Author Topic: Tips / suggestions how to store global but tag relative information ?  (Read 4282 times)

alec.tron

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Heya,
maybe there's a good approach for this already in MusicBee's depth...
As a pre-cursor - since the whole mp3 shebang started 20 years ago, I've never bothered setting genres on my files... but, with MusicBee's multi-facets and me starting toi use them, and with ever more of my vinyl getting ripped digitally, I have to deal with an explosion on genres & subgenres now... atm I'm down 3 layers in some cases, such as:
Reggae -> Dancehall -> Fast Chat
i.e. a mid 80s style from the UK that developed out of early digital dancehall (slengteng riddim et al)...

Now a 2-fold question:
- I love how the MusicExplorer is trying to present related genre values (I assume by combined occurance ?) - but, some micro-scenes / historical eras/info is rather obscure, so I would not mind storing these somewhere.... i.e. as Notes/Description, relative to each of the tag value, in this case a genre value...
Is this somehow possible within MusicBee?
If not, I'll continue to scribble down things I want to remember in my global text/notes file I maintain bu hand, until I have a better place to store things I want to remember...

Additionally - I know there's 2 layer granularity mapping supported in musicbee via Genre & Genres mapping (i.e. Dancehall being grouped under reggae, and these can be user customized through Configuration.xml). But, might be there way's to get more granular with this as well ?


Cheerio.
c.


alec.tron

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It does, thanks.
Bummer though Steven never chimed in on that, which makes it look, despite the many +1s, that he deems it not worthwhile... ?
Oh well, I'll +1 it, as with the current implmentation of mappings I would like to have a 3rd mapping facet (but, there is many open issues with other programs I rely on when it comes to this...).
Cheers.
c.

Phaedrus

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I like this, but am not sure about going through all 70k files to play with genres. I started in the early days as well, and now my tags are such a hot mess, I literally can't even.

Unless I'm missing some way to auto populate with a good set of genres. I found Last.FM to be right next to useless for the majority of my music. I'm all ears if you have a suggestion.
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221,394 Tracks, 14,263 Albums, 3063.22 GB, 645d 05:45

alec.tron

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Yea, sounds like we're in a similar boat, although I bit the bullet and am traversing through my files and set everything by hand...
I had hopes for discogs tagging & deriving genres from there, but the user maintained Genre/Style definitions are a mess on there as well, and ideally they would come on a per-track basis, which is WIP on discogs database end, plus  the sub genre granularity I was after is not present on on discogs either.
And, genres are somewhat personal imo as well, i.e. the amount of granularity & what classifies as what etc... so I gave up on having any auto-tag algorithm spitting out anything useful...
c.

Phaedrus

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I was using Media Monkey until a few weeks ago, and I've had to bite that bullet more than once. I'm slowly coming to the realization that I'm going to have to bite that bullet again, because that [email protected]&#^$ software has damaged my tags and some of my files. I don't know what they did to my Flac tags, and a good portion of my MP3 tags are reporting as corrupted in a couple of utilities I've used. I'm at the point where I think I'm going to have to nuke my extended tags, and start over, again. Seriously, words cannot describe my dislike of that software. I digress, and apologize for ranting; I feel better now.

I agree, genres can be highly personal, and I believe this is why they are always such a hot mess on the sites. My problem has always been in the meta area. Which main genres to use, how to deal with gray areas. How granular do I go? Do I assign a main genre by artist?  How will I use Genre for creating playlists, Do I need to go to the song level, or is Album genre good enough? Since I never really came up with a good answer to these questions, I came up with a different tact, and it seemed to work the last time I did it.

Auto populate the genre with a bunch of stuff. Discogs Genre / Style seemed to be closer to how I think about the music than the other sites. With the Genres auto-populated, I was able to work through each of the sub genres and refine those tracks to be more accurate for my taste. The big thing this did for me was to break me out of the paralysis by analysis. I ended up with a pretty good set of genres, and my library was still pretty usable while I was doing it.

I have realized that the name of the genre is less important than what it means to me. As long as I know what the genre term means, I can play a genre and understand what kind of music it will be. I always wanted to use some type of standard, because I found that my idea of what a genre is changes as I listen to different kinds of music. Bjork is a good example. If I've been listening to rock, I tend to think of her music as more "pop." If I've been listening to pop, I think of "Electronic." If I've been in classical or jazz, I tend to think in terms of "Experimental" or "Avant Garde." I really like the Wikipedia genres, but there is no way to do that automatically. That only goes to the Album level and honestly that is usually close enough for me.
Dell Inspiron, i5, 8GB, 256GBSSD
Windows 10 Home
MusicBee 3.3.7499, installed on C:\
Library on External drive;
221,394 Tracks, 14,263 Albums, 3063.22 GB, 645d 05:45

hiccup

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What can also help getting paralyzed by analyzing (that was a fitting expression ;-) is the fact that both people and websites tend to mingle and confuse 'genre' with 'style', or 'form'.
For example the often used term 'singer-songwriter' (in my opinion) is not a genre. It would be a style, a form, or perhaps something to fill in as a 'keyword'.
Or terms such as 'Industrial' or 'Avant-garde'. Those would also be more appropriate to be used as a style, and not as a genre.

The same goes for classical music. It can be argued that 'opera' and 'sonata' are forms, not genres.

So if we are talking about granularity, it would probably be good to have a good distinction and handling of:
Genre category, Genre, Sub-genre, Form/style, Keywords.

I have created a large excel sheet trying to dissect and organize exactly these entities, with the intention to strictly use that as my guide for entering those in MusicBee.
I also setup some custom tagging scheme to accommodate for it, but in reality this fine theory is very hard and extremely time-consuming to make work on a large and diverse library.

So for now I mainly misuse a custom tag to assemble all sorts of close-but-no-cigar genres and styles that come from different kind of sources.
Perhaps in the future after some extended support for all this is implemented in MusicBee, and more importantly, organizations such as MusicBrainz able to deliver such finer and better specified granularity, I might bring myself to go through my library and try to fill the tags according to my scheme and objectives.
Then that custom 'garbage filled' tag could also prove useful, containing suggestions to use for filling in the correct tag fields.

Phaedrus

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I like you. You are absolutely correct about the distinction between genre, form and style. I had forgotten about that.

A few years ago, I spent a lot of time researching music and genre in an effort to come up with a way to scientifically analyze and categorize music. I probably had enough information for a Masters degree thesis, if not a doctoral dissertation. I never came to solid conclusion I could use, because I kept finding songs that would challenge my interpretation.

I started at the artist level, and began to classify my way down through albums, and finally to individual songs. Once I got through a good portion of my library at the time, I realized that my definitions were way too granular for my library. At the time my software was unable to deal with multiple genres, so I had to fake it with custom genres like; Rock; Blues; Memphis; Acoustic. I shudder when I think about "Electronic." They ended up mostly useless, because many genres ended up as one-offs, and rendered Genre almost useless. I punted, and compressed them down into more generic genres.

Now, I'm at a point where I pretty much don't even care anymore. My genres are a hot mess and the result of auto-tagging from Discogs, with no filter. I've spent so much time screwing around with files, that I don't even recognize albums anymore. Now, I'm trying to clean up the library itself by organizing my album types into Folders by type of album. (Official Studio, compilation, Soundtrack, Live) So I have some way of breaking my file organization into more bite-sized chunks, so I can manage the raw files more efficiently.

Once I'm through that, (It's surprisingly quick.) I plan to start just listening to my d--- music, and enjoying it. I have all the songs I like rated at 3 stars, and mostly put an auto-playlist  of those into Auto-DJ. If I'm listening critically, I look for a an album by an artist that seems intriguing, and skip songs I don't like, or rate songs I do. I find that using the multiple genres as assigned by Discogs to be close enough for background noise.

Basically, I have embraced the chaos, and roll with it. Someday, somewhere, somebody will come up with a canonical genre / style system, and I will leap for that software, paying whatever it takes so that my music is finally properly tagged. This is not that software, and I accept and love everything about it.
Dell Inspiron, i5, 8GB, 256GBSSD
Windows 10 Home
MusicBee 3.3.7499, installed on C:\
Library on External drive;
221,394 Tracks, 14,263 Albums, 3063.22 GB, 645d 05:45

hiccup

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That all sounds eerie familiar. And well described.
And I think we have also both read and appreciated a certain book. (judging from your nick ;-)

alec.tron

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What's the book ? Out of curiousity... ;)

I personally do not quite subscrive to the genre/form/style paradigm. Partially as it's already too difficult to align the fairly few (i.e. 100s) musical genres among peoples minds & understandings of the same... as well as due to the difficulties getting unified multi value genre metadata into many a music software... many are still on single values for genre even, and they are years away of even considering adding style/form tags....
Also, the further you go down the granularity route, people tend to make up words or just refer to a single piece ro group/artist that defined a sub-sub-genre/style, and this is as much defined by location as well as era and the terminology might change any minute again (at least in pop/sub culture, depending on what is written/published and accepted/taken on by the 'masses').
Then again, the inbetweens, the undefined & the primordial soup are quite often the most interesting/exciting bits... especially when you're there & then, or if you go down the music archeology route and try to look close up and see who influenced whom/when/how (think Amen break/Jungle, Triggerman/New Orleans Bounce, et al).
c.
Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 12:46:25 AM by alec.tron

hiccup

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What's the book ? Out of curiousity... ;)

I am only guessing his nick comes from 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'.

On topic: Yes you point out a few other complications about genres. It is also interesting to see that for contemporary music that is currently happening and evolving we seem to have the need to try and refine it's 'main' genre into dozens of sub-genres, but when time passes, we more or less let go of those refinements.
Indeed also cultural and regional differences make it impossible to define a worldwide genre and subgenre standard.
A contemporary song released in Tuva might be called 'pop' there, while the western world might classify it under 'folk' or 'ethnic'.

But, enough with pointing out all the challenges, imperfections and the impossibility of creating the perfect classifications of genres, sub-genres, styles, forms.

Let's go back to the wish/proposal for MusicBee at least accommodating for, and understanding sub-genres.

If you look at the example given earlier, I think it is hard to argue that it could be very useful for users at least trying to get a bit closer to a sensible and usable genre structure:


alec.tron

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No no, I'm on the same side :D
I'd love to have a 3 layer genre mapping inside of MusicBee too.
What do you suggest though - to have an additional dedicated subgenre metadata field ?


I've had a quick play, and as is, one can already multi-cascade genres (i.e. subgenre-> genres -> Genre category [and more/deeper if one would wish from the looks of things...]) as is inside of MusicBee's Configuration.xml too...i.e.

<Genre Name="Dancehall" Category="Reggae"/>
<Genre Name="Fast Chat" Category="Dancehall"/>

and I now have 'Dancehall' as a 'Genre Category', which in turn is grouped under the larger 'Reggae' category as well... and, I've had a file that is exclusively tagged with 'Fast Chat' appear in the 'Reggae' category, passed through the 'Dancehall' genre category definition above.
Although interesting (how much this already works, which I would not have expected...), looking at what this produces in some areas in MB, I'm not sure I'm going to go down this route...
Is anyone using MusicBee's Configuration.xml in such a way already ?

c.
Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 10:48:14 AM by alec.tron

hiccup

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I'd love to have a 3 layer genre mapping inside of MusicBee too.
What do you suggest though - to have an additional dedicated sub-genre metadata field ?

As you, and others already mentioned before, a lot of what is requested on this matter is already doable by means of custom tags, virtual tags, editing xml's, and other customization.
Yet, that is only reserved for rather experienced and savvy MusicBee users.
The majority of users will not (be able to) use this.

Also, even if you have it clear and laid out for yourself what genres and sub-genres you want to use for your library (for example a list), it is a p.i.t.a. to look up such a list every time you want to enter a genre, sub-genre or style that is not yet present in MusicBee's database.

It would be very nice if this all would be a lot easier, and available to much more users.

My hopes and objectives would roughly be threefold:

1. MusicBee having a comprehensive and actual list of the most common and sensible genres, sub-genres and styles integrated and available.
2. Having the option for users to easily 'unleash' (activate) the possibility to be able to use refined sub-genre and style features within MusicBee.
3. Making it easy to edit and apply genres, sub-genres and styles.

For 1:
Some four years ago (with some contributions from other members) I created a comprehensive list of genre categories, genres, sub-genres and styles (or keywords).
That list is still available, either to be integrated in MusicBee, or maybe having a new feature in MusicBee where you can insert or edit such a list yourself.
(similar to the existing feature to edit/paste your own list for genre categories.

For 2:
Many users will not be interested (or willing and able) to explore and use sub-genres and styles.
Therefor it would probably be best to have it optional to choose such an 'advanced genres' mode.

For 3:
If 1. and 2. are implemented, it would be possible to for example have a dedicated genre/style edit panel.
Maybe something like this, where you have pre-populated drop-down menus, where the next column only shows the options depending on the selection and relation to the column before it.




The biggest challenge would probably be how this would translate to writing and reading tags.
Mapping to custom or existing tags? The use of delimiters within tags to differentiate between genres and sub-genres?
That will probably be some headache material.
Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 05:37:21 PM by hiccup

Phaedrus

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At first I was like; "What book could he have possible been thinking of, my username was a nickname I didn't hate from twenty years ago."
Then I was like; "How the heck did you get my user name as a reference to that book?"
Now, I'm like; "Oh, yeah, I got to use my first choice for username on this site."

Yes, I love that book and revisit it every couple of years. I think I first read it in junior high. It was on my parents bookshelf, and I was always reading books that were way more advanced than my age. I often wonder if that book has shaped me more than I have realized...

I like the concept. I would put the genre categories as columns in the column browser and have no problems playing any genre I wanted, to whatever granularity I want. Way better than using Auto-Playlists to group genres together.

I'm sure you aren't surprised, but I agree 100%. Both how it's possible now, and that your idea for implementation would be awesome. Seriously, are we sure we aren't twins separated at birth? I was born in Detroit Receiving Hospital...

Where is that list available? It may be helpful.
Dell Inspiron, i5, 8GB, 256GBSSD
Windows 10 Home
MusicBee 3.3.7499, installed on C:\
Library on External drive;
221,394 Tracks, 14,263 Albums, 3063.22 GB, 645d 05:45

hiccup

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I often wonder if that book has shaped me more than I have realized...
Seriously, are we sure we aren't twins separated at birth? I was born in Detroit Receiving Hospital...
Where is that list available? It may be helpful.

Offtopic, skip if you don't care:
It's a weird book, that might seem distant and mechanical at first sight, but it really gets deep under your nerves if you let it.
I only read it twice, but the impact was enough to be immediatly triggered by your nick.
And my cradle stood on Dutch soil, so it's probably just some similarity in interests and mindset.


Ontopic:

Here are the fruits of my efforts some four years ago.
Probably a bit outdated here and there and lots of room for improvement, but you'll get the idea.

https://1drv.ms/f/s!AkA0tSv_UzTAgnTPzfd9WTyp9X5A