Tips on organizing classical music

I there: I’m looking for suggestions on how best to organize my classical music. Right now my files are organized by Album Artist > Album. Files are named with the track name unless they are compilations in which case they are named with the artist name - track name.

I guess the fundamental thing I should decide is: should classical albums be organized into folders of the composer or the main performing artist? Or maybe the conductor? I’d like to know what other people do. Thank you.

Who do you consider the most important person(s) for the music, the composers or the performers? Do you more often think “I’d like to listen to some Rachmaninoff now” or “I’m in the mood for some Ashkenazy”?

Personally, I always think of the composer first and then decide what I want to hear and who I want to hear perform that work, so my folder structure is \Composer Name\Release title.

In the end the folder structure doesn’t even mean all that much, because I use the filters and simple text search in my music player to find what I want to listen to. The benefit of the folder structure that I use is that all music from the same composer is listed next to each other.

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I have separate areas in my music collection for Classical, Jazz, OSTs, Audio drama, Comedy and everything else (Pop).

OSTs can be determined broadly from the Secondary Release Type.

But the BIG difficulty is Picard knowing which of the other categories an album should be included in e.g. how can Picard know whether an album is Classical Music or not. Genres are NOT IMO a reliable way of doing this because of the way that MB handles genres leads to very inconsistent usage.

See my thread asking about interest in an “Is Classical Music” plugin.

I just do that manually. It’s not like I have to tag hundreds of files every day, so there is no need for me to automate it. Options profiles would be very nice to have though.

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It is not just the initial tagging - MB data is updated on a regular basis, and most people run their files back through Picard on a regular basis.

One thing that IME can change reasonably often esp. if you have complex file naming scripts is the lowest level directory (so for example I have a Release disambiguation in there).

At present, you can have Move Files either disabled or enabled - what you cannot do is rename the lowest level directory separate from it being moved somewhere completely different. I would personally like to see Move Files apply to the path other than the lowest level directory (or to be more accurate the parts of the path that contain the %albumtitle% variable) and have a new option Rename Album Directory for the these lowest level directories.

I think I hear in your question an implicit assumption that the collection needs to be accessed the way it is organised, and organised in a strict, consistent hierarchy.

Here’s an alternative view: classical music works best when it can be accessed by different ways when the mood strikes you: chasing down everything by a singer one day, comparing recordings of a work another day, listening all the way through a particular opera recording on another day. That means you need a tool which can search through your music collection according to multiple attributes — composer, main performing artist, composer, work, whatever. Walking through a strict, consistent hierarchy cannot give you that flexibility. So, find a tool which doesn’t limit you to that.

Yes, the music files need to be stored in directories, and directories are easier to manage if they are in a strict consistent hierarchy. But if you have a flexible tool for searching, it doesn’t matter nearly so much what the file storage structure is.

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