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Wednesday 19 October 2016

SongKong 4.2 Released October 18th 2016

Pleased to announce that SongKong 4.2 was released on October 18th 2016. This new release has a number of fixes and improvements

Add Composer to Album Artist

Classical music albums often contains the composer name as a part of the album title but not always. Different composers often named their works simply such as Symphony No 1 so without the composer name it can be difficult to distinguish one album from another. With this option enabled SongKong will add the composer(s) surnames to the start of the album title if the composer is not in the current title (retrieved from MusicBrainz/Discogs) to help with easier album identification.

Other Fixes

  • [SONGKONG-1051] - Ensure AlbumArtist always set even if album has no album artist
  • [SONGKONG-1053] - Add option to include composer in album title for Classical
  • [SONGKONG-1054] - Romanize non-latin artist names should apply to all people
  • [SONGKONG-1058] - Bundle Java with linux headless on website
  • [SONGKONG-1024] - When run songkong from cmdline log output from jaudiotagger goes to console
  • [SONGKONG-1052] - When Part derived from MusicBrainz has a leading space character
  • [SONGKONG-1055] - Discogs match/update ignoring isClassical Never Modify/Modify if Empty option

Thursday 13 October 2016

Tagging Classical Music:Part 4 - Opus and Ranking

Forward to Part 5 - Classical Classification
Back to Part 3 - More Fields Required

One issue with Classical music is Classical composers were not the most imaginative when naming their works and it can be difficult to differentiate one work from another. Conversely the same single work can be available on many different releases but not consistently named by the record companies making it difficult to identify when you have different versions of the same work.

Some composers used the Opus catalog mechanism to organize their works, if used in conjunction with the composer this can be helpful for organizing your music.



Many Classical composers used the Opus (Op.) number. The concept was to catalogue each work as they were published, so the Opus provides a list of all the composers works in date order.

However some composers only bothered to catalog their best works, some only used it for certain types of works and  some didn't use the system at all. 

An Opus can contain multiple works. most famously Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”  was part of twelve violin concertos all written between 1723 to 1725 packaged as Opus 8 “Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione”.

Sometimes works were only produced after the composers death. 
 For example Schubert’s last three piano sonatas, which were written in the last months of his life, but were not published until about ten years after his death are written Op.  posth[umous].


Whereas the Opus should identify all a composers works in date order, the ranking (No.)  is used to catalog all works of a particular type

For example Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies, numbered 1 to 9  in chronological order, and 16 string quartets numbered 1 to 16.

Mozart wrote 40 symphonies, but these are numbered 1-41 because the Symphony No. 37 in G major, K. 444 was found to be composed by Michael Haydn  and was removed from Mozart’s catalogue, so there can be gaps.

Opus with Multiple works

Remember an Opus can contain multiple works. With  L. van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 8 Opus 59 No. 2 in E minor, there are two numbers No. 2 and No. 8. The No. 8 refers to the  ranking among his sixteen string quartets; but the No. 2 actually represent the sub-opus number (the second piece within the Op 59).


SongKong intelligently extracts Opus and Ranking numbers into their own fields. Now they are in their own fields they can help you to search and organize your collection and they can also be used to construct new filenames for these classical compositions.

But other cataloging methods have been developed for certain composers and we will discuss that next

Forward to Part 5 - Classical Classification
Back to Part 3 - More Fields Required

Monday 3 October 2016

SongKong 4.1 released 3rd of October 2016

We are pleased to announce that a major new version of SongKong is available today

The main focus of this release is once again support for Classical Music tagging but there are other things as well

  • We now allow you specify almost any fields that you do not want Songkong to modify, and also any fields that you only want SongKong to modify if they are currently empty. Both of these options are on the Format tab
  • We have similar options for just Classical music so that you can configure SongKong to usually modify a field but not if it has been identified as a Classical song.
  • Added option for Classical to remove the composer from the AlbumArtist field, since the composer is not usually a performer.
  • Added option Shorten Work:Movement track titles to just Movement where possible - so your classical tracks just have the movement in the title.
  • Now Classical groups are categorised as Orchestra, Choir or Ensemble, previously the Orchestra field was used for all types.
  • Added isclassical as a field that can be used in rename masks
  • Added Ranking and Classical Catalog No fields, we already had Opus but these fields allow us to add other ways of cataloging classical releases
  • Fixes to allow encoding of filename on filesystems that do not support 16bit characters in filenames.
You can download the latest version from here

Tagging Classical Music:Part 3 - More Fields Required

Go forward to Part 4 - Opus and Ranking  
Go back to  Part 2 - A more Sensible Track Artist
How metadata is added to music files is largely determined by what went before. Different audio formats use different metadata mechanisms but the most significant one is ID3. This format was originally created for mp3s but is also used for other formats such as AIFF and WAV. 

ID3 Specification

Now the ID3 specification does consider Classical music a little:

   The 'Content group description' frame is used if the sound belongs to
   a larger category of sounds/music. For example, classical music is
   often sorted in different musical sections (e.g. "Piano Concerto",
   "Weather - Hurricane").

   The 'Title/Songname/Content description' frame is the actual name of
   the piece (e.g. "Adagio", "Hurricane Donna").
so in Classical music TIT1 was originally really intended for the Work. However this field is typically called Grouping and used for all kinds of different things not related to a work, typically as as a way of categorising music further with sub-genres or moods.

   The 'Subtitle/Description refinement' frame is used for information
   directly related to the contents title (e.g. "Op. 16" or "Performed
   live at Wembley").
TIT3 is usually known as the Subtitle field, we see here that the Opus could be stored in this field but the title can contain all kinds of additional information not just the Opus so it is not very helpful. it is never a good idea to use the same field for different types of information.

User Defined Text Information Frames

So the standard ID3 fields do not properly support Classical music. However ID3 also supports user defined text fields known as TXXX fields and this allows us to store name/value pairs for any additional data. This is also the same as how all metadata is stored in Flac and OggVorbis file formats.

Do not Lose the Semantic Meaning

If we consider the Track Artist again once the performers, orchestra and conductor have been added to this field it is difficult to work out what their role is. So we want to also capture the information in particular fields such as Orchestra or Choir.
SongKong can define additional fields that can be used by any other application. Sometimes there are existing defacto standards that we can use, and sometimes we have to define additional new fields. We store this additional textual metadata and then applications and customers can make use of this metadata as required. We also publish details of these fields and make then available in our jaudiotagger software library so they can easily be used by other applications.

Songkong has added many fields that are particularly useful for Classical such as

  • OPUS
  • PART 
  • WORK
We will discuss these in a later post 
Go forward to Part 4 - Opus and Ranking  
Go back to  Part 2 - A more Sensible Track Artist
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