Classical Metadata is (still) a big mess

(Paul Williams) #41

This just illustrates different (but equally valid) approaches - I go soloist, orchestra conductor.

One minor irritation for me in Roon is that in the list of “related artists” that appears when you play an album, you also get listings for the orchestra (as well as the conductor). For me anyway, conductor is more important than orchestra. I have probably dozens of albums with the London SO, and Berlin PO, Vienna PO etc. Life goes on!

Until there is an agreed metadata standard (which would not satisfy everyone but at least give certainty as to what you could expect), this will continue to be a problem


And I find operas present a challenge for artist listing… It seems obvious to list a famous soprano or tenor first but sometimes there is more than one to claim attention. And in some other operas in this collection there are really no singers of outstanding note. So I generally just list the conductor and orchestra although have made an exception with Maria Callas - no absolute consistency.!! And even with conductors there can be duplications - Karajan produced two “Aidas” - but that is really a minor and infrequent “problem”.

(Paul Williams) #43

In the album title for a popular opera, I will append the name of the conductor - eg Verdi Aida Solti. If there are multiple versions by the same conductor, I will add the year of the recording as well to the album title eg Wagner Die Meistersingers Karajan 1950

In the artist field (unless there are different artists listed for individual tracks), I list major roles, orchestra then conductor. For album artist, it is generally conductor.

But Callas is an exception - I list Callas in the title (after composer, opera name) and if necessary conductor and year! Callas is always the album artist!

This may seem to be overkill, and while I am happy to rely on Roon to direct me to new works and performances, I don’t have to do so if I am seeking something particular in my own collection.

Now that Qobuz is integrated, I am making some of the same changes for those albums I am adding to my library from Qobuz.

(Mike O'Neill) #44

I spotted another niggle

Chopin Nocturnes, I used the Composition browser and I see Nocturne no.1 …20 but with artists missing now I look lower and see Nocturnes(2) for Piano op.27 ct … which contains the bulk of the recordings

I guess I will have to merge manually but WHY, sure a Composition has a consistent name

This one of many such funnies

(Mike O'Neill) #45

A supplementary thought ?

What is the “correct” format for that work

Is it a set of 12 Etudes Op.10 as composition / work with 12 parts


12 individual compositions with no part

It’s not quite so simple , In a Concerto with 3 movements it’s clear

(JohnV) #46

Right now, the answer to Mike’s question is another question: how do you choose to listen to this “composition”? If you prefer all your etudes in one sitting, then use “Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10” as your WORK tag for all 12 PARTs. Because every time your radio or shuffled playlist hits one PART, you’ll hear all twelve.

But if you intend to sample your etudes in a playlist or shuffle situation, use “Etude No. 1 in E flat…” ,“Etude No. 2 in B minor…” etc. That way, you have 12 WORKS not 1. Sadly, this tack has the side effect of warping the number of performances you have.

Granted, this is a case of the tail wagging the dog, but such is life in 1.6-Land.

(Daniel Margoliash) #47

Getting back to the original issue, I think a great “temporary” solution is for Roon to allow us access to our manually curated hierarchically organized playlists. Super fast access to exactly the music you want exactly the way you want it organized. Such a playlist structure has essentially zero metadata errors (i.e. user errors, and each of those you fix - exactly once - when you find them).
If you have two ways you like to listen to Chopin etudes, and Roon browsing is not up to the task: no problem, two separate playlists. Three clicks away “Classical” “Chopin” “Etudes”, then pick the playlist that fits your mood.

(Ged) #48

That doesn’t fix metadata problems does it? Just puts things in lists.

(Mike O'Neill) #49

I see the point , I suppose spilt by individual etude is most flexible, you can always pick one go to an album and play all if you wish

My concern is that if you leave Roon to sort it out you get a mix of the 2 styles

Manual grooming again, and it’s the same with much of Chopin as if whoever populates the data can’t make their mind up

Alas ( seems to be word of the month)

(Andre Gosselin) #50

Interesting idea. Could you elaborate a bit more on how you actually maintain your playlist hierarchy, and how you would like to interface it with Roon ?

(Klaus) #51

I have to admit I never thought about playlists in this case. For me it was more a decision about how I want to see compositions on the composer page. Chopin is a very good example for that, since there are so many recordings of single pieces out there that are grouped under single opus numbers.
I have found the metadata from Roon to be very inconsistent in terms of single vs. group composition.
So I decided to approach my file tags with some more consistency. At the beginning I had grouped them, i.e. WORK=Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10 and PART=single etude.
What I ended up with was a very “mixed” display on the composer page, i.e. complete recordings and single recordings mixed up. It was not very easy to see which single etudes were played for the “non-complete” recordings.
So I decided to change my approach. Today I have most of these kind of compositions tagged the other way round, i.e. WORK=single piece. In order to have Roon not to override with its metadata, I had to set Composition to “Prefer File”. This is what works for me now.
Is it perfect? Most probably not. But I could easily add another file tag for the group and whenever Roon decides to support these hierarchical issues, I hope that I can adjust my tagging easily…

(Mike O'Neill) #52

Just trying that on etudes, copy track name toWork and sort out what a mess

What consistency of track titles ugh …

It does seem the best way it but most work

(Ged) #53

Until I started reading the forum and the trials and tribulations of the Classical users I had no idea it was so complicated. I’ve had to sit with a search engine to understand some of the arcana.
There seem to be any number of favoured solutions/conventions/inventions of naming, assigning parts/works/variations on a theme, should composer or orchestra or conductor drive identification. Never mind boxsets and music labels republishing, compressing parts, breaking parts.
I’m amazed any computer based system comes anywhere working with this complete swamp.
Never mind the special mindsets of some of the collectors/attenders of detail that use them

1 Like
(Mike O'Neill) #54

It can be done manually with custom tags but life is too short

I still love the adventure of finding a piece to listen :cowboy_hat_face:

Metadata really doesn’t help, Chopin to Led Zeppelin to Beethoven well…

(Mike O'Neill) #55

My favorite quote

Ask 10 Classical devotees how to Tag and sort the output And you’ll get 12 opinions

(Klaus) #56

fair point, but if Roon goes south I still can browse my library using my tags… and I had also done most of it pre-Roon anyway. I also like to do tagging. It is my way of finding hidden treasures in my library…:wink:
Looking at the existing metadata inconsistencies in Roon when already having most of file tags to my liking made the decision easier for me.
But I do understand when people don‘t want to go down that path. Live and let live…:grin:

(Daniel Margoliash) #57

Depends what you are trying to do. If the playlists help you find your music to play, and that is your goal, then you don’t care if there is embedded metadata problem. You browse in a way that makes sense to you, no albums or performances are “lost” even in a big collection, and you quickly get to the piece that you want to hear, and then hear it.

You do care if you are using the metadata to search/browse. I am not proposing a solution to that.

(Daniel Margoliash) #58

(I’m not an iTunes fan, please!) but iTunes does this very well. I have a root directory with all the big subdivisions I am interested in. What do I want to hear at the moment: Rock? Jazz? Fusion (my definition thereof)? Folk? Classical? and so on. Note all these can be changed deleted added at any point. If I click on Rock I see all my albums plus a 2nd tier of the hierarchy: Beatles, Stones, Clapton, Dead, etc. (some would argue Dead should elsewhere, which is exactly why this should be manually curated. You do it your way, I do it mine.) Click on the Dead, and I see all my Dead albums. For Rock, almost always I want to hear (or select from) an entire album, and for some albums I will want to edit out certain tracks. Easy with playlists.

OK I picked Rock on purpose, because I really want to talk about Classical. It works for both. For Classical, the 2nd tier can be period or composer or both, of course. You will probably want the greats up there (Mozart, Bach, Beethoven…) but if you have dozens or more of Baroque composers you probably want them in their own separate folder, or folder and subfolders, organized by what makes the most sense to you. At the bottom of the Classical hierarchy, depending on the piece and the album I organize by composition, or performer, or album. I can think about what I want to hear at a high level, and then get to a specific performance at the bottom level, all very quickly. I don’t have 10k albums, but I think it would work well for a large collection, unless you need to look at 1k albums before you pick the one you want. Maybe you need to browse 50 albums (or pieces). And note, once you put in the work to organize something it should never go away, never get automatically “corrected” (read, messed up).

OK, how to implement in Roon UI? I think conceptually it is simple. In the playlists display, there’s all the room in the world, indeed it seems rather bare to me. So put the hierarchical list on the left side (expanding and collapsing as you click through playlist folders), and at each level of the hierarchy just display that subset of albums (to the right of the playlist display). Once you get to a playlist or set of playlists at the bottom, then display those tracks. Allow searching, focus, etc within subsets of playlists to make it even more powerful. Import hierarchical playlists from iTunes. Expose the playlist hierarchy when you want to add a new albums to your lists. Of course, allow you to edit your playlists, folders, etc. And don’t ever automatically change the contents; only the user gets to do that. Manually curated hierarchical playlists.

(Andre Gosselin) #59

I appreciate that you took time to explain your point of view. It makes sense when you consider that hierarchically maintained playlists let you define arbitrary groups or object that help you browse your library in a way that is meaningful to you, and that do not interfere with Roon behavior. In fact, I am using a similar approach, based on MediaMonkey playlist capabilities.

Maybe I am over-optimistic, but I think it should be possible to allow a playlist hierarchy in Roon.

(Mike O'Neill) #60

CRoon simply does not allow customization other than Tags and Bookmarks, I haven’t used playlists

I use JRiver as well where you have a large degree of customization including a Rules Engine.

I can split by Genre , create a sub set as Classical using a rule, even to the point of a super set of composers, Bach, Beethoven etc leaving out the minor ones

Custom Tags allow box sets to be managed with ease

Surely this level of customization should be possible based on Roon’s Object model

I am still lured by the UI and metadata but I often wonder …

It’s not ideal but I use both systems depending on what I am doing