kind of meta data.

I recommend to  store all tracks in a folder per CD
Always prefix the track with a tracknumber
As the sorting is alphabetical use double digits (01, 02, 03)
This helps if a track is missing in an album because of the wrong meta data.
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

 

Re: Clasical Music Metadata for EAC and MP3 Tag

Reply #8
Yes, I realized I could shorten the file name as necessary, without impacting anyone else. It's the metadata alone that must hold the mountains of detail expected.

For the file name, I use the last name of the composer, a single hyphen, and an abbreviated title when necessary—which is most of the time! For some composers, I will use the full name to avoid confusion, as in Johann Strauss I, Johann Strauss II, and Joseph Strauss.

I've not had to think about my archiving process in a long time. Collecting classical music has been invigorating!

God bless you and yours.

 
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