A couple of search questions for classical music (part 1)

Hi guys,

in the last couple of days I fooled around with some of the search options and I’d thought I’s share some of my experiences with the community in order to learn for maybe some better search strategies.

I will be comparing Roon search to JRiver search just because these are the two pieces of software I use. I have no intent to start a JRiver vs Roon discussion but just want to illustrate the way I’m used to search.

#1 Fuzzy search on composer and artist

I am searching for Mozart conducted by Charles Munch. I am just using the search field and type the string “Munch Mozart”

This gives me one recording by Munch and some other stuff, where probably München or Münchner was part of the tags. With one click I can display a list of tracks on the Munch album:

Apart from noticing that my WORK tag is still missing for those compositions I see all tracks tagged with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with their respective Disc #.

Now switching to Roon I do the same:

I do not see the same amount of albums, especially not the Charles Munch collection. So obviously Roon does not search the same kind of tags when entering a string like this.

Question: How am I supposed to perform this kind of search in Roon? I have got accustomed to using keywords like that and I’m willing to change my habit but I also expect this kind of search to be doable in only a couple of clicks.

As an alternative, I have tried a search on “munch” in the search field and it will give me only these hits:

If I click on enter I will finally get some Charles Munch. I also see that I still have some duplicates in my library after buying the Munch collection btw…

Next I could click on the album but I see no possibility to navigate to the Mozart compositions or tracks from there:

How are you guys approaching this? What is the right way to this kind of search? What am I missing?


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I don’t claim to be authoritative in this (Roon moves in mysterious ways its wonders to perform), but if you use Focus when in the Album browser, there are two selection criteria that should help: Composer and Performers.

So, I wouldn’t use the Search function at all, but (in the Album browser) set Composer = Mozart and Performer = Munch. Does that turn up the results you’re looking for?

I find the new “funnel” icon for filtering to be most useful, because it does the filtering character by character. So I’m in the Album view, and I click the funnel and start typing Moz and I see my Mozart albums. If instead I type Munc I see my Munch albums, plus the Keith Jarrett Bergen/München concert. This is as we would expect, just important to note that the funnel filter can look at both the composer or artist (conductor).

HOWEVER it doesn’t look at both at the same time, something I hadn’t realized. So if I type Mozart Munch I get nothing, because there is no text field that contains both. There are albums that contain both, but not in the same text field (tag).

The more explicit search that @Geoff_Coupe suggested gets around this.

On the other hand, the immediate visual feedback of the funnel-filter is a very simple way of addressing the issue,inmost cases. If you have a reasonable number of Munch albums, you’ll probably see the one you want right away. Mozart is less selective,you might have a lot of those. And if you start typing “The Beatles” the first four characters are not very selective, skip them.

And I think this field-agnostic filtering is important. I have written at length about how I don’t want to be a librarian or curator, managing metadata. Ok, we know the roles played by Mozart and Munch, but what if i search for Boulez? I have albums where Boulez is a conductor, a composer, or both. But with this informal search I don’t have to worry about it, I can just search for Boulez. Just as I can in Amazon, or Google.

Roon handles the Boulez case “correctly” (in my judgment), but is overly rigorous in the Mozart Munch case. @Danny ?

One other thing to note here is that your Munch box set hasn’t been identified by Roon. This means that Roon is very limited in what it knows about the contents of the set. Depending on how the files are tagged there’s a good chance that Roon doesn’t know about any Mozart on that set.

Click the “Unidentified” link on the album page and see if you can get Roon to properly ID it. This is a fairly new collection so it may not be fully incorporated into Roon’s cloud database yet.

For classical I tend to focus on Compositions and usually go into the Composition view and then either filter or focus by composer and/or primary artist.


So, I wouldn’t use the Search function at all, but (in the Album browser) set Composer = Mozart and Performer = Munch. Does that turn up the results you’re looking for?

I’m afraid it wouldn’t exactly. I would get the Munch album I was searching for, but the album tracks itself would not be filtered in the same way, i.e. when clicking on the album I still would get the standard album view which wouldn’t allow me to pick my tracks featuring Mozart as a composer.

So where in this this boxset are my Mozart compositions? Maybe what I’m looking for is an alternative album view listing the compositions or at least a filter for narrowing down to Mozart.
Focus seems to filter only on the album level, i.e. an album is listed when it contains Mozart, but with the increasing number of boxed sets around that won’t help at all.

Mozart is tagged as the composer even if the set is not recognized by Roon. Otherwise it wouldn’t find it using th Focus feature.

This is a fairly new collection so it may not be fully incorporated into Roon’s cloud database yet.

This set was release in Europe in September 2016, so I wouldn’t consider it to be very new. The minimum I would expect from a metadata supplier for which I pay license fees (even indirectly) would be to have new sets in their database rather fast. And 6 months is everything but fast… Apart from that, about 25% of my library is not identified, so if the search possibilities would be restricted on those it would be a major drawback. All my composer and work tags are filled and I expect Roon to being able to search on those.
I think Roon does that, but not to the level of detail I would have wished for, I observe the same behaviour for Boxsets that were identified.

For classical I tend to focus on Compositions and usually go into the Composition view and then either filter or focus by composer and/or primary artist.

How do you achieve that? In Composition view I can focus only on a limited number of items:

Even in the focused view I can’t see a filter possibility for performers

What am I missing?

Um, try using the Focus with the Composer/Performers selection in the Tracks browser? Mind you, as Andrew pointed out, this box set is currently unidentified in Roon, so unless the track metadata lists the composer(s), it may still not work.

I never enter new recordings in Roon that went at least through my own composer tagging. So that’s no excuse :wink:

Alright, then does it work? (it does here for me on a test multidisc album using the Composer/Performers selection criteria)

yup - it works

However I feel that it would be nicer to have the same possibility via Album view. In my “old” world, this filter works independently on entry point, since JRiver always search tags and bases it output on file lists.
I understand Roon wants to be different and I support that very much - but then IMHO the need to go to the track browser is kind of going back in time. There should be a smarter way.

Click on the Album link shown in the Track list, and it will take you to the correct disc and track in the multi-disc album…

ah - ok. That’s better. But I still think a composition view on album level (maybe as a toggled view) would be nice :smiley:

Alternatively, adding a Performers selection criterion to the Focus in the Compositions browser would also be a handy route to getting where you want to be…

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i continue to feel a drill down list is the fastest, most efficient way to browse classical music. Music Boulevard, an early online CD store, solved this problem over 20 years ago. Archive Music has the same feature. 12 years ago i built a classical download store (never launched) where the goal was to be able to find any recording in four clicks or fewer:


this is a solved problem.

you can attempt to do this with focus, but Roon does not seem to understand Composers are a key feature in Classical music. my library is ~ 1/3 Classical, yet no Classical composers are listed in Composer view:

Period offers some help, but it’s a listing of Eras, not Styles (musical Genres):

That’s because you are using Focus in the Composers browser… The Focus function lists other selection criteria from the main criterion used by the browser. So for the Album browser, you won’t see “Album” as a Focus selection criterion; for the Artist browser, you won’t see “Artist” as a Focus selection criterion, and so on.

Roon does understand that composers are a key feature in Classical music, you’re just going about it the wrong way :slight_smile:

Oh, and the Composer browser is actually implementing your Composer–>Work (Composition)–>Recording filter already. Try it. If I go to the Composer browser, start typing MOZ, I get Leopold Mozart and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the first two hits. If I choose Wolfgang, I get a list of the 173 compositions of his in my library. If I choose one of those I get the list of the different recordings of that composition (if there’s more than one).

do you using the funnel search, or the search search? the latter doesn’t do what you suggest.

a larger problem is Roon just doesn’t seem to recognize huge portions of my library. if i choose Composers, then filter on “just classical”, choose Genres, and select Classical: Opera (my tag) i get a list of everything Roon thinks fits that category:

there are only 8 composers listed. among obvious omissions is Wagner (i three complete recordings of the Ring). further, Mozart shows 82 compositions. he did not write 82 operas.

Neither. I’m using the browser to filter my collection.

thanks- just discovered you could just type in that view. so, if i Choose Composers–>Puccini–> i get a list of 31 works. unfortunately it lists individual tracks from recital albums, as well as complete operas.

if i choose one of the complete operas (Boheme) i again get a list of tracks, as well recordings of the complete opera.

That’s by design, I think. If you select a composition, and your collection has both complete performances and arias from that work in compilation albums, then surely you should expect to see both? So, for example, If I select Puccini in the Composer browser, then select Turandot from the list of compositions, I first see a complete performance of Turandot, followed by a list of arias that are on compilation albums in my collection. This is as I want to see it.