Author Topic: Album details  (Read 15014 times)

ianinfrance

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Album details
« on: December 13, 2009, 10:22:27 pm »
Hello,

This is my first post here, and it's really a suggestion for the future.

The way in which album details are recorded is pretty good on the whole, for popular music (term used loosely).

However, it's really not wonderful for classical music. I'm in the process of digitizing about 200 LPs or so, mainly of classical music. As I'm writing this, for example, I'm transferring Stravinsky's Petrushka, with Stravinsky conducting the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.

So, What's the "Album Title"? Who is the Artist ? Do you see the slight problem? With some of my records of early music it's even harder. Actually with say , Brendel playing Beethoven, there will probably be an album title, and an Artist though it would be nice if there were room for composer too, though in compilations that might be tricky.

However, for orchestral music and opera and so on, it's a lot more complicated. Obviously no single database system would be perfect.  My suggestion would be to allow for a slightly different way of organizing classical music. Instead of "Artist" and "Title", I'd have "Composer", "Conductor", "Performers" That would cover most cases pretty well, and with luck help in searching for album art info too.

Generally, however, I must say how good I find this software. You've thought of so many useful little features that it seems almost churlish to make any comments that are other than unrestrained praise!

All the Best

Ian

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 01:41:49 pm »
Hi Ian,

Thanks for the feedback.  Yes, VinylStudio could certainly do a better job of identifying and tagging classical material.  Using composer, conductor and performers to do the job that artist and album title do for pop music sounds like a good idea.  Nice and simple.  We will mull that one over.  For compilation albums, you could perhaps just use these in a creative way.  Sometimes it helps (a bit) to record each album side as a separate album in such cases (if you don't mind losing the connection between them).

Another thing we could do is allow you to add additional 'tags' (for orchestra, say, but I'm a bit hazy on this) which, although not used to organise the album list directly, could be used to search for or pick out individual albums in the list.  And if we let you tag individual tracks as well, that might help with the compilation problem.  These tags would be preserved when saving tracks as MP3 files, which might have some nice benefits when playing them in Windows Media Player or whatever.  It all needs a bit more thought.

None of this will help for searching or album art (or track listings) though, unfortunately.  The databases that exist are organised by album artist and title, and the information is rarely out there anyway for classical stuff.

Finally, just to say, nothing will happen in the immediate future.  Too many other things to do (such as Flac support).  But we will turn our attention to this, when we can.  Thanks again for posting.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2009, 11:17:14 am »
Actually Ian, I have a question for you.  How would you identify a recording of, say, Beethoven's 5th, or Madam Butterfly?  It seems to me that composer - conductor - performers does not cover this.  You need the title of the piece in there somewhere.  Instead, how about composer - title of piece - conductor - performers?  And, having posed this question, which of those four would you omit if you had to, and why?

I think, for the classics, it will always be necessary to use these fields creatively in some cases.  What we (AlpineSoft) need to do is to decide how many fields there should be and what they should be called.  The 'tags' idea I mentioned before would be an add-on to that, but VinylStudio still need a way of uniquely identifying each recording, so that (amonst other things) it can display this information in the drop-down list of albums.

ianinfrance

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Re: Album details
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2009, 11:48:47 pm »
Hi Paul
First, many thanks for your replies. I must apologize for my delay in coming back to you. I'm now not far from you in Leatherhead with my brother and have only just got properly on line.

To answer your first post first.. I'd certainly not expect you to drop everything to make changes. My suggestion was for the future, when you are contemplating a new version.

Now. To try to answer your questions reasonably intelligently. Classical music lovers tend to talk about "Beethoven's 5th by Von Karajan and the Berlin Phil" compared with Klemperer and the Philharmonia, or "Solti and the LSO doing Mahler's 2nd. That's when we're talking about frequently recorded classics. However, when it comes to choral (especially renaissance music) you will tend to get the emphasis on the slightly more on the choir/choirmaster/conductor, with these almost being inseparable. "Harry Christophers and the Sixteen - Josquin Masses"

As for how I'd identify a work... Take "The Monteverdi Vespers". That's how I think of the work. However the correct name - not that it matters much is "Vespro della beata Vergine" 1610. The composer is Claudio Monteverdi. There are different performing editions, some with and some without the soloists. But in general, what matters  - after the work, which for me corresponds more or less to the album title in a rock genre - is which "version", i.e. is it the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra and Sir John Elliott Gardiner (with various soloists, who aren't without importance, but are of course intrinsic to the recording) or is it Kings College Choir directed by David Wilcocks, or yet again King's College Choir with Stephen Cleobury.

At the moment you use the musicians as the title of the main subdirectory with named .wav files corresponding to each album.

I think that this approach wouldn't really make sense for mainstream recordings of classical music. (Compilations are probably best treated as you treat stuff at present, I guess, since the element that's common is/are the interpreter(s)). For the mainstream, you would surely want to use the composer "Verdi" and make that the primary field. Then you would have "Aida" with a qualifying tag of perhaps "Toscanini & La Scala - Milan" or "Beethoven" - Symphony #5. If one had more than one version - perfectly possible - then a sub tag of orchestra and conductor "Philharmonia - Klemperer" would do fine, though one might want to use a numerical qualifier on the files "Symphony7.wav" Symphony8_1.wav, Symphony8_2.wav. If Acdsee can automatically rename an image file when saving a duplicate named .jpg, then VinylStudio should be able to too.

Does that all make sense?

All the Best
Ian

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2009, 03:27:16 pm »
OK, thanks, I've read all that.  I'd like to propose the following scheme, based on 3 'input fields' rather than 2:

    Composer (in place of Artist)
    Title (as we have now)
    Performers (you might have to use this field creatively, or sometimes not at all)

Albums would then appear in the list like this:

    Beethoven - 5th Symphony - van Karajan and the London Philharmonic
    Monteverdi - Vespers - Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra with Sir John Elliott Gardiner

Perhaps you might like to comment on how well this would suit your collection.

It would be nice to name the recorded files in the same way, but there is a 255 character limit on the length of a filename, of which only about 150 are actually available, so one has to be a bit careful.  I need to think that one through, but I think it helps if the filenames are easily recognisable.

I also plan to review the way VinylStudio presents the album list.  One obvious feature is to offer to sort the list in any of the above three ways.  Another might be to allow you to 'tag' your recordings with, say, the name of the orchestra and then to filter the list by tag (e.g. 'show me only those albums recorded by the American Symphony Orchestra'). Other obvious tags are conductor and soloist.  I'm not sure how many more are warranted but we would want to limit the number to around half a dozen to prevent the user interface from becoming unwieldy.

Some of this breaks down when a single disc contains material from more than one source.  Maybe one could tag an album with more than one orchestra, for example, to help out in such cases.  Another possibility would be to record the two sides as two separate albums.

ianinfrance

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Re: Album details
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2009, 07:33:37 pm »
Hi again, Paul.

You suggested:-
Quote
I'd like to propose the following scheme, based on 3 'input fields' rather than 2:

    Composer (in place of Artist)
    Title (as we have now)
    Performers (you might have to use this field creatively, or sometimes not at all)

and asked whether that would suit my collection. The simple answer is "yes". Much better. That's not necessarily to say that someone else won't say in the future "hey but the star soloists are even more important" And they might have a point. Does one go to a concert, or buy a record because Luganski is doing a Rachmaninov series, or because Andris Nelsons is conducting the Philharmonia? But if there's a field for performers, and the soloist is important to the user then that's who they will put in. If the orchestra/choir and conductor are more important then they'll use that.

I'll think about your further ideas for refinement after super and try to remember to comment again later. Give me a kick if I don't.

All the best
Ian

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2009, 11:04:28 pm »
Quote
But if there's a field for performers, and the soloist is important to the user then that's who they will put in. If the orchestra/choir and conductor are more important then they'll use that.

Yes, that's my view too.  I'm happy with that for the moment, so you can have your tea in peace :)  It's been a very useful discussion, thank you.  I'll try and find time to implement it!

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2011, 07:27:20 pm »
Hello again,

We finally got around to looking at this in detail and have decided not to change the software.  The reason for this is that it adds significant complexity when you consider that individual tracks can also have (different) composers, that it would influence the way the software names the files behind saved tracks and that there are also issues tagging saved tracks.

Instead, based on what the online databases (somewhat variably) do, we suggest:
  - use the artist field for the performer
  - start the album (or track) title field with the composer followed by a colon

e.g.

   Artist: Alfred Brendel
   Album title: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas

Which VinylStudio would then display like this:

   Alfred Brendel - Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas

This should give reasonable results both within VinylStudio and in the track listings displayed by Media Player / iTunes / etc.  I'm sorry if this is a bit of a disappointment but trying to implement this was becoming just too complicated and I don't want to break anything.

We will modify the software to make these suggestions to the user.  We will also see if we can add more flexibility to the way the list of albums is displayed.

ianinfrance

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Re: Album details
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2011, 09:38:15 pm »
Hi there,

We finally got around to looking at this in detail and have decided not to change the software.  The reason for this is that it adds significant complexity when you consider that individual tracks can also have (different) composers, that it would influence the way the software names the files behind saved tracks and that there are also issues tagging saved tracks.

Instead, based on what the online databases (somewhat variably) do, we suggest:
  - use the artist field for the performer
  - start the album (or track) title field with the composer followed by a colon

e.g.

   Artist: Alfred Brendel
   Album title: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas

Which VinylStudio would then display like this:

   Alfred Brendel - Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas

This should give reasonable results both within VinylStudio and in the track listings displayed by Media Player / iTunes / etc.  I'm sorry if this is a bit of a disappointment but trying to implement this was becoming just too complicated and I don't want to break anything.

We will modify the software to make these suggestions to the user.  We will also see if we can add more flexibility to the way the list of albums is displayed.
Right you are. I do understand, even if it seems to me to be a less than logical way of doing things. But you certainly don't want to break something that works well.

Jos van Eekelen

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Re: Album details
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2011, 12:48:39 pm »
It's a tough discussion, which input fields to use. I started using a database for vinyl somewhere in the eighties using dBase II and decided to add an extra 5 digit "index" field, for instance "beatl" for beatles, "beeth" for Ludwig van. This was ok with a recors/CD collection of about 800 and not too many classical albums with mixed composers. I just have to (try to) remember that Ravel and Mussorgsky are on the same album but let's say that the system suffices. Now with my CDs on Squeezebox Server it's sometimes difficult to find a certain piece of music because of the way the data is present in SB. This is partly caused by grabbing the info from internet databases, and at the time of doing so, not fully realising what the consequences are.
It struck my mind that perhaps tagging would be a good way to solve this, like is done with digital photography. Just add the words "Bach" and "Bream" to a record in order to find Bach's music played by Julian Bream. Of course this is not so much a VS problem but more database related, in my case Squeezebox's. I must have a look at the possibilities for tagging in an audio database. Next project :-)

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2011, 01:04:11 pm »
Yes, it's quite a complex issue, especially when you consider that different file formats support different sets of tags.  If you come across a tag which you feel VinylStudio should support, please let us know.  It may be that we should support more tags than we do.

Incidentally, there are a couple of additional tag fields in the Edit Album Details dialog which you might be able to make (creative) use of.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 01:51:53 pm by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

GHSMD

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Re: Album details
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2012, 01:33:22 pm »
I am also recording mostly Classical genre.  Ideally VS would in some future release allow user to enter any ID3V2.4 tag on a per track basis.  These include fields for Composer, Performer, Conductor, Orchestra, etc.  There are third-party tools for editing tags, currently I use qoobar.  Using an external program defeats the purpose of having VS  store the collection along with metadata (e.g. album art, tags) and generate appropriate formats as needed.

In my case, it would be sufficient to have just one added field for *Composer*.  This does not need to be encoded in the file name or displayed in the album list.  As long as it is written into the appropriate saved format, e.g. mp3.  Many current music players (e.g. iTunes) will let you sort or search on Composer.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2012, 07:06:55 pm »
Hi,

The next version of VinylStudio (following on from V8.3.1) will in fact offer the following additional tags: composer, conductor, comment.

These are supported by most (but not all) file types.  Sorry we have been a  bit slow in implementing this.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Album details
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 11:21:27 pm »
Update: We now have a beta-test version of VinylStudio available with support for these additional tags.  Please let me know (by posting back here or through the website) if you would like a copy.

GHSMD

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Re: Album details
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 08:54:15 pm »
Comments on 8.5.0 Beta 1. Thanks for additional tags!  So far I have tested the two formats I use, FLAC and AAC.  FLAC works great. When both Composer and Conductor are specified, and saving to AAC (mp4) format, the string "Composer / Conductor" is saved for Composer field and nothing to Conductor field instead of separately to Composer and Conductor.  This is not desired behavior, at least for me.  If this is a convention some use, can there be a perference setting? Confirmed by examination of saved files with Qoobar tag editor and iTunes.