Question from a classical music philistine re browsing/discovery using Instrumentation in Roon

My journey to appreciating classical music has not been one of discovering composers or particular compositions, but rather from focusing more on instruments I enjoy, which has in turn led to discovering performers I enjoy, which has in turn made me more aware of particular compositions and composers whose work I enjoy.

So whilst I guess I’m beginning to approach classical music from both directions, my goto default is still very much performers associated with particular instrumentation e.g. when I think violin, violoncello or cello there are a number of performers that come to mind.

With this in mind where does one go to focus on albums (ya, I know classical isn’t really album oriented in the traditional sense) containing specific instrumentation e.g. if I wanted to find all albums in my library where violoncello is used, is that possible or do I need to remember that Anja Lechner is a favourite of mine and start there.

And if I want to discover great cellist’s in my library can that be done or do I need to resort to lists like the following?

I’m aware of Instrumentation focus in Compositions, that does not give me what I’m looking for or answer the question.

Like in Idagio where you can search by instrument and then even filter down by named performers of that instrument?

Never used Idagio, but that sounds like what I was hoping to be able to do in Roon.

Or Primephonic, they have the same. You can browse by instrument, by period. You can browse orchestras, ensembles and conductors seperate from soloists. In Roon everything gets lumped into „Artists“.

NB: sorry for the multiples, had some connection issue…

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I really like and use Roon’s focus feature and I’d definitely use it in this way to explore classical music if available.

Presumably Idagio are getting the info they use from the same sources as Roon so I’m not sure why these features aren’t available.

I know there are whole threads on here by users who are big Classical experts who have expressed what they’d like from Roon so maybe someone can provide better insights than me.

I’m not aware of any systematic way of currently doing what you want in roon. The experience with a curator-driven interface like Idagio is very different to a (AI?)-driven interface like roon as several have commented.

It is possible to achieve a very similar Idagio experience in roon but to all intents and purposes you are going to have to manually tag everything just like the Idagio curators because roon does not do it for you. I can call up all Cello albums in my library with simple searches, for example. Also several other instrumentations I am interested in. But that is only because I have invested a lot of time tagging album titles with the keyword “Cello” and have a genre tag “Classical/Cello” and other keywords and identifiers.

If you just type Cello in the hourglass without the tagging effort, things will probably turn up but nothing systematic. I don’t really see anything in the roon approach that could automate this very much but I’d like to be proven wrong.

I had no idea Idagio added that information.

Integration of Idagio and/or Primephonic into Roon might be a draw than for classical music listeners?

Yes, Idagio employs an army of PhD educated musicologists to do this. Roon has a very different approach, probably using some kind of machine learning but its just a guess. I don’t really know.

There are several feature requests precisely to integrate with Idagio and Primephonic. But why would they do that? They are not using shareware on-line databases. They have made considerable investments in their own data and frankly they have much superior Classical interfaces. So I cannot really see where the deal is? If I was from a younger generation and did not have the sunk effort in a local library I don’t think I would be using roon, not for Classical anyway.

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I think it would be. Roon could benefit from substantial classical know how that it is currently lacking.

The approach of un-curated metadata (tags) and un-curated selection based on an AI approach that has not sufficiently matured (and is unlikely to so so anytime soon) will not result in a consistant-quality user eperience. imho.

Trying to „work around“ those issues is very time consuming and for someone who wants to start his/her way into the classical genre virtually impossible to achieve.

The curated approach has a huge advantages here.

@tripleCrotchet and me where typing in synch as it looks :grin:

I was thinking if you had an Idagio account than you’d get the benefits of that data within the Roon environment - not that they’d make it available to all users - unless a deal could be done of course. Other benefits of Roon are just as normal. Maybe if classical is important enough fir a person to pay for Idagio they are happy for it to remain a standalone app? I don’t know.

It sounds like an attractive idea but there are periodic reports from roon that they have reached out to this or that streaming partner without result. It is likely to be a mix of technical and commercial obstacles. But you can see that players like Idagio have a fundamentally different business model to roon so that’s an issue straight off the bat.

It reminds me of the early stage of “search” on the internet. Yahoo used curators and others like Atlas used “web-crawlers”. It was only the arrival of google with a step-change in the technology that the “web-crawlers” won that battle. But I think we are a very long way away from a google of music players yet. The entry of Spotify into this niche CD-quality and above market will shake things up though. So difficult to predict how things will go.

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