Speeding up getting an instrument added

I have an outstanding request from August (originally said June - an error) to have an instrument added to the list of instruments. The need is to allow me to complete adding the performers for a track.

I created a jira ticket and included a link to a wikipedia description of the instrument. I think this is a simple request and not controversial.

What can I do to encourage it to be completed soon? I realise there might be more important and higher priority requests. How long should I expect to wait? I’d like to finish updating the entry


@reosarevok , any advice?

1 Like

What’s the actual request? (JIRA link wouldn’t hurt) :slight_smile: Generally instruments are added / edited in blocks of related things (so, all accordions, or whatnot) but we can take a quick look to see if it’s trivial at least.


Correction, it was requested in August
Jira ticket

Is it more than adding a row to a table?

It’s adding an entity from the site (like adding artists or whatnot), but it requires:

a) deciding whether it should be added at all (in this case, I could see it being just considered both an actual instrument and a specific type of analog synthesizer to be just linked as a credit.
b) researching enough about it to write a proper disambiguation and description
c) figuring out exactly where it belongs among other instruments, relationships-wise (in this case, I guess as a subtype of the analog synth instrument, if we add it)
d) actually adding it (the easiest bit)

Given this is not a 100% obvious add, I’d suggest just using “analog synthesizer” with a credit for now and (if you want) listing the use in the comments of the ticket, so that if it’s added it’s trivial to find the credit and improve it further. If I’m honest, I’d have expected this to not be added at all because it seems like basically yet another synth, but I see we have Moog and Minimoog already so maybe it will be added anyway :slight_smile:


Polymoog is what is listed on the liner notes credits. We strive to be accurate at MB, so I believe that is what should be listed on the database.

Yes, that’s why we have the ability to add a specific credit to every instrument relationship saying how it was credited :slight_smile: If the liner notes said “Fender Stratocaster” we would still add “electric guitar”, for example, but with a Fender Stratocaster credit. As I said, we might end up deciding this should be added as an instrument, and if so then it can be edited to be more precise - but saying this is “analog synth” is certainly correct, so it’s a lot better than not adding the information at all.


I don’t understand why there’s any need to filter or change what is on the liner notes. We prioritise artist intent in many other parts of MB. This is no different. Why not just allow us to faithfully record what is on the liner notes?

Again: you are already allowed to faithfully record what is on the liner notes using a free text field for the printed credit for the instrument :slight_smile: That’s actually an exception for relationships, even: for most other relationships you just get to pick whatever kinda applies. “conductor” can be printed as “director”, “conducted by”, “maestro” sometimes, plus all the other versions in other languages, and we still just have the “conductor” option to pick. Same for “recorded by”/“recording engineer”, etc.

There’s of course always a way to ensure the exact liner notes are available and preserved: adding a scan / image to the Cover Art Archive :slight_smile:


How about [INST-1000] Remove "Wurlitzer electric piano" from "Other instruments" - MetaBrainz JIRA which is over 2 years old? If the database weren’t restricted, anyone could have fixed it by now.


Hello fellow kiwi!

I see the instrument cat was nudged about this on IRC. I don’t think they are going to add brand name items at the moment, but they said that synthesizers are coming up soon on the to-do list. Maybe that means revisiting our criteria on brands, in regards to synthesizers - which seems to be a pretty special case?

I do want to highlight that @CatQuest does an amazing job with instruments. Check out this Gamelan blog post:exploding_head:
So I would look forward to when they reach synthesizers, it will be good!


I understand that and I made use of the field when I added the performers and instruments back in August. However my experience is that such free text fields are not a good idea as they lead to lower quality data. The data is not checked etc. I looked back at the entries I added in August and there are mistakes.

One track has Polymoog with a leading upper case ‘P’and another has lower case ‘p’. Obviously they should be the same text with a upper case ‘P’. If Polymoog was in the instrument list, this would not be possible. I would just pick Polymoog from the list.

So, we come back to the question of why Polymoog is not in the list of instruments?

I read the list of instruments Instrument List - MusicBrainz
And the How to Add Instruments - MusicBrainz. This hints at a concern to control the size of list of instruments

To ensure that the coverage of instruments in MusicBrainz remains reasonable and avoid a huge surge in the amount of instruments, the following guidelines are in place (but keep in mind exceptions can be made, so if you think your instrument still qualifies, do request it and explain why):

It appears that this concern is behind the approach of wanting to generalise specific instruments such as Polymoog into synthesiser or piano. I believe that this is not a valid concern. What is wrong with having a long list of instruments? The list of instruments is real world information and not something that MB should be attempting to refine or curate. MB doesn’t do it with artist names just prevents duplicates.

The entries In the liner notes are simple:

Ken Bickel: Polymoog

We should just accept Polymoog is a valid instrument and let it be used. If it is already in the list, then use it. If not, then simply add it. No analysis or refinement needed. Then the database accurately and precisely reflects the credits which is the primary aim of MB.

Instruments seem to be unnecessarily complicated. Perhaps I don’t understand the requirments and rationale that has created the complexity. The instructions How to Add Instruments - MusicBrainz do include some rationale, but the status is

This page has not been reviewed by our documentation team

Is the rationale and philosophy described anywhere else? Is it ‘official’?
Is there anyway contributors can provide input? I don’t think it’s correct.

The current list of instruments currently includes


So why not Polymoog?

Some brands of synthesisers e.g. Moog and Minimoog are already on the list. I don’t agree with the brand names approach, and think it’s not limited to synthesizers… I’d be happy to see Gibson and Fender . Give us the freedom to record the level of detail we want - I have musican friends who care about the pick-up used by a guitar player. Classical music fans probably want to know if a Steinberg was played.

I wasn’t suggesting anything negative about @CatQuest. I was just asking for a request that I perceive to be very simple to be completed so I could complete adding the details on a CD and put it away. I did caveat my request with “I don’t know what the priorities are”… and how complicated it is.I was just asking how long I should expect to wait…

If users could edit the database, as @yindesu suggests, then we wouldn’t have to wait!

1 Like

Because the Instrument Inserter hasn’t gotten around to reviewing the ticket yet, and as @reosarevok commented, it “is not a 100% obvious add”, so it’s not going to get “fast tracked”. It doesn’t mean that the suggestion has been rejected, just that it needs more consideration. @aerozol has already mentioned that this (synths) is something that is likely to come up soon. Consider the Instrument Inserter nudged. They will get to it when they get to it.

It’s official, as announced in this blog post (we don’t really have a “documentation team”):

There was a bunch of community feedback when it was presented to the community (see forum topic linked in the blog post). No guideline in MusicBrainz is necessarily set in stone forever, however, so if you disagree with a part of that, feel free to make a topic discussing it or asking about it. Just remember to keep our Code of Conduct in mind when doing so. :heart: