Classical: Make Style & Form to allow focus on and get rid of classical subgenres


a little bit of a provocative titlte, but let me explain…

I was playing around with genres in the last couple of weeks and I ended with: “why the hell do I need them for classical”… Apart from setting it to Classical and therfore allowing the improved display of composer and being able to focus on my classical collection.

But I do not understand why I would need to maintain subgenres for my unidientified albums (and even formy identified ones". I think most of what I would want to achieve with focusing on genre could be done with focusing on Style and Form which are attributes of the works.

For example, Symphony is a subgenre o f classical. But why would I need to maintain that if I have reckognized works in my album? If it’s a symphony among them it should have the form “symphony” already on it. Isn’t that the charm of a real database vs. the plain file tagging system?

Does that make sense to any of you classical lovers out there? Also happy to discuss use cases for having subgenres. What information can I put in a subgenre that I do not have inherently in my works that comprise an album?

1 Like

PopRock doesn’t have a clue about Classical :thinking: You (we) are on your own

After trying tags I realised that genres was a much more flexible ‘database’ like tool. About 75% of my collection (25,000 tracks) is classical and i’ve given them a genre matching their style - Baroque, 19th Century Romantic, Classical, 20th Century and then subgenres such as Symphony, Chamber, Solo, Concerto, Christmas. The other 25% including Jazz, Pop, Metal, whatever, I have not given any genre but left to Roon - which seems to know far more about these than I do.

But having said all that, I don’t actually use the genre system very much being more inclined to know what I want to listen to or just browse. FYI I’ve named all albums by composer or performer as appropriate. “Bach - Cantatas Volume 10”; L’Arpeggiata - Los Impossibles"; “Mahler - Symphony No 5”;“Brian Eno - Reflections”; and generally view albums by name order. So all my work creating genres was possibly not worth it.


My point is that for classical music most of the information I’d like to use for focusing on is already given in the composition attributes.

Listening to Schubert the other day:

I have information on that composition (“Romantic”, “Solo Keyboard”, “Sonata”) that could make it very easy for me to set up a playlist of romantic piano sonatas. These attributes are maintained on the composition level, but they are also available on album level due to the composition-album linkage.
However, I cannot use these attributes for focusing today.

When looking at an album I see the genres that Roon adds:

I would consider the genre “Keyboard” to be redundant, since I am using a proper database now and the album has those works who are tagged to be “keyboard solo”. But I only can focus on genre - so I’m “forced” to use the genre on albums for providing information that is already there.

I know where it comes from - without having a proper database structure you need to tag every single classical album with the desired genre. But here we do have a proper database and I think I shouldn’t have to put in redundant information.

When I’m looking at what Roon offers me as classical subgenres I do see mostly attributes that are already used within works:

At the moment I’m getting these subgenres for my identified albums (sometimes…). But for the big part of my unidentified albums I’d need to assign genres that are in a way “already there”, once I have my compositions “recognized” in Roon.
I just don’t see why I would need to apply the genre “keyboard” to an album that has a “keyboard” work on it.

Based on the general assumption that a “classical” album has “works” assigned, which themselves have “period”, “instrumentation” and “form” attributes I do not see a use case for “genres” in the classical music environment. Therefore I could live with one single genre “Classical”, if Roon would allow me to use the power of its already existing database relations.

1 Like

Hi Klaus
I think I see what you are trying to do but I can’t see how to currently achieve what you want. I have played with ‘focus’ trying get lists using the tags / genre information I know is recorded against classical albums and (occasionally) down to ‘work’ level but to little avail. I may be missing something in how it works but it seems quite limited in the options provided. Compared to a product like Evernote, the apparent lack of flexibility in setting search terms is the constraining factor. So, as I said earlier, I find what I want to listen to by browsing or direct name searches.
I understand Roon is working on enhancing metadata editing, etc. Hopefully that helps things and am happy to wait for that to happen. Roon is still a relatively new product and I think that what has been achieved so far is fantastic and waiting a while for the ‘extras’ will be very worthwhile in the long run.
What I am really waiting on is the ability to rename individual discs within sets. Beethoven Sonatas, Haydn Keyboard works / Symphonies, etc, etc. Disc 1,2,3 is pretty useless when looking for individual works or discovering what is there.

1 Like

Hi Pieter,

I absolutely know that I can’t achieve what I want ;-).

I was trying to provoke a discussion about the use of genres in the classical music environment. I do not see a proper use case for genres as opposed to what information is already present on work level.
As I said, most of the genres that Roon offers us at the moment are redundant to information on the works themselves and I’d propose to rather use them for focusing. This would be much more helpful and effective for the users in my opinion.

I am aware that for other types of music genres play an important part as “direct” tags for albums and tracks but for classical I think you should take advantage of the database relations between works and albums/tracks for that purpose.

1 Like

What I’d rather prefer would be the option to switch to a “Work” view on album level. All information about the works already is there (via works assignment), so I would not see the need to maintain the disc names.

@Ludwig seems to be in the same camp and had already requested this quite some time ago. I read some frustration from his post, too. I think we probably should build a “classical music lovers alliance” :wink:

Frustration perhaps, but only with the fact that the Roon team have so many other important issues to deal with. @danny and @brian and all the others are working as hard as they can, I assure you! :wink:

But yes, this is a crucial issue for me, and I’ll be extremely relieved when they find and implement the right solution.

1 Like

I absolutely agree combining boxset into disc 1, disc 2, disc 3 is not convenient enough. The worst scenario i came across is Glenn Gloud original jacket boxset with 80 CDs! It shows up nicely but meaningless in Roon as disc 1-80. There is no way to know what is in, say Disc 45.


Absolutely right.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Roon team is going to tackle this. There are so many different challenges to box sets.

I have to admit that I am currently dealing with box sets not consistently in my collection. I often split the boxsets that have original jackets into separate albums, just because I like to see the covers and because it is much easier to see the works on those albums. On the other hand I keep the ones without original covers as boxsets in Roon with all the problems of finding stuff in this CD1…CDxxx mess.

For the Glenn Gould collection I’ve decided to have it as separate albums, whereas for the infamous Alfred Brendel collection I have it combined. I have to say, though, that the recently implemented ability to use tags for recording dates helps me a lot for this collection, because the metadata for it is a mess.

As Ludwig had put it in another post: it was dead on arrival… @Ludwig - by the way: I’ve learned a new acronym that day, since I had to look up DOA :wink:

Let’s wait and see what the Roon guys come up with.

Coming back to my original post in this thread. What are your thoughts about genre information vs. work information? Am I talking BS here with my thoughts of “abandonding” genres for classical music? What are your use-cases for using it?

In my old JRiver days I had used genres to classify my work related tags via genres to the different forms like chamber music/string quartet, but now with Roon I could have this information automatically via the album-work linkage and I think I won’t need genres anymore.

What do you think?

I feel having sub-genre automatically created by Roon is a nice feature, particular when I first switched from JRiver to Roon, I found sub-genre auto categorization is very impressive. It fits my use style. If I want to listen chamber at late night, I just browse chamber sub-genre. Very intuitive.
However, when I get familiarized with focus function, I can narrow my selection even better. For example, I can create a bookmark that focusing on chamber music in DSD format.
All and all, not harm to keep sub-genre. Although I don’t use it as often as I used to, some others may prefer this way.

do you have the impression that the subgenre is really created automatically? Is this a fact? I do see inconsistent genre attributions for my identified albums and of course no proper genre attribution for my non-identified albums (I know that I can prefer my file tags and do some mapping, but I’d like to ignore that in this discussion for the moment).

What I wanted to say is that I’m questioning the use/need of genre attributions if there are already works on the album. From the work I do get the style, the instruments and the period at the same time and this would just be the filter I’d like to use for setting up a playlist.

I’m arguing that for classical music the genre information is mostly redundant to what I get from the work attribution. I would be interested to know whether the automatical genre attribution you refer to is in fact a real automatic attribution based on some logic (for example based on the works present on the album) or whether it is just an alhgorithm based on the genre attributions from Roons metadata providers.

it’s better now in 2018?

Which “it”?

ad Boxset (glenn gould etc)

No, no change, yet. We live in hope!

1 Like

I have the Glenn Gould set divided in single discs, since they are in the “original jacket” style with individual covers. I accept that some of the single discs may not be properly identified by Roon.
For the boxsets that do not have that style, like the Brendel set and the Bernstein Sony Symphony and Orchestral Works set I have them in Roon as Boxsets with the known issues.
We’ll just have to wait an be patient, I guess. If I look at the discussion threads concerning what was expected for Roon 1.4 and what people hope for in 1.5, there seems to be some people beyond the classical music nuts wanting the box-set managament to improve. That’s givig me some hope. For most of the other, more classical-music related stuff, there is no big lobby.
Let’s wait and see.

Just came across this thread.

In MY JRiver days … I used custom tags to define a Box Set and Disc Name , even Disc Volume for the real biggest like Beethoven Edition

That way you could set up a view where Box Set <> empty and get a set of Disc Names for selection

Box Sets in Roon are , politely, a mess esp when they are big like Brendel. Frankly if the are a collection of previously released albums they are better split , if not Leave Well alone , it seems an easy way of messing your library up

Given that a lot of classical libraries consist of a lot of boxes , this seems to me an urgent area of attention.

This alone caused my first stabs at Roon to falter. As it is I am keeping my JRiver system up to date just in case
It’s a love hate event :sob: