Help from classical professionals needed for my first completely classical release add from scratch: Mahler; Symphony No. 8

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So I finally did my first completely classical release add from scratch. I did my best, but unsure if all is fine. So please can someone of you classical professionals check?

Some points:

  • ORF-Chor / Arnold Schönberg Chor are mentioned as Chorus II. I decided to leaf them as they are (not creating a new group).

  • For medium CD 2 some of the track titles contain the soloist/choir role names ( I was unsure to add them to the track titles. For the choirs it’ pretty unclear who performs on which track, so I decided adding those relationships on release level. Same for the organist.

  • Release booklet says it’s recorded in Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, 1989, but it also says (Organ: The Aeolian-Skinner Organ in Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts). How to add this?

Later I mentioned there are some Mahler compilations with the same recordings. I didn’t find them as my query looked for “symphony 8”. So my new recordings and those should be merged:

Could this easily be done or does it need some special attention?


Makes sense.

I don’t think it’s possible at the moment to add information about individual instruments (except in an annotation). This could be a nice feature to have in the future!


What about the “credited as” field of the instrument relationship? Or would that be a misuse in this case? On a recently added release ( I credited “piano” as “Steinway” or “Yamaha CFX” as they were specified in the booklet. I couldn’t find any specific style guidelines on this.


Although it looks good on the release page (“piano [Steinway]: …”) I’m not sure this is quite what the “credited as” relationship is for. It is, after all, credited as a piano (and not, for example, a pianoforte); the “Steinway” part is additional information about it. Ideally I’d like to able to attach makers, dates and areas of manufacture to instruments in a structured way. (This information is often considered important enough to include in a booklet, so why not on MB?) I’m not sure whether this means making a new entity type in the database for instruments (which is probably too far, since it’s generally hard to know whether piano A on recording X was the same as piano B on recording Y), or if there’s a more lightweight solution.


The actual credit is as follows:
I’m not sure there is a clear distinction between “credited as” being different from the canonical instrument name or additional to it. I guess, technically if I was going to add it, I should have entered “Piano - Steinway & Sons” or some such, but this would have given “piano [Piano - Steinway & Sons]” on the release page. Hmm.


I agree with this. It is unfortunate that the documentation for Relationship Types / Artist-Recording / Instrument does not give any instructions on using that text field next to the “Instrument” field. Does anybody have some history about this text field?

If not, we have to use our judgement. It seems to me that the purpose of this field is to note the text which the release used to name the instrument.

I would be included to leave that field blank, and put the release’s credit text, “Piano Steinway and Sons (2011) & Yamaha CFX maintained by Peter Salisbury (2013)” in the Release’s Annotation.

My second choice would be to put the phrase “Steinway piano” (or “Yamaha CFX piano”, as the case may be) in that text field. In this case, the contents of the text box could be read as an alternative name for the instrument. Putting just the word “Steinway” in the field makes the text box a supplement which requires the instrument name as well.

MusicBrainz has limits to what it can describe about a release using structured data. Sooner or later, the editor who is diligent enough, working on the release which is unusual enough, will reach those limits. At that point, the next best tool is the Annotation. It is better than using structured fields in a way that doesn’t suit the structure. And remember, the layout of the MusicBrainz web pages will change over time, but the data will remain. An expedient misuse of the structured data, which looks fine in the current UI, may stop looking good in a revised UI.


I’ve done that because:

Decided not to go with this approach:

because I think the structured data handles it OK and I had already entered Peter Salisbury as “piano technician”.

Agreed that some agreement and documentation on use of the field would be helpful.

Not sure where that leaves the OP re:

Given the length of the description perhaps annotation is best. I am, however, curious how an organ in Massachusetts was recorded in Vienna.