Author Topic: Managing (levels of) classical music works using MusicBee and MusicBrainz Picard  (Read 17508 times)


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Absolutely, please take your time. I'll keep at it on my end. Caveat, I'm am new to Classical music in general and their naming conventions etc.

You've probably seen it, if not, this thread could be interesting:


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As I said earlier, just posting my virtual tags is useless since they probably won't work in somebody else's installation.

So here are some more general comments that might explain things a bit.

box 1:

It's a virtual tag that will look for things such as genre category, the presence of work levels, composers, conductors, artists.

For classical releases that contain works/compositions from different composers, and for non-classical releases I will usually have it simply displaying: Album Artist - Album
Like this:

If there is only a single composer for the whole release, the virtual tag will try to list:
Composer, Conductor, Orchestra (ensemble), Featured Artist(s)

'Featured Artist' is a custom tag that I use for what I consider a main performer on a release.
It could be the main vocalist in an opera that I am personally interested in, or the cellist that plays the solo part in a large orchestra.
I have Picard pre-populating that field by using a certain script, but it will usually need some manual editing before I accept it as 'my' featured artist.

B.t.w., I also use that tag for non-classical music, for where I a consider one performer in a band the main artist that I am interested in.

Ensemble/Orchestra is also a custom tag, but it gets populated automatically by Picard and it's Classical Extras plugin and it hardly needs any attention or interaction.


The sub-grouping field is also a dynamic virtual tag.
It will take into account what content is already displayed in the grouping header. (since that won't need to be repeated)
For multi-level works from one composer it will usually display the name of the acts or scenes from the top level work.
For a compilation album it might display the different composers and their works.

If a release is either: very simple, very complicated, or was not matched at MusicBrainz, I can simply disable the sub-grouping mechanics and have all information displayed in the title field. (also a virtual tag)
That could look like this:


About the symbols:

In principle these symbols are just characters such as numbers and letters. But the font that you use will determine the availability of such decorative symbols.

Here are two examples of fonts that contain a lot of useful symbols:

And here is a simple example of how you could use such symbols in a virtual tag:

<Composer>{font: Segoe UI Symbol;Regular;9} 𝄞 {font: Segoe UI;Regular;9}<Work>{font: Segoe UI Symbol;Regular;9} 👤 {font: Segoe UI;Regular;9}<Artist>

I hope this gives you some more clues and amunition to proceed with your quest?


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why did you choose to leave out the opus number for "..."?

If you see an ellipsis (…) in a title, it's written by the Classical Extras plugin as an indicator that it has stripped a part of a title because it was a duplicate occurring somewhere else already.
If it would not be stripped, titles could get very long, containing partly duplicate information.

You could decide to set the plugin and your script not to use stripped fields, and always show the full available information from work/title fields, but after lots of testing on various sorts of releases I decided to make these choices.

You are very correct to notice that in the screenshot you see the opus nr. mentioned nowhere though.
But... that's an almost one year old screenshot ;-)

After that I have done some tweaking on the script and my virtual formulas, and the result nowadays looks like this:

As you can see the opus number is displayed in the grouping header, so it's o.k. (by me) that it doesn't also display in the sub-grouping header.
You may have another opinion and make different choices, but I have found that for other releases not stripping duplicate parts of titles can result in some very long and superfluous titles that I don't like much.

So it's sort of a compromise and a matter of personal preference.
Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 09:14:46 AM by hiccup


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Sorry I am (very) late to responding to this thread but thanks so much for the additional comments and feedback. Not going to lie, its a lot to take in. I've been reading the Musichi Zen Classical Tagging guide amongst other things and it feels like I know more but left more confused. Which is a shame because my mind is going to get hung up on these details before letting me enjoy the music.

I'll keep digesting it and if you don't mind maybe do a follow up in the future. Cheers for helping though.


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Not going to lie, its a lot to take in.

Been there, done that.
Don't think 'others' are that smart and have easily figured this out in a completely well-controlled manner.
Classical music is still a bitch to handle, and the nice screenshots and tutorials you will stumble upon will usually be a representation of some best case scenarios and 'in ideal circumstances this would work'.

If I read some of my own posts or 'tutorials' on classical, I sometimes think, huh?, that sounds over-complicated, who is this nerd?

The best way to find your own holy grail will be to read and digest a variety of opinions and then decide on your own system.
Stick with it, and also accept that you will probably need to adjust it once in a while.


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An important warning/suggestion:

It is advisable not to load different classical releases that contain the same classical works in one and the same Picard session.

So if you have e.g. three different albums that all contain Daphnis et Chloé, do not load them together in the same session, but make sure you load and process them separately, and close and restart Picard in-between these sessions.

If you do process them in the same run, there is a possibility of getting inaccurate results.
The reason behind that is a bit complicated, but it has to do with the way the Classical Extras plugin uses cache memory to store release and track relationships.
This cache memory can sometimes be shared/claimed between the different loaded releases, which can prevent getting correct results for all of them.


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If you are using this system, and are frequently playing classical music, and/or are using a separate portable MusicBee installation, dedicated to your classical music library (as I do), you may be interested in this:

It is a replacement for the regular player panel, that displays additional information about the playing track, that is relevant to classical music.


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Just a heads-up to MusicBrainz' Picard users:

Last week they released a new version (2.7.0), but that release has raised quite a few issues and problems for me.
At the moment I can not pinpoint if they are related to plugins, scripts, or programmatic changes within Picard, but I would personally advise to stick to 2.6.x versions for now.