Hello Everyone! I have been editing and researching Instruments for a wile now and a few more difficult patterns have emerged: sometimes instruments are "closer related" than simply "is related to" they seem to be like a family, but there is no way of sorting this today, other than perhaps a "instrument family" relationship - making it possible to link specific instruments, like members of the oboe family or the violin family, or Variants of an instrument: Bass, Soprano, etc, or modificated ones, basically the same instrument but some strings have been added or it's been pitched differently. compare how https://beta.musicbrainz.org/instrument/63021302-86cd-4aee-80df-2270d54f4978 looks, where Tenor and Baritone should (imho) be separate from things like "12 string" and "Hawaiian".
However this is also complicated, because things right now are kinda in flux:
I think we need to do something more concise with instrument families and variants.
there is the "Alto, Contralto, Soprano, Tenor, Bass, etc" variants of an instruments, you can consider them siblings in a flock, one a year older(a deeper tone) than the previous.
Other times such is a much more derived instrument that is not just the same thing slightly bigger - compare violin and viola(bratsj)
this is complicated because "middle step" instrument variants between such things are created, and names and terms are vague and contradictionary.
Complicating things even further is variants from different geographic areas, eras or music-styles
f.ex. Mexican Guitar, Baroque Guitar or Flamenco Guitar, and they are not always named as such, instead they have local names or historical names.
Additionally, these "region" specific can develop their own "families"; see the Balkan "Tambouras" which developed from long necked lutes, but also alongside ideas of other set instruments in the violin family (eg, bass, cello, etc.) this also falls along "ensembles" instruments often used together in a setting, like aforementioned tambouras, the string quartet instruments, maori traditional ensemble, etc.
Then we have the "numeral" variant: 6-string Bass, 12 Guitar, 3 hole Ocarina, extra valve Trumpet, etc. Naturally this is combined with the aforementioned to create complications:
compare "Bass" and "Contrabass guitar" and "Six string Bass" and the Mexican "Bajo sexto"
the "17-String Koto" is also known as a "Bass Koto"
Finally we have the "X-note" variant: "Clarinet in D", "F Bass Tuba", "C-Bass Recorder", "E-Flat Clarinet"
there is of course variants with other names: Fourth Flute which is a recorder in B-flat
Often an instrument will be described as "a [related instrument] tuned/pitched to [some note/spectrum]" or "with nylon/gut/metal strings" or "made of metal/plastic/glass/different wood type/by different company(brands)/etc"
This is especially controversive with string instruments where the strings are exchangeable and tuning alterable; if a Regular 6-string Acoustic Guitar with nylon strings has a string removed, is strung with gut-strings pitched in F-sharp and has a removable pickup installed, is it a different instrument? Especially if these modifications are revertible? (if all these mods were made maybe tho, it would be electric 5 string gut in F-sharp :P)
Lastly the "Electric/Acoustic version of" many instruments have derivations that are "the electric variant" this can be everything fro ma regular type with an added microphone/pickup, to a completely different instrument (see electric guitar and Hammond organ vs Acoustic Guitar and Pipe organ.)
I have some ideas/talkpoints:
to let there be a "Electric/Acoustic" ticket when creating instrument rels.
issues: people will use it with wrong instruments; (when they shouldn't since an Acoustic Guitar with Pickups is different from Electric Guitar) or electric on instruments that are already Electric etc.
a different idea could be to make an instrument designated Electric/Acoustic in the instrument itself, like how Artists can be Group or Person, or gender, etc.
further an idea to create a rel link https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/STYLE-653
The same idea with numeral and note variants: possibly the ability to simply say that "this is the (number goes here) string/hole/etc " on rels, the same issue as for the previous; people will probably use it wrong, and there are also legitimate variants that should be separate instruments?
I invite everyone to talk about ideas they might have around this