Roon´s handling of classical composers vs. non-classical

In the thread about roon requiring some work for tagging and identifying we had a pretty interesting discussion about composers and how to make a ´composed by´ list of albums appear for a particular composer:

Am I getting it right that the ´Composed by´ section is solely displayed for classical composers? So if I want to see it on a composer´s main page I must edit his or her profile to being a classical composer?

I gave it a try and turned Leonard Cohen as well as Miles Davis into classical composers too (to all musicology professors: forgive me!), and I kind of liked that hack of a feature.

Some questions were arising

  • how is roon pre-defining who is classical or not? (e.g. Wilhelm Furtwängler is a classical composer, Jordi Savall is not; Michael Tilson-Thomas is classical, John Williams not)
  • which implications and changes come with being listed as a classical composer instead of a non-classical?

Naturally, the moment you define Miles Davis and Leonard Cohen as Classical, they will appear in the composers list for Classical composers only and their compositions will appear if you filter ´classical compositions only´ which is making these filters basically useless.

Are there any other unwanted consequences? I had some cases in the past that albums were disappearing from a composer´s main page under ´Composed by´ the moment he or she is both composer and primary artist but not reappearing under ´Main albums´.

In general I have to say I love roon´s features of assigning compositions to composers and recordings to compositions. It has become a serious tool from the point of musicology and it is great to discover works of composers you know. Only pain point in my understanding is the quality of metadata when it comes to compositions. I know that roon is not to blame for that but I would love to see it working with Tidal and Qobuz the same way it works with my local library which has tags optimized for use with roon.

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AFAIK, the “Composed by” section appears in a composer’s Discography for “Classical” composers only.

And, IMO, I would want “Composed by” to be present for all composers - “Classical” or not - for albums that are present in my library that contain pieces by the composer in question.

For albums in my library where the composer is a performer as well, then the albums are displayed in the “Main albums” section, and don’t need to be (and are not) repeated in the “Composed by” section.

I’ve raised this design quirk with the Roon Labs QA Team - I will see what they say…


I thought so, too, but funnily some non-classical composers seem to be granted that feature, like Nino Rota or Henry Mancini while Ennio Morricone has no such list:

Absolutely support this idea, the feature is great. Although I am not quite sure what the implications would be.

Certainly true, but in some cases there is no ´main albums´ section for a classical composer so the album disappears completely.

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Well, yes, if the Classical composer has never performed in a recording… So I wouldn’t expect Beethoven to have a “Main albums” section, only a “Composed by” section.

And for dead composers who do happen to have made recordings (even if they were piano rolls originally) then they should be given a “Main albums” section, e.g. Mahler, but alas, in this case even though he is credited as a “Primary artist”, this album does not get shown - neither in a “Main albums” section nor the “Composed by” section or indeed in the “From my library” section in the Composer Overview… Oops.

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Ah - the plot thickens! Never noticed that, and I have Nino Rota albums in my library…

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That was exactly my issue with Sergey Rachmaninoff. His Welté-Mignon album is appearing in the album overview when focussing on his compositions:

But his composer´s main page does neither show it under ´composed by´ nor offering a ´main albums´ or ´appearances´ list (and yes the main artist entry simply called ´Rachmaninov´ is the correct one in this case´:

I would personally love to see a ´composed by´ section for every single composer (even non-classical) as well as a ´main albums´ or ´appearances´ for every classical composer (if there is at least one album to be listed).

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How is that useful? The vast majority of non-classical works is pop-rock where albums often (mostly?) do have several composers (sometimes even per track). The only thing that makes broad sense when it comes down to compositions is showing the connected compositions. I can see how showing albums for composers might be useful for a (possibly major) subset of classical albums and composers, and here this means classical composers in a narrow sense of people long dead before music recording got invented (note: none of my classical albums has one composer only, they are all “Various Composers” classical albums) to get a good coverage for this view but I fail to see how this could be useful for pop-rock. This all seems to be compromise between actual data coverage, value (albums that have a single composer throughout) and noise (albums that don’t). Personally I think the current implantation strikes a good balance/compromise here.

I dunno, but I would probably like to see all Albums that have compositions from my favorite Pop/Rock composers, because not all of them are recorded by their main bands.

E.g., to use a common example, would it not be good to be able to see all albums containing cover versions of songs composed by Bob Dylan?


So you found a single edge-case where a pop-rock album might qualify to show up there. I still fail to see what relevance this could have for the vast majority of albums. Between what’s already shown there and what will never show there, those additions would hardly make a difference at all in the great sum.

This kind of albums count as examples of what I would call a tribute album for an artist (in your example a composer but could also be a lyricist, conductor, producer, band, …). I think I already voiced in the past somewhere here on the forum that I would rather like to see such albums getting their own category and/or a way to easily find them via focus. Especially as in this case we talk about an actual album (property) instead of previously in this thread abut composers.

This is not to say I’m against new features in Roon. If the next version of Roon has that change, I wont create a feature request to remove it. But as this is a Roon Software Discussion I joined in sharing my thoughts.

No, I chose one well known artist because it needs no further explanation. Few people would have known what I am talking about if I had chosen, say, Howe Gelb or Brill Building composers, for instance.

One of Roon‘s major selling points, according to the marketing at least, and one of my most-liked features (when it works) is the ability to show recordings of a composition, i.e., cover versions in Pop/Rock.

Seeing this from the composer’s POV is just a different view into the same data, and just as valid.

Some people are interested in this even if you aren’t.

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Which is what the compositions tab is meant for. Here you get that access. No need to think about Albums (that you can still identify if you know your album covers) and works even for a single composition on a compilation somewhere. No need for anything new for that feature.

I have a lot of Jazz classics, soundtracks, musicals and classic songs composed in the 1920-1950 era in my library. Composers like Miles Davis, Ennio Morricone, Herbie Hancock I would love to see the ´composed by´ overview just as I see it from Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington or Henry Mancini. Their works have been recorded by so many different artists that I would personally treat them all as classical composers. Same is true to some pop/rock composer giants like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and John Lennon.

Yes, I could use their composition list and search for recordings of a particular song. But somehow I like the overview of the composer´s main page combined with covers.

I have a lot of classical composers who are either still alive or did a significant number of recordings. Think of Benjamin Britten, Carl Orff, Leonard Bernstein, Philip Glass to name just a few. Roon is treating their recordings just as any other´s album who was both composing and conducting or playing.

I agree that for the majority of modern pop/rock composers there might be no need for such an option. But for Jazz/soundtrack/classic pop composers mentioned above I think it is. I do not quite understand what is defining whether a composer gets his ´composed by´ list or not.

I think there are actually a lot of such cases, I have hundreds in my composer overview. Think of Leonard Cohen, John Lennon, Jacques Brel, Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers… just naming a few from the first pages of my composers list.


I thought the discussion was about non-classical composers not showing their compositions on the composer page.

Sure, there are more convoluted ways to unearth the info. Doesn’t mean that this one should be verboten

The composer page (for classical as well as non-classical composers) for me has two tabs one is labeled Overview, the other Compositions.

It should have 3 tabs, Discography as well , at least Beethoven does ?

Well Geoff said this and as I am not at home to check, I was going by this:

I’ll shut up and sit back until it’s worked out what the thread is about :slight_smile:

I do understand that you and some select others have a (strong) use case for that. My point is that most don’t and implementing such a change may even make browsing/finding stuff harder for all of them.

For non-classical composer those other albums you would like to see are listed for most cases already in other categories (no double listing for albums in Roon) instead (compilations, appearances or even main albums). You only get the composer related sub-set of tribute albums or albums where the album composer is not also listed as album artist, a case hardly ever seen outside those very popular some of whom you already mentioned, composers listed under composed by. At least that is what I can deduct from inspecting my library. You may get more composed by albums for non-classical (pure) composers though (people without performance credits).

The discography is either an additional tab to, or a replacement for, the overview tab for people with active streaming content. It has the same listing categories and rules applied though as overview for people without active streaming subscriptions.

It sounds as though you don’t subscribe to a streaming service. The discography tab is only present on both the Artist and Composer pages when logged into a streaming service.

And the issue is that some albums (containing pieces by a specified composer) will only be displayed in the Album browser. They are not accessible on the composer’s page under either the Overview or Discography tags unless it’s a “classical” composer. To add salt to the wound, there are exceptions, such as Nino Rota shown above, but what makes them exceptions, I have no idea…

For most “modern” composers a library album containing a piece composed by them will not show up on their Composer page. Here’s Yiruma:

Now I make him a “Classical” composer, and voilá, the album containing a piece by him now shows up…

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Which is what I already wrote. I also wrote:

It has the same listing categories and rules applied though as overview for people without active streaming subscriptions.

But because of the large library count from streaming services, and the fact that the Composed by category is listed first, she may take away some screen space in case of usual pop-rock libraries without providing benefit, if non-classical composer get flagged as classical (on a per user base, so no one else is affected) or in general. Depending on the details of Roon’s algorithm we can only speculate about, we may even loose information performer credits related information/sorting in categories in favor of composer related information/sorting. Usually not what people are looking for. Note: The Artist and Composer views are basically the same, the difference is the pre-selected subset off all people entries in Roon’s DB.