Barber's Adagio vs. Barber's String Quartet

Barber’s famous Adagio for Strings was an orchestration of the 2nd movement of his String Quartet. As far as I can see they are both the same Op. 11.

Roon does not distinguish the works, even on the same disk. But I cannot force roon to use my WORK/PART tags where I distinguish the “String Quartet in B major, Op. 11” from the Adagio. So in this Sony compilation, the Adagio is correctly identified:

But on the same disk the String Quartet is incorrectly identified also as the Adagio:

I have “preferred file” for multi-part grouping but roon still overwrites my Quartet title tag with an Adagio title. Why is roon not using my tags?

I no music expert, but having the same opus and composer will get you a match in Roon every time. I get the same thing with the Great Gate of Kiev (one of 26 movements in Pictures at an Exposition). It’s on a lot of “Best of…” albums. And all those cuts are tagged as being the same composition as its 26-movement cousin.

For giggles, you might test my hypothesis. You might have to un-ID the album first, and see which tracks associate with compositions. Then start trying to differentiate the two pieces with different track titles. But I think Roon’s fuzzy logic has a (perhaps) unintended side effect.

In this particular case I have run through every variation of identifying and re-importing albums in every conceivable order. The result is always the same.

The only thing that half works is roon will distinguish the titles if I remove Op. 11 from the string quartet. That has the effect of unmerging the string quartet but then it is not id’d as anything at all. If I then try and merge the quartet again, roon will over write the string quartet title with the adagio title. So I am caught in a loop.

I don’t really understand what roon’s rules are about retaining variations in work titles when merging compositions. It seems very hit and miss. Sometimes merged compositions do retain variations in titles and sometimes they do not. I cannot see what the pattern is. Can someone from @support advise what best practice is? At the moment it is hit and miss. In this particular case there is yet a third variation which Barber transcribed late in life for full choir called Agnes Dei. I don’t think this ever got Op. 11 but I would like to group all these compositions as one but retain their variations in their titles:

  1. String quartet in B minor, Op. 11 (original)
  2. Adagio for strings, Op. 11 (transcribed from the 2nd movement of the string quartet)
  3. Agnes dei, for choir (transcribed from the 2nd movement of the string quartet)

I cannot see in roon how to do this?

Tony, I’ll have to bow out, but I did make a snap of my similar Adagio album, for comparison.

Others have asked for the underlying logic, but no soap. Hopefully, @support will have an answer.

I for one cannot see a logic path to your desired grouping. It would take a “force grouping” feature IMHO, and Roon doesn’t do that. Good luck.

That replicates exactly what I see but on a much larger scale.

You have Flute, Synthesizer, Brass, Clarinet and Organ versions, all of which have been merged with the more famous String version. That is exactly what I would like as well. What I don’t like is that the variations in their titles have not been retained. Surely this is the point of an “object model” so that the titles can be modelled as attributes and their distinctions retained.

I see also that roon has picked up different compositions for the quartet and choir versions. Now the distinctive titles are retained but they are treated as different compositions. I would like to group all variations as a single composition but retain the variations in the titles.

There are many other similar examples. But probably the most famous example are the Bruckner symphonies, all of which have significant variations in scorings and editor revisions.

Tony, I was thrown for a bit with your use of the word “merged.” No merger has occured. The only reason they’re next to each other is their consecutive track numbers. No more merger talk; it’s not in Roon’s lexicon at the track level.

“Barber’s Adagio” is a one-track composition as per the cloud. [I thought the term was tad oxymoronic, but descriptive.] Six of my tracks have been identified as being “Barber’s Adagio” along with eight others in my Library (total 14) and 104 such “one-track compositions” in TIDAL. The other two cuts (Sonata and Agnus) are also one-track compositions.

All eight are composed by Barber, and they are all parts of the same piece that Barber wrote. That’s not enough for Roon to conclude, “these are sorta related; I’m grouping them”.

I think you want a “Cosmetic” grouping feature: a way to tell Roon, “related or not, I want these items to be indented under the heading ‘Variations on Adagio’.” You’re not asking Roon for a “forced composition”, just a cosmetic grouping. Not unreasonable request.

Here’s the punch line, I just don’t think Roon has anything like that, but support is watching this thread and will certainly chime in if I’m mistaken. I assume you’ve also posted this to a feature request. If not, I’d encourage you to do so. Best, J

John, I’m not really sure I understand your point about track mergers? I was talking in relation to composition mergers. I used the word “merged” very deliberately precisely because it is roon terminology. My instinct would actually be to use the word “group” but if you go to the composition page roon gives you the option to “merge” any compositions you like.

There you can see I have 1 version of the quartet, 2 versions of the Adagio and 2 versions of the choral Agnus Dei. They are not “sorta” the same. They have identical Opus numbers (I had to manually remove Op. 11 from the Quartet so that roon would not auto merge and I could show all three versions on the same composition merger screen).

If I highlight those 3 versions and merge them I will end up with a total of 5 performances of that composition but I will loose the variations in the instrumentation in the titles. If you go to the composition page you will see the same. A single “merged” composition with 14 performances and if you wanted to you could merge them with the quartet and choral versions. Roon will quite happily do that. But that is not the issue I’m trying to highlight.

This Barber example is just one example. I find it extremely common that there are different variations in instrumentation, composers revision, editors revision of what are otherwise the same composition and I would like to be able to group/merge them but also retain variations in their titles so I can easily distinguish them. I can think of many use cases for this. But for example I would like radio to randomly pick from the merged group of compositions so that I am surprised with a version I otherwise don’t listen too much.

I have raised several feature requests along these lines as have several others.

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