TapCataloguing Music

Sorry about the gap, it has been holiday time here.

Creating a music catalogue is something that has bothered me for decades, ever since (or soon after) I first started my record collection in school. There just seems to be no logical way to do it, I don’t know how libraries manage. People have always been confused by my record cabinets because I insisted on indexing solo artists by surname so James Taylor was under “T” (but of course Jethro Tull was under “J”). Mixed artist compilations have to go at the end because there is no other way. Classical records have their own section ordered by composer and, again, mixed records are put to the end.

Doing the same thing for an online library is even harder. You would have thought that a lot more thought would have been put into it; perhaps other software is better but Windows Media Player is infuriating. It does a good job of ignoring the “The” from the front of everything but insists on sorting everything else strictly alphabetically so James Taylor ends up under “J”. The file system is first by artist, then album and finally track and this works quite well (and is largely transparent anyway). What the system does have is separate indexes for each, and also Composer, and Contributing Artist (the artist on each track) if you want it.

It is when you come to do classical recordings that it runs into serious trouble. The first problem is that there is only one catalogue—so, although you can put in the correct composer, if you look at the composer index you find it is cluttered up with people like Neil Sedaka from the popular catalogue when all you want is Brahms and Liszt. On top of this you have the problem that classical works are generally broken into movements which are not separately named and the pieces themselves can have very long titles which often includes the opus, key, instrumentation and sometimes a nickname. Then, what do you use for the “Artist”? Is it the composer, conductor, orchestra or principle soloist—I have seen all of these used. There are separate Conductor and Composer fields so I have tended to use either the orchestra or the soloist in the Artist field, whichever is more appropriate. The downloaded album information is very inconsistent and, for classical recordings, quite often wrong.

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