Changing metadata to improve Classical Music presentation

It is generally acknowledged that metadata works well for non-classical music but that it has limitations for classical music.

I have a mixture of music (rock, blues, jazz and some classical). Nevertheless although classical music is not my primary choice I wanted to tweak the metadata to best present it. In another thread some users disliked the work and concept of changing metadata whilst others thought it easy and even enjoyed it. However improvements cannot be made without manipulation of metadata.

There are several components involved in making, storing, indexing and retrieving music files with metadata:

a. Folders and files for storing music files and the metadata held in them.
b. Server software/devices for storing, indexing and presenting the files and metadata (AssetUPnP, Serviio, Twonky, Core, etc.)
c. Apps for accessing the server and indexed data (which may have differing features and limitations).
(the server software/device is the key ingredient).

As I found variations in my classical metadata I sought standards and conventions for the metadata to improve the presentation. The main issue is to achieve consistency. Does not matter so much what standard/conventions you adopt as long as you are consistent.

I use dBpoweramp’s ID-Tag editor. Others like MP3Tag.
I use AssetUPnP and Serviio servers, and Kazoo and BubbleUPnP apps.

I have seen different metadata standards between record companies and downloads and sometimes even within same album, so often unreliable to rely on metadata supplied but it can be improved.

CLASSICAL WORKs v. PHYSICAL FOLDERS

The first issue is that many CD’s or downloads contain several classical works. i.e.
Piano Concerto Nos 4 & 5 - Philharmonia Orchestra - Emil Gilels

I split them into individual classical works by changing the album title for the relevant tracks. i.e.
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G (Op.58)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor Concerto” (Op.73)

Note some collections may have 10 or more works

EXPANDED WORK AND MOVEMENT DESCRIPTIONS

I add the composer to the album (work) tag i.e.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major (Op.92) not Symphony No. 7 in A major (Op.92)

and I add both the composer and work (as above) to each track title (movement).
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major (Op.92): I. Poco sostenuto - Vivace not I. Poco sostenuto - Vivace

I do not have hundreds of files just called “Allegro” !

COMPOSER

In the composer tag is it Bach or Johann Sebastian Bach (when indexing they are obviously not the same). Is it Frédéric François Chopin or Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin or Frédéric Chopin - language spelling issue. (Frederic Chopin is not the same as Frédéric Chopin).

However I decided on “last name, first name” i.e. Chopin, Frédéric.
When you are looking for Vivaldi do you know his name is Antonio Vivaldi?

This make presentation clear and easy to use. I made a text file with my composers in and can easily copy them and use as metadata. (I will post my composer text file separately).
As I was updating the composer on all my classical metadata I decided to add birth/death and nationality as I find it informative i.e.
Debussy, Claude (1862-1918) - French composer

OTHER CONVENTIONS I HAVE ADOPTED

No. 1 (not No 1 or Number 1 or Nr 1) i.e. Piano Concerto No. 1
E major (not E Major or e Major), E minor (not E Minor), B-flat (not B-Flat or B Flat or b flat), C-sharp
Work number (BWV1067) not BWV1067, and (Op.61) or (Op.8, RV269)
I. II. or III. et seq. for movements.
Examples are:
album (works)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major (Op.92)

track (movement)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major (Op.92): I. Poco sostenuto - Vivace

OTHER METADATA

The relevant tags for classical music are:-
Album (or work)
Title (or movement)
Artist (a.k.a. Contributing artists - note the plural)
AlbumArtist
Composer
Conductor
Orchestra
Soloists.
Chorus
Label
(There are also “Work” and “Movement” tags but are not widely used by servers, so I avoided them).

I have therefore added Conductor and Soloists to orchestra in the artist (a.k.a. Contributing artists) and AlbumArtist tags so they are displayed.
e.g.
New Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Otto Klemperer
Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Leopold Ludwig. Soloist: Emil Gilels (piano)

AssetUPnP will index and search by composer, orchestra, conductor, soloists and chorus. It has a nice configuration option which allows nested selection of genre and then composer, conductor, orchestra, soloists, chorus - excellent for separating classical music.

Amending metadata can be a lot of work and time consuming but is not difficult when you get familiar with it. My results are very encouraging and I am listening more to my classical music.
JUST BACKUP YOUR DATA BEFOREHAND IN CASE YOU HAVE A MISHAP.

Genre/Classical options


Composer list selection

Selected composer (showing works)

Selected work (for the composer)

Selected work (for different composer) showing the Conductor and Soloist included in the Artist/AlbumArtist at the top.

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My composer file

Amy, Gilbert (1936- ) - French composer

Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788) - German composer
Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) - German composer
Bartók, Béla (1881-1945) - Hungarian composer
Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827) - German composer
Berlioz, Hector (1803-1869) - French composer
Bizet, Georges (1838-1875) - French composer
Borodin, Alexander (1833-1887) - Russian composer
Brahms, Johannes (1833-1897) - German composer
Bruckner, Anton (1824-1896) - Austrian composer
Buxtehude, Dieterich (c.1637-1707) - Danish composer

Cardoso, Manuel (1566-1650) - Portugese composer
Chabrier, Emmanuel (1841-1894) - French composer
Charpentier, Marc-Antoine (1643-1704) - French composer
Chausson, Ernest (1855-1899) - French composer
Chopin, Frédéric (1810-1849) - Polish composer
Couperin, François (1668-1733) - French composer

Debussy, Claude (1862-1918) - French composer
Dukas, Paul (1865-1935) - French composer
Dvorák, Antonín (1841-1904) - Czech composer

Elgar, Edward (1857-1934) - English composer

Field, John (1782-1837) - Irish composer
Fine, Michael ( - ) - American producer
Franck, César (1822-1890) - French composer
Fauré, Gabriel (1845-1924) - French composer

Gershwin, George (1898-1937) - American composer
Glazunov, Aleksandr (1865-1936) - Russian composer
Godard, Benjamin (1849-1895) - French composer
Goldberg, Johann Gottlieb (1727-1756) - German composer
Grieg, Edvard (1843-1907) - Norwegian composer

Hahn, Reynaldo (1874-1947) - French composer
Handel, George Frederic (1685-1759) - German/British composer
Hadyn, Franz Joseph (1732-1809) - Austrian composer
Hersant, Philippe (1948- ) - French composer
Holst, Gustav (1874-1934) - English composer
Hossein, André (1905-1983) - French composer
Hummel, Johann Nepomuk (1778-1837) - Austrian composer

Liszt, Franz (1811-1886) - Hungarian composer
Lotring, Wayan (1898-1982) - Balinese composer

Janácek, Leoš (1854-1928) - Czech composer

Kamangar, Tara (c.1972- ) - American composer
Koechlin, Charles (1867-1950) - French composer
Komitas (aka Soghomon Soghomonian) (1869-1935) - Armenian composer (and priest)

Mahler, Gustav (1860-1911) - Austrian composer
Mendelssohn, Felix (1809-1847) - German composer
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) - Austrian composer

Nielsen, Carl (1865-1931) - Danish composer

Offenbach, Jacques (1819-1880) - French composer
Orff, Carl (1895-1982) - German composer

Poulenc, Francis (1899-1963) - French composer

Rachmaninoff, Sergei (1873-1943) - Russian composer
Rameau, Jean-Philippe (1683-1764) - French composer
Ravel, Maurice (1875-1937) - French composer
Respighi, Ottorino
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai (1844-1908) - Russian composer

Saint-Saëns, Camille (1835-1921) - French composer
Schiller, Friedrich (von) (1759-1805) a German playwright
Schubert, Franz (1797-1828) - Austrian composer
Schumann, Robert (1810-1856) - German composer
Schütz, Heinrich (1585-1672) - German composer
Shostakovich, Dmitri (1906-1975) - Russian composer
Sibelius, Jean (1865-1957) - Finnish composer
Smetana, Bedrich (1824-1884) - Czech composer
Strauss II, Johann (1825-1899) - Austrian composer
Stravinsky, Igor (1882-1971) - Russian composer
Szymanowski, Karol (1882-1937) - Polish composer

Tartini, Giuseppe (1692-1770) - Italian composer
Taverner, John (c.1490-1545) - English composer
Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (1840-1893) - Russian composer
Torelli, Giuseppe (1658-1709) - Italian composer

Wagner, Richard (1813-1883) - German composer

Vivaldi, Antonio (1678-1741) - Italian composer
Verdi, Giuseppe (1813-1901) - Italian composer

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Some more classical genre screenshots by composer, conductor, Orchestra and Soloists.

Classical genre options


Composer selection list

Composer results

Conductor selection list

Conductor results

Orchestra selection list

Orchestra results

Soloists selection list
10a-soloists-list
Soloists results

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I undertook an excercise similar o yours some time ago and posted my findings here, it may (or not!) be helpful to you. https://community.naimaudio.com/t/classical-music-and-asset-upnp-server/514

I’ve moved away from this nw as using Roon saves all this hassle ad whilst not perfect does make locating classical works much much easier.

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We all seem to have different ways of doing this. I decided years ago that the easiest way for me to find a classical piece was to have the composer as the ARTIST. I add the orchestra/conductor/etc to the name of the file. Works well for me.

But then, I am one of the few people who routinely change an ARTIST (and ALBUM ARTIST if not a compilation) to read Surname, First Name (e.g Elvis Presley becomes Presley, Elvis). I don’t know about anybody else, but I often can’t recall an artist’s first name, and I have always kept my LPs etc arranged in order of artists surname, with first name as a second criterion for sorting between artists with the same surname.

Of course, I keep my classical LPs filed in order of composer (with compilations coming before the single composer albums) with only

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Thanks for the link - very useful.
As i wanted to add Orchestra and Soloists to my solution you effectively explained how I could add the Orchestra and Soloist tags to Asset. I did this on my test machine and now I have Orchestra and Soloists in addition to Composer and Conductor. Working beautifully.

Except when I replicated it on my main server it appears to ignore the tags for some reason. Presently copying all my classical folders to the test machine to check if it works with scale (will take a few hours).

The relevant Asset files are in the “umedialibrary” folder on Windows machines but different Asset versions use different file numbers and locations. Mine are “AssetUPnPDefinedBrowseTreev7.txt” and “MediaDatabaseFieldsv7a.txt” on Asset version 7.

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Glad it was useful to you, hopefully you will get it working successfully on your ‘production’ machine.

Yes, I use Asset on a QNAP so the folders will be different to Windows which I used to use.

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Had to reload AssetUPnP using local account not a service for some configuration reason.
Talking to Mr Spoon and a bit more sorting to do as Test machine working OK as service.

But working now so overjoyed. Have updated screenshots above.
The functionality of AssetUPnP is brilliant and any App can see the excellent classical music presentation.

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The exercise has proved very beneficial and the classical presentation is excellent.

However every day I spot some incorrect or missing tags/metadata. I can quickly edit the data over the network to my media server to correct it. Day by data the accuracy and completeness improves.

I’ve written in other threads how I spend time adjusting (and then amending!) metadata - for (nearly) all music in my NAS library - so as to achieve accessibility and consistency. Classical (a generic term covering Gregorian Chant to 20th/21st C modernism) is probably the most problematic.

I learned a few years ago to rip CD with no metadata provided by any Internet source … it’s much quicker for me to populate the data fields as I want, rather than have to amend the data provided. As you highlight, this is never consistent.

This month I have downloaded 4 albums and had to adjust all metadata to achieve consistency. I’ve yet to find a way to download with such fields blank! :slight_smile:

Unlike you, however, I seek to fill fields with minimal information and certainly don’t include “Russian composer”, dates, etc. … there’s always a PC or iPad to hand if I want to research such info.

For me, the brevity is important because I often use an iPhone to access the music and such details would either not show or reduce the relevant info I need to see, such as when choosing which of the 19 versions of LvB’s Sym #5 I want to pick. For brevity, I’ve opted to replace "No. " with “#” … I didn’t like it at first, now the old way looks wrong.

I also reverse names but omit a space after the “,” so that, e.g. the numerous presentations of Francis Albert Sinatra are all represented by Sinatra,Frank.

Another difference is your decision to put the composer’s name first (in the Album title field). I did try this but rejected it as it reduces my search capability: e.g. I may know it’s a Clarinet Concerto I’m looking for but can’t remember the (obscure) composer (Album Artist). I can search Album titles under “Clarinet” (yes: I could use the App’s search function but I also prefer being able to scroll down the list of albums).

When I first ripped albums I didn’t want to include the composer’s name in the Album title … the NDX/App display would show this (Album Artist) but this was changed a few years ago so that they now show the Album Track Artist. Having fought against this change (I acknowledge the change benefitted Various Artists’ albums) I do now include the Composer (Album Artist) in the Album title, usually after the Op. number.

I also include the performers’ names in the Album title after the work title so as to distinguish being usually [soloist/conductor/orchestra] and will include year if necessary. As examples - Album titles:

Symphony #5, Op.67 (Beethoven) in C minor [Karajan/BPO/1962]
Symphony #5, Op.67 (Beethoven) in C minor [Karajan/BPO/1977]
Symphony #5, Op.67 (Beethoven) in C minor [Karajan/BPO/1982]
Symphony #5, Op.67 (Beethoven) in C minor [Karajan/VPO]

Flute & Harp Concerto, K299/297c (Mozart) in C [Galway/Helmis/Karajan/BPO]
Flute & Harp Concerto, K299/297c (Mozart) in C [Galway/Robles/COE]
Flute & Harp Concerto, K299/297c (Mozart) in C [Galway/Robles/Marriner/ASMF]
Flute & Harp Concerto, K299/297c (Mozart) in C [Galway/Robles/Mata/LSO]
Flute & Harp Concerto, K299/297c (Mozart) in C [Galway/Robles/Tilson Thomas/LSO]

It may not be perfect, it is time-consuming … but it works - for me! :slight_smile:

Absolutely - it works for you, and the standards/conventions you adopted improve the accessibility and consistency of your metadata. I like some of the ideas you have adopted.

In regard to the extended “composer” names I used - as I had to change them to achieve the reversed format e.g. “Vivaldi, Antonio” it was just as easy to add the dates and origin in one go (which I find informative). I therefore created a composer file to ensure consistency and to avoid typos etc. by copy and paste.

I always “copy & paste” … especially for non-English names/text!

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I have now added Chorus to the presentation and indexing.
I don’t think a classical enthusiast could ask for more than these options.

Menu with Chorus added


Chorus results

Chorus selection

Sure let me put it together and I will get back to you shortly.

(I am using Windows version of Asset - other versions will be generally similar.)

There are two steps.

Firstly you need to add the tags to the file which identifies them for the Asset database.
This file is usually called “MediaDatabaseFieldsv7a.txt”.
To find this file use Windows file explorer go to your C: drive and in the top right corner search for the “umedialibrary” folder which is where Asset keeps these files.
When you find it rightclick and open folder location, then open the folder and then open the “MediaDatabaseFieldsv7a.txt” file.
You will see the existing tags and you can add the tags you want to use.
I added orchestra, soloists, chorus and label. (composer and conductor were already there).
This is my current file

artist
album artist
album
genre
composer
conductor
title,TEXT
year,INTEGER
track,TEXT
disc,TEXT
type,TEXT
rating,INTEGER
compilation,INTEGER
bits,INTEGER
channels,INTEGER
frequency,INTEGER
bitrate,INTEGER
lengthms,INTEGER
size,INTEGER
work
movement name,TEXT
movement number,INTEGER
orchestra,TEXT
soloists,TEXT
chorus,TEXT
label,TEXT

The second step is using the AssetUPnP configuration utility, add these tags to the browse tree (note you have to type them in as it does not show them in the edit field even though they are added). I used Chorus even though tag is chorus.
I also created them under “genre” in the tree so I can select “classical” genre at the top level.

expanded tree

The detailed tag settings are

Chorus parent
chorus-parent

Chorus child (i.e. album)
choru-2-child

Conductor, Orchestra, Soloists were added in exactly the same manner.
Then OK to accept the additions.

I then Restarted Asset, then Detect changes (time depends upon library size), and then Restart Asset AGAIN.
On your Control app go back to root menu and you should be good to go.

Also best to ensure you are on latest AssetUPnP.

P.S. Just remembered you can get to the umedialibrary folder (first step) easily from the General Settings in the AssetUPnP config utility as below

chorus-config
It may not work if you are using Asset in “Service” mode on a 64-bit machine as Windows puts them in a different place to what Asset tells it (the cause of my earlier problem - I swopped to “Local Account” then no problem).

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Credit should go to @trickydickie and an Asset forum member who put me on the right path.

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Recently I found this blog. I do not tag exactly like him, but I did write some rules that work for me. Here is the link to the interesting blog :
https://absolutelybaching.com/music-articles/the-axioms-of-classical-music-tagging/

As you do @Paul_C, I always fit the surname in caps lock first, then the fist name. To help me memorize the period of the author, I always add in brackets the year of birth, and very often for classical music, the date of death. Like MOZART Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) in the artist field.

For the album, (wich as the blog explain), I often consider an album every remarquable piece of music lasting more than 5minutes. And after each piece of work, I add in bracket the year and the main conductor or interpret of the work. I will have for example for the album :
Symphony No. 3 Es-Dur Op. 55 “Eroica” (1977-Karajan)
Like that, I will have sorting by year every interpretation of the third symphony of Beethoven.
But there is some exception. For example, for the sonatas, which are far numerous, the album should be : Piano Sonatas (1995-Murray Parahia)
And it is in the title that I will write :
Piano Sonata No. 1 I. Allegro
The title has not too many character (for compatibility between different system the path and name should not be greater than 255 char.) when I want to listen some piano sonatas, I could listen for a long time without changing sonate by sonate (I do listen a lot by tag album), and the random track is not very convenient for classical music.
For the year, I always put the date of the recording rather than the creation.
For the genre, I did a combo between, the “Mood” (CLASSICAL in caps lock, vs POP-ROCK or NIGHT in my library for other kind), the periode (Romantic, Baroque, Contemporary) and sometimes with the style (Mass, Opera, …)
In the conductor field, I write the main artist of the record. Unfortunately, this tag is not very often used or searchable by server or software.
To be continued and completed…

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Yes, I have found, both with dBpoweramp and more recently Qobuz, that the metadata provided is never as you want it, so I invariably have to edit it.

I use composer for artist, surname first followed by Christian name as the first port of call.

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