Classical Music Composition

Hi @Tony_Casey
It’s a fair question I suppose. My previous setup was a Naim streamer and power supply that used Asset but my wife wasn’t happy with the two grey boxes on the shelf that didn’t match the Meridian DSP7200.2s we have. On top of that the Naim control app was getting really painful to use because they had been adding functionality for new kit they were introducing and it was getting a very clunky and dated feel to it. I decided to get the advice of my local hi-fi dealership who suggested I go for a Roon capable Meridian 218 and AC200 which now did match our speakers. The beauty of this solution was that the sale of the Naim kit paid for the 218, AC200 and a lifetime Roon subscription. The system now sounds better than it did with the Naim equipment and Roon is immeasurably nicer to use than that clunky Naim app ever was!

Interesting. Sounds like you have roon working the way you want. I’ve a way to go I think.

Pretty much. Good luck fine tuning yours Tony.

The other missing link is Genre editing

I went to a lot of effort to do this

I set Genre to Orchestra, Concerto, Symphonies, Chaber etc

Then I define a Sub Genre eg Piano Sonata

So in my old system I get Composer> Genre > Sub Genre to filter Albums or Compostions

Eg Beethoven > Keyboard > Piano Sonatas

Also. Bit OTT but it works

To be honest if it were not for Tidal I would be thinking twice

Maintaining 2 systems can be painful


I’ve just come to Roon now it supports Linn properly so am still learning, but can already see that it is not well set up for classical music (about half my collection).

When relying just on metadata with minimserver, I separated my albums into classical pieces, so eg Beethoven’s 5th and 7th symphonies become two separate albums. The composer is the artist as I am much more concerned about finding the right piece than who performed it - I add the main artist (usually the conductor, or soloist for concertos etc) to the end of the title for the piece/album, but I only really care if I’ve got more than one performance of the same piece. Most helpfully of all, the date is composition date, not the recording date. Then all the pieces get listed in the order they were composed. Browse by date (well before 1900 which appears to be Roon’s limit at the moment), is then a powerful way to pick era, and I’ve also enjoyed working through my entire collection in date of composition order.

This is course is a big investment in time whenever I rip a CD, and I realise isn’t the way most metadata sources are organised. In my view, Roon needs a major push to give equivalent functionality. The point is it’s metadata can be more comprehensive and intelligently set out than the average database - it Roon is prepared to make the effort. Classical music is relatively fixed in these respects, so although there are new performances, the data on the pieces just needs comprehensive attention once to last forever.

Hi Mark

Please don’t take this wrong. Your Artist = Composer, Album appending the Artist etc will really upset Roon’s ability to ID the album

The tag Mapping looks for Artist as Say Alfred Brendel, Release Date as date and Album Name discretely

Take an example of Brendel Beethoven Sonatas, the album name is the same in both cases the differentiation is the release date

Add to that Ashkenazy Sonatas, again Album Name is the same the differentiator is Artist, having both as Beethoven kills that

It may work to a point but using the tags as they were designed should be gives a much better response

Each to their own

Cheers Mike

PS to add insult to injury, Roon recognizes Albums

Splitting off individual works will mean it tries to match an incomplete album and will fail…



Yes, I realise my ad-hoc solution breaks or perverts the normal (and Roon’s) metadata model.

I hope you’ve not missed my point/request - which is that Roon should give equivalent functionality with appropriate tags (new if necessary eg for composition date).


I agree, we can only wait and hope

Experience shows that feature requests seem to favor items that impact the loudest protesters eg MQA


I suppose you could do a lot of that if focus supported boolean filters. I seem to remember a few requests for that but I don’t think it went anywhere. Maybe someone has some news?

hi tony it would seem that classical features are a poor relation

I am always wondering why people are still focusing on Genres within Roon as far as classical music i s concerned. To me Genres as they are used now make sense on an album level.

For classical music what most people call genres is in my view already grouped via the composition. Since composition is a separate DB object in Roon, it would make much more sense to me to use Period, Form and Instrumentation which are already available as fields in the composition browser.

So for your example you would filter (or focus) on the composition browser for Form=Sonata and Instrumentation=Keyboard, combined with Composer=Beethoven.

When merging compositions these attributes are also merged.

You are right @Klaus_Kammerer1, and I have tried making better use of the composition view, but the problem is first, there are so many gaps, and second I cannot really see that roon is taking period or form into account in, for example, discovery or radio (where I find wild swings not only between classical and pop but also between a quiet 19th century Lieder and a full on 20th century Shostakovich vocal symphony).

I have a lot of vocal music which has been tagged (in the genre field) by what I think roon understands as “form”. So, for example I would make distinctions between Lieder, Mélodie, Art Song, Choral, Oratorio, Opera, Sacred, Chant etc. I use those tags to create a mood.

The problem is that roon only has a few vocal genre categories. As far as I can see Choral, Opera and a “catch all” Vocal. So I have just made the mistake of mapping my vocal genre tags to roon vocal genre tags hoping that would improve radio performance. Now of course I cannot search by “Lieder” as it is mapped to “Vocal” and it didn’t seem to make any difference to radio any way so I will have to undo all that work. sigh.

So I don’t know if anyone knows how roon treats these sub-genres (or “forms” if you prefer) in radio (or discovery for that matter). I could try keeping my sub-genres and instead of mapping them to Vocal, I can make Vocal the parent genre instead. That way I retain visibility of my tags but I cannot see that roon would understand that Lieder is somehow different from Oratorio.

It’s the same with putting these “forms” into the composition screen. Would roon understand these forms or are they just strings?

Yes, I am also using jRiver. I can easily create filters in JRiver to separate classical music and non classical music. I only want to see classical music only when I browse classical music. Customised filters in JRiver allows me easily to locate particular compositions with different performances. For example, with a few clicks, I can easily display all solo piano compositions of Mozart and select what I want to listen. It is impossible to do in Roon. I do hope Roon allow these kind of customised views. There are some aspects I don’t like JRiver and more and more audiophile servers support Roon and not JRiver. I do want to move to Roon completely.

1 Like

Impossible to do? Then what’s this:

But how easy it would be to just show all the albums of one composer?
I feel Roon is not made for classical music lovers. How hard would it be to implement this function?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Roon, and bought a lifetimelicense, but I don’t understand why such a simple but usefull function isn’t implemented in Roon. I listen 75% of the time to clasical music, so this is a rather important to me.

It’s actually quite easy to do what you’re after. See the attached screenshot. I have manually tagged all my albums in Mp3Tag and prefixed each album title with the composer’s name. It is then a simple matter of using the focus function to sort the classical from everything else.

Very easy. You don’t even need to use metadata tags. Just use Roon’s Focus feature and the Composer filter:

There has been a lot of discussion about the composition screen precisely for this type of more fine grained navigation. And initially it looks promising, but it doesn’t appear to be widely used. A big problem for those that have tried to leverage it is there are very large gaps and meta-data inconsistencies and a generally very patchy population of period / form / instrumentation from the meta-data suppliers. There is a roon composition editor so they can all in principle be laboriously populated but I haven’t been able to find what the mapping is, if any, to local tags (If for example I already have that data). In principle, if you already have some of this information in your tags you could use a tag editor to put it somewhere that roon could use to fill the gaps in the composition view from the meta-data suppliers.

It is also unclear what roon actually does with period / form / instrumentation. Are they just navigation strings that can be used for this sort of more finely grained navigation or does roon understand these categories and their associations in features like radio and discovery? I rather suspect not as for example I have a lot of vocal music but when I go to the genre mapping table I find no roon entry for Lieder or Art Song (a “form” I assume in the composition table). I can only map it to a more generic “Vocal” genre. If on the other hand I edit the composition “form” field to be Lieder there is no effect and no benefit for the work involved. If I seed radio with an intimate Lieder, for example, I am just as likely to get a gangbusters ear shatering Shostakovich vocal symphony as another German Lieder, American Art Song or French Mélodie which is what I am really expecting.

It is also unclear what roon actually does with period / form / instrumentation. Are they just navigation strings that can be used for this sort of more finely grained navigation or does roon understand these categories and their associations in features like radio and discovery?

My simple answer is that I haven’t a clue. Although I thought it interesting that when I filtered on “piano” in the screenshot above, Roon returned results for “solo keyboard”. So there’s some intelligence at work here.

It’s clear that Roon is a work in progress, and it’s equally clear that some things go on inside the black box that are not always visible from the outside. I’ve moaned in the past about the lack of documentation on Roon’s algorithms, and how to use ID3 tags to leverage the process.

I suspect that two things are at play here: 1) the algorithms evolve, and documentation becomes out of date pretty quickly, and 2) aspects of Intellectual Property are involved. Some of this stuff must be like the crown jewels to the Roonies.