Searching the classical repertoire

to be fair (and something may be lost in translation) i don’t think folder list is what he’s asking for. What i’d like, and what @R_H_Maasdam is looking for is a way to conduct a drill down search for classical. Arkivmusic offers this, built on the system that powered the old musicblvd and cdnow.

a typical search/browse would look like:
Classical Genre (aka Style)–>Composer/Performer–>Work/Composer–>Work/Performance

this should be easy to do with the data Roon has access to, and if not, there are other metadata sources who can provide this. i built a classical download store with exactly this model…

…in 2003. time for roon to understand how classical aficionados search for content.

I read the request similar to woodford’s take.

I get that classical music purchases/streams are in the range of 2% these days, but it would be incredibly cool to easily do something like:

> lied
> symphonies > 9th symphony > Abbado
> other

without having to build a query (focus). It would facilitate easy classical exploration in a way that is too high friction at this time for at least some (many?) of us.

The backend hierarchies to allow this could even be crowd sourced with volunteer arbitrators of truth.

Hi @woodford, @Akimo,

Fair enough … as you say there could be a element of lost in translation here … and I’ve misunderstood the request.

Let’s see if the OP can further clarify.

Sorry for the delay. But there were problems in my connection with the community.

First of all to all serious responders: Thank you for your attention and for your thinking along with me.
I appreciate your efforts.
Following your reasonings I now realize that my request includes 2 issues.
A search option and a scroll option. (But both options are solved with the same map-list structure).

1 The search option.
The preference for a search system in the classical repertoire is along the parameters: Composer / Work / Artist.
The problem in the Roon system is that it is not capable to distinguish from the metadata who is the composer (the nr 1 in the correct ranking), the opus, the nr 2 etc.
I give a example. The “cantatas of Bach played by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra led by Ton Koopman” (in total 210 opusnrs a 0,5 hr resulting in dozens of CD’s).
I imported them in Roon. I hoped to find them in the Roon section “Albums” all together in a certain order.
Not at all. They were classified in different ways. Some under the B of Bach, others under the A of A’dam Baroque, more under the K of Koopman and finally a few under the nickname of the cantata.
Other possibilities found but less frequent are: under the J (J.S. Bach), under the T (Ton Koopman).
I do not know why. That’s the reason that I cannot anticipate.
The result is a complete reshuffle of the collection on the moment of import in Roon.
Yes, I can sticker, I can tag, choose favorites etc. but - excuse me - I am not looking for all that extra work. Reason for me to conclude that the metadata in the genre classical music are useless for a correct ranking in the search function.
But to me as homo sapiens it is no problem at all. When I import the recordings in my collection I give the recording a name with the correct indications resulting in a usuable classical list.
A few seconds of work. Fast scrolling and selecting is possible.
This is the first advantage of using the map-list system.

2 The scroll option.
What is the usual method that people use when looking to and choosing from a music collection?
Sometimes I exactly know what I want to hear. Simple. I search and play.
Maybe that I am the exception but for me this is not the usual situation.
Most of the time I do not know immediatly what I am going to listen to. In the case of chosing a CD I just walk to my cd cabinets and I look at the rows of cd’s and make my choice.
Maybe 10 seconds , maybe more but that’s it.
Now go to the domain of the digital stored recordings. Such action is impossible in Roon. My Roon screen on PC produces a screen with 21 covers while my telephonescreen is restricted to 4 covers.
I need the map-list option to come to equal level with the physical CD search that I was/am used to.
Scrolling in a map-list situation is even on a phone a fast process.
In Roon the scrolling is done in the section “Albums”. The pictures are nice to look at but only useful when you have plenty of time.

Summary and a proposition.
First of all: Roon has a real added value. Reliable, stable and a source of valuable information.
Furthermore I think that in most cases the Roon "Album"option can be excellent for the sections Popular and Jazz. So let it be. Do not change a winning horse.
In the section Classical things are different. I fear the moment that I import a collection of classical recordings in the system.
They can appear on every place between the first and the last item in my Roon collection.
In case of 1 object no problem but for a substancial collection a sort of disaster. The use of metadata does not provide the direct solution for quick searching and scrolling.
It is the reason that several of my music-friends admire the Roon system but do not want to use it.
A solution that could satisfy both parties could be to offer an additional choice in the sector Settings.
A new item named “Map-list”.
In that case it does not put aside the present status of the Roon system but it provides a solution for all requests for such a system + a solution that the lovers of classical music can live with.
By the way. Nothing new. It is no more than the usual system in Linux, Windows, Apple, Lumin, Oppo, Mytek, MSB, M Control, Bubble …etc.etc. Alphabetical and numerical ranking is basic PC stuff.
In the map-list setting there is no continuity. It follows the selected stick/ SSD immediatly. OK for me.
If this map-list option is not wanted there is always the album choice.
The result would be the best of 2 worlds in 1 system. Roon would be the only system in the world with such a luxury!!
I saw in previous responses that the classical clientele is only 2%. That is low but I know of several classic lovers who rejected Roon for its chaos in the classical genre.
In addition the classical group may be small but it is a sector with money and the willingness to invest in High Quality audio products… (“OK, just add that thing… Nucleus to my HiFi purchase”).
I hope that I can convince Roon. I hope that programmatic problems do not throw a spanner in the works.

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I assume you consider my reply as one of the non serious ones :grinning:

I have been using Roon for 3 years and i too have been frustrated by the mess that is classical metadata hence my comment

In my 3 years there has been no significant change in how Roon handles classical

The composer view needs an album view as well as Compostion, it needs additive searches eg Beethoven Then Concertos etc if you try that search you get Beethoven then ALL the Concertos in your library

Focus does a lot but bookmarks simply get bogged down if uou try to save your search criteria

There is a need for Box Set management , not only for classical, with the ability to add individual Disc Names and Art

Its a major undertaking for 2% of users

I didnt mean to be flippant , simply honest , we have asked many times and it falls on deaf ears …


I have also been struggling with classical metadata and its handling for a long time. Maybe someone from Roon could chime in on this issue.
The standard response in the past was “we rely on Tivo / Rovi / allmusic for our metadata and there is nothing we can do about it”. That’s where I think Roon is morally wrong. Roon is the “general contractor” of sorts. Roon have chosen Tivo / Rovi / allmusic and promised us a great browsing experience. It is Roon’s responsibility to get their subcontractors up to speed. After all Roon are charging for their service. And a substantial sum too.
With Valance and Co you must be able to do better than this.

Why do I think there will be a resounding silence from Roon

They have studiously avoided the issue so far , why change the habits now …

It seems like there are three business viable approaches:

  1. roon hires an enormous curation staff, and has to raise their prices wildly, thereby going out of business for a very small listener group. I’d vote against this approach.

  2. roon builds a crowd sourcing architecture, and trains a significant group of volunteers as to developing and then applying a group of consensus standards. This would be a huge undertaking for a small company, and would require a raise in costs, or a deferment on all other planned functionality/UI enhancements for a significant period of time.

  3. We in the roon-using, classical-listening community work toward developing those standards ourselves. The next step would be the creation of a front end/back end, data entry, management, and export system that could (with roon’s specified data model) be imported into a roon update with this as a major (i.e. non-trivial for them to develop) update.

There are probably other approaches that I haven’t thought of, but we all need to be aware that this isn’t a finger snapping, easy thing to do.

Remember, at least 10’s of millions of albums (if we could ever even agree as to what a “classical” album is).

As a classical listener, I’d love to see something happen, but let’s not kid ourselves about the incredible difficulty of this. If it were easy, or even slightly profitable it would be done.

Can we even agree on Schubert symphony number? No chance.

That complete Box-Set is 67 CDs. Unfortunately, it is exactly the sort of large Classical box set that roon handles very badly. The thing is that even if roon had pefect meta-data, roon’s GUI on a box set of that size is essentially un-navigable anyway.

In this specific case, you will have more luck importing the individual volumes (22 I think). Roon seems to do a very good job with the random number of volumes I have tried adding to library from Qobuz with only 2 to 5 albums each. To be honest this is a case where you are better off importing the individual volumes (with individual artwork) and collecting them together for display purposes with a user-defined (green) tag.

I share your frustration with roon’s handling of Classical and wish thing’s were better as well. I am seeing signs of a significant improvement recently in the way in which roon is handling Qobuz Classical imports. Is anyone else seeing this? Since I got a Qobuz streaming subscription I purchase or download very few Classical CDs (just specialist labels really where I am not expecting much) so I cannot really compare if these improvements in streaming metadata handling I am seeing are translating into CD rips as well.

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Can’t comment , Qobuz hasn’t ventured to the Colonies yet , I think they may be scared of the Equator


It was more, if you have noticed an improvement with any very recent CD rips. When I say recent I mean a few days, week. I haven’t bought or downloaded a CD that wasn’t on some niche label in a while (Pristine Audio comes to mind).

I’ve got a whole stash of stuff I never got round to importing into roon precisely because I had more or less given up because there was too much tagging involved and it was easier to find stuff in Windows explorer. But I’m encouraged with some recent additions to library from Qobuz that I thought were going to be a complete mess. I’ll test my stash and report back. I hope it isn’t expectation bias. I just have a feeling roon has flown something in under cloud cover and wondered if anyone else has noticed.

I have only 30 or so out of my 5500 albums not ID’ed but they are mainly mainstream labels, DG Decca Sony etc

But I assume that took you a while? A lot of re-tagging to make them roon friendly. That was my case so I never finished the migration. Too much work. Now I am getting matches and much more complete and accurate meta-data with no edits at all.

The thing that is noticable about Qobuz imports is that at the beginning it was quite bad. Mainstream labels, didn’t matter. Litterally, in the last few days that has changed. A striking example are those “part” tracks with a dozen sub-parts. You know the ones I mean. I certainly cannot be bothered to manually tag those but now roon is finding them:

I assume roon is using the same matching logic for rips, downloads and streams so this should all be filtering through to local libraries as well. What I am finding with Qobuz is that I am occasionally getting a bad one but mostly now the meta-data is there and I am making a few cosmetic changes which is just a formatting preference really. It’s probably still patchy with boxes but I’ve seen enough to be encouraged.

My library was fairly well tagged before Roon, I had done the major Composer compositions with the help of MusiCHI tagger , I still can’t decide if adding Movement is an advantage but again with MusiCHI Tagger its quite simple to split off the RHS of a Colon or Hyphen which normally leaves just a bit of tidying up . The big issue is a lack of standards for Composition format. MusiCHI uses a different one than AllMusic and a different one gain from MusicBrainz. I use SongKong as well but big boxes are normally a mess. It fine for rock and discrete albums but often tries to split off “albums within Boxes” which scrambles everything.

My big boxes live in JRiver and any Albums that can be split out as IDable Albums are in Roon. Far from ideal but it works mostly.

The big reason is I Am Retired , curation with Beethoven accompaniment , it is very time consuming hence why Roon BUT when Roon fails me its doubly frustrating . Big Boxes still irritates hence why I keep JRiver alive along with the tag editing part as well

I found that except for solo disks I had to re-tag almost everything. Tried a few of the auto-taggers but couldn’t figure out how to use them. I guess I wasn’t the target market. So, eventually I just gave up. I’ll try importing a few I didn’t get around to and see how roon gets on now.

Try MusiCHI tagger its 20 Euro handly bank breaking , the Text Processing bit is really quite excellent even down to numbering Movements I II , III etc

I actually have licences for MusiCHI and SongKong. But I never use them, couldn’t really figure out how. Every now and then with a difficult disk I give them a go but always give up.

DSPs have, on average ~50 tracks, or roughly 5 million albums, total. a fraction of those are classical. if i had to guess, I’d say 100k-250k are classical, of all periods.

MusiCHI seems difficult to track down and not very professional in their presentation—I ran in to a possible version by the supposed creator but one link to an exe file is dropbox while the second link they provided was from a different cloud server. The reviews from a few years ago sound good and they added support for ALAC, but it is still PC only to use the software suite.

Has anyone used other classical tagging software?


Sorry, but I’m not sure what DSP stands for in this context.