Classical: A Compilation

PREAMBLE
After living with a large Classical Library for a while, I think I now know what I want. So I’ve set it out in this thread.

There are many threads with discussions about Classical. I’d like this thread to contain crisp descriptions of the changes users want to see. Please feel free to add your own, with a short description.

At the the risk of abusing my Mod powers, I will be shifting longer discussions or spin offs into separate threads. Not because discussion shouldn’t occur, but simply to assist the devs in reviewing Classical Feature Requests. There will be links to threads about discussions. People will be free to edit their own posts if their opinions should change.

This is not an “official” thread. The devs have not asked me to do it. They will continue to review all Feature Request threads in the usual way. If something is not in this thread, it certainly doesn’t mean it won’t be noticed and considered. But I hope this thread can provide a primer to assist in consideration of Classical Feature Requests.

CONTENT

Classical/Non-Classical/All switch
Provide a toggleable icon in all Browsers for Classical, Non-Classical or All. Classical only switches are currently available in Composers and Compositions (albeit with inconsistent UI) and other Browsers can use Focus to do it. But it is such a common sorting requirement that I would suggest a 3 way toggleable icon common to all Browsers.

Primary Artist/Composer
Albums with Classical genre should have two groups of blue links under the title. The first for Primary Artist. The second for Composer. Composers should only be Primary Artists if they have a Performer or Conductor credit. I know some metadata providers do this differently. They are wrong and the tail should not wag the dog.

Album and Track Browser: Sort by Composer
Whether limited to Classical only or not, “Sort by Composer” is a natural filter for Classical.

Composer/Compositions: Form Focus
The Composer/Compositions screen should have the same Focus tools as the Compositions Browser. Particularly Form. At the moment this screen is very hard to navigate for major Composers.

Prescribed Titles
The metadata for Classical Albums will vary according to Performers etc. but the titles of Compositions, whether Works or Parts, should be standardised and ubiquitous. Roon should, by default, pick a metadata convention winner and apply it, regardless of variation between publishers and metadata providers. Users can always opt out by album or import preference.

Box Sets
The Disk No. reference doesn’t provide sufficient visibility of the content. Users have to peck and hunt, or know where to find something within the box set. Ideally users would be able to see a description of the contents by disk in the Album view of the set, rather than a Track listing of the first Disk. Where the set consists of separately published Albums, separate artwork for each disk should be supported.

ROONTAG (NAMEOFTAG)
Although not limited to Classical, the ability to specify a file tag for Albums or Tracks which would then add said Albums or Tracks into a Roon Tag would assist a lot of Classical curators to import their existing folder or file structures into Roon. ROONRADIOBAN has paved the way.

EDIT: ROONALBUMTAG and ROONTRACKTAG are now implemented !

Multi-Part Grouping in Radio and Playlists
Multi-part grouping can currently be turned on or off in Album Edit, but the problem is that it is desirable in some use cases and not in others. On by default in album or composition browsers, but off by default for radio or playlists would be good. @John_V has developed these ideas here.

Hiding partial works in Search
When currently searching for Mozart’s Piano Concerto 21 (for example) Search will include all Albums that have only the popular second movement. It would increase signal to noise for Roon to exclude partial works by default and allow uerss to include them only if desired.

16 Likes

Excellent initiative @andybob !

And I just went through the trouble of adding the composers as primary artists so the albums show up in the artist screen :wink:

2 Likes

One thing coming immediately to my mind:

Multilevel Multi-part Grouping Capabilities

The WORK and PART grouping is often insufficient, opera (Opera - Act - Scene), opus collections (Sonatas op. ## - Sonata No. ### - Movement …) or publisher created collections (Collection Title - Work - Movement) are common examples.

The way a certain metadata source :wink: - musicbrainz - handles work grouping seems to be quite clever.


A note on box sets: I do too think a boxset browser which replicates an album browser on boxset level seems like the “natural thing” to do.

4 Likes

@andybob , thanks for doing this it will help crystallize a lot of the options and suggestions previously requested, I suspect I am one of the more vocal classical fans

I think you are right a specific box set browser would suit me. Especially where the box is a compilation of previously released albums (eb Glenn Gould Original Jacket etc ) , individual art work where available . This would be a bit like a Tag , static and containing all content to the box. This is available in my “alternate” system (JRiver) with judicious custom tags which is what sparks the request from few people

If it helps the devs to have a central point for as compilation of requests it can only help. I feel the frustrations have been exposed on several threads recently , this can only help clear the air a bit and provide some direction

My one add is to have a Composer Browser that exposes Albums and not works , it seems a much more logical approach given that Roon is so “Album Based”

No doubt more will come to e as the thread develops

I think I have just seen a pin prick at the end of the tunnel

Mike

2 Likes

I’ve edited in some more content in my initial post about ROONTAG. #. I may edit in more and will note it like this if I do.

It might be worth a discussion if the ROONTAG (TAG) could get assigned externally, and in more than one way; in another thread I came up with

  • ROONALBUMTAG (in the sense of a Tag in the Roon UI) and
  • ROONTRACKTAG

That way one had more flexibility for pre-organisation.

Thanks to the general state of classical related metadata it would help a lot if we could pre-fill all fields available in Roon (Instrumentation, Form, Period for example). It might become tricky with composition related fields.

But this also creates tremendous possibilities to confuse an import module; something the Roon team is probably not too keen to let happen.

An alternative route could be some API for this kind of stuff. If there’s really a need, an non-official import module (extension) will appear. Roon might still have to implement sanity checks on an API level, but no UI required. No support for imports via the API. Just a thought …

1 Like

Another thought

In the Composition browser, we seem to have Sort by Conductor, Ensemble but not Artist

Get 25 Moonlight Sonatas apparently randomly sorted, that should be easy peasy

1 Like

On the Performances page:

  • Use track artists and composers to describe the performance. In particular, DON’t use Various Artists to describe the artist.
  • Use only Recorded Date to sort performances. Now, Release dates are used where recording dates aren’t present. Apples and oranges.
  • What to do about partial composition performances, e.g., a performance of just a single movement of the Moonlight Sonata? One can easily detect them by their length, but I think the first sort order should be length, then recorded date, so that all the partial performance fall to the bottom (or top) as a group.
  • Allow favoriting (and/or ratings) of performances. Album level ratings are more geared for non-classical.
2 Likes

On Now Playing displays:

  • ALWAYs have a fixed location for composer. It is critical for the accurate display of the title.
  • I would argue for separate lines to display the WORK, then PART. OR, a scrolling text with the two munged together.
  • Always use contents of WORK and PART tags if present. OR, allow for the possibility
  • Classical artists, being mostly old men, are hard to distinguish visually. Put their names somewhere on the screen when displaying their face/art.
  • Not really a classical thing exclusively, but fix the focal point problem with the art.
1 Like

2 posts were split to a new topic: Multi-part Composition Grouping

On the Artists’ Compositions page:

  • Enable an easier way to compare “My Library” compositions with “TIDAL” compositions. I often want to enable all available metadata linkages, and to do that (presently), one has to import TIDAL albums to validate other compositions in your library. This is particularly important in classical collections where compositions are primary.

Going back and forth between My Library and TIDAL is a pain, in large part because they share the same index counter. If you are in your Library at, say, composition #50, and then transfer to TIDAL, Roon shows you TIDAL’s composition #50. Problem is, it won’t be the same composition since TIDAL’s collections are usually larger. Basically, I want to go back and forth to the same approximate alphabet position. That doesn’t happen now.

2 Likes

On Roon’s basic classical metadata (Form, Period, Instrumentation, Date):

  • Please finish the job, or allow users to finish (i.e. editable variables) for their own library’s use.

A large minority of my classical library has one or more holes in these variables. And, it looks like some composers, periods, and forms are systematically underrepresented. I say this with full understanding of the possibilities of incomplete DBs.

2 Likes

On complicated compositions:

  • Add a third or fourth “tier” of display. For Operas, it might have 1) the work’s name; 2) the Act; 3) the Scene; and finally, 4) the track name

PS: Sorry, already mentioned

1 Like

All of yours were good, this one particularly so, @andybob. Very powerful.

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Prefer file WORK title

At the moment multi-part WORK titles revert to generic roon composition titles. There are many scenarios where the works should be grouped but distinguishing file WORK titles should be allowed. For example it would be much less confusing if a Bach violin partita transcribed for guitar has that fact reflected in the WORK title.

Greater composer granularity

Instead of bundling composers, arrangers, orchestrators, transcribers, lyricists under a single “composer” category on the main album page (and various other pages), the various contributions should be distinguished by role. Personally I am not a fan of the credits pages and would just like the option of more detail for an at a glance 360 degree view on the primary pages.

Edition handling

Some way of distinguishing different editions of scores. E.g. Nowak vs. Hass for the Bruckner symphonies or Breitkopf & Härtel vs. Bärenreiter-Verlag (Kassel) for Beethoven.

Prefer file album artist order

At the moment on the main album page, album artists at the top of the page are listed alphabetically by roon. In my file tags I have them listed “soloist; ensemble; conductor”. It would be better to retain this order than re-ordering alphabetically. This convention is useful if you are unfamiliar with the album artists, It also adds uniformity to the pages rather than the artists constantly jumping around as you scroll through the pages. Famous conductors for example will appear before or after the orchestra depending on alphabetical order of the orchestras they have been paired with.

Genres at track / composition level

Not especially a classical requirement but it it is very common to have markedly different genres on classical discs and boxes. For example, vocal and instrumental music on the same disc.

3 Likes

2 posts were split to a new topic: Search by Label

A much needed initiative. Thank you!

1 Like

2 posts were split to a new topic: BBC through Roon

4 posts were split to a new topic: Sorting Bookmarks

A post was merged into an existing topic: BBC through Roon