Author Topic: Categories for musical instruments?  (Read 263 times)

hiccup

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Thinking out loud about the following:

There exist a near infinite number of musical instruments.
If you have these present in your tags, such as "piano: Sviatoslav Richter" that is useful to see who is playing a certain instrument.

And, if you would like to filter or search by instrument, you could use 'piano' to find certain pianists in your library.
Or if you are in the mood for some cello, filter by 'cello'.

But....
The keyboard player might be listed as playing harpsichord. Or Fender Rhodes. Or synthesizer. Or electric piano. Or grand piano.
The same goes for a saxophone player. He might play alto saxophone, or tenor saxophone, etc.
A singer might be 'just a singer', or a soprano, or a counter-tenor, or throat-singer, or 'spoken-word', etc.

For the purpose of filtering it would be useful to have some main categories for instruments.
Similar to the existing MusicBee feature of genre categories. (Bebop falls under Jazz, etc.)

So we would then have a limited and defined number of main instrument categories such as e.g.:

Vocals
 soprano, tenor, lead vocals, backing vocals, spoken word, ...

Keyboard (acoustic)
 piano, grand piano, fortepiano, harpsichord, ...

Keyboard (electric)
 Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, synthesizer, Hammond organ, ...

Guitar (acoustic)
 acoustic guitar, Spanish guitar, baroque guitar, ...

Guitar (electric)
electric guitar, Gibson Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, ...

Percussion
 tambourine, cowbell, conga, triangle, cabasa, cajon, ...

I am aware this is much more complicated than 'genres', and will be difficult to make useful because it depends on many other factors, such as tagging schemes, the use and implementation of 'performer' tags, etc.

I am curious if other users are interested in such, possibly assemble some useful input and ideas about this, and see if it might be feasible to perhaps make some proposal for.

This might be a good time to address this, since it might influence or be dependent on some other changes that are being proposed or considered, such as the handling of classical music, possible changes to the tagging panel, handling of 'performer' tags, etc.
Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 03:53:45 PM by hiccup

psychoadept

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This sounds like a good idea to me, but it's dependent upon the implementation of instruments in the first place.

The first step is for FLAC and MP3 performer tag standards to be unified in the MB interface.  Picard, at least, tags FLAC with Performer (Instrument) and MP3 with Instrument; Performer (the ID3 standard says that the odd-number tags are instruments and the even-number tags are people).  MusicBee needs to be able to interpret and display these in a consistent way.  I'm imagining the current Multiple Artist Splitter being enhanced so that if you're looking at or entering a Performer value, there is a secondary box for the instrument, which of course is stored in the file in the appropriate format for the file type.

Once that's done, then we could look at how to make further use of those instrument tags: instrument categories? ability to display just the instruments in the column browser (<Performer: Instrument>)?
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alec.tron

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I would +1 all this. i.e. to have performer fields standardized and to implement & standardize instrument tags (as compatible as possible to discogs/picard approaches... if there is any...).

Also, as this is another angle - I care more/mostly about tagging tracks with the lead instruments (since I listen to a lot of instrumental music, and usually there's 1 or 2 instuments which are at the forefront, composition or mastering wise), and I would like to tag these and find them easily - for which I do not have a good method yet.... but, would be nice if the proposed 'instrument' field, would work as a multi value / dictionary, such as:
"piano: Sviatoslav Richter"
as well as ONLY the instrument (if the user wants to, and doesn't care about who the performer of the instrument is...), i.e.
Piano; Cello; Singing Saw;
or somesuch. :D

Churs.
c.

hiccup

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Also, as this is another angle - I care more/mostly about tagging tracks with the lead instruments (since I listen to a lot of instrumental music, and usually there's 1 or 2 instuments which are at the forefront, composition or mastering wise), and I would like to tag these and find them easily - for which I do not have a good method yet....

I have been using a custom tag named 'main instrument' exactly for this purpose.
Since it will often be a subjective choice what is the 'main instrument' for a track, I don't think it can (or should) be curbed or automated.

Alumni

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Once that's done, then we could look at how to make further use of those instrument tags: instrument categories? ability to display just the instruments in the column browser (<Performer: Instrument>)?

This might be a crazy idea, but what about a tag cloud within MusicBee? It could include genres, instruments, moods, or whatever else might be relevant. An example of a tag cloud;


phred

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This might be a crazy idea, but what about a tag cloud within MusicBee? It could include genres, instruments, moods, or whatever else might be relevant.
+ 1 million!
I've spent a lot of time search for and playing with tag clouds and would love MB to be able to either create, or feed data to, a tag cloud. One of the biggest  problems I've run into with online versions (at least the ones I've found) are that it looks at a single word only. So a genre like "Rhythm and Blues" would show as three distinct words. Same with artists names. They got broken up into their individual words.

@Alumni - what did you use to generate your example? I'd like to try it.
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Alumni

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@Alumni - what did you use to generate your example? I'd like to try it.

Oh it's just a random picture I found to illustrate my point. This might actually be a better example: http://ccmixter.org/tags