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Tagging classical music
22-02-2014, 18:03
Post: #21
RE: Tagging classical music
(21-02-2014 11:22)joster Wrote:  From reading the link I understand that Groups and Compositions are just the same. A single tag/field used to keep the different parts of a musical work "together". You can name it Group or Composition.

Yet, on your tagging scheme you use a "Group tag" (point 8) and a "Composition tag" (point 9)

I've updated this section to try to clarify why these are different tags.
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23-02-2014, 00:50 (This post was last modified: 23-02-2014 00:54 by DavidHB.)
Post: #22
RE: Tagging classical music
(22-02-2014 18:03)simoncn Wrote:  
(21-02-2014 11:22)joster Wrote:  From reading the link I understand that Groups and Compositions are just the same. A single tag/field used to keep the different parts of a musical work "together". You can name it Group or Composition.

Yet, on your tagging scheme you use a "Group tag" (point 8) and a "Composition tag" (point 9)
I've updated this section to try to clarify why these are different tags.

Thank you, Simon for the updating, which is helpful. It took me some time to get my head round the reasons for having both Group and Composition tags (which will often contain the same data), and I think your amendments provide useful clarification.

It seems to me that the key difference between these tags is the point at which they are typically used in the browsing sequence. Composition, as the User Guide explains, is just a tag like any other. It will normally be used to identify the set of albums or items from which you will make a selection; so it is logically 'outside' the album (or if you prefer, before it in the selection sequence). Group, on the other hand is a subdivision of the contents of an album, and as such is contained by, and therefore 'inside', it.

What this means, I have found, is that while virtually all classical tracks can usefully have a Composition tag, not all need a Group tag. Every track is or is part of a composition, and it is often useful to be able to find out whether the collection contains a particular work or to display a list of alternative recordings of a given composition. Group tags only need to be written when it is sensible to group tracks together, for example the movements of a symphony. By contrast, compilation albums where each track is a separate work do not usually need to be grouped.

Where both Group and Composition tags are used, I find that either the contents of both should be the same for a particular work, or the contents of Group need to be somewhat more detailed than those of Composition. An example of the latter case is a recording of a complete opera, which I tag as a single album. The Composition tag will normally only contain the title of the opera, while the Group tags also identify each act or section.

My aim in all this is to have a smooth browsing 'workflow' on my control point (usually Bubble DS in my case); the decision of how much or how little to include in any tag is largely about how it will display and help me make selections. While (as this thread has demonstrated) views about the use of individual tags will vary, I would guess that most users would work to this same general principle.

David
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22-03-2014, 19:38
Post: #23
RE: Tagging classical music
Hello,

I just signed up and am taking my first steps in the computer audio world. I have a collection of about 3000 CDs of classical music (mostly piano), many of which are radio recordings - which makes tagging them even more of a challenge.

I've just acquired a Synology NAS and it already works well, although I certainly have not yet grasped most of its functionalities. My goal is to make all my music available on the network and be able to access it using an iPad application (or similar) as a control point, sending it to a streamer (most likely a Pioneer N30). As MinimServer has been conceived with classical music in mind and works directly on the Synology NAS, I've already identified the music server I would like to use. The CDs will be converted to FLAC.

Now, the difficulty for me right now is finding the best software to rip and tag my CD collection, and making sure that those tags are also accessible by all applications in the chain (i.e. MinimServer and the control point). Due to the size and specifics of my music collection (multiple recordings of the same work, sometimes even with the same artist but different performances), I believe that it would be very useful to implement some tags that are not customarily used. I've found a software called MusiCHI (http://www.musichi.eu/) that has been made specifically for classical music and has a number of useful routines that should simplify tagging.

What I would like to know in particular is whether the tags that MusiChI offers (e.g. composition, instruments) will also be accessible if I use MinimServer. I know that MusiCHI has its own player (= server), but that does not run on a NAS and would require me running an additional computer when I want to access the music, which I do not want to do.

Another question which I had - and it might be a noob question - is whether it is generally possible to create custom tags with MinimServer.

I'm still at the very beginning and have not yet started digitizing my collection; but in order to do it properly (and to avoid having to re-do it later on), I would like to use the right tools that allow me to enjoy it without hassle and browse it easily later on. Time is of course also an important factor - right now I'm focusing on the commercially available CDs for which tags will already be available in a certain number of databases (that MusiCHI uses for example).

Any input would be much appreciated.
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22-03-2014, 21:02 (This post was last modified: 22-03-2014 21:10 by simoncn.)
Post: #24
RE: Tagging classical music
(22-03-2014 19:38)Alpina_Lux Wrote:  Hello,

I just signed up and am taking my first steps in the computer audio world. I have a collection of about 3000 CDs of classical music (mostly piano), many of which are radio recordings - which makes tagging them even more of a challenge.

I've just acquired a Synology NAS and it already works well, although I certainly have not yet grasped most of its functionalities. My goal is to make all my music available on the network and be able to access it using an iPad application (or similar) as a control point, sending it to a streamer (most likely a Pioneer N30). As MinimServer has been conceived with classical music in mind and works directly on the Synology NAS, I've already identified the music server I would like to use. The CDs will be converted to FLAC.

Now, the difficulty for me right now is finding the best software to rip and tag my CD collection, and making sure that those tags are also accessible by all applications in the chain (i.e. MinimServer and the control point). Due to the size and specifics of my music collection (multiple recordings of the same work, sometimes even with the same artist but different performances), I believe that it would be very useful to implement some tags that are not customarily used. I've found a software called MusiCHI (http://www.musichi.eu/) that has been made specifically for classical music and has a number of useful routines that should simplify tagging.

What I would like to know in particular is whether the tags that MusiChI offers (e.g. composition, instruments) will also be accessible if I use MinimServer. I know that MusiCHI has its own player (= server), but that does not run on a NAS and would require me running an additional computer when I want to access the music, which I do not want to do.

You can use any tags with MinimServer. Unlike some other servers, there isn't a distinction between regular tags and custom tags.

For the control point, your choice will depend on which streamer you are using and which device you want to use to run the control point. A good starting point would be BubbleUPnP running on an Android device. If you want to run the control point on an iPad, it is harder for me to make a recommendation.

Quote:Another question which I had - and it might be a noob question - is whether it is generally possible to create custom tags with MinimServer.

You can't "create" any tags with MinimServer. For this, you need to use some other tagging program to write the tags into your files. If the tags have been written correctly according to the tagging specifications and the file format is on the list of formats that MinimServer supports, MinimServer will read those tags if you have added them to the indexTags or itemTags list.

Quote:I'm still at the very beginning and have not yet started digitizing my collection; but in order to do it properly (and to avoid having to re-do it later on), I would like to use the right tools that allow me to enjoy it without hassle and browse it easily later on. Time is of course also an important factor - right now I'm focusing on the commercially available CDs for which tags will already be available in a certain number of databases (that MusiCHI uses for example).

Any input would be much appreciated.

I suggest you start with a small number of albums and make sure you have an approach that works with MinimServer and works for how you want to browse and search your library. When you are happy with this, you can extend the same approach to your entire collection of CDs and recordings.
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23-03-2014, 17:58 (This post was last modified: 23-03-2014 18:10 by magister.)
Post: #25
RE: Tagging classical music
@Alpina_Lux,

Simon's suggestion about starting off small and experimenting is a very good one. Here are some other thoughts.

My personal belief is that it's much better to put all your tagging into the actual music files, as opposed to having the information in a database created by a particular music management program. It might be difficult or impossible to get the information out of such a proprietary format if you ever wanted to move to a different program.

So you need to store your music in a format such as FLAC that stores the tags inside each file. Music management programs like MusiCHI may have an option to do this. In other words, even if you do the tagging inside MusiCHI, the information is written into each music file. Even so, I recall that MusiCHI keeps its own database and allows you to define some "custom" tags and I'm not sure how portable those would be. I think you should come up with a system that works for you and make sure all your information travels with each file. Some time ago Simon put up here the details of how he tags music, and some other people added more info. Look at the very first post in this thread, on the first page -- it's a great starting point. My system is similar to what Simon describes, although I added a couple of additional custom tags. As you use MinimServer, you will learn how you like to search. For instance, I have a lot of recordings of music by Beethoven. I added a "subgenre" tag that lets me pick Beethoven and then go immediately to the symphonies, bypassing chamber music, concertos, etc. if I want to hear one of the symphonies. Even with your own system, you can still use MusiCHI for tasks like making sure that your tags are consistent.

For tagging on Windows, you can use the very nice mp3tag program (despite its name, it writes many kinds of tags including FLAC). It's donationware so you can try it and see if you like it. If you are fairly computer-savvy, foobar2000, a player for Windows, also does tagging. It's free but the setup is tougher for non-geeks. Creating custom FLAC tags is easy with mp3tag, which is what I use.

For classical music, you will probably need both Group and Composition tags. See the info above in this thread and read the relevant sections of the MinimServer manual. To distinguish multiple performances by the same artist, one way is to adjust the titles of the albums. For instance, I have one album by Glenn Gould called "Goldberg Variations [1955]" and another "Goldberg Variations [1980]".
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23-03-2014, 18:10
Post: #26
RE: Tagging classical music
(23-03-2014 17:58)magister Wrote:  My personal belief is that it's much better to put all your tagging into the actual music files, as opposed to having the information in a database created by a particular music management program. It might be difficult or impossible to get the information out of such a proprietary format if you ever wanted to move to a different program.

I had a quick look at the MusiCHI website and I found this:

Moreover, we did not want to give any more importance to the libraries than keeping (temporarily or not) your audio files tags and to speed up the searches. As all information resides inside your audio files, so, if you copy, move your files, lose your library, it does not matter, by scanning again your folders and you are back in business!

This seems to be saying that MusiCHI puts all the information into the audio files as tags, and uses its own database (library) as a cache only. If this is correct, there shouldn't be any problem doing tagging with MusiCHI and reading the tags with MinimServer.
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23-03-2014, 18:30
Post: #27
RE: Tagging classical music
(23-03-2014 18:10)simoncn Wrote:  This seems to be saying that MusiCHI puts all the information into the audio files as tags, and uses its own database (library) as a cache only. If this is correct, there shouldn't be any problem doing tagging with MusiCHI and reading the tags with MinimServer.
That's correct. If the OP wants to go with MusiCHI, I would suggest checking out how the "custom" tags that MusiCHI lets you define come out when you use various control points (if he needs to make use of them). I am sure they are in the file but whether they would display as expected might be another question.

I am very fussy about tagging, but I found that MusiCHI was too much--too many options that I didn't need. My own system works well and is actually simpler than what MusiCHI wants to you do, which is why I encourage people to study systems such as that posted by Simon and think about exactly what they want before committing to a program like MusiCHI. I'd be happy to provide more info about my system if anyone wants it.

The very best thing about MusiCHI is the ability to make sure tags are consistent. It's so easy to make small tagging errors that impede searching/browsing. That feature alone is worth the price, for me.
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23-03-2014, 18:48 (This post was last modified: 23-03-2014 18:48 by Mike48.)
Post: #28
RE: Tagging classical music
I strongly suppor the recommendation of being sure tags are stored within the audio files themselves. It's key for several reasons.

Mike
Portland, Oregon, USA
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25-03-2014, 00:35 (This post was last modified: 25-03-2014 00:40 by DavidHB.)
Post: #29
RE: Tagging classical music
I'd support what others have said about tagging. To that I would add that it is almost inevitable, however you get the tags into the files in the first place, you will need a tagging 'toolbox' to reorder things when you change your mind, do batch edits and search/replace on multiple files, and so on. For this, on a Windows computer, there is no better tool in my experience than MP3Tag, which, like MinimServer, is free with a donation requested.

In the discussion about tagging, no-one has, I think answered the request for advice on ripping programs. Here, again on Windows, there is a clear front runner - dBpoweramp. It is not free; the suite of tools you will need costs about $38, but it is excellent value. The features that stand out are the secure ripping capabilities (in particular the availability of the AccurateRip feature) and the fact that four separate on line libraries are searched to provide core metadata for the initial rip.

These two applications provide me with all I need to build and maintain my music library. I cannot comment on how they compare with MusiCHI, which I have never used. From its web page, it seems to have a number of interesting features; in particular, if the pre-built classical music metadata is any good, it will be a real godsend. At the same time, there is no mention of secure ripping, which I regard as absolutely essential for avoiding problems down the line. The catalogue-based implementation also seems to sit uneasily in a UPnP-based system with server, controller and renderer, because, so far as I can tell, MusiCHI is none of these. Though I cannot see that it would replace either or both of my main applications, I note that magister gives it a good report.

Finally, a word of cautionary encouragement; tagging classical music files is harder work than tagging music of other genres, but the work repays the effort. The on line libraries referenced by dbPoweramp and other applications usually provide a reasonable starting point, but the data may be error-prone and inconsistently presented and formatted, so you will often need to make amendments. Also, if you want to take full advantage of MinimServer's capabilities, you may well find yourself adding tags such as Composition, Group and ComposerSort. Like magister, I strongly support Simon's advice to start small and work out how you want to do things. I messed around with a collection of 20 to 30 albums before committing to a particular tagging scheme, and indeed before buying a network player.

David
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26-03-2014, 09:14
Post: #30
RE: Tagging classical music
I spend a lot of work in tagging my classical music collection. At the same time I have to admit that I browse only in Minim server's folder view. Why that? Because I find it much too complicated (and restricted) to make it fit my needs and that's the same with the control apps. And another reason is that we can only tag in a 'flat' way. We have no 'relational' way of tagging, we don't even have some kind of hierarchy. For example you may have an artist playing forte piano as a soloist on one recording and harpsichord on another plus he is director on that one too, and maybe he's only part of an orchestra on another recording. Instead of having one entry if you browse for artist tag you will have him multiple times in the artist list. The same is with genre. There are dozens of genres for rock, pop and so on, but only one for classical music, but we would need sub genres like sonata, oratorio, concerto, symphony, chamber music and much more, plus additional sub-sub genres like horn concerto, sonata for violin and piano, flute trio, string quartet ...
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