Classical release: track artist for an improvisation?

According to Style / Classical / Track / Artist, “The Track Artist field should contain just the composer; not the performer(s).” What do you do if the track is an improvisation? Is it ok to use the performer then (they are, after all, also the composer in this case)? Or do you leave it blank?

As you point out, the performer is also the composer in that case, so using that person as the track artist sounds perfectly sensible.

Yeah, that what I thought but it doesn’t feel completely right to me: it looks a bit messy if you have multiple performers but more importantly I would like to retain the information that the music is improvised (which is lost if I just put the performers as the artist.)

In the release I’m working on, they actually list “Improvisation” in place of the composer name in the booklet, e.g. in the following the two first tracks have an actual composer (Jordi Savall) but the last is an improvisation:

  • Cantus Caravaggio I (Jordi Savall)
  • 1 Lachrimae Tristes (Jordi Savall)
  • Deploratio 1 (Improvisation)

Wouldn’t it be better to do the same and create a new Special Purpose Artist ‘[improvisation]’ or ‘[improvised]’? The performers can still be listed in the relationships.

Personally, I dislike the idea of having too many special purpose artists. Those just create more mess. You could treat “improvisation” as extra title information (appending it to the track title in parenthesis, like it was credited on the release), and also add the fact to the annotation.


I don’t see how improvised would qualify as an artist. That’s info that can go into tags, annotation and/or extra title information.

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The same way [traditional] or [dialogue] are “artists”. I agree that it feels a bit hackish but for the purpose of tagging my music files it seems good enough.

That seems like an easy compromise. I think I’ll go that way and leave the track artist alone.

[traditional] is used when we don’t know the artist; it’s an alternative to [unknown]. [dialogue] is an alternative to [no-artist] or [unknown] (it’s used when a soundtrack contains a dialogue track but doesn’t credit it to anyone). Those all express our knowledge (or, actually, our knowledge of our lack of knowledge) about the artist responsible.

I agree with mfmeulenbelt, seems like extra title information is the best bet.