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Monday 3 October 2016

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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