Recording merge techniques

I’m looking to do some work on Joe Henderson: The Blue Note Years. This is a compilation, some of which were originally released under Henderson’s name, others on albums with Henderson as a sideman. While a couple of the tracks are linked to the original recordings, I’d like to link up the rest. For instance Idle Moments from the compilation should really be merged with Grant Green’s Idle Moments. Almost every track is from a different original release.

Using the Edit buttons on the Recordings tab, I could easily and quickly select the appropriate recordings for each track. However, I believe that doing that might leave a bunch of orphaned recordings.

Using the standard merge recordings functionality would give clean data, but is really tedious to do in a case like this. I don’t believe the MERGE HELPOR script will help me here, since the target recordings are scattered across maybe 20 different releases.

Can anyone suggest any shortcuts to help get this done the right way without losing my sanity?

I am assuming you mean “add selected recordings for merging”.
I would open the individual song and use the “merge” that is on the right of the screen.

That ‘merge’ on the right of the recordings page is what I was referring to as the correct-but-tedious version, as it requires me to:

  • open the recording from the compilation
  • click ‘Merge’ to add it to the merge queue
  • open another tab (optional) and look up the target recording
  • click ‘Merge’ again
  • possibly refer back to the recordings to figure out which way I should merge, because the merge page only shows artist/title

By contrast the ‘edit’ button on the recordings page gives me an easy search for the right recording:

Which would be great if I were creating this as a new release, but I’m concerned that if I just switch track 1 to the Kenny Dorham version and save the edit, I’ll create orphaned recordings.

Yes. Go here, tick the recordings to merge, click the button “Add selected recordings for merging” at the bottom of the page.

But I can’t see how your concern about leaving orphans is related to merging. Merging is for unintended twins. As long as the orphans are linked with Joe or some other entity, they won’t die. The system bears with standalone recordings.

The problem is that the recordings I need to merge into aren’t listed under Joe Henderson. They’re listed under Kenny Dorham or whoever was the artist of record on the original release.

Regarding orphans, my concern was that if instead of merging I just use the track-recording editor (see screenshot above), I would orphan those recordings. The recording “Sao Paolo by Joe Henderson” appears only on this compilation release. If I simply link the compilation track to the recording “Sao Paolo by Kenny Dorham” , then I’d be leaving behind a recording with no releases. (Unless MB is clever enough to handle this situation gracefully, but I don’t think that’s the case.)

If you already have the recordings open, this takes much less time than you seem to think it will. I’ve done it multiple times and I’d say it takes at most the same time as dealing with the release recording list, plus it doesn’t leave orphans :slight_smile: What I generally do is: get all the recordings you want to merge in order (either first to last on the release or last to first), then open all the recordings from the release in the opposite order just by them (shift-click each track), then go to the center and merge the two recordings that should be by each other (click merge, click merge, merge, close both), and now the next two recordings to merge are again by each other.


Thanks reosarevok (and everyone who responded). I see that Hawke is independently doing some of these merges, so that will help.

In general, I’m finding that MB has better optimized tools for creating data than for fixing it. The recordings matcher is one example; another is the fact that you can batch-add relationships to recordings, but you can’t batch edit or delete.

One thing that is helping me here is learning the search syntax. From the liner notes I know that this recording of Sweet and Lovely was originally released under Blue Mitchell’s name, so I do a search for recording:

sweet and lovely artist:"blue mitchell"

Much easier than scrolling through all the different recordings of Sweet and Lovely.