Classical Tagging

I Know its all been said before …

I am trying to set up Roon for my tastes. I have 65000 tracks about half Classical

Lets say I have 10 full sets of Beethoven Symphonies (Glutton for punishment)

My Test is

  1. How to specifically goto all recordings of Beethoven 5th Symphony in a list and select one to play from there
  2. How to goto Beethoven Symphony No 5 - Karajan 1963 specifically

in the minimum mouse click(iPad taps) and minimal typing (if any)

Is there such a thing as a custom Tag ,Can I edit the Work field in the Roon Db to make them all the same

I suspect my 10 sets have a mix of German and English track names

Am I asking too much , I have been trying for days with no success. Navigation in Classical stuff seems very hit & miss.


I’ll leave the navigation questions for Classical users to answer, as I think it’s a question where practical experience beats theory.

Roon does have custom Tags and this Knowledge Base article should get you started.

There are substantial changes arriving for metadata and Classical Works in 1.3.

Try the following:

Hamburger (top left)
You’ll be viewing his works: type “Symphony 5” into filter box
You should see one or two works (it gets Symphony no. 3 too because of a 5 in its opus number)
Then you should see a list of performances thus:

If you have unidentified albums and inconsistent tags. It won’t be nearly as pretty as this. We can help you get closer, but future changes in Roon will help a lot in the coming months.

The list is in chronological order, and can not be sorted or filtered. (There is a request in for this to be improved.)

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Thanks Ludwig, I am evaluating Roon but to be frank I am struggling with Classical Navigation

Neat … I assume it matches both the ‘Symphony’ and the ‘5’

However this returns only 6 versions out of 11. It returns only one of the 2 Karajan sets for example both of which have the track name in English and look identical. The Album name is Beethoven Symphonies - Karajan - 1963 etc

How does the filter work, is it on Name or Title of track ? . Certainly some are in German ie Symphonie as opposed to Symphony, changing the filter to Symphonie 5 Roon returns nothing. So half my versions are “Invisible”

I have defined 2 Custom Tags in JRiver which I use currently , [Composition] and [Work] , I populate [Composition] from Musichi and that is a consistent name regardless of the original spelling. Which tag does Roon search



That’s excellent feedback thank you @Mike_O_Neill, I’ll drop some flags for @joel and @mike so they see it. They may be able to make suggestions to improve the current position, but I understand better handling of Classical Works is one of the areas intended for improvement in 1.3.

Non-standard Custom Tags from other software such as JRiver are not going to work in Roon for the moment. Maybe later, if they implement full user tag support with mapping (which I hope they do).

Roon uses Allmusic standard spelling/format for work/composition titles, in the Track Title field. This might help you in future tagging.

If you have a mixture of languages in your tags, I don’t know how JRiver would do, but Roon doesn’t yet understand that. You’ll end up with the works not altogether on the work page I indicated above (I have this problem too). But this is a well-understood problem which @brian and @joel are working on for an unspecified future release.

PS I have 34 Beethoven 5ths :wink:

And I thought I was bad !!

Interestingly the custom Tag from JRiver shows up in the Roon Tag Editor. I save the tags to the file.

JRiver too is unable to create the [Work] tag. By [Work] I mean say “Symphony No. 5 in C Min Op. 67” the Beethoven is implied . This is a manual creation and very labour some .

Recently I have been using MusiCHI tagger to generate the composition (Work) tag. It understands French, German & English variants and gets the work right better than 90% depending of course on the original Track Name accuracy but it saves a lot of effort.

Its really about getting a standardised name for a work so that all instances have the same name despite how the Track Name tag looks


I’m curious about several aspects of your metadata:

What is the difference between the “Composition” and “Work” tags? (You mentioned both as if they are separate.)

What is then in Track Title? Perhaps Movement number/name? If not where is that?

If JRiver cannot create the “Work” tag, can it read it? And if not why are you using it?

Musicchi looks like a horrible interface for playing music, but maybe I should look into its tagging capabilities.

Do I understand correctly that from the track title it resolves a consistent Work tag, and you mean it has luck with understanding the track title in a number of different languages? This is very interesting: but of course Roon aims to do this kind of thing inside the Roon database, not by messing with your tags!


A Bit confusing maybe.

I added a Custom Tag [Work] but later started looking at MusiCHI

MusiCHI generates a tag [Composition] , so I added a custom tag to JRiver [Composition] and Musichi recognises it and populates it. They are in effect identical, I will drop [Work] shortly and just use Composition.

What Musichi does is takes the Track Name say in Beethoven’s 5th – Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 - Allegro Con Brio and generates a standardised Composition of “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67” , its clever enough to do it even if its in English, German or French, equally you can define how you want the composition to look, English, German or French and which components of the string you want , Opus No etc.

If it can’t get a match it offers a set of “candidates” that you can select from.

It also Standardises the composer as Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827), and the album Artist as Karajan, Herbert von [Conductor] (and multiples if appropriate.

Its not 100% but it saves an enormous amount of effort.

You can buy the tagger separately from the music player for E 20 .

In JRiver you can now set up a custom view that allows you to navigate, I use JRemote on an iPad Mini – Composer>Genre>Works>Artist simply by iPad tap or mouse click without typing a letter.

Quite slick compared with what I see of Roon.

Clear as mud ?

I was hoping that Roon could match this type of navigation but alas not at this stage.


That’s great news… please… please make sure you document best practices for tagging at the time of the 1.3 release. Many of us have put a lot of time into tagging our classical tracks…

You can set up custom views by using the bookmark feature in Roon to go back to any view or focus you have chosen. Does this not work for you? Is it that Roon cannot give you the view you want at all?

I have seen the bookmark feature but you’re correct the initial navigation to a specific view is troublesome

With views in JRiver I can tap (or mouse click) sequentially filtering as I go (nd I can define/customise the view easily)


Classical>Composer> Beethoven > Symphonies > Symphonies Karajan 1963 > Symphony No 5

So in the ipad app in 4 -6 taps I get to a playable track. So far trying to emulate this in Roon has defeated me

If I read the bookmark feature right, I get to Beethoven’s 5th and bookmark it , I can quickly return to that view but if I now want Dvorak’s 9th I have to start again, am I right ?

In the example above the same number of taps/clicks would get me to the track just as quickly


I don’t understand the problem here. I can go
Composer>B>Beethoven>Symphony no. 5>Karajan 1963 in Roon.

It’s fewer clicks in Roon. You don’t need to type anything, you just need A-Z switched on for the Browsers. Maybe that’s what you don’t have?

Hi Kenneth,

Let’s flag @joel again (he loves it !) so he can see that request. I would expect any guidelines from Roon to be very high level (eg. deprecated characters) but some explanation after release as to how Roon uses tags in various contexts in 1.3 would also be very helpful.

Ultimately “best practice” may be something that users can help each other with. I know that in other rule based paradigms (oh alright; games) it can take some time for best practice to become apparent.


I’m reasonably new to Roon, but I have a large classical collection (though I tend to have less performances of any given work than you describe). I have been having a lot of success using the search function and avoiding attempts to navigate my collection altogether. When I search “Beethoven and symphony and 5” I get all 3 performances I own. It may be a bit of typing, but then I don’t agonize over how to get there (the age of the Google search and all). I have gotten to specific artists for works that way as well. I am still exploring how well this works (not sure if Roon has full Boolean logic etc.) but so far I have been pretty satisfied.

I understand the logic for multiple Focus search filters is AND between tools and OR wirhin a tool.

Bookmarks are a great way to quickly recall any search you have made. Don’t be shy about making them. You can always delete them if you find you have too many.

I suppose my current navigation is quite different. My current system is set up on the server to provide views on a DLNA type app quite different to Roon.

I can customise a view such that I can literally tap (or mouse click) my way to performance without typing a character asI mention above

Classical Composer Genre Album then select and play even with multi disc sets

The more splits you make the less there is to pick from and the easier the selection. I use a “Gramophone Category” as per the magazine’s reviews, 1 - Orchestral, 2 Concertos 3- Symphonies etc to get even more granularity and ease of filtering

Its the proverbial horses for courses. I really don’t want to search every time I want a track !



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Isn’t it the point that there’s no consensus and it’s unlikely there will ever be one?

I think the whole thing is getting blown out of proportion.

Tagging Classical music is no more complicated than rock , there are just a few more Tags that need to be populated eg Composer Conductor Orchestra and maybe a Composition/Work field to better allow searching

Things like Catalogue No Opus No are niceties but probably unlikely to be searched on.

I am coming from the ability to get to a specific tack as easily as possible ie as few key strokes and as little typing as possible.

My route to a track is Composer>Genre>Artist> Album or some times Composer>Genre>Work>Artist if I want to pick a specific work

I am far from saying this is cast in stone but who uses anything really different? Maybe these are hints that we need to provide the Roon Devs with to “guide their thoughts”

While Roon navigation for Classical is like it is now, I see this as a showstopper for me.


Well quite. But that statement isn’t mutually exclusive with mine :smiley: