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How to name classical music files?
seimussier
post Mar 3 2009, 23:07
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I'm about to start ripping my cd collection with Exact Audio Copy into .flac files.

Over half of my music is classical and opera and now I'm wondering how to name the folders and files after ripping them. I've been reading MusicBrainz but can't get any sense out of it.

Could someone give me an example how to solve this issue? I'd be most grateful.
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botface
post Mar 4 2009, 09:29
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If you're only talking about naming files and folders I'd say you can name them however suits you. If you're talking about tagging you'll find that the various tagging schemes aren't ideal for classical so you may well end up using tags for purposes different to the original intention. What you actually choose to do will largely depend on what you're playing the files with and how it handles tags.

I won't go into any more detail in case tagging isn't the issue. If you're interested in what I do, maybe as some sort of "food for thought" I'll gladly give you chapter and verse
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gnypp45
post Mar 4 2009, 10:02
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Tagging classical music is a complete mess, and each one has to find a compromise which works. I haven't tried Musicbrainz, but here is how I tag my music, in case you find something of it useful.

After EAC/flac I use Mp3tag to tag:

Artist: Conductor; Orchestra; Soloist(s)
Album: Composer - Work
Title: Movement or Aria

Year: Year of recording (seldom the same as year of issue)
Comment: Label + Catalogue number, Recording venue, date etc.
Disc: If there are several discs in one album i fill in this. It is used, together with track no. to automatically generate correct, useful filenames (e.g. "2-11 Allegro con moto.flac").

Composer: Lastname, Firstname (redundant info perhaps, and not always useful with all music players, but I do it anyway)

I put the files in folders named - using many abbreviations - as "Composer_Work - Conductor, Orchestra (recording year, label)"
If possible, I prefer to browse and play music by filename, since the files from an album are ordered correctly once they are properly generated based on discnumber and tracknumber (using software like Mp3Tag).
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Obelisk
post Mar 4 2009, 11:13
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QUOTE (botface @ Mar 4 2009, 08:29) *
If you're talking about tagging you'll find that the various tagging schemes aren't ideal for classical so you may well end up using tags for purposes different to the original intention. What you actually choose to do will largely depend on what you're playing the files with and how it handles tags.
Absolutely!

My Sansa Express MP3 player allows track selection by Artist, Album, Genre, or Track Title. Set to random playing, it will randomise tracks, but I prefer to play the tracks making up say the four movements of a symphony together. Consequently I generally merge tracks on ripping to a single MP3 file per work.

On playback it displays Artist - Album - Track so I reassign the following ID3v2 tags:
Artist = Composer: 'Brahms'
Album Title = Composition Name: 'Violin Concerto'
Track Title = Movement list: ' I Allegro, II Adagio, III Allegro
Composer = Lead performer(s): 'Yehudi Menuin'
Album Artist = Orchestra: 'Berlin PO'
Grouping = Opus: 'Op 77'
Original Date = First performance: '1879'

This scheme is designed for use with Media Monkey which I use to tag and catalogue my collection on an external hard disc with folders for each composer. It allows me to keep all the pertinent information on MM's main properties panel without having to tab over to an extended properties pane.

I'm still working out how best to use the genre tag. At the moment I'm using symphony, concerto, etc but feel I should switch it to mood so that my player can randomise from a list of similar lively or contemplative pieces.

This makes for a lot of tag editing work, but I tell myself it should be a long lasting investment.
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MichaelW
post Mar 4 2009, 11:34
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You really need to put a bit of time in deciding what system you will find most useful. As everybody says, the tagging systems available are not optimised for classical music.

One decision is whether to make your basic unit the album or the work. I'm slowly coming to think the work is the better choice, so you can use <Album Title> for that, but some multi-work albums do really make sense as a programme, so consistency isn't necessarily the the only consideration.

There is a case for using <Artist> for the composer, since some DAPs don't let you sort on the <Composer> tag, but on the whole more metadata in the databases uses <Artist> for performers, and most folk will want to have performer details. I enter "Composer: Work(s)" in the <Album Title> field, which works out as a decent compromise for the way I hunt for things.

Naxos enter their albums in the database that iTunes uses, and the system they use is worth looking at as a model.

Be prepared to change your tagging scheme at least once; it's probably more efficient to record more information than you think you will want, on the first cut.
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onkl
post Mar 4 2009, 15:12
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ojdo
post Mar 4 2009, 18:10
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Just in case the tags don't need to be readable with a portable MP3 player: I would suggest the use of foobar2000 to tag and organise the music archive as it is capable of flexible tagging, i.e. the definition of any field (tag) name you can imagine. Here is screenshot of the tags I have in my file properties dialog:





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Sarastro
post Mar 4 2009, 18:24
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Due to the cataloging complexities of classical music, this question has many, many possible answers.

Firstly, I recommend a simple directory structure perhaps by genre (i.e. opera, symphony, chambre music, concerto) or some logical division of your musical library. Next I might suggest directories by composer but find some balance between too many directories and too few.

Secondly, there are numerous tagging schemes which can be implemented to display more complete information about a work. Here is one discussion I found helpful:

http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/TG/Tagging.html
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Roseval
post Mar 4 2009, 19:34
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QUOTE (seimussier @ Mar 3 2009, 23:07) *
Over half of my music is classical and opera and now I'm wondering how to name the folders and files after ripping them.


I suggest to make a folder for each CD and give this folder a name describing its content.

Give all the tracks at least a number and use the parts for the naming (1 – Allegro, etc)

The tagging will allow you to browse your collection in many ways.

This file structure allows you to check is all tracks per CD are still there.



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seimussier
post Mar 4 2009, 21:39
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Thanks for the replies! It seems that I have to do some serious thinking before I can start ripping smile.gif

QUOTE (MichaelW @ Mar 4 2009, 12:34) *
Naxos enter their albums in the database that iTunes uses, and the system they use is worth looking at as a model.


Do You know where I could get information about this system?
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ajfoucault
post Mar 4 2009, 22:14
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QUOTE (Obelisk @ Mar 4 2009, 07:13) *
On playback it displays Artist - Album - Track so I reassign the following ID3v2 tags:
Artist = Composer: 'Brahms'
Album Title = Composition Name: 'Violin Concerto'
Track Title = Movement list: ' I Allegro, II Adagio, III Allegro
Composer = Lead performer(s): 'Yehudi Menuin'
Album Artist = Orchestra: 'Berlin PO'
Grouping = Opus: 'Op 77'
Original Date = First performance: '1879'

This scheme is designed for use with Media Monkey which I use to tag and catalogue my collection on an external hard disc with folders for each composer. It allows me to keep all the pertinent information on MM's main properties panel without having to tab over to an extended properties pane.


I used to use this scheme, it ws both convenient and apparent.
After I noticed that the iPod scrolls only the title of the song AND NOT the Album, I realized that all I could see in some songs were "Piano Concerto No. 3..."

So, now my naming scheme is somewhat more cluttered and disorganized, but this allows me to read the whole title of the song on my iPod

Title: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor (Op. 37) - Largo
(Basically this is 'Composition Name' + 'Catalog Number' + 'Movement name')
Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven
(The WHOLE name of the composer, not just the last name)
Year: 1800
(The year on which it was premiered, or sometimes composed (depending on the information that I happen to find concerning that specific song)
Genre: Classical
(DUH!)

Title: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor (Op. 21) - Larghetto
(Same as above; 'Composition Name' + 'Catalog Number' + 'Movement name')
Artist: Frédéric François Chopin
(The WHOLE thing, not just the last name, 'u lazy boy =)
Year: 1830
(The year on which it was premiered, or sometimes composed (depending on the information that I happen to find concerning that specific song)
Genre: Classical
(DUH!)

Hope it helps you =D

This post has been edited by ajfoucault: Mar 4 2009, 22:15
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Axon
post Mar 4 2009, 22:29
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This comes up from time to time; I posted this the last time it came up.

If your music player doesn't have facets support, chuck it.

I'd strongly discourage mucking with ALBUM and other metadata relating to the original medium you bought the music on. It's hard to get it back later.

Definitely separate out WORK and COMPOSER, and have some way of rewriting the tags on transcode to make them more palatable for portable players.

Fundamentally, I think that classical tagging can be standardized, but it will require a lot more effort on the software side of things (rippers and players) than is perhaps available from them. We all have a common set of requirements, but we tend to pick and choose out of that set depending on our music collections and playback methods.
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MichaelW
post Mar 5 2009, 04:21
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QUOTE (seimussier @ Mar 5 2009, 09:39) *
Thanks for the replies! It seems that I have to do some serious thinking before I can start ripping smile.gif

QUOTE (MichaelW @ Mar 4 2009, 12:34) *
Naxos enter their albums in the database that iTunes uses, and the system they use is worth looking at as a model.


Do You know where I could get information about this system?


Well, I gather it's the CDDB database, owned by Gracenote. The easiest way would be to load a Naxos CD into your ripper of choice. The metadata is so consistent, I think it must be supplied by the label, so they probably make sure it's in all the major DBs. If you don't know Naxos, they're a low-cost label with a very big and interesting repertory. You don't get the stars performing, but some of their performers go on to be stars (I have, for instance, a couple of CDs conducted by Marin Alsop before she became famous).

QUOTE (Axon)
I'd strongly discourage mucking with ALBUM and other metadata relating to the original medium you bought the music on. It's hard to get it back later.

See your point. I record the original details in the "Grouping" field in iTunes, but unease about that is what has held me back from going over to Album=work holus bolus. I guess it depends on how you classify your stuff, in your own mind.

If only audiophiles would put their considerable time and money into the standardisation of tags appropriate for Classical (and Baroque, and Early) music, instead of platinum-iridium interconnects, we'd all enjoy music a lot more. <sigh>
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Axon
post Mar 5 2009, 05:57
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QUOTE (MichaelW @ Mar 4 2009, 21:21) *
If only audiophiles would put their considerable time and money into the standardisation of tags appropriate for Classical (and Baroque, and Early) music, instead of platinum-iridium interconnects, we'd all enjoy music a lot more. <sigh>
Quite true, although it only really appeals to those of us with several hundred hours of classical at our disposal. That's like, what, a fraction of a percent of the computer listening public? And probably no more than 10% of audiophiles?
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