New user w/ problems

I’ve been using MusicBrainz Picard for a few days. I have read much of the getting started info and watched a few videos. I still have limited understanding of the language and graphics used. For example:

  1. Occasionally, the right pane will not have a colored box in front of one or more tracks. Instead, a couple of music notes appear. I do not know what these notes signify.

  2. I do not know how to “fix” the above problem. I assume it’s a problem…

  3. All of the getting started articles suggest to use the “Cluster” feature. It appears to be intended to be used when a large mix of tracks is loaded. In my case, I’m loading ONE album and don’t think I need to use the “Cluster” feature.

4.Currently a have one CD that displays 2-notes, but there is also a down-caret. Clicking on the down-caret shows 10 copies of the track. All except the last have a check-mark; the last has a green box. I’m totally confused by this!

I prefer to educate myself, if the writing is clear. Can someone point me to something that will get me over my beginner issues?


This means a track has been found in MB but has not been matched to a file. The file may be missing or may be elsewhere on the pane and can be manually matched by dragging it onto the “notes”

Yes you do. Then use lookup or scan.

Not sure where the documentation is, but here’s a brief run down of the symbols in the right hand pane:

Music note - a track in the database. No file of yours has been matched to it
Red, orange or green box - you have matched one of your files to the track in the database. The colour represents how well your existing tags and file data (eg track length, artist, track name) match the data of the track in the database. Red is not so good, green is good. You can compare old and new tags by selecting a matched track and looking at the bottom panel that displays old and new tags (tags in the new column are applied after hitting save, which permanently overwrites your old tags).
Down-caret - more than one of your files has been matched to a track in the database. Possibly something like a live bonus track with the same title as a track, or you have a track twice in your files.

Things that might help:
You can drag things from the right pane to the left, and vice versa. For instance you can drag all the matched tracks to one, and you will see the down-caret. All the files should be red after clicking it except for one (the correct track).
If you right click on a release on the right you can click on ‘other versions’. Often mismatches are because of bonus tracks from other releases, and you can check here to see if MB has the releases you need.

I would always use cluster. If you cluster and then lookup Picard knows that those files belong together and should try give you a single release for all of them. I’m not sure if it’s faster or how it works with scan though!

Hope that helps

The documentation is found here;

Everything I didn’t find immediately was easy enough to discover through experimentation in the program, once I had read the documentation.

Don’t work with original files, make copies of some key albums to play with until you fully understand the ramifications of the changes Picard makes to your tags.

Good Luck.

Funny, I rarely use the cluster feature for looking up a release. I usually have the CD in the drive and do a CD lookup. That way, I can confirm that the disc id is attached to the release in the database and if not attach it or create a new release as required. Once I have selected the correct release for the CD, I then drag the “unmatched file” group from the left pane to the release in the right pane.

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Even if you are uploading only one album, the cluster feature comes in handy. It joins all the tracks of that single album together. From here, simply look up the album on MB. If found, you can manually match each track to the MB track by dragging and dropping.

Wow, I got a great group of replies! Thanks, guys.

I sorta understand your first sentence. It’s not your fault, I assume, but the use of 2-notes does not imply “…a track has been found but has not been matched to a file.” I also do not understand the difference between a “track” and a “file”? A CD has tracks that ARE files when they are ripped to a computer; there is a 1-to-1 correspondence. What are you trying to say?

Per the “Cluster” feature, Since I have just ripped a CD and created a group of files in a folder while the CD is still warm, what possibly could “Cluster” do? I know that all the files in the folder contain the data from that single CD. There must be a different paradigm that I’m missing!

I appreciate the symbol info. Your answer implies that a “track” is a file in the database. That answers one of my questions. I think of a “track” as something PHYSICAL as a wiggly groove on a vinyl record, a magnetic stripe on a tape, or a series of pits on a plastic disk, read optically. A “file” is something VIRTUAL in a computer. English and it’s users are so strange… :wink:

The database has, I assume, millions of tracks. Why do only a couple appear in the right pane with 2-note symbols? Surely, MB could find some other tracks that do not correlate w/ my files? If I was to click on “Cluster” would that improve the outcome? I promise to try that again…

You may know it, but Picard does not until MusicBrainz id tags have been written.
If you have the CD in the drive, this is the best approach:

A file is the physical representation of a track on a computer medium. So MusicBrainz has tracks and your hard disc has files; they need to be matched so that Picard can use the MusicBrainz metadata to write tags to your files. Hope that’s clear :grin:

I had no clue what “Lookup CD” meant! The way you write it, “CD Lookup” implies something different, but may be a better term? It isn’t covered in the “documentation” link that Pha3drus was kind enough to include. I HAD read it before, but a documentation file of 890 words for a complex program like MB seems thin [fits on 2 pieces of paper]. OK, there is an ancillary “Options” that is larger [2867 words].

I find your term, “CD Lookup” is located in the “Options” section. It however seems to just be a means to ID which CD drive to use, not cause any “lookup” of metadata. Which version do you use?

The last CD I ripped and processed w/ MB went well. I used “Cluster” before anything else.

What you wrote was clear. We have too many uses for common words! I’m sure MB has it’s “tracks” stored in several “files”. :slight_smile:

LOL. You use “tracks” in both cases, where others use “tracks” and “files”.

Your last sentence confuses me: “If found, you can manually match each track to the MB track by dragging and dropping.”

When I run MB, after clicking on “Cluster”, I click on “Lookup” and all the tracks in the left pane appear in the right pane. I don’t seem to need to drag and drop anything? Care to explain?

Sorry for the confusion. I was going from memory and, of course, screwed it up. When I said I used “CD Lookup”, I really meant the “Lookup CD” button on the tool bar.

I’ll try to jump in here. Each MB release has one or more media, each with an associated track list in the database. When you lookup and retrieve a release, the associated track list appears in the right pane when the release is expanded. Initially, they will all appear with a musical note symbol which indicates that a file has not yet been associated with that entry in the track list. When you cluster and move the files from the left pane to the right pane, Picard will try to associate each of the files with a track in the list. Usually it works out well and there is a 1:1 match. However, sometimes two files will end up being associated with the same track in the right hand pane, leaving another track with no associated file. In this case, you can drag the incorrect file from the track with two files, and drop it on the track with no files attached and Picard will associate the file with the selected track and remove the previous (incorrect) association. It’s this association of file to track that determines what track information from MB is saved as tags with each of the files.

If for some strange reason you wanted to do it all manually, you could drag the files one-by-one from the left pane and drop them on the appropriate track in the right pane to make the association. I’ve only ever had to do this a couple of times, and that was because the file names of the music files were so screwed up that Picard wasn’t able to associate them with any of the tracks on the release automatically.

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That is a track. The information we store about that track on Musicbrainz is not a track in the same sense, but it is easier to call it that than calling it ‘metadata about a track’!
The music files on your computer (that start on the left of Picard) are actual ‘tracks’ with squiggles somewhere in them, but I called them ‘files’ because that term cannot be confused with the metadata (that turns up on the right side of Picard) from the website.

I think this point in how Picard works, that these two elements look very similar in the interface, is what trips up the most users. It is actually a very simple process - pressing lookup searches for the same metadata in our database, and automatically matches your tracks from the left to database items on the right. Scan does the same thing, through a different mechanism.
I would play with dragging files around after this step, and add a couple of albums at once, to get more comfortable with it (and back the files up first while you’re playing!)

Bob, I too am sorry for being so pedantic. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

Neither version is quite right. The one on the toolbar would benefit from some more words. I realize that screen real estate is tight, but “Get Metadata from CD” might explain what that button does? The one buried in the “Options” section should be called “Select CD Drive”. That one is easy to change, as there is plenty of space.

Using “Lookup” twice is poor writing style, when they are describing different operations.

The silliest thing I saw was the mouse-over text for the “Lookup CD” button on the toolbar. It is…wait for it…“Lookup CD”! If it had used a few more words to describe what the button did, it would help beginners. :frowning:

I am really impressed w/ the MB Community. You guys jumped in and helped me!

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This is also more straight forward than the interface might suggest.
Picard assumes you want to work with/tag complete ‘releases’, eg an album. So it will always load all the tracks on a release. If you press lookup on just a single track, it will display the entire release it finds on the right… With of course everything as music notes except for the one track it has matched for you.

A lot of people have posted so not sure if it’s too much information… But I have a long commute so
whatever :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Good explanation. But you used a new word that confuses me: “Release”.

All software designers struggle with words. I agree that it’s a simple concept, but using programs and reading documentation where the author chose the easy way instead of the clear way can leave beginners frustrated. I appreciate everyone’s assistance.

If I have the source CD in the drive, why do I need a “backup”? :wink:

later note: Everyone is aware that Musicbrainz and Picard are not very user friendly… but as open source, non-profit projects I’m afraid you are also taking the ‘easy way out’ by not writing better documentation yourself :o

Even later: that sounds harsh, I just mean that it’s hard to point fingers around here, you’re not obliged to do anything!