Linking Instrumentals to Originals

I know there are already feature requests on the issue tracker for “instrumental version of” recording-recording as well as release group-release group relationships, but is there anything we can use in the meanwhile?
If the artist credit is the same for both recordings/releases, then it’s not really important, but if the original is credited to the vocalist and the instrumental to the producer then some kind of link is very helpful.

E.g. this release is a collection of instrumentals the production duo did for an array of different (sometimes obscure) artists. So far I only found the original version for one instrumental on MB (or rather I added it) and I linked it as “edit of”, is that acceptable?

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I frequently run into this problem too and as far as I know, there are two ways of dealing with it: a correct one and a lazy one.

The correct method

Create a work for the recording in question, use different recordings for the instrumental/non-instrumental version and link them to the work using the “recording of” relationship and select the “instrumental” attribute for the instrumental recording.

The lazy method

Now this is a lot of work and so what a lot of people (including, shamefully, me) have done is to abuse the “karaoke version of” recording-recording relationship to link instrumental recordings to their non-instrumental counterparts.

Now I don’t have any concrete data on hand but this seems to happen so frequently that at some point (may have been during the 2017 summit) we talked about migrating all the karaoke relationships to a new “instrumental version of” one and manually fixing the real karaoke ones which are probably few and far between.

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I don’t really think this is “correct”. Linking two recordings to a work as “recording of” to me implies that they are different recordings as in one is a cover, an alternate take, a live version or whatever.
But both use the same master recording, one just doesn’t use all of it.
On the other hand of course I agree that the two recordings should not be merged, so in a way I’m already admitting that they are “two different recordings of the same work”.

Well I guess if that plan is already somewhat concrete than your lazy version would be the most sensible thing to do as it means the least work once the new relationship type is here.

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According to MB style guidelines, once a recording is edited it becomes a different recording. Now there are some edge cases to this, especially when it comes to very minor edit or audio channel funkiness but an instrumental version definitely warrants a seperate recording.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I realized I recognized your name from the Fairphone community, there are a couple people here (including @Freso and myself) who own Fairphones too. :smiley:

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Well like I said, I of course agree that the recordings shouldn’t be merged.
How about when you link two recordings with r-r relationships that already exists (e.g. “samples” or “remix of”). Would you then still also link the second recording to the work of the first recording?

To me it would be more logical to only link recordings to a work if they were recorded separately (could be the same session, just minutes apart as with alternative takes) and have any kind of edits that only use material from a recording linked with recording-recording relationships, but not to the work.

Awesome! :+1:

A karaoke has no lead instrumental track.
An instrumental does have one.

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I would’ve used the “edit” relationship too, in the future I’d like to have an “instrumental” attribute that can be selected for this relationship.

I agree with this logic, I wouldn’t link an edited version of a recording to a work.

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I would definitely link it to the work. They can also be linked to other recordings if appropriate, but they’re still definitely recordings of that work. Keep in mind MB recording is a mix, not an actual “put some mics on and record things” recording.


Ok it’s best to link the instrumental version to the work of the original version and don’t link the recordings until an appropriate r-r relationship exists?

But does that mean then that a recording that samples two seconds of the recording XY is also a recording of the work XY?

No. An instrumental is work X without the lyrics, so it’s the same work (an orchestral version of the song would be too). Something that just samples is a new work, based on the old one.

If we had work X (an instrumental) and then someone put lyrics to it, that would be two works.

Now that you reformulate I can understand this topic.
An instrumental version of a work is for instance when a band covers a song with instruments.
I don’t understand why we would link recording‐recording as you need a lead instrument that was not part of the original recording, it’s a new recording, at least this lead track of the mix.

In hip hop at least, an instrumental is literally the song without the rapper.

Yes many karaoke are eroneously called instrumentals nowadays so it is important to specify if we mean really instrumental or just vocals-less mix, also could be called instrumental tracks only.

What I am talking about is what you often find on singles: The original version, an instrumental version and an a capella version. If you play the latter two at the same time you get the original again.
As I said in the other thread is now makes perfect sense to me that it’s a recording-work relationship, as it’s definitely not a new work (whereas I’d often consider a cover a new work), I just think the relationship for acapellas should be found at the same place.

So you are right about linking recording-recording in addition to recording-work.
We can use karaoke to link so called instrumental (lead-vocals-less mix) to original recording and erh edit or remix (that is a good question) for acapella (lead-vocals-only mix).

Karaoke suggests the point is to sing on top of them, but it isn’t.

A rap track from which you remove the vocals but the point is not to sing on top of them?
What’s the use?

They can be reused (often with different lyrics), which means they are to sing on top but not really karaoke-like, or they can just be listened to as instrumental tracks (instrumental hip hop is a genre in itself).

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We could turn our recording-recording karaoke relationship into karaoke/backing tracks, couldn’t we?
Thus it could be used for that.
And then we could have the opposite recording-recording lead vocals only, or something like that.

It looks like there are three cases:

One for acapella (i.e. vocals tracks only).
One for instrumental/karaoke (i.e. vocals tracks dropped but not replaced).
One for instrumental/cover (i.e. vocals replaced with non-vocal versions).

For the first two, it seems to me like these work as attributes (vocals-only and no-vocals, respectively) on partial-recording-of (for r-w) and edit-of (for r-r).
The last case in my mind requires a separate work; with a version-of w-w rel, optionally with an attribute (vocals-replaced). For this case, a direct link between recordings is less obvious, but for direct re-use of the non-vocal tracks, either a new rel (not sure which category; there are arguments for both edit and compilation) or a vocals-replaced attribute on edit-of might work.

To my mind, this would make the karaoke rel obsolete.