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Monday 7 November 2016

Grouping field no longer working in iTunes ?

There has been update to this regarding the Grouping field View Post

In October iTunes added some long overdue better support for classical releases in the form of new moment, movement no, total and work fields. This allows movements within a release to be shown together, and really helps for classical releases, especially when you have an album containing multiple works. This is exciting news for SongKong and Jaikoz and we are working on adding support for auto population of these fields in the next release.

However these new fields have caused a problem.

Why is my grouping column blank for newly imported files ?


MP3 and AIFF files use the ID3 metadata format for storing information about the music such as the artist or album name. ID3 did not have any fields (known as frames) defined for most of these new fields so Apple has defined some:

MVNM - Movement
MVIN - MovementNo/MovementTotal

But ID3 does already have a field that could possibly be used for storing the work, the TIT1 frame, this is how it is defined in the ID3 specification document.

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").

This definition is a bit open to interpretation so over the years the frame has been used by different applications in different ways, both as a work and as a way to group multiple tracks in other ways. For example in SongKong it can be used to store genres as a list of values because iTunes Genre can only see the first value, a problem if you want to categorize a song with multiple genres.

In fact until version iTunes 12.5.3 iTunes have always used this frame for the Grouping field. When you update to the version of iTunes your existing files will appear unchanged, but any grouping data that was stored in the TIT1 frame has now silently been moved to iTunes internal database only.

But when you import any new music that had the grouping field set you'll see it no longer shows in the Grouping field of iTunes but the Work field, and this also applies if you update any music outside of iTunes that is already in your iTunes library.

You can see this by going to the Songs view and enabling the Work column, and there are all the missing groups.

I created this test from SongKong very simply by 
- Ensuring Update Genres and Save changes to iTunes was enabled on the Basic tab

- Setting Grouping to Always Replace Values on the Genres tab

- and  running against a folder of MP3 files



So you can't use the Grouping field anymore, right ?

Well no, once you have added your songs to iTunes you can enter data into the Grouping field and it will persist. But it's no longer actually stored in the TIT1 field itself. Instead it is only added to iTunes internal database. But the problem with this is you can only fill in the Grouping field manually from within iTunes after the file has been imported in.  Then once done to get that Grouping data out you would have to use iTunes AppleScript (OS X) or the COM API on Windows, this makes it very difficult to use your organize your songs consistently in both multiple places, such as using with both iTunes and Sonos.

Now for the really crazy part

MP4 files don't use ID3 for metadata they use atoms instead and the ©grp atom does continue to correctly map to the Grouping field if you import MP4 files.

This is because for MP4 Apple has defined the following new fields:

@mvn Movement
@mvi MovemntNo
@mvc MovemntTotal
@wrk Work

So there are separate fields for Grouping and Work !



Why didn't they define a separate field for Work for ID3 ?

That is the question, by adding new the new frames MVNM and MVIN frames they are already not strictly adhering to the specification anyway so the argument cannot be they did not want to break the standard

What does this mean for me ?

It means that if you use iTunes that when editing metadata for files outside of iTunes you need to consider different audio formats differently.

If you have a mix of Classical and non-Classical and you use AIFF or MP3 then it may be wise not to use the Grouping field for anything other than Works.

One question that requires more thought is when importing MP4 does it make sense to add tracks with the same Work as part of the same Grouping or not.

We will be adding options to SongKong and Jaikoz to make this as simple as we possibly can

Within iTunes it is probably best to decide on a format and stick to it, transcoding different audio formats to a single format.


Tagging Classical Music:Part 5 - Classical Classification

Go forward to Part 6 - Works and Movements
Go back to Part 4 - Opus and Ranking

In the previous section we saw how that classical composers in centuries gone by often used the opus and ranking system to classify releases, we also saw they didn't do a very good job of it !

But in the case of the major composers after they died often a good soul came along and tried to catalog their works in a more consistent way. This is called classical classification and is an attempt to classify all of a composers works, it is completely separate from the record label catalogue given to a new CD release by the record company.

Usually catalogues are in chronological order but sometimes they are a thematic catalogue.
For example Johann Sebastian Bach, uses the BWV (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis).  The BWV catalog is thematic so a lower number does not mean it is an earlier composition, for example his cantatas are numbered BWV 1 to 244 and Violin concertos BWV 1046 to 1051. 

There are no other composers whose work is catalogued using BMV numbers so it quite simple to extract them from the song/work  title into the Classical Catalog  field and that is what SongKong does. But things aren't so simple the following composers all use a H (Haydn uses Hob as well) prefix
  • Haydn
  • Hector Berlioz
  • Bohuslav Martinu
  • Gustav Holst
and of course there are song titles that contain H. without it signifying a classical catalogue no.

Luckily because the MusicBrainz database stores the composer separately SongKong only attempts to find a classical catalog no when it has identified the composer of the piece, and then it will search for the correct classical catalog pattern(s) for that composer. This ensures that when SongKong has extracted a classical catalog no it gets it right 

This field offers another way to organize works by the major composers. 

Go forward to Part 6 - Works and Movements 
Go back to Part 4 - Opus and Ranking

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Jaikoz 9 Released 1st November 2016

Pleased to announce a new major version of Jaikoz, this release contains many improvements, fixes and some significant infrastructure work.

Mood, BPM and Key Tagging

Jaikoz Pro users can now make use of AcousticBrainz - analysis has been done on millions of songs that are in the MusicBrainz database, when Jaikoz matches a song to MusicBrainz that has been acoustically analysed it can be update with the AcousticBrainz metadata, and this is all easily visible in the Mood tab of the Detail panel

DSF Support

DSD is a technology first used with Super Audio Cd's (SACD), it uses pulse-density modulation encoding a diffierence approach to other lossles formats like WAV and AIFF. The signal is stored as delta-sigma modulated digital audio; a sequence of single-bit values at a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz (64 times the CD Audio sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, but only at 132768 of its 16-bit resolution). DSF is a way of storing this format in files with metadata and is gaining in popularity on hi end audio systems.

Jaikoz fully supports DSF, including acoustic fingerprinting and all metadata fields.


New Never Modify/Modify If Empty Options

Previously most fields had their own option that allowed you to configure Jaikoz to always modify, modify if empty or never modify the field, and the option was repeated for MusicBrainz match and Discogs match. But it was very cumbersome if you suddenly wanted to change the option for a number of fields. We have now replaced by a list of fields that you can easily modify for each option.



Jaikoz now properly supports editing of the Performer and Involved Person fields, these fields allow you to add additional people involved in the song whatever their role, be it musician or art direction

Classical Tagging

Jaikoz now supports many new fields including many new Classical fields, these Classical fields are all visible on the Detail tab. Auto population of the new Classical fields can currently be done with SongKong  but will be added to a future release of Jaikoz.

Full Change List

The full list of improvements can be found at http://www.jthink.net/jaikoz/jsp/news/start.jsp
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