User:DavitoF/Classical Music FAQ
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This page answers Frequently Asked Questions about the entry, editing and formatting of classical music recordings.
If that still doesn't help, please find us in one of the MusicBrainz Forums or via the contact page. If you would like to update the content of this page on the wiki, feel free to do so but please do not add questions without answers.
Where are the style guidelines for classical music?
They are in the Classical Style Guide
What do I do if I disagree with the Classical Style Guide or have found something that doesn't appear to be covered?
Bring it up on the Users Mailing List.
Does MusicBrainz handle classical music in a special way?
No. At the moment classical music has to be shoehorned into the artist/release/title schema used for all types of music. Classical music often needs a more complicated classification than this i.e. performer/orchestra/name of overall work. This is not only a problem for classical music. Anyway MusicBrainz handles the possibility of specifying a huge number of additional information about soloists, orchestras, conductor and so on via Advanced Relationships .
What is the aim of the Classical Style Guide?
The aim is to impose some kind of order on the data so that when the database can store classical metadata better it will ease the task of converting the existing data into its new structure.
So should the artist be used for performer or composer?
For the near future you should use the artist field for composer NOT performer. The performer should become part of the release title or the track title. See the Classical Style Guide for a more detailed explanation.
Putting the composer in the artist field means that the tagger uses that for ID3 artist! This is against the ID3v2 spec. Why do it?
Although the ID3v2 spec does say that artist is for 'Lead artist/Lead performer/Soloist/Performing group' most pieces of software will only use this field and ignore the composer ID3 field. With classical you are usually more interested in the composer of a work than the performer. Until there is enough software that allows you to use the composer field in any way it seemed least damaging to do it this way round as otherwise it becomes very hard to use the composer info at all.
So is MusicBrainz no use for classical music at the moment?
Not at all. I use MusicBrainz to organize my collection and it does a great job of identifying tracks. Much of the metadata in the MusicBrainz database is incomplete at the moment but if everyone who uses the service cleans up the data a little this will improve. Until the next version of the tagger you are stuck with the format that people have decided to use for storing classical. See this release for a typical example. As long as you can live with this then you can use MusicBrainz. When a new version of the MusicBrainz server software or the MusicBrainz tagger is released you can take advantage of that too. In the mean time help us clean up the classical info!
What can I do to help?
- Vote on classical edits. Subscribe to composers that you know something about and you will get an email when someone makes a change. Pick your favourite composer and get a futile sense of achievement in keeping your section up to date. ;-)
- Have a quick read of the Classical Style Guide to get an idea how to format classical entries. Classical Entries That Need Editing surprisingly contains a list of artists that are badly in need of editing. although at this stage it isn't too difficult to find candidates...
- Help in adding artists to those releases that haven't got this info included. See below for a good way to find out this info if you don't know the performer info
- If you have classical CDs then identify them using the tagger and if you can find them in the database add the missing performer info so other people can identify their tracks more easily. Without info about performers there is little hope of distinguishing one classical release from another. Just look up to see where this leads!
- Finally tell other classical buffs about MusicBrainz and get them involved. There are improvements coming to the tagger and the database that will help things considerably so getting a head start on cleaning up the data will pay off in the medium term.
How to find out the performer for a release that has this info missing?
Obviously, if you have the CD to hand it is easy to add this info. Use a MusicBrainz aware tagger to match your CD to the entry in the MusicBrainz database and edit the MusicBrainz entry to add in the name of the orchestra/conductor etc. (taking care to read the Classical Style Guide)
If you want to help clean up existing entries then the process is a bit harder. If the release title is simply 'Carmina Burana' then it could be one of thousands of versions.
- Some online stores list track times. If these match up close enough then you can identify the CD.
- If the track titles have been spelt or formatted in an unusual way then googling this can identify the CD.
- If there is more than one piece of music on the CD this can drastically narrow down the possibilities. For instance there might only be a couple of CD's released that contain both Carmina Burana and excepts from Orff's Schulwerk...
Another method that sometimes works is this:
- Go to the release page and click on the disc ID at the bottom of the entry
- Copy the FreeDB ID (something like this: 3208c105) and add it to the end of this url: http://www.freedb.org/freedb_search_fmt.php?cat=classical&id=
- For instance this gives us the URL: http://www.freedb.org/freedb_search_fmt.php?cat=classical&id=3208c105
- Jumping to the above URL shows us a FreeDB page that helpfully has some extra info on it. In this case the orchestra and conductor...
- This doesn't always work as it depends on the FreeDB entry having the extra info. I'm not sure how common this is...
I'm lost in the terms used when not in my language. Is there any reference somewhere?
Yes, Musical Terms Translations should help you sorting this out, whether you just need to decipher a title, or intend to do some editing.