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 Posted:   Dec 6, 2021 - 2:52 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

... For classical recordings, I have the correct artwork displayed, and the performers are usually credited there if need be. But then, I only use iTunes on my PC.

How does that work for albums with more than one composer? E.g. the Bruch and Mendelssohn violin concerti are often partnered ...

As Nicolai has mentioned, Classical works do create a problem not found - generally - in Easy Listening/Pop music and I've found the only workable solution is to have the composer (e.g. Beethoven, Mahler) as the Album artist with the performer (e.g. Abbado, Rattle) as the Performing/Contributing artist.

Year of performance is essential (e.g. Karajan re-recorded many works with the same orchestra) ... you can always Google the work to find details of its composition ... and genre provides another method of sorting (it also aids reconciliation of recordings on the PC/NAS smile)

When the firmware for my music streamer was updated a few years ago I was caught out because previously the Control Point (iPhone/iPad, etc.) displayed the Album artist but subsequently the Contributing artist (this solved an issue re: albums with various artists) ... I've conceded and spent a long time incorporating the composer's name (i.e. the Album artist) into the Album title.

Thus, e.g.
Symphony #5, Op.67 (Beethoven) in C minor [Karajan/BPO/1962]

which can be sourced via Album title, Album artist, Contributing artist (both Karajan and Berliner Philharmoniker), Genre (i.e. Classical) or Year.

Playlists? The only time I tried to use one I got so confused ...

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2021 - 3:14 PM   
 By:   Replicant006   (Member)

Playlists? The only time I tried to use one I got so confused ...

Playlists can be a lot of fun, but can be tricky and are not for everyone. I'm speaking of smart playlists of course. Here's a simple one I have. It gathers any Trios I have from the Romantic period only. The playlist gathers info from my Grouping and Comments field.

I suppose the reason I like those playlists more than anything is that it keeps things a little more entertaining, and perhaps helps me to narrow down selections that I feel I might be more in the mood for. For all of the playlists I have though, I spend just as much time simply picking an album and playing it through.

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2021 - 3:18 PM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)



I don't disagree. I just don't use iTunes as an information database.


Neither do I. Which is why I don't include general information about the composition (such as composition date etc.) at the expense of information relevant to the file at hand (as in distinguishing between Karajan's 1962 and 1984 recording of Beethoven's 4th, just as an example).
I consider "composition date" something more general, that can be looked up, but recording date is something relevant to a particular file and a distinguishing criteria.

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2021 - 4:18 PM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)


As Nicolai has mentioned, Classical works do create a problem not found - generally - in Easy Listening/Pop music and I've found the only workable solution is to have the composer (e.g. Beethoven, Mahler) as the Album artist with the performer (e.g. Abbado, Rattle) as the Performing/Contributing artist.

Year of performance is essential (e.g. Karajan re-recorded many works with the same orchestra) ... you can always Google the work to find details of its composition ... and genre provides another method of sorting (it also aids reconciliation of recordings on the PC/NAS smile)


Yes. Ideally, the artist's information could be entered, sorted and searched individually, as in:

all albums with Daniel Barenboim as an artist.

Or all albums with Daniel Barenboim as a conductor.

Or all albums with Daniel Barenboim as a pianist.

Etc.

One field "artist" isn't really enough for classical recordings, where there are often multiple artists contributing.

Would be great to easily sort and list recordings I have by Bernard Haitink or Hilary Hahn oder the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Unfortunately, there is no satisfying way to do this currently. Certainly not in iTunes, but I'm not even sure if the more advanced options of MusicBee would be sufficient and compatible.

iTunes is basically created with pop music in mind, where there is an album and a performer. Composer or various and individual performers such as orchestras, singers, pianists, violinists etc, all who contribute to a recording are hard to integrate into its structure, as it was designed for songs and pop music, not classical music with multiple "main" artists.

Any classical music database contains multiple fields just for what iTunes has slated as "artist", as it's usually just intended for something like "Madonna", and not "Martha Agerich", "Daniel Barenboim", "Kian Soltani", "Staatskapelle Dresden", and "Michael Barenboim", all on a Debussy album. That's still frustrating to reflect in iTunes. (Roon can do it, but comes along with another rat's tail for instead.)

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2021 - 5:02 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

It's worth noting that Apple recently purchased Primephonic, a classical music streaming service, which evidently was geared toward addressing some of the issues unique to this category. Primephonic has shut down but Apple will be integrating its features next year.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/08/apple-acquires-classical-music-streaming-service-primephonic/

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 1:07 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

It's worth noting that Apple recently purchased Primephonic, a classical music streaming service, which evidently was geared toward addressing some of the issues unique to this category. Primephonic has shut down but Apple will be integrating its features next year.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/08/apple-acquires-classical-music-streaming-service-primephonic/


Would be interesting, though I guess this will be a feature of Apple's streaming service rather than iTunes.
I suppose it depends a lot of how you use these programs too. Unlike many here, I never use iTunes to actually listen to the music. I use iTunes on my PC to tag my music and keep it in order (iTunes does a pretty good job at updating and maintaining the folder structure etc.). My PC only has regular computer speakers, OK for watching a cat video on YouTube, but not really suitable for music listening.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 1:36 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

How does that work for albums with more than one composer? E.g. the Bruch and Mendelssohn violin concerti are often partnered ...

Same as with score albums that have two or more scores by different composers. I split them up into different albums (but they obviously have the same artwork cover, unless they actually DO have separate covers -- FSM used to do that). For example, I've split up most of the CDs in the Harmonia Mundi 50 set. It's a case-by-case basis, though. They have to be considerable works in and of themselves, and not just a short piece. I obviously don't split up compilations, because they are, you know, compilations.

There are some classical albums where I've NOT split them up. In that case, they fall into the "Various (classical)" category. "Various (classical)" is then the name of the composer and performer. Specific names of the composers and pieces are within the tracks themselves.

Then there's John Williams, which is a whole case in himself. I've not split up something like the FIVE SACRED TREES album, for example. But he's an exception.

But again -- hardly ever any separate "performer" credits in my iTunes, whether it's classical, film, pop or whatever.

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 2:32 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

When you rip CDs, you can often choose between various ways these CDs are tagged and see that different people approach things differently and have different needs.

For me, it would be vital that I can manage and search my music collection, so performer credits are a necessity. When I search for "Beethoven", it would bring up every single CD where something from Beethoven is on there, if I type in Beethoven Harnoncourt, it would limit it to the dozen or so recordings with that particular artist, etc. Not to use performer information would make navigating a midsize and up classic music collection very tedious.
Also, in classical music, the composer is usually already mentioned in the track title, so the way I use certain tags is as here in the example of Beethoven's Violin concerto:


Album Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven
Artist: Gidon Kremer, Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Track Title: Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

Album Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven
Artist: Hilary Hahn, David Zinman: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Track Title: Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

Album Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven
Artist: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Kurt Masur: New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Track Title: Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

Album Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven
Artist: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Herbert von Karajan: Berliner Philharmoniker
Track Title: Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

Album Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven
Artist: Christian Tetzlaff, Robin Ticciati: Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin
Track Title: Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

So the tagging is consistent (pieces and compositions named the same), yet I'm easily able to distinguish between the various performances.
Not using performer would make finding and grouping certain artist/recordings more cumbersome, and I like things to be as convenient as can be.

Depending on the settings of my streamer, its display would show something like (if I set it to two lines) when playing:

Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Kurt Masur: New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Which gives at least the basic information about what piece is currently playing. I find this practical and it seems to work fairly well for classical music so far. Again, would be better if there were individual entries for multiple artists, so one could find, search and sort for "Hilary Hahn" or "Kurt Masur" individually, but better than nothing.

A music collection without at least these basic meta data would be pretty much useless to me, and I suspect for most people whose main focus is classical music rather than pop music. In pop music, I usually have the performer rather than the composer as "album artist" (as in: Album artist: Madonna) and within the tracks I would credit an additional performer if there is one (as in: "Madonna, feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland" or something like that... I usually go with the "official" credit designation). In the composer field I would then enter the actual composer of the song, which may or may not be the performer.

But there are also certain "pop" classics where there is the same composer (say "White Christmas" composer: Irving Berlin) but where there are a number of recordings in my collection. So a search for "Irving Berlin" would turn up those and other songs by Berlin, whereas a search for "Robbie Williams" would only include his rendition of that particular song.

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 5:08 AM   
 By:   Jeyl   (Member)

I decided to go back and redo everything AGAIN based on everyone's thoughts. Multiple Disc releases will be in one folder like Intrada's ALIEN even though it contains the recorded film score, the original album and bonus tracks.

However, there are some sets that I have divided on a 'film to film' basis. For example, the La-La Land release of the John Williams Harry Potter collection will have each individual film gets its own folder rather than one all-encompassing one.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 5:57 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

It's fascinating how something that would seem very untidy and cumbersome to some, is very easy to others, and vice versa. Brains....they're weird, innit?

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 7:49 AM   
 By:   Jeyl   (Member)


It's fascinating how something that would seem very untidy and cumbersome to some, is very easy to others, and vice versa. Brains....they're weird, innit?

When you lose your iTunes library twice, then lose all your playlists, then lose all your artwork and realize that everything file-wise is organized by 'Artist' and not 'Album', yeah. I waved bye-bye to the simple method of 'rip it and forget it'.

I rip everything as a 'compilation' CD now since that organizes the ripped files into album folders instead of artist folders. One album with composers or artists on it could be spread across six different folders entirely! And what's worse is that if you purchase music from the iTunes store, the files are permanently fixed to not be a compilation even if you assign them to be, so you still have to deal with artist folders for individual tracks. I have 13 folders with artists' names on them and it's just for my Captain Marvel song compilation.

Still, going through all the albums does give me an interesting opportunity to correct or add details that I didn't take into account before. Some multi-disc sets have disc numbers associated, while others do not. Some aren't even labeled in the 'soundtrack' genre!

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Tell me about it. I also lost my entire digital music collection a couple of years ago -- both PC and external backup disc were destroyed. Thank God I had my iPod, which worked at the time (it doesn't really connect to the PC now) and contained about 75% of my collection.

I still haven't quite recovered in terms of organizing and editing the albums properly. It's very cumbersome to edit tracks in iTunes, so it takes a lot of time.

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 11:40 AM   
 By:   King Solium   (Member)

Tell me about it. I also lost my entire digital music collection a couple of years ago -- both PC and external backup disc were destroyed. Thank God I had my iPod, which worked at the time (it doesn't really connect to the PC now) and contained about 75% of my collection.

I still haven't quite recovered in terms of organizing and editing the albums properly. It's very cumbersome to edit tracks in iTunes, so it takes a lot of time.


I lost my entire iTunes library a decade ago because I was stupid and put all my music on an external drive. Well one night while I was sleeping, the external drive crashed! Thankfully I made a habit of burning every playlist to CD-R and printed out a playlist. So it was just a very long process of re-importing all the CD-R's back into iTunes. I had all the original CD's when I purchased the scores, what would've been hellish for me was reproducing my specific playlist for hundreds of titles. Thankfully by importing the CD-R's it carried over the custom playlist for each title.

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 11:58 AM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)

And what's worse is that if you purchase music from the iTunes store, the files are permanently fixed to not be a compilation even if you assign them to be, so you still have to deal with artist folders for individual tracks. I have 13 folders with artists' names on them and it's just for my Captain Marvel song compilation.

Have you tried "homogenizing" the tracks in these 13 folders by giving them all the same "album artist"? You might also want to try achieving your aim by going into the "Sorting" details of the tracks.

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 3:38 PM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)


It's fascinating how something that would seem very untidy and cumbersome to some, is very easy to others, and vice versa. Brains....they're weird, innit?

When you lose your iTunes library twice, then lose all your playlists, then lose all your artwork and realize that everything file-wise is organized by 'Artist' and not 'Album', yeah.


Hmm... I must be doing at least something right. It would be no problem at all for me to delete the actual iTunes library files, as the music files themselves contain all the data, so I could just re-import them and that's it. All my albums are sorted "album artist/album", as the directory structure pretty much resembles how my physical CD collection is sorted. In fact, I have periodically deleted my iTunes library files and let iTunes re-construct the library from scratch from the files for various reasons.

 
 Posted:   Dec 7, 2021 - 4:47 PM   
 By:   Jeyl   (Member)


Hmm... I must be doing at least something right. It would be no problem at all for me to delete the actual iTunes library files, as the music files themselves contain all the data, so I could just re-import them and that's it. All my albums are sorted "album artist/album," as the directory structure pretty much resembles how my physical CD collection is sorted. In fact, I have periodically deleted my iTunes library files and let iTunes re-construct the library from scratch from the files for various reasons.

Curse my early life with iTunes all the way back to MacOS 9, but gosh. My primary method of navigating and playing my music was always through playlists. Every CD (As of now, I've got about a good 1,000 of them) gets one.

Playlists are also the easiest things to lose. You can easily re-import all the music if you still have the tracks, but the work do you do in organizing the music for each playlist? Gone. I couldn't sync my iPhone with my library because the phone still had the playlists as I created them. I had to put off importing new CDs just to recreate every playlist I had just by looking at my iPhone.

Outside of the Library file, there's no easy way to save the playlists you have created. I wish I could print out a list without resorting to copy/paste methods.

 
 Posted:   Dec 8, 2021 - 3:49 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Wow, playlists in the 1000s? That is a lot.

The precarious volatility of playlists has been the reason why I only use them sparingly and for certain purposes. If I deleted all my playlists, would be no big loss... could be easily recreated.

Though I'm not sure why I would want to create a playlist for every single album I have, as it is much easier to just play the album? (Or a section of an album, but even there, I don't need a playlist). There are a few albums where I made playlists, but probably no more than a dozen or so.
However, the playlists I use are done in MusicBee, not iTunes. I use iTunes to tag and currate the music collection, which is then synced with my NAS. On the NAS, I access the files with MusicBee. MusicBee can create and export playlists in various formats easily. So when I create a playlist, I export it to a playlist folder (on my NAS), and from there, the devices I play music with (usually my hifi system and my smartphone, depending) can access albums and playlists. MusicBee can easily make, create, export and import playlists in various formats. These playlists (I have them in the M3U format) are easily backed up and re-instated. Can iTunes not also do something like this?

As I said, I have not invested a lot of work into playlists, but I know how much work it originally was to get a consistently tagged music collection. So if I had put just as much work into playlists, I would most certainly want them to be backed up. 1000 playlists is a LOT, and if these contain a lot of work (like carefully selected listening programs etc.), I'd really try to find a way to get these backed up.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 8, 2021 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

My playlists are skimpy. I have, like, four. And some "quiz" playlists I've forgotten to delete (maybe I can use them in the future).

I have probably between 50-100 titles that I need to whittle down (or make a "playlist out of") from their ridiculous C&C presentations, but this isn't exactly a "playlist" in iTunes terms. They will display as proper albums in the album overview. Playlists, the ones that are in the left column of the iTunes player, are more like compilations you make for various uses. And it's not something that I need very often.

 
 Posted:   Dec 8, 2021 - 10:44 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Playlists, the ones that are in the left column of the iTunes player, are more like compilations you make for various uses. And it's not something that I need very often.

Neither do I, but Jeyl apparently uses them much more extensively, and in that case, I'd want them backed up.

Personally, I use playlists mostly for "mood", so I put a bunch of albums in there and shuffle the playlist. Nothing that can't be easily replaced or redone.

 
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