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Best Methodology for Tagging Music


sherlockjr

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Hi, all. I've been enjoying reading all the great information on this site, but there is one subject that I can't seem to find information on here (or anywhere else), and that is information on a good tagging methodology for music. I realize this isn't strictly an audiophile issue, as it has nothing to do with sound quality. But keeping music organized is critical being able to listen and enjoy the music that we spend so much time and effort capturing, storing, and playing back. I would love to know if there is a universal, consistent, audiophile-approved system for tagging music to keep libraries functioning at their best.

 

Going further, a few specific questions:

 

- How does everyone tag classical music? For me, this category has always proved the most difficult and as such there are the most inconsistencies in my library with this music. (And I'm using "classical" in the broadest sense of the word.)

 

- Another problem category for me is movie soundtracks. Especially when they involve songs as well as score.

 

- What is the best resource for checking tags? MusicBrainz? Gracenote? Something else?

 

Thanks!

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I would love to know if there is a universal, consistent, audiophile-approved system for tagging music to keep libraries functioning at their best.

 

 

- How does everyone tag classical music?

 

- Another problem category for me is movie soundtracks. Especially when they involve songs as well as score.

 

- What is the best resource for checking tags? MusicBrainz? Gracenote? Something else?

 

 

Agreement on classical music tags? Not a chance!

 

Tagging classical music gets discussed at intervals on the JRiver forum. Here is a recent thread:

 

Tagging classical music.

 

 

I put a screenshot of the JRiver view that I use for classical music in a post in that thread.

 

Search that forum for other threads.

 

You should figure out how you want to use tags to locate music to play. Then look for means to make your software serve your purpose.

 

Broadway music and Great American Songbook music is like classical music in that the composer is as important as the performers. However, you may also want a tag to list multiple singers for individual songs. In JRiver, you can specify that a tag can contain a list of values.

 

Some people like the AMG online tag database accessible through the dBpoweramp ripper for tags. MusicCHI is another possibility. These sources don't format tag values as I want them or place them in tags the way I want the information placed. I enter some tag info manually using JRiver and edit the [track] name tag that JRiver provides. I found that to be quick and trouble free using the tag editing features in JRiver.

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RE classical music - I find it best to use MP3Tag (there may be alternative software) to create Composition (or work) and movement tags which can then be combined into a track title using the MP3Tag scripting.

 

Some playback software can access the Composition and Movement tags directly too.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Thank you Musicophile and Old Listener! These links and info are great... I'll spend some time going through them today. They appear to be most helpful regarding classical music, which as we all seem to agree, is maybe the hardest to address.

 

But I'd like to raise a few other tagging challenges/questions for you or anyone else regarding more general pop and contemporary music:

 

- How do you use Artist Album vs. Artist in iTunes?

- How do you use Grouping in iTunes?

- How do you tag tracks that involve a principal artist along with a featured artist or artists (especially common in hip-hop)?

 

And this is now a moot point as physical media goes the way the dinosaur, but why on earth do/did music companies not create CDs with metadata included in the tracks?!

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RE classical music - I find it best to use MP3Tag (there may be alternative software) to create Composition (or work) and movement tags which can then be combined into a track title using the MP3Tag scripting.

 

Some playback software can access the Composition and Movement tags directly too.

 

Eloise

 

Thanks, Eloise. It appears this software doesn't work with AIFF files... do you know of solutions that work with uncompressed files?

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Thanks, Eloise. It appears this software doesn't work with AIFF files... do you know of solutions that work with uncompressed files?

 

I tried TuneUp, but it didn't fix my missing artwork issue (the artwork does "stick" on a few of my albums, maybe 1%). I was looking around for another AIFF tag editor that would reference the usual databases but could not find a standalone tool. What I would really like is to have an update or extension to dBPowerAmp that uses the tag editting of recently ripped CD's, but could take a folder or group of folders as the input.

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why on earth do/did music companies not create CDs with metadata included in the tracks?!

Actually, there is a data set on CDs made from the late '90s. Not every one includes any data in it, but it uses the ITTS (Interactive Text Transmission System) format and could contain all the info we'd ever want if only it were put there. I think it's big enough to contain original liner notes (probably without images, though). The most common use for this today is apparently to provide karaoke lyrics.

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Have you tried perfectTUNES from dbpoweramp? It works on folders or whole drives full for music. It has 3 modules: Album Art, DeDup,, and AccurateRip. The Album Art module analyzes your whole collection and then displays (and attempts to fix with your consent) albums without artwork or with low resolution artwork. DeDup analyzes for duplicate tracks (ie, you might both FLAC and mp3). AccurateRip analyzes and compares your files to the AccurateRip database. It can't fix problems, but can at least alert you.

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Have you tried perfectTUNES from dbpoweramp? It works on folders or whole drives full for music. It has 3 modules: Album Art, DeDup,, and AccurateRip. The Album Art module analyzes your whole collection and then displays (and attempts to fix with your consent) albums without artwork or with low resolution artwork. DeDup analyzes for duplicate tracks (ie, you might both FLAC and mp3). AccurateRip analyzes and compares your files to the AccurateRip database. It can't fix problems, but can at least alert you.

 

This is only for Windows, correct? Is there any good tagging software for the Mac?

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Just having read through these threads, I have a question for everyone:

 

I was thinking about using "Artist" for the composer, and then using "Album Artist" for the performers. Has anyone else tried this method? Is there any downside to it? Will it break up the way iTunes holds an album together?

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Just having read through these threads, I have a question for everyone:

 

I was thinking about using "Artist" for the composer, and then using "Album Artist" for the performers. Has anyone else tried this method? Is there any downside to it? Will it break up the way iTunes holds an album together?

If you put the same album artist ITunes keeps the album together (alternatively you can always click on "part of a compilation"). I just don't see the advantage.

 

On the tagging software, I personally think there's nothing wrong with using ITunes supplemented by DougScripts for more complex operations. I have bought Metadatics at some point but don't see how it improves the workflow in any way. I also use a TuneInstructor, unfortunately most of the documentation of this tool is in German.

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You might look into JRiver MC for the Mac. I use their Windows version and it has an unbelievably complete tagging system. Their Mac version is much more recent so I don't know if the system is exactly the same but I would guess it is very similar. By the way, the Windows version includes a lot of video stuff and I don't think the Mac version does, at least not yet.

 

And speaking of tagging in a generic sense. I think before you go all in, you should spend a little time thinking about how you decide on what you want to hear at any given time and then set up a system that works best with that.

 

For instance, I decide what I want to listen to by genre, or a sort of feeling. So I setup a system where genres, styles, eras and such are very important. I basically have three levels of genres (so to speak). For instance for classical.

 

1. Classical

2. Orchestral, Symphony, Solo, Duo/Trio, Quartet/Quintet, Choral, Etc

3. Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Romantic/Classical, Modern, Contemporary

 

And then these categories which I also use for Classical

Instrument

Keywords

Composer

Artist

 

In Jriver you can setup a split screen. On top I have columns of those seven categories and I can click my choices and they then appear in the bottom screen.

 

If you like you can also start out this whole process with a search and then only the findings will be subject to those categories.

 

This may be more than you wanted to know, in which case, tough.

 

Chris

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