What constitutes a Composition?

+1, Thanks for getting the conversation going David.

I noticed this most recently when I imported “Ladies and Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies & the Persuasions” . This the current BNL + Pursuasions covering many previous BNL songs. The songs aren’t tied together in compositions with the songs on the original BNL albums.

Roon’s cross-linking and browsing is what sold me on the product. I’d love to see some more sophistication here. :slight_smile:

I have the same observation and the same request as David.
One feature in Roon that I greatly appreciate is the possibility to see, for each track of an album, if I have other versions of these titles in my collection.
But, for identified albums, sometimes Roon doesn’t consider a title as a composition, and so doesn’t indicate whether I have other versions of this title.
When Roon doesn’t identify a title as a composition (and because of that doesn’t merge it to an existing composition of the same title), we should be able to associate this title to the composition manually. Can we expect to see this possibility added in Roon in the future?


Same problem here. Recently added album “Mono Masters” by the Beatles. All of the tracks are on other albums and all of the tracks NOT on this album are listed under Compositions and are grouped properly. None of the tracks on this album are listed as compositions and so are not grouped with the other tracks under Compositions. This was an album that Roon had metadata on.

The problem still exists.
Here’s a screenshot of Stones album 12x5 showing composers for “Under the Boardwalk” but no “go to composition”

I have other Stones’ versions, see screenshot

but I can’t merge them.



1 Like

In case others come across this, it has been identified as a problem. Roon have stated…

Our theory is that it was caused by one of metadata services giving an information which Roon didn’t interpreted 100% correctly. So, now we have an opened ticket for the issue, and I hope our developer team will fix it

In this instance, I associated the album with an alternative and the problem went away.


Is this “opened ticket” still active? It is still a problem after more than a year.

Here is Dusty in Memphis, Tidal album:

Note track 8: nicely identified. 57 other varieties.

Now look further down:

Track 17 is another version of track 8, but the metadata originally supplied no composers so I have manually added them. However, Roon refuses to recognise this as a composition.

As has been noticed by previous people on this thread, this is not an isolated case. I like to identify as many tracks as I can, and am forever tripping up over this: if the metadata only identifies some of the tracks, it is often impossible to turn the remaining ones into compositions. Sometimes re-identifying with a different version helps, but not always, and anyway, I shouldn’t have to resort to that.

Some comfort please @joel?

1 Like

Brian, can you clarify? It looks like we will have to compile our own knowledge base since Roon will not release its recognition logic.

Not getting the “associated” part or the “an alternative” part. Thx.

When identifying, via the three button edit, one can sometimes be presented with alternative versions/editions, e.g.

Some work better than others, but it’s a pain trying them all… I sometimes try the first 2 or 3.

1 Like

Another trick I find that works is to copy the track title into the WORK tag. I don’t know why this would work for a single part composition like a pop song but you can try it. Most of us maintaining classical libraries will have WORK/PART tags already set up in our taggers but I don’t know how common that is for those maintaining primarily pop/rock or jazz albums.

It’s a lot of manual effort to edit title, composer and work tags so I only do this for favorite songs where I like to know where all my covers are. My personal experience is there is a lot of composition level gaps in pop/rock/jazz metadata.

Still a problem for me in the way as described a few posts up (What constitutes a Composition? - #15 by BrianW), in Roon 1.8.

I imported albums (one example: artist: “Neigungsgruppe Sex, Gewalt & gute Laune”, album: “Loss mas bleibm”, also others) that is in German and contains cover versions of well-known English-language songs. The import and initial credit edits were dome with 1.7. Now with 1.8 I proceeded to merge compositions but can only do so for some tracks.

Several tracks are properly recognized as compositions, e.g. there is track #2 “Video Spü” that is a cover of Video Games by Lana Del Rey. I could find “Video Spü” in the Compositions view and merge “Video Spü” into Video Games, so now it has the “cover versions” icon and is properly in the Performances list of Video Games.

However, track #1 is “Foi net um” and is a cover of Nick Cave’s Foi Na Cruz. “Foi net um” does not have a “Go to compositions” in the menu and it is not listed in the Compositions view. Hence I cannot merge it into Foi Na Cruz.

Curiously, neither track had predefined composers in the Roon metadata. I added the composers manually into both of the tracks, but the result is not the same.

FWIW, today I added another German CD with cover versions of popular songs and with poor metadata, “Bourgeois with Guitar” by Kristof Schreuf. The songs had the original English titles but did not have composers in the metadata, and no “Go to composition” in the menus.

To my surprise, the tracks turned into proper compositions when I added composers, and now had a “Go to composition”. Some automatically showed the “other versions” icon. Some did not, and it turned out that this was because I did not have another version of this composition in my library. Once I added one, the “other versions” icon appeared.

One song had a slightly different title, “Keep on rockin in the free world” as opposed to “Rockin in the free world”. This was not found automatically, but could be merged in the Compositions view.

Either something changed for the better in Roon, or I was lucky, or I am starting to understand how this works. Or all of this.

This has been there since at least 1.3. However, you will find that the basics of adding composers and merging versions will not necessarily lead to roon identifying the performance/track as a composition. That is the purpose of this thread. Why is this so hit and miss?

In many genres this feature seems to be of little interest to most roon users. Otherwise there would be many more complaints as the lack of composer metadata is even more prevalent than the lack of artist artwork in roon. There are a lot of gaps. It seems to be enough for most to identify only at the album level and not the composition level. But in other genres (Classical for example) it is very difficult to navigate roon unless the compositions have been identified.

Others, interested in other genres which are organised like Classical with a lot of “covers” are finding similar issues. For example Club/Dance where there may be a lot of “mixes” and the music becomes difficult to navigate without some means of linking performances/tracks at a composition level.

I know. In my past instances, though, adding a composer did not turn the track into a composition if it did not have a “Go to composition” menu entry to begin with. Now it did, for this album at least. I just thought it might be helpful to add the observation.

That’s strange. I don’t recall ever seeing that. A composition link without a “pile of disks” symbol. But TBH I rarely use the “goto composition link” and use the pile of disks symbol as the indicator there is a composition identification, so it is possible I never noticed.

To be clear:

  1. Album imported
  2. No composers in metadata, no “pile of disks”, no “Go to composition” entry in track menu
  3. I added the original composers to the tracks manually
  4. The pile of disks appeared automatically*, and so did the “Go to composition” entry in track menus

That’s why I thought this was remarkable, never saw this before.

* That is, for tracks tracks with the same name as the original and whose original version (or other cover version) was already in the library. For others it appeared when I added the respective album. The one with a slightly different name could be manually merged into the original composition though (in the Compositions overview)

Ah. This is not considered remarkable by many here :slight_smile:. The procedure you describe is exactly what many of us do on a daily basis, even several times a day. The issue is that procedure does not always work and we would like to understand why. There are several similar threads to this going back several years and there has never really been a satisfactory answer. Without identifying and grouping compositions in this way roon adds little value in certain genres like Classical and this is why the question keeps on popping up. In addition to what you describe it is often necessary to drill down further into unique identifying “catalogue” numbers to force roon to identify a composition. For example BWV numbers for Bach or K numbers for Mozart. Unpredictably that will sometimes not work either.

I actually use this feature for other genres than Classical but it is even more hit and miss as Composer metadata from the metadata suppliers is usually much more patchy with other genres than with Classical. It is really a great feature, for example, to make interesting covers playlists of your favorite music from your favorite bands.

Pity :slight_smile: I never saw this, in the previous instances I tried, the adding of the composer never had an effect unless the track automatically had had a “Go to composition” already. So I hoped that something may have improved.

It is quite annoying that it does not work consistently. This feature was one of the things that convinced me to use Roon, but I didn’t know then that it does not work consistently when the metadata is patchy (the common case for non-UK/US music, it seems)


I don’t really know what to suggest. I was also excited by the possibility of covers playlists. I still make the effort now and then to plug holes in my composer metadata here and there. Nothing systematic though. There ae too many gaps. It would be better if composition identification was more predictable though when you do make the effort to plug the gaps.

I know, thanks for educating me. We can only hope.

One thing I forgot to mention, because your description of what you see still puzzles me.

You have got display composers switched on? By default roon will only display composers if you have a “Classical” or “Jazz” genre tag set. Otherwise no. I have that switch set to “always”. You can find it in settings under browsing preferences. Apologies if you have already done this but it may help others who stumble on this thread.