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How to organize and tag classical music
23-09-2014, 18:57
Post: #1
How to organize and tag classical music
I am beginning to put my music on a NAS and am wondering what is the best way to organize it. So far I have put every CD (album) in a seperate folder within a COMPOSER-folder.
What I want however is to search (using Kinsky) as follows:
- composer - composition - performing artist.

I have a lot of compositions in different performances and want to see the several performances in Kinsky with their respective artist, conductor, orchestra to be able to choose the performance I like, e.g.
Mahler - Symfony No. 1 - Haitink, Concertgebouw Orchestra
Mahler - Symfony No. 1 - Chailly, Berliner Philharmoniker
etc.
What is the best way to organize my collection?
Would I need to group every performance or is this done by Minimserver as it is in a seperate folder anyway? If so how do I do that?

I have so far added a tag 'composition' to every file (with exectly the same name for the composition). Kinksy shows sometimes artist, composer or whatever but I cannot see any logic in what is shown.

Any suggestions?
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23-09-2014, 19:19 (This post was last modified: 23-09-2014 19:24 by simoncn.)
Post: #2
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
(23-09-2014 18:57)swdick Wrote:  I am beginning to put my music on a NAS and am wondering what is the best way to organize it. So far I have put every CD (album) in a seperate folder within a COMPOSER-folder.
What I want however is to search (using Kinsky) as follows:
- composer - composition - performing artist.

I have a lot of compositions in different performances and want to see the several performances in Kinsky with their respective artist, conductor, orchestra to be able to choose the performance I like, e.g.
Mahler - Symfony No. 1 - Haitink, Concertgebouw Orchestra
Mahler - Symfony No. 1 - Chailly, Berliner Philharmoniker
etc.
What is the best way to organize my collection?
Would I need to group every performance or is this done by Minimserver as it is in a seperate folder anyway? If so how do I do that?

I have so far added a tag 'composition' to every file (with exectly the same name for the composition). Kinksy shows sometimes artist, composer or whatever but I cannot see any logic in what is shown.

Any suggestions?

With MinimServer, it's best to have separate tags for Composer, Composition and Artist. If there's more than one performing artist, you can either have mutliple Artist tags or you can use specific tags such as Conductor or Orchestra. For example, you could have:

COMPOSER=Mahler
COMPOSITION=Symfony No. 1
ARTIST=Haitink
ARTIST=Concertgebouw Orchestra

or you could have:

COMPOSER=Mahler
COMPOSITION=Symfony No. 1
CONDUCTOR=Haitink
ORCHESTRA=Concertgebouw Orchestra

This style of tagging allows you to take advantage of MinimServer's Intelligent Browsing capabilty to select by any tags in any order. You can also use tag formatting to combine these separate tag values into whatever information you want to see in your control point's playlist or Now Playing screen.

I'll stop now and let other people share the benefit of their experiences.
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24-09-2014, 00:26 (This post was last modified: 24-09-2014 00:48 by DavidHB.)
Post: #3
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
It's now almost exactly a year since I faced exactly the question swdick is asking. My collection is much smaller than some (700-800 CDs, about 85% of them classical), but it still seemed a formidable task to get it all ripped and tagged. Even so, the job is now done, and, except for additions to the collection and correction of tagging errors, hopefully will not need to be done again. Here's some of what I learned along the way, and also from this and other forums.

There is no one right way of doing the job. The key thing is the way that you yourself have been using, and intend in future to use, your music collection. If you are used to accessing music in a particular way, it's probably best to keep the option of organising your music in the way you organise it now. MinimServer's 'intelligent browsing' allows you to access the music in different ways, so you are not forced to stick to one method, but what you know is usually a good place to start, and you can work out from there.

Start small. I ripped and tagged about 25 of my favourite albums, and experimented with different ways of accessing the collection. Initially, I tended to use the [folder view], but soon I switched to the browsing sequence Genre -> Composer -> Album. Later refinements were adding ComposerSort tags to all classical tracks (so that I could select composers alphabetically by surname - this was before MinimServer could reverse names on the fly), adding Composition and Group tags (so that the main browsing sequence became Genre -> Composer -> Composition) and implementing alphabetical grouping.

All this was done through experiment, and discovering what I liked. I find, for instance, that I rarely wish to select classical music by artist name, so I haven't bothered with an ArtistSort tag or reversing Artist names. Others will have a different view. But I do think that most people organising classical music will probably want to add the Group tag, with its particular usage described in the MinimServer User Guide, to Simon's basic list of tags you need to populate. It is good to be able to list the contents of an album on a work-by-work rather than a track-by-track basis, particularly as many classical albums have dozens of tracks.

The file system still matters. You occasionally come across the view that, when the server indexes all the tracks, it doesn't really matter where they are stored, so long as they are where the server can find them. That is not my experience. You will need to be able to find tracks for maintenance (including tagging) and file operations such as backup or conversion to different file formats. I regard file and folder naming as an essential part of my metadata structure.

My file organisation on the server is very similar to that used by swdick. For classical music it is media/music/composer/<albumgroup [if needed]>/<album>/<track name>, with separate folders outside the composer list for recitals and compilations. For music other than classical, I use the conventional media/music/<artist>/<album>/<track name> form of organisation.

Be fanatical about consistency. You want all the music a composer to be listed in the same place, and you want an artist to have the same name wherever he or she appears in your browse tree. It is more than a little annoying when different performances of the same work are listed under 'Bach, J.S.', 'Johann Sebastian Bach', 'J.S. Bach' or whatever.

Data gathered, perhaps as part of the ripping process, from on-line sources often provides a useful start but it almost invariably requires editing and correction for both accuracy and consistency. Music tagging programs provide a number of tools to help you do this. You will need both a good ripping program (I use dbPoweramp) and a good tagging program (MP3Tag in my case); the time spent in learning to use them well will be more than recovered as the ripping and tagging of the library proceeds.

Have a consistent 'workflow'. The ripping and tagging process will be much easier if you develop some sort of 'muscle memory' in the way you do it, and follow a consistent sequence of steps each time round. My sequence is:
  1. Set up the rip (specify target folder etc.) and load disc;
  2. [if required] Scan the CD art;
  3. Edit and correct the suggested metadata (paying particular attention to album and track names as in my case these are the folder and file names respectively);
  4. Rip the CD to the music folder on my desktop computer;
  5. When the current batch of CDs are all ripped, edit the tags to make any further corrections needed, and to add ComposerSort, Composition and Group data;
  6. Copy the files to the NAS (I use the Microsoft SyncToy to produce an exact copy of my music folder on the NAS, from where the music is streamed), and rescan with MinimServer.
The whole business is also much easier if you have a place and equipment that are comfortable to work in and with. If you are going to rip 800 CDs, it is as well to have a reasonably fast desktop machine with a robust optical drive. Editing will be easier with a large, good quality monitor than on most laptop screens. Desk space helps you keep the piles of CDs in some sort of order. My great luxury is a slide-out scanner drawer; the scanner is to hand when I need it for the album art.

Conclusion. Some of these points may be surprising, as they may seem to have only a tenuous connection with the original question. But organising the music in the collection is actually only a part (albeit a crucial part) of the task of making one's digital music available for streaming. Decisions on which tags you will use, and how you will go about populating your files with those tags, will depend in part on the effort you can devote to the task; having a consistent and efficient workflow enables you to be a bit more ambitious in your tagging, and gives you a wider range of ways to enjoy your music. Which is, after all, what this hobby is all about.

David
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24-09-2014, 08:10
Post: #4
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
Thanks a lot, simoncn en DavidHB,
Yes, so far I'm with you both. I still have some questions however:
- do I need to group a composition even when it's in a folder of its own? If so, how?
- How to make a symfony that is on a double album (e.g. Bruckner 8) appear as one composition?
- How to determine the order of the movements?
- what is the logic in the display logarithm? Can I determine what is shown in the controlpoint (I use Kinsky)?
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24-09-2014, 11:12 (This post was last modified: 24-09-2014 16:08 by DavidHB.)
Post: #5
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
(24-09-2014 08:10)swdick Wrote:  - do I need to group a composition even when it's in a folder of its own? If so, how?

First, a point of clarification, because it is not clear what you mean by 'folders'. Minimserver does not use file and folder names in the file system to index the music tracks. An 'album' is simply the set of tracks which have have tag values that cause MinimServer to treat them as an album (details are here in the User Guide). Some Control Points also represent the nodes on the browse tree as folders (indeed, Kinsky names them as such), but this, in my view, too readily leads to the misconception that the browse tree is based on the file system, which is not the case.

You group a composition by giving the Group tag (which, typically, you use a program such as MP3Tag to add) the same value in each of the tracks making up the composition. Typically, that value is the name of the work, so the Group and Composition tags will often, but not always, have the same value.

You have two tags because they have different functions. Composition is used as a normal component of the browse tree, typically to select a work before you select the album or part album you are going to play. Group (described in detail in the User Guide) is used to group tracks (typically of a single work) within an album or a single disc of an album indexed as multi disc (again as described in the User Guide).

Group is useful as a means of making the track list in an album more readable. For instance, an album of the Brandenburg Concertos might simply be listed as the six concertos rather than as the 19 individual movements. This is a case where, in my library, the Composition and Group tags are different; the former is simply 'Brandenburg Concertos', while the latter is specific to each concerto. As I said in my last post, it all depends how you find you wish to access individual pieces of music, and you can change things as your understanding develops.

You are not obliged to group tracks; for instance it is probably not appropriate to do so in a compilation of essentially unrelated single tracks. I would say that you do need to set the Composition tag for every track. I would also suggest that Control points tend to display things more neatly if all the tracks of an album are either grouped or not grouped; where all tracks are grouped, you sometimes get 'groups' with just one track. That isn't an issue for me.

(24-09-2014 08:10)swdick Wrote:  - How to make a symfony that is on a double album (e.g. Bruckner 8) appear as one composition?
Essentially, give all the tracks of the Symphony the same Composition tag value, and make sure all the recordings of that work in your library use the same composition value. If there is more than one recording, when you select a composition the browse tree will give you the option to select the album you wish to play.

You do have options as to whether you treat the discs of a multi-disc album separately or as a single album, and this too is fully explained in the User Guide (link above). I sometimes list the separate disks, and sometimes (especially if, say, one act of an opera is split across discs) I treat the whole set as a single album.

(24-09-2014 08:10)swdick Wrote:  - How to determine the order of the movements?
Make sure that the album number and track number tags are correctly set. Ripping programs often set the track number plus the track title as the file name, which is useful, but where there is a multi disc album, I set the file name to be disc number-track number-title.

(24-09-2014 08:10)swdick Wrote:  - what is the logic in the display logarithm? Can I determine what is shown in the control point (I use Kinsky)?
This is a bit complex. MinimServer controls what is sent to the Control Point and the latter determines how it displays what it receives. Behaviour varies between Control Points. Kinsky does not have much by way of options, but does pretty much display what MinimServer sends (except that is not that efficient in the use of space and tends to truncate entries on smaller screens). Using MinimServer settings to configure your browse tree and tag formats will give you plenty of options - far too many to describe here!

It is worth trying different Control Points; if you use Kinsky, Kazoo is a fairly obvious alternative if it is supported on your platform, though opinions vary on which is preferable. On Android, I would prefer Bubble DS or UPnP to Kinsky (Kazoo is not yet available on Android).

I hope this helps.

David
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24-09-2014, 19:39
Post: #6
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
Hi David,

Thanks for your elaborate reply.
I'll have a go and try some things.

Thanks again.
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25-09-2014, 11:02
Post: #7
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
(24-09-2014 19:39)swdick Wrote:  Hi David,

Thanks for your elaborate reply.
I'll have a go and try some things.

Thanks again.

Glad to help

David
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29-09-2014, 16:43
Post: #8
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
I would like to second David's point about the consistency of the tagging. I have now ripped and tagged a bit more than 1200 CDs (quite a few more to go, but I'm happy already with what there is) and it could not be more obvious that the intelligent browsing structure which MinimServer offers only works well if all tags are employed consistently. For example, if I would like to look up how many different versions of the 4th Beethoven piano concerto I have in my collection, this assumes that (i) the composer is always spelled identically (otherwise you have several entries when choosing the composer) and (ii) the composition is always spelled the same.

I have mentioned this in another thread, but what helps me immensely with keeping things consistent is the tagging software MusiCHI which has a standardised set of tags for composer and composition (at least for the main composers). As you only use MusiCHI's standardised spelling of each of these tags, there's no risk of a typo somewhere during the workflow which would later on mess up the consistency of the tags. If you have (like me) a rather substantial collection, this is well worth paying a few EUR for this tagging program. MusiCHI also has a ripping program but which I do not use (I use DBPowerAMP) as it does not have the AccurateRip verification.

I also second David's suggestion to think about how you choose your music - there's for example IMO no use in populating tags which you later on do not use when browsing your collection (such as opus numbers for example). I have (for now) for example refrained from populationg the "genre" tag as I do not really use it as a delimiting factor in my browsing.

Personally, I also have a lot of non-commercial radio recordings, the tagging of which is much more time-consuming as there are no preliminary tag sources available through one of the free databases. I have identified these in my collection through the "label" tag (or "organisation" as it is sometimes called) where I have inserted "Radio" or "AudienceRecording" in some cases. The name I attribute to these recordings usually starts with the artist name as this will be what I will be looking for when simply browsing through the albums (ex.: "Hamelin - 2014/6 Schwetzingen - Medtner, Schubert").

It might also be worthwhile mentioning that Hyperion allows you to download all their booklets from their website.

I am also using Kinsky (through my iPad) but have lately switched to Lumin - in case you also use an iPad this is in my opinion the better alternative. The Lumin app makes better use of space (you can configure the screen size which Kinsky can't) and it loads the whole database into the iPad which makes for much faster scrolling. Lastly, you can start a "rescan" of MinimServer directly from the app.

As a conclusion I cannot emphasize enough how much the result of having digitised my CD collection and being able to use it with a tablet functioning as a giant remote control has improved the use of said collection. The increase in usability and accessibility is tremendous, and the fabulous search / browsing capabilities of MinimServer are an important part in this.
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09-10-2014, 14:17
Post: #9
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
Can someone be a little more explicit about the use of the Group tag? I also use Work (and Movement) tags, but have been encouraged to try the Group tag as well to see if it overcomes some of my browsing issues.

Do I have to include it in the property indexTags or itemTags, or neither? I can't find it in the user guide

Is it only useful when viewing by Album? I'm trying it on a few tracks and getting somewhat confused as to how it is intended to be used.
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09-10-2014, 19:03 (This post was last modified: 09-10-2014 19:09 by simoncn.)
Post: #10
RE: How to organize and tag classical music
(09-10-2014 14:17)Pastim Wrote:  Can someone be a little more explicit about the use of the Group tag? I also use Work (and Movement) tags, but have been encouraged to try the Group tag as well to see if it overcomes some of my browsing issues.

Do I have to include it in the property indexTags or itemTags, or neither? I can't find it in the user guide

The Group tag is processed automatically and doesn't need to be included in indexTags or itemTags.

Quote:Is it only useful when viewing by Album? I'm trying it on a few tracks and getting somewhat confused as to how it is intended to be used.

It is useful for any kind of view. All tracks in the group will appear as a single item in any view. This single item can be opened to show its contents if you want to view the tracks and select them individually. You should also be able to play the contents of the group (in order) with a single click.
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