Author Topic: database for your classical music collection  (Read 11326 times)

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Offline KeithW

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2012, 12:59:16 PM »
OK, as a librarian, I can't resist engaging with this topic.  Despite my professional prejudices, I use iTunes, since I haven't found anything that does the job more satisfactorily at this stage, and which accords with the way in which I listen to my music (more at the end on this).  Proper use of iTunes with classical music demands a fair amount of retagging, best achieved by using programs that sit outside iTunes.  I use a Mac and find MediaRage indispensable for a whole range of tasks.

My broad approach in cataloguing in iTunes is:

For multi-movement/part works the work is identified in the album field, with sufficient information to distinguish one recording from another (35 Beethoven VCs and counting)
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 [Faust, 2007]

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527 [Giulini, 1960]

Where an album is a compilation, I tend to leave it well alone

Wagner: Orchestral Music [Karajan]
Rosso: Italian Baroque Arias

The artist is presented as soloist 1 / soloist 2 / chorus / orchestra / conductor

Isabelle Faust / Prague Philharmonia / Jiří Bělohlávek

The 'song' represents each movement of the work:

I.  Allegro
II.  Adagio
III. Rondo. Allegro

or each part of an opera, cantata etc

If a CD contains two separate works (eg two Mozart symphonies) I use an applescript (from Doug's Applescripts) to albumise each - this resets the track listing to begin at number 1 for each new work.

I note the details of the source CD (including ASIN) in the grouping field.

The composer's name goes, well, in the composer field:
Surname, first name (dates)

Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827)

I also use the genre tag as a way of improving browsing - I use this at a fairly granular level - either for series (Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto) or themes (Early French Polyphony)

This whole system has served me well, but it does have limitations - a large database (mine has 100,000 'songs' and is rapidly approaching 2TB in size) isn't portable - so if I ever manage to find a record store, I can't guarantee having access to my database to check whether I already own a particular disc.  I do think there is a market for an app which allows the index from iTunes to be exported to an iPhone/iPod without the music files.  I know I can export a flat listing of files, but I'd like to keep the artwork as that represents my principal form of recall.

I also debate from time to time what to do with my growing collection of FLACs: should I convert them to the least space intensive MP3 format and import them into iTunes, simply to have them catalogued alongside everything else?  Or should I convert them to Apple lossless and treat them in the same way as the files I rip from CDs?  The jury is still out.

There have been a number of interesting posts in recent years about tagging classical music - some of the most useful ones I have found are:
http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/itunes.htm
http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/the-complete-guide-to-album-tagging-art-and-playlists-in-itunes/
http://charuzu.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/managing-classical-music-itunes/
http://www.scene24.net/1203.html

Of course, my system is shaped by the way in which I access music - which can be a different location from one day to the next.  Rather than carrying (and risking loss or damage) CDs around the world with me, I take an external drive with a copy of my library - this allows me to listen to my music at CD quality wherever I am.  If I sought a system which essentially catalogued a physical CD collection, and for which I had no need to rip CDs, I would look for something very different.  There are a number of very cheap library catalogue systems which would do a much better job than Excel or Access.  If anyone is interested, I'll dig out some details.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 01:04:05 PM by KeithW »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2012, 01:08:46 PM »
Keith,
I won't quote your whole post, since I don't use iTunes and thus much of it isn't germane to my requisite. But vis-a-vis this:

Quote
There are a number of very cheap library catalogue systems which would do a much better job than Excel or Access.  If anyone is interested, I'll dig out some details.

certainly I am interested. I am planning on using Excel. For many years I used Lotus Approach, which is a lovely piece of software, but it hasn't been updated in 10+ years and isn't happy on Win7 (nor was it on XP, for that matter). This leaves me Access, which I really find difficult to work with, or Excel. I found some instructions for writing a GUI for data entry, but we all know that this will be a lot of work and bother (for 5000+ CD's). So if there are alternatives out there as you believe, then I will hold off and have a look. Best to find this stuff out before doing the work.  :)

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Offline KeithW

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2012, 01:48:33 PM »
Keith,
I won't quote your whole post, since I don't use iTunes and thus much of it isn't germane to my requisite. But vis-a-vis this:

certainly I am interested. I am planning on using Excel. For many years I used Lotus Approach, which is a lovely piece of software, but it hasn't been updated in 10+ years and isn't happy on Win7 (nor was it on XP, for that matter). This leaves me Access, which I really find difficult to work with, or Excel. I found some instructions for writing a GUI for data entry, but we all know that this will be a lot of work and bother (for 5000+ CD's). So if there are alternatives out there as you believe, then I will hold off and have a look. Best to find this stuff out before doing the work.  :)

8)

One that I used some years ago was a Unesco free package called CDS/ISIS.  It runs on Windows and is user configurable.
http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=5330&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

There must be other things out there - give me a day or two to find them.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2012, 02:10:15 PM »
One that I used some years ago was a Unesco free package called CDS/ISIS.  It runs on Windows and is user configurable.
http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=5330&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

There must be other things out there - give me a day or two to find them.

Thanks, I appreciate it. :)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2012, 07:19:24 PM »
It's like anything really .. I really remember the good stuff & cherish it immensely.. I don't waste too much time worrying about the stuff that didn't .. and I don't really spend time counting things.  I do have a substantial library of music everything from Gregorian Chant to post-Stockhausen electroacoustics.

If you know what you have then you could at least give a guess as to how many CDs you own. My guess is there's probably a good bit that you forgot you owned. Allow me to use myself as an example, several days ago I was looking through some of my collection and I continued to run across recordings that I forgot I bought and that I was quite frankly surprised I had because I have these intense collecting phases I go through where I'll buy 20 Villa-Lobos recordings and then move onto another composer. Anyway, it's always a surprise to go through my collection for this very reason.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2012, 01:11:32 AM »
I don't have an up-to-date listing of all my CDs but I have a complete listing of my Naxos CDs. I might make lists for other labels too.

Years ago I started to use html files for documenting things. In other words, I am creating a "personet" for myself with the content that I want. Because it all is in hypertext format, accessing various listings etc. is very easy and fast. My web starting page is a listing of links to favorite internet pages and to my own html files.

Also, I am not dependant of specific software. A web browser (with source code editor) is all I need and html files work in any system. I experienced these benefits when I changed from pc to Mac (mini). My "personet" worked instantly after transfering my html folders to my new Mac. All I needed to do was to make my starting page the default starting page of the web browsers (Safari and Opera). OSX is somewhat different OS than Windows but editing my html files is pretty identical in both operating systems when using Opera for that.

I like that fact that with html files it is easy to handle visual things; background colors, tables, pictures etc. Listings look the way I want.  :)

 
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Offline CRCulver

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2012, 03:25:44 PM »
I would like to have a computer database to organise my collection, in which it would be easy look up all works in which a particular singer appears, or all my versions of a symphony of Haydn...

If you've ripped all your recordings to your computer and tagged them exhaustively, then the Quodlibet media player for Linux does a good job of maintaining a database. I don't use it to play music (I use another media player for that), but I still keep it around because I can instantly look up all my recordings where, to give just one recent example, Alain Damiens is the clarinetist.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 03:28:10 PM by CRCulver »

Offline CRCulver

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2012, 03:27:22 PM »
My broad approach in cataloguing in iTunes is:
The artist is presented as soloist 1 / soloist 2 / chorus / orchestra / conductor

That's not recommendable. For one, it breaks scrobbling to Last.fm and similar sites, that expect the ARTIST field to contain only the name of the composer.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2012, 04:10:21 PM »
Just would like to get into this thread for some ideas - :)

For me, I've used MS Access for years (and still do) for my Classical & Non-Classical music collections (separate files) - for the classical file, my categories include: Individual (composer or performer), Title, Performer, Label, Label #, Year, and Number (i.e. number of discs in the offering); also have the program sum up the number of offerings (i.e. box sets count as 1) and the number of CDs.  The report printout options are quite detailed so many choices.  PROBLEM - the program is TOO damn complicated for me as a casual user - bottom line, works well but not sure that I'd recommend it, particularly for the cost if your only purpose is to tract your personal needs.

My main issue now in retirement (since June 2011) is that I no longer need MS Office on my home computer(s) - before I needed to maintain compatibility w/ my work computer; so what to do?  Plus, I'm contemplating a new computer in the fall once Apple & MS releases their newest OSs - after so many years w/ PCs, wife & I may return to our computer beginnings (i.e. an Apple II+ in 1980) - we've looked at the iMacs at the local Apple store & at Best Buy - could change?  If that is the case, I would likely convert my Access databases via Excel and then import them into Apple's iWorks (i.e. Numbers) unless other solutions are available; now if I stick w/ a PC (and Windows Eight), then I still would not want to use Access.

Nearly a year ago, I bought an iPad 2 for no good reason but it has replaced our laptops on the road and is a lot of fun - recently put on an app called 'My Movies' (CHECK HERE, if interested?), mainly to track my Blu-ray collection (mostly DVD replacements) - a neat aspect of this program is the use of the rear camera to read the bar code on the BD; once read the image of the disc and much information about the movie is automatically entered into the program; just have about 60 BDs in the database so far.  NOW, would this be an interesting approach to a music collection?   ;D

Offline Wanderer

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2012, 02:30:56 AM »
... recently put on an app called 'My Movies' (CHECK HERE, if interested?), mainly to track my Blu-ray collection (mostly DVD replacements) - a neat aspect of this program is the use of the rear camera to read the bar code on the BD; once read the image of the disc and much information about the movie is automatically entered into the program; just have about 60 BDs in the database so far.  NOW, would this be an interesting approach to a music collection?   ;D

Thanks for mentioning this - I was searching for a similar tool for the Blu-ray and DVD collection and this looks quite good for simple archiving. Downloaded the app and the barcode entry method is indeed very time-saving (and efficient). That's how I would also imagine an application about music collections should be made in the era of the iPad.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2012, 07:51:19 AM »
Thanks for mentioning this - I was searching for a similar tool for the Blu-ray and DVD collection and this looks quite good for simple archiving. Downloaded the app and the barcode entry method is indeed very time-saving (and efficient). That's how I would also imagine an application about music collections should be made in the era of the iPad.

Glad that you enjoy the program - the bar code scanning option is a joy and so easy to do!  A recommendation from my son who also tracks his BD collection w/ the app.  He is also the one who talked me into buying the iPad 2, which I do like - iPad 3 (or iPad HD etc.) to be announced today!  Dave :)

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2012, 08:18:03 AM »
Glad that you enjoy the program - the bar code scanning option is a joy and so easy to do!  A recommendation from my son who also tracks his BD collection w/ the app.  He is also the one who talked me into buying the iPad 2, which I do like - iPad 3 (or iPad HD etc.) to be announced today!  Dave :)

Dave,
Does Access allow you to save a copy without data? I used to be able to do that with Approach. If you could do that, I would love a copy of your dB to use to work from. I have Access at home and at work, and I know that it helps a lot to have something to start with. :)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2012, 08:55:18 AM »
Dave,
Does Access allow you to save a copy without data? I used to be able to do that with Approach. If you could do that, I would love a copy of your dB to use to work from. I have Access at home and at work, and I know that it helps a lot to have something to start with. :)

Hi Gurn - well I just took a look at the Access database and did not see a way to save as a template w/o my own data; so I made a copy and renamed it - opened and deleted all of my data from table (now is blank of data - has table, sort, & report options) - curiously the original file was just over 1 MB and the 'empty' one is the same size! I've opened the latter and no data is present.

Now this is in an older version of Access but if you want, send me a PM w/ one of your email addresses (too large to attach to this post) and I'll send you the 'empty' *.mdb file - not sure if it will work but you can give it a try?  Dave :)

Offline James

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2012, 03:55:19 AM »
My guess is there's probably a good bit that you forgot you owned.

Not really .. I know exactly what I have.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #34 on: March 10, 2012, 11:24:50 AM »
Moreover, I doubt if you could name all the recordings you have in which the Chicago Symphony Orchestra play, or in which von Karajan or Solti direct.

So?  What's the importance of naming all those CSO recordings?  I just don't see any significance to it.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2012, 01:38:27 PM »
Not really .. I know exactly what I have.

So you can tell everything that's in your collection but you just can't guess how many recordings you have? Hmmm....
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Offline James

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2012, 01:54:02 PM »
So you can tell everything that's in your collection but you just can't guess how many recordings you have? Hmmm....

Knowing that number is totally insignificant ..
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2012, 01:57:32 PM »
Knowing that number is totally insignificant ..

In your opinion it may very well be, but I asked you a question and you chose not to answer it. It's okay. I know it was an incredibly difficult question. ::)
"Music is enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

Offline James

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2012, 02:00:00 PM »
In your opinion it may very well be, but I asked you a question and you chose not to answer it. It's okay. I know it was an incredibly difficult question. ::)

It is a insignificant question and not worth worrying about my friend. Bottomline is, I know precisely what music I have in my collection.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: database for your classical music collection
« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2012, 02:06:40 PM »
It is a insignificant question and not worth worrying about my friend. Bottomline is, I know precisely what music I have in my collection.

Okay, I'll just take it as insignificant to you. Sorry to bother you with such a minute, bothersome question.
"Music is enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

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