Grouping tracks into a single composition

When checking out the new browsing features, I discovered that I had 28 versions of Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes–except I don’t. That tipped me off to the fact that on one album, each of the Etudes is treated as a separate composition. So I need to tell Roon to group them as a single composition.

I’ve looked at the knowledge base and played around with editing, but I haven’t yet figured out how to do this from within Roon. I can select the tracks and choose “Edit”, but that just gets the option to create a new album. Advice?


@Jim_Austin Strictly, they are probably being treated as separate performances. Which album is it?

There are a whole class of these albums which arise from bad metadata from one of our providers. We’re planning to fix these en masse.

1 Like

It’s an Andante historical compilation, Robert Schumann, Piano Works by Various Artists. This is Disc 1 of a 4-disc set. I don’t remember how much work I did on the metadata before importing it last winter, but it went into Roon quite nicely, preserved as a 4-disc set.

Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this mixed up a lot of places, and in fact you could say it’s a valid choice to treat each work as a separate performance, because the work has a complicated publication history and is often recorded in different forms. But whenever it’s recorded or performed, it’s definitely considered a work unto itself. If a single composition takes several forms, can Roon still deal with that?

After Schumann’s death, Brahms republished the work adding back several variations that Schumann himself had excluded, and somehow there are now a bunch of variations that were added back posthumously. These variations are often played, but at various positions within the work. The Andante set even has different names for the work, intermingling them on the CD: So, track 17 is “Symphonic Etudes ‘Etudes in the form of variations’ for piano 2 versions, Op. 13: Etude No. 1”, and track 18 is “Symphonic Etudes in Variation Form (5), for piano (variants & corrections of Op. 13), WoO 6: Variation No. 1” and so on. It’s often performed this way, but with variations.

So it’s a very confusing work; I had forgotten how confusing it is.


That’s one of the few Andante boxes I don’t have…

Most of the others have perfect metadata, but the Debussy Pelleas box is catastrophic… The contents are several performances one after the other, and Rovi has made them one garbled performance with several conductors, several soloists for each role. Chaos… Can’t be edited away, sadly. Just too much!

1 Like

I’ve verified that my above suggestion is exactly what’s happening with the Etudes. We should be able to fix this (in bulk) with all of the other similar classical works which have been given different performances for each part.

However, as soon as we do this, there will be probably be cases where Rovi “had it right”. It’s a difficult one!


I am having similar issues with Gustav Leonhardt performances of the J.S. Bach “Well-Tempered Clavier BooK I and II” on DHM, where each of the 24 pieces is assigned to an inividual composition. It would make a lot more sense to group them as one composition, like it is done for the two Angela Hewitt versions of this work on Hyperion.

When faced with such difficulties about compositions in Roon, is our only choice to wait, and for how long, for the metadata providers (Rovi, Allmusic, etc) to fix their data ? Could’nt there be a way to locally define in Roon a composition and assign tracks to it ? I tried unidentifying an album and defining the composition name through the WORK tag, unfortunately to no avail. This just does not work! Not being able to locally fix such a basic issue with classical music is somewhat desperating, considering that you know how the composition should be named, and what tracks should be assigned to it.

In its present state, Roon desperatly lacks a functional composition editor at the album level. You currently can group tracks and create a new album out of them. Unless I miss something important here, it should be possible to proceed similarly to define compositions. I hope this is on the to-do list for the next version.

Any comment will of course be appreciated!



Personally it makes much more sense to me for the WTC to be cut into the 48 preludes and fugues. It makes it easier to find what I want to listen to, and possible to compare performances simply from the work details page of each Prelude and Fugue. YMMV, as it obviously does! :slight_smile:

The only solution IMO is that Roon has to understand that the whole WTC and the 48 preludes and fugues separately are the same thing, and allow us to view the work in both ways as we wish. I can’t imagine this structure would be possible without some curating, but Roon has so far refused to become a metadata provider, which is what this would entail. I think Roon needs more ambition in this respect - but probably also need to grow before that will be realistically achievable.

As for creating compositions, if you back out of the automatic identification, Roon will create compositions according to your track names. This even works with tracks grouped into multi-movement works. It’s really fiddly though, and sometimes a bit unpredictable. You can then select “View Composition” and edit the resulting composition further (date etc).

As for creating compositions, if you back out of the automatic identification, Roon will create compositions according to your track names. This even works with tracks grouped into multi-movement works. It’s really fiddly though, and sometimes a bit unpredictable. You can then select “View Composition” and edit the resulting composition further (date etc).

@Ludwig You are correct that it is unpredictable at times. Roon 1.3 is supposed to consider WORK and PART tags in order to group composition but in many cases it fails. I have mentioned this is another thread (no idea how to link it here…) and I will provide @joel with some more information on it.

But even with un-identified albums Roon is trying to apply some magic to the works by identifying them. This often leads to a strange mix of tag based works and Roon works within a given unidentified album.

I’m not sure whether I like that, because it will bring inconsistency and it takes away control from me,

@joel @Ludwig @Klaus_Kammerer1 Thanks for your comments. Like you, I did found problems with the use of the WORK/PART tags on unidentified albums. I decided to spend some time experimenting with the album you referend to in your post (Podger L’Estro Armonico on Channel Classics). I downloaded a DSD version from NativeDSD and identified the album. First three compositions are seen as follows

I was surprised to see the differences in the identifications of the RV 549 composition : german in your case, english in mine. Composition RV 578 however is identified similarly both for you and me.

I then unidentified the album in Roon, and tagged the compositions by setting WORK to the exact same contents as what was shown for the identified album, and setting PART to 1, 2 ,3 on the respective 3 movements of each composition. Now Roon shows the following

Surprise! Note how Roon has become utterly confused with the composition names. We should see the sequence “RV 549”, “RV 578”,“RV 310”. But we rather see sequence “RV 567”, “RV 567” (repeated a second time), “RV 510”. … messed up until the end.

I then tried to assign the album to a composer unknown by Roon, namely “Vivaldi” instead of “Antonio Vivaldi”. After modifying the composer tag accordingly, Roon now shows this

Everything is now in order ! The compositions are correctly named as set by the WORK tags : “RV 549”, “RV 578”, “RV 510”, etc

This clearly indicates that Roon behaves erraticaly about the WORK tags used on unidentified albums. I feel that Roon inherits metadata for a composition by a known composer (either form a different performance of that composition previously loaded in your library or a previous idenification process), and refuses to forget about them even after unidentifying an album… Those metadata appear to become sticky. Assigning the composition to a totally new composer appears to force Roon to clear is memory from those “sticky” associations.

I really hope a cure can be found for this important issue.

Hi @Andre_Gosselin

thanks a lot for your research. There is a simple reason why one of the composition names are in german in my example: I have maintained the WORK tag in german and Roon seems to first pick the WORK tag and then obviously tries to match to an existing record for the composer.
So when you change the composer this match can’t happen.

At least that’s my explanation for it. Having said that, I think that there is a little bit too much “wizardry” at work here and I’m not sure it’s for the best.

I do understand the strategy behind it, but I also beg the Roon team to understand the position of users who have groomed their collection with custom tags and now come into an environment where the system applies its own rules… For my collection of about 8000 albums, a quarter is not identified. But all albums have WORK, PART and COMPOSER tags properly maintained. Since it’s not possible to switch off Roons identification algorithm I end up with data inconsistencies I did not have before. And even with un-identified albums I’m ending with a mix of my tags vs. Roons.

I know that you can do composition merging, but honestly: why should I do that for more than a quarter of my collection (considering that even the identified albums will have some errors) if I have already spent years to maintain my tags???
Why not give the user the freedom to decide like with the preference of album tags and others? I’d really like to set “prefer file” for WORK and PART and switch off the magic. Let the users who want it or buy into Roon for exactly this reason have it but give us some control about it.

Additionally the whole Roon metadata environment is based on the assumption that we are all english speaking and reading… Maybe I’d prefer to have my artist biographies and work descriptions in german, french or spanish? Now I have a strange mix of my german tags together with english ones that I often not like :).

Thanks for thinking about it!


Pardon me - I am new to Roon, and as part of my eval, am working through my library.

I’ve run into this problem too. Certain albums seem to resist grouping tracks into compositions. My first inclination was to select the relevant tracks and look for an action to “create composition.” Why isn’t this the obvious answer, and why is it not implemented? What am I missing?

This question aside, I then tried to massage my tags. I went into MP3Tag, selected these tracks, and renamed the Title tag to :

But now a basic question. How do I get Roon to reevaaluate these tags? I went into the metadata preferences for the album and selected “Prefer file” for everything. I then went to the Album Options and hit the Re-scan album buttom.

No change, nada, zip.

Please help!

But here again - why isn’t there a manual option to override this silliness by selecting the offending tracks, and creating a user-defined composition. Problem solved!

Again - what am I missing?


I got it working eventually using the Composition: Movement syntax in the Title tag.

But I still feel this is missing functionality in the UI. Give me a way to select a bunch of tracks and in the edit menu, a way to create a composition. Done and dusted.

You guys (Roon) DO know that your vaunted metadata provider (Rovi?) is not perfect, right?



that’s what I also observed: WORK and PART tags are often not considered unless I copy the WORK-PART combination to the TITLE tag.

Hi, @joel,

Has there been any progress on bulk updating these ungrouped compositions with the meta data suppliers? I have another example of the OP’s Schumann Etudes not grouping. It is a 4CD Géza Anda set from Membran Music (3rd CD).

But I have many other examples of ungrouped compositions. Sometimes I seem to be able to force a grouping by editing the track title to match another version that did group. But it is not consistent. Sometimes I can force a grouping by un-identifying and using WORK/PART. But this is usually not practical with a Box-Set as un-identifying can often break the tags that were working and make it necessary to re-tag the entire Box-Set.

I understand that the Etudes are a particularly awkward example but would appreciate an update on grouping in general.

Thanks / Tony

I have run into similar problems with Norrington’s recording of Bruckner 3 with the London Classical Players. The album doesn’t have an associated composition, and I can’t seem to get the individual track to group correctly into a composition.

Any further thoughts on how to manually do this? Is it even possible?

Assuming you own a local copy (CD or download) of the Norrington album, you could set COMPOSITION/MOVEMENT tags on the composition tracks using a tag editor like Mp3tag, not forgetting also to set “Composition/Part Grouping” to “Prefer File” in the Album “Metadata Preferences”. This is working fine for me. If you are working with a “cloud” copy (eg Tidal), I am afraid I have no immediate solution …

Hope this helps. Please keep meinformed.

Be gentle with me I am just starting …

I have just imported my library and am find all sorts of anomalous compositions.

In my previous system, I went to a lot of effort to add a Custom Tag for composition , i.e. A complete Sonata , A complete Symphony etc.

I used MusiCHI tagger to help populate that .(a Princely 20 Euros)

I have 2 comments really ,

  1. allow custom Tags to be imported and select to override the Roon data like some of the other Metadata, Prefer File etc.

  2. Have a chat with MusiCHI they have a very comprehensive database of works with dates . ( I think I have seen this mentioned before)

They can construct say Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C Minor Op. xx (yyyy) , in my 40K classical tracks very few fooled it ! , mostly obscure composers.

This may well be a better source of classical data than the normal channels which have been traditionally far more interested in pop , rock & jazz etc.

Phillipe at MusiCHI has some very good ideas and is well worth a chat.


Sorry one last comment

It seems that the design of Roon was not aimed at being a “mass Tagging” program and that most metedata should come from Roon sources.

My library was tagged using JRiver MC which has very comprehensive tagging. For example you can see all the files in a datagrid for a specific file location and adjust tags en mass.

I am not suggesting that Roon follows suit but that Roon allows the import of pre tagged data in some mass way , global import settings somehow ?

There are many good tagging programs about , MusiCHI Tagger, Tag & Rename to name 2 so reinventing the wheel is daft , but I believe Roon needs some way of bulk correcting stuff that has been imported wrongly


Just a thought does Composition map to tag WORK on import

I have tag Work but not fully populated, I changed my mind and called it Composition it seemed more logical

It might explain why some work and others don’t