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Tuesday 4 April 2017

MinimServer with SongKong: Part 4: Groups and Works (For versions of SongKong before 4.8)

Go forward to Part 5: The Artist Index
Go back to      Part 3:Sorting Conductor and other fields


Groups and Compositions

Minimserver has the concept of Groups and Compositions. In its purest sense Groups are simply a way to groups tracks within a particular album. Whereas Compositions are analogous to a Classical Work, all movements in the work should have the same value for Composition, the Composition field can then be indexed and browsed in the same way as artist or album.

The curious thing is that usually tracks should have the same valufor both (we will explain the differences later on). Lets return to groups, they are really most useful for Classical releases to indicate that certain tracks are all movements of the same work.

Groups Example

Without using groups all tracks are listed in track order when you open an album

But with groups we see the groups representing a work when you open the album. This is much clearer, we can clearly see at a glance there are two different works, String Quarter in G minor Op 10 and String Quartet in F major. This makes sense because it is more common to play the complete work rather than just one movement of the work

but you can still double click on a group to see the  movements contained within, and play individual tracks.

Configuring Groups with SongKong

So how can SongKong help? 

MinimServer discusses a Group field, but this not a standard metadata field.
SongKong identifies Classical releases and the works and movements within those releases, the Works are stored in the Work field.

So all you have to do is configure MinimServer to read the Work field and use it for the Group field.
  • Add Work to itemTags so the Work metadata is read
  • In tagValue set Work as the default field to use for Group 
  • Tell MinimServer to Rescan

Browsing by Works

So now we have tracks grouped by works within albums, but we cannot yet browse works from the top level. To do this simply move Work from the itemTags field to the indexTags field as follows:

and Rescan.

Now you can browse the Work index

If you open a Work Composition item, it then shows the Work Group  



When Works and Groups are different

So we can see that usually it makes sense for Work and Group have the same value, but not always. 
  • Sometimes movements are not listed contiguously within an album. MinimServer does not support non-contiguous Groups, but there is no such restriction on MinimServer Works
  • For multi-level works such as an Opera, containing Acts and Scenes it may be preferable to have groups at the Act level  and a single work representing the Opera itself

Configuring different fields for Work and Group

SongKong Works are currently analogous to MinimServer Groups. If you need different values for Work and Group SongKong can be configured to also write the Work value to the Grouping field by setting the Copy Work to Grouping field
to Yes

The Grouping field is mapped to the ContentGroup field by MinimServer, except for Flac/Ogg. SongKong writes Flac/Ogg to the Grouping field which is not mapped by MinimServer. To use the Grouping field for Group, and Work field for the Work and have it work for all formats you can configure as follows:

Editing Values

At this point the values are the same for both, but you could use a tagger such as SongKong's big brother Jaikoz to modify each value independently.


Future Improvements

We plan to add direct support for writing independent values for Work and Group that allow for the differences in use in MinimServer.

Next Time

Next time we look at artists


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