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  1. #1
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    Archiving classics

    Folks, I am looking for simple advice here:

    Since the SB2 now offers native support for gapless playback via FLAC, I have started to move my classical music collection onto the PC - and I have hit an archiving wall:

    It seems quite clear from the various PC music players on offer (SlimServer just being a case in point) that these tools were invented by folks who primarily listen to pop music.

    In pop music, most people equate the artist to the composer, or simply do not care for the latter.

    This does not work for classical music. When starting my classic music archive, I have taken to assigning the composer name to the artist tag (shunting the artist into the comments). This considerably facilitates retrieval through the artist/album focussed SB2 interface.

    But this is still unsatisfactory. Like many classic buffs, I suspect, I have the same piece of music recorded by various artists, in which case the concept breaks down.

    What do you guys do?

    Prefixing the artist name to the song title is do-able, but the eternal scrolling on the player display that invariably follows is ever so slightly tedious.

    In general, I was wondering whether some future piece of SS s/w could perhaps offer to configure an extra directory level (for the composer) in the music library?

    Also, I would find it helpful if the access to album and artist in the player interface could be pre-filtered by my choice of genre.

    If I go into genre at the present time, I automatically end up accessing the sub-level by artist. What if I wanted Album? Composer?

    Thanks - ovr.

  2. #2
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    I just got my squeezebox, and am facing the same issue. I haven't yet figured out what to do about it. I suppose I could always modify the software. Is there a good high level overview of the software design?

  3. #3
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    Well, if you want to go to that length, you should join the developer circle. And I shall look forward to your modifications. Bon courage.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovonrein
    ...these tools were invented by folks who primarily listen to pop music
    and so they still refer to every track as a "song"

  5. #5
    Senior Member stinkingpig's Avatar
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    Archiving classics

    ovonrein wrote:

    >...
    >But this is still unsatisfactory. Like many classic buffs, I suspect,
    >I have the same piece of music recorded by various artists, in which
    >case the concept breaks down.
    >
    >What do you guys do?
    >
    >

    ....
    Use the Composer tag when you tag your files. Some tag and rip programs
    don't offer it, but it is there and Slimserver will use it.

    --
    Jack At Monkeynoodle Dot Org: It's A Scientific Venture!
    "I spent all me tin with the ladies drinking gin
    so across the Western ocean I must wander" -- trad.


  6. #6
    Senior Member pfarrell's Avatar
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    Archiving classics

    On Sat, 2005-11-05 at 04:40 -0800, ovonrein wrote:
    > Folks, I am looking for simple advice here:


    But your problem, which is shared by many, is not simple.
    My collection is stored using the pop-oriented genre/artist/album/...
    tree.


    > What do you guys do?



    I use softlinks to point to both
    classical/beethoven/ninth_symphony_d_minor and
    classical/muti/beethoven 9th in D minor

    It is not a great solution, but its easy

    It doesn't address your real concerns, please keep reading....

    > I have hit an archiving wall:
    >
    > In pop music, most people equate the artist to the composer, or simply
    > do not care for the latter.
    >
    > This does not work for classical music. When starting my classic music
    > archive, I have taken to assigning the composer name to the artist tag
    > (shunting the artist into the comments). This considerably facilitates
    > retrieval through the artist/album focussed SB2 interface.


    I'm unclear why you are calling this an archiving problem. Perhaps
    I don't understand what you are calling archiving.

    I see three separate and almost unrelated design questions:

    1) how are tracks stored in the physical disk? What structure makes
    sense?

    2) how are tracks tagged? and

    3) how are groups of tracks managed?

    The key problem is that any hierarchical structure fails for
    classical music.

    So the clear solution is to design a system that lets you answer #1 with
    "any way you want, its not important". Separate storage from access.
    Then focus on managing access.


    > In general, I was wondering whether some future piece of SS s/w could
    > perhaps offer to configure an extra directory level (for the composer)
    > in the music library?


    Extra directories can be setup by you now. But that won't
    do much, as it is hierarchical thinking that is the root problem.

    While hierarchical databases were widely used in the 70s and 80s,
    they have completely fallen out of favor because lots of problems
    have the same structural difficulties as classical music in a pop world.

    The alternative to hierarchical databases for the past 30 years has
    been a relational data base than can locate information independently
    of how it is stored, and in ways that change without requiring major
    restructuring.

    Lucky for SqueezeBox fans, the major thrust of the 6.* series releases
    of the SlimServer uses a relational database as the store for all meta
    data (meta data here meaning data about the important data, with
    artist, title, composer being metadata pointing to a wad of music bits
    that we want to hear.

    Which brings us back tot he answer for my last two questions:
    2) how are tracks tagged? and
    3) how are groups of tracks managed?

    For me, the answer to #2 is again, use anything that is consistent
    within your library, but don't lose much sleep over it. The concept of
    tagging software is too closely tied to pop music and while extensions
    and non-standard approaches can help, the reality is that the limits
    of internal tags become painfully clear with classical. So just tag
    the files basically and move on.

    The real solution is to use external data to manage the collection.
    Data that is in a relational database. A database with extensions
    so that there are clear and easy to use fields like
    conductor, soloists, accompanists, group, and performance-location for
    the recording and composer, title, movement, key, opus etc.
    for the music.

    This is not far off. But there is some work to be done.
    Most obviously is that when we have lots of data from sources
    not in the tags for the song, processes like scanning the library
    can not glibly throw away the existing database. And upgrades to
    the software and data schemas have to be aware of existing data
    and provide migration tools.

    None of this was possible without the huge effort to make 6.* work.
    Now that the database version is settling down, the additions
    become just a SMOP. (small matter of programming).



    --
    Pat
    http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimse...msoftware.html



  7. #7
    Wendy Seltzer
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    Archiving classics

    On 11/5/05, Pat Farrell <pfarrell (AT) pfarrell (DOT) com> wrote:
    >
    > On Sat, 2005-11-05 at 04:40 -0800, ovonrein wrote:
    >
    >
    > > What do you guys do?

    >
    >
    > I use softlinks to point to both
    > classical/beethoven/ninth_symphony_d_minor and
    > classical/muti/beethoven 9th in D minor



    I remap the tags.
    "Artist" = composer,
    "Album" = work, and
    "Title" = performers, as soloist(s) - conductor (orchestra).

    I also join all the movements of a piece into a single file, which has the
    side benefit of making randomized play work more effectively. So my
    directory for the same recording would look like
    symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Muti.flac

    This loses some information about movement boundaries and what disc a
    performance came from, but I find it makes navigation much more convenient.

    --Wendy
    (also searching for the elusive "best way" to catalogue classical)
    --
    Wendy Seltzer
    http://wendy.seltzer.org/blog/


  8. #8
    Senior Member pfarrell's Avatar
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    Archiving classics

    On Sat, 2005-11-05 at 12:48 -0500, Wendy Seltzer wrote:
    > I also join all the movements of a piece into a single file, which has
    > the side benefit of making randomized play work more effectively. So
    > my directory for the same recording would look like
    > symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Muti.flac


    Does this lead to
    symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Toscanini_BBC.flac
    symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Toscanini_LaScala.flac
    symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Mengelberg.flac
    symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Szell_Cleveland.flac
    symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Szell_London.flac
    symphonic/Beethoven,_Ludwig_van/Symphony_No._9_in_d_min/Szell_Columbia.flac

    Now the 9th is one of the worst cases, everyone has recorded it at
    least once. But the conductor and orchestra and often the vocal chorus
    all deserve to be part of the identifying indicies. And maybe
    you'd want to listen to how the LSO plays the first movement under
    the direction of Muti, Szell and Toscanini.

    > (also searching for the elusive "best way" to catalogue classical)


    To be followed up with which is the best recoring of the 9th :-)

    --
    Pat
    http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimse...msoftware.html



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkingpig
    Use the Composer tag when you tag your files. [...] Slimserver will use it.
    What for? Yes, you can dig deep into the tags on your Slim player to find out, but that's not the point. It is the music tree that would require the extra level to search on.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell
    I use softlinks to point to both
    classical/beethoven/ninth_symphony_d_minor and
    classical/muti/beethoven 9th in D minor
    It's a thought, I grant you. And it's one I can actually follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell
    I see three separate and almost unrelated design questions:

    1) how are tracks stored in the physical disk? What structure makes
    sense?

    2) how are tracks tagged? and

    3) how are groups of tracks managed?
    Agreed - to some extent.

    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell
    The key problem is that any hierarchical structure fails for
    classical music.
    You lost me with this one. I had thought that

    Composer/Work/Artists/Movements

    pretty much covers all bases. I am not too bothered mixing singers and conductors in the Artists component.

    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell
    Extra directories can be setup by you now. But that won't
    do much, as it is hierarchical thinking that is the root problem.

    The alternative to hierarchical databases for the past 30 years has been a relational database.
    Yes, and I have seen more chaos in relational databases than I ever saw in hierarchical structures. Relational database design tends to require more discipline than the average designer cares to muster. Hierarchical databases usually impose it.

    Oh and - granted - there is the *odd* problem that could indeed not be elegantly represented in hierarchical form

    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell
    For me, the answer to [tagging] is again, use anything that is consistent within your library, but don't lose much sleep over it. The [...] reality is that the limits of internal tags become painfully clear with classical. So just tag the files basically and move on.
    I am with you on that once since from what I can make out, the Slim player interface only allows me to retrieve by file tree structure. Tags come in later, when it comes to building the playlist.

    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell
    The real solution is to use external data [...] in a relational database. A database with extensions so that there are clear and easy to use fields like conductor, soloists, accompanists, group, and performance-location for the recording and composer, title, movement, key, opus etc. for the music.
    You are beginning to lose me. I can only surmise that you are proposing that my search should be able to traverse an arbritrary number of attributes.

    The Slim player interface will adapt, since it will simply follow these branches.

    This would work.

    And I am sure that you can make it work in your modern-day relational database. Only SMOP. As a small aside, I had thought that you would have found a hierarchical database a much more natural choise - they adapt too, you know ...

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