Unused Discovery Potential - The Composition Browser

There have been lots of discussions on this forum about the value of Roon for music discovery. Mostly in regard to Valence and its benefits when using a streaming service.

I am using Roon with a local library only and therefore I need to base my discovery activities on Roons library views. I’m convinced that I could do lots of discoveries within my library, without the need for a streaming service. My library is failry big…

The other day I was listening to Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.2 and I was surprised that it was composed as early as 1839. I would have put it into the second half of the 19th century.

The Composition “Homepage” shows this detail information, but I can’t use this page for discovery purposes.

What I’d like to discover would be maybe compositions from other composers that are from the same period - around 1839. I cannot click on the year.

I also cannot click on the Period “Romantic” or on the Form “Concerto”

Maybe that’s not the correct place for starting my discovery…

I’m changing to the composition browser:

This should be the right place. I’d like to start with focusing on the year of Liszt’s Concerto.

No Date to focus on.

Maybe you can use the funnel filter:

oops… But I can sort on the date. So let’s sort and scroll, how long could it take scrolling though 18K compositions… Thank God I do not need to scroll through all of them, since not all compositions metadata has a “composed” date.

Now that’s cool: Schumann’s Faschingsschwank aus Wien" was composed at the same time. let’s listen to it…

If this sounds sarcastic to you it is not by accident. I find it quite disappointing that these kind of simple discoveries are so complicated to accomplish. Unless, of course, I’m missing a workaround or some hidden features that would allow me to do it. I had to learn that lots of good features in Roon are quite hidden…

Just as an additional note: if I filter on the period “Romantic”, I get compositions from Haydn (1770s) through early Shostakovitch (1940s). That’s more than 150 years, which is not suitable at all to discover classical music of a similar style.

There is so much potential here. It’s such a shame that it is not properly used. I wouldn’t even need AI in order to use it.


Posts removed as being off topic because of a misunderstanding of the OP.

@Klaus_Kammerer1 thanks for picking that up. I fully agree that the Composition Browser contains “theoretically” a lot of information that could be exploited for various analysis and yield significantly more useful results than stupid Valance with her meaningless “Rankings” of Composers / Compositions into “Top!”, less “Top” and more “Top”.

Unfortunately the current situation in 1.8 is, that - just like many other aspects of library management - this feature has seen some serious degradation compared to Roon 1.7.

An example: In 1.7 I could mass-edit 60 or 100 compositions at once if I saw that the period or form was wrong. This possibility no longer exists. You now have to pick each composition individually and edit it. Something extremely tedious and not really feasable with 15.000 compositions in the library.

This now opens a few questions:

  • Why was this taken off?
  • Just another sloppy QA goofy?
  • Or was it taken off on purpose?
  • And of so, what is the purprse behind it being eradicated?

Once we have this back and can correct errors by the metadata providers, it would indeed be very interesting and potentially enlightening to compare compositions written in the 1910’s in the “Modern” style with those written in the same decade in “Post-Romantic” style. Just as an example.

This would tell me more than knowing I have 180 composers from Germany and 5 from Brazil… I could have pretty much guessed that before.

1 Like

That’s really weird. I did not know that this was possible in 1.7.

As a rule, I do not maintain anything in Roon that can’t be set up via File Tags. My files and their tags are mine and can be read by almost any tagging software. I do not want to put the effort into anything that will go away if I’d ever want to quit Roon.
For the time being, I will not maintain anything in Roon unless necessary. I hate it already that Roon forces me to edit primary artists because it is already adding them in a non-reproducible manner. It forces me to check all imported files for misattributions of primary artists (like composer or performers I do not want to see as primary artists)

Yes, I corrected a fair amount of compositions that way, whenever I noticed something odd. Most of Dietrich Buxtehude Roon had classified as „Romantic“ instead of „Baroque“, just as example. But with this feature now gone, such mass corrections are no longer possible.

I was assuming one day we would be able to use these in a meaningful way. I was obviously wrong…

Truly, classifications like ‘romantic’ and ‘baroque’ are so broad as to be unusable for serious exploration. The ‘romantic’ period does, indeed, extend from around 1790 to about 1920 or even a bit later, encompassing what historians sometimes call ‘the long nineteenth century’ - from the enlightenment to the end of World War 1.
I have found it very helpful to explore this period with the help of two or three good biographies - for example, Jan Swafford’s on Beethoven and Alan Walker’s on Franz Liszt. Both of these books are masterpieces of the biography genre - immensely readable from an historical and musical perspective as well as regarding the lives of the subjects. As works are mentioned (often by musicians who were predecessors or contemporaries) I look them up on Roon. Combined with a Qobuz subscription, Roon does an amazing job of finding the most obscure pieces.

1 Like

you are right, and that’s also the reason I would love to focus based on composition date, beacsue I may want to look at the first half of the 19th century.
On top of that, if Roon Radio, for example, only relies on the period then I could get a mix of early Beethoven with early Schoenberg.

I sympathise with your wish to narrow down by date. I do think, though, it is much richer to understand the relationships between the composers and the development of their respective works. Often, the date when known is not the date of composition but, perhaps, of first public performance or first publication of the score. A decade either way.

1 Like

I agree, but for this you do not need Roon. That would be using your approach via Composer Biographies or other books. What I was focusing my thoughts on was how to use the data available in the best way.