When does classical style apply to film music albums?

You do have an interesting point of view and it is different from the Classical mindset which is shaped by the concept of a Composer.

At the same time, what is a cover if not an intepretation of a composition, even if it ts played by that synth guy. Ennio Morricione composed fantastic music, performed it by himself and other will perform it as well. This is a common example of modern composers like him or John Williams for example.

If you credit Morricione music on release as

Some Orchestra,

Then credits are visible on a page. On track you would say Composer and add performong artists on Rels.

For the synth guy

Synth Orchestra

And in rels the Synth Orchestra name and perhpas the real guy name. Its common to add an ensmble, for example Tokyo Strong Quartet and the individual performers as instruments.

If you open artist page for Artist Morricione, it will list all the releases , if self performed or not. In my mind, this is a complete picture of Morricione discography.

BTW, CSG stands for Composer Style Guide :sunglasses:

I don’t see I said it was surprising. What I’m saying is that by having two separate sets of rules, it puts pressure on releases to be defined as either classical or not-classical, which is not always how things are… :slight_smile:

Like when someone re-credited a Queen recording to “Freddy Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor & John Deacon” because it was on a primarily classical release. :slight_smile:


Sure, some people might take things to the extreme :slight_smile: (of course, maybe that’s what the release said! but I doubt it). My point was just I don’t see how it’s (generally) shoehorning, unless you mean the music industry shoehorns the composer on the cover for classical!

By shoe-horn, I mean take a field and jam more information in it that was originally envisioned. One of the things I like about MB is that we’ve tried to avoid overloading the title of recordings with too much other info - moving featured artists out of it for example.

And, looking through, eg Handel’s page I don’t see how this is being applied consistently or with much thought to keeping it updated.

(I do like we have a live 1888 release on wax cylinder though) :slight_smile:

And as we don’t generally add “non-performing” credits from the cover for other genres, it seems wrong to do it for classical specifically.

The Groundhogs - Muddy Waters Songbook
Joey Defranesco - Plays Sinatra His Way
Neal Morse - Plays Pink Floyd
Richard Clayderman - Plays ABBA
Duo Jatekok - Plays Rammstein
The Starlite Orchestra - Plays Queen
VA - Suprise Your Pig: A Tribute to REM
VA - Whore: Various Aritists Play Wire

But I think it would be interesting if those sort of releases could be surfaced in the pages of the artists to whom they refer. I don’t see putting their credits in the releases as a good way to do it though.

(oh, and the person who did the Queen edit did it because they thought that’s how all classical releases were done)

1 Like

Nobody has said that, as far as I can recall. There are many forms of classical that don’t involve an orchestra. Solo concertos, string quartets, etc. “Film score” and “soundtrack” are simply new forms of classical, as I pointed out earlier.

For the soundtracks where Barry composed and conducted, won’t those release groups be segregated as “album + soundtrack,” while releases where someone else performs his music will be under “album?”

The inability to find “John Barry’s discography” isn’t a reason for improperly tagging the music. Maybe it means the search tools need improvement.

This feels somewhat similar to the motivation behind the “Crediting a remix album” thread. My interpretation is that @IvanDobsky’s (and maybe also @chiark’s) concern comes down to (quoting the new Remixes and mashups guidelines) a “release that was created without any participation from the credited artist” being credited to the composer.

I share this concern. I don’t know if it’d even be possible to fix this in the UI without schema changes, but it feels weird to me that the release groups listed first for Howard Shore are a bunch of re-recordings that he doesn’t even list in his official discography at howardshore.com » Discography/Filmography.

1 Like

Some common ground here :grin:

1 Like

This. I think the question is not binary. Soundtrack is such a big word that it can effectively encompass any genre of music. And Classical, too, can have a range of definitions.

So a particular type of Soundtrack or film music should be considered Classical if you believe there can be “modern” Classical music, and should not be considered if you believe Classicial only applies to a specifc period in the past, and any music has to earn that status after a certain amount of time.

(However even in the first more broad definition of Classical, orchestration alone is not sufficient.)

1 Like

This is a big part of the problem I see. I thought the artist’s page was for locating their discography. John Barry did a lot of pop music before the film scores. A lot of his albums and singles should appear in that “albums” and “singles” section. By listing any recording that mentions someone’s name on a cover then you can’t find his discography any more.

If versions of Beatles tunes performed by orchestras are now to appear on the Beatles’ page then again MB stops being a database that can be referred to for a discography. If a guy with a synth performing Morricone appears on Morricone’s page alongside Morricone’s performance, then I assume any cover of Pink Floyd albums now also need to appear on their page due to the synths?

Yeah, I understand you want to tag your Beethoven with his name. And want to go to his artist page and see performances of his works. But this is a very different use to how the non-classical side of the database operates. It then gets very confusing for composers who are in the middle ground.

I also see some editors like @chiark do understand what I am trying to say. I just word things badly.

I notice some people have also missed that I am mainly concerned by covers. Soundtracks are well covered in the documentation and I totally agree with how they are credited as they should be easy to find on John Barry or Howard Shore’s pages. Especially as they usually also conduct those original performances. That means they clearly appear in their discography. It’s just we don’t stick bad covers of Beatles albums into the middle of their discography, so I don’t understand why Morricone’s data should suffer.

If you go to Wikipedia, or any music site, it will list John Barry’s performances in his discography. Ditto John Williams, Morricone, etc. You will not find any mention of The City of Prague Orchestra on that page. This is the detail I feel are being destroyed due to wanting to change how some music files are tagged.


This is indeed a heart of the matter. The concept of covers from non Composer music, although Beattles did compose of course, and Composer based music like Beethoven and Moricione that is interprated by multiple artist.

This is a personal view, but I do think that Film music, Film score, is a written down composition that Orchestra of Prague and others can interpret, and I would not call it a cover.

The question of discography is also interesting one. What is John Williams discography? Only when he performs or when he performs and/or his music is performed.

As far as other db go, they mostly got it wrong and that’s why we are here. And there are discography pages where every recording for a composer is listed, for example Bruckner.

And for tagging, I don’t need Prague Orchestra credited on Release page, don’t need a Composer either, as long as its credited on Rels thats good enough, so my arguments are not based on personal tagging needs.

There was another thread that an editor was all in arms why do we list a Composer as a Release and Track artist as Composer did not release anything really, performing artists did. I think there is a validity to this thinking and having work rels that do have a Composer attribute is enough for the release identification. But thid does not agree with album covers and how albums are marketed. So it seems that current CSG is an attempt at compromise.

1 Like

As I corrected myself in an earlier post in this thread, orchestral arrangements of pop music, like Beatles or Pink Floyd, belong in the “Classical Crossover” genre, and thus may not be subject to CSG.
(before you ask, here is a good explanation of that, by a magazine that is dedicated to it: What is Classical Crossover? – Classical Crossover Magazine)

But Morricone’s work, like John Williams, John Barry, and others, were written in forms that are clearly of the same nature – with (to borrow a phrase from that Classical Crossover magazine) “traditional classical elements” – as music that we all recognize as classical, no matter how difficult it is to define in words.

“Film score” and “soundtrack” (when it is based on those “traditional classical elements”) are, as I’ve already mentioned, new (100 years or so) genres of classical music, just like symphony, or opera, or concerto. When the release is the OST, soundtrack guidelines apply. When the composition is performed by someone else, CSG applies (unless it falls into “crossover”). As reosaravok noted, CSG and Soundtrack guidelines are very similar.

No one has answered the question of how does this system allow us to see John Barry’s non-Soundtrack discography?

The CSG system does not allow for the fact that some artists are both orchestral and pop. It does not make sense the database puts these into the same table. No way to tell them apart. I get it that for normal classical composers you want to tag your files with the composer. This then breaks the database’s ability to show an artist’s discography.

I had started to work on John Barry’s discography when I first spotted this problem. It makes it pointless continuing that work if the database has no way to show his albums separate to an orchestra re-recording some of his film work appearing as part of his discography.

1 Like

What if composer name is kept only on medium and removed from release and release group?
This way re-recorded albums won’t show up in the composer main page but only on their various artists release groups.
Could this be a good compromise for everyone?

MusicBrainz makes that very clear:

Isn’t that the purpose of genre tags? Perhaps your need would be satisfied if a column for the genre tag were added to the table.

I agree that classical and non-classical are “different animals.”

“Discography,” in its traditional sense, isn’t just the collection of recordings by a particular performer or composer. That’s a relatively recent usage of the word. Traditionally, “discography” is just the cataloging of published sound recordings. The who, when, where, etc., are relevant details, but a discography isn’t necessarily restricted to a single artist.

Classical is a complex puzzle. Some albums are focused on the composer (“Mozart: The Complete Symphonies”), while others are focused on the ensemble and/or conductor, which may include works by several composers (“The Academy By Request”, Neville Marriner & Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields), and still others are focused on an individual soloist (Paul Goodwin, “Oboe & Oboe d’amore Concertos”). I’ve played with a few music organization tools, and it seems like none of them have come up with a solution that solves the puzzle.

I’ve been having similar discussions in the Plex forums, trying to get them to acknowledge composers on the same level as pop artists. Maybe it would make more sense to have a separate database for classical. I’ve certainly separated them that way on my Plex server.

This would not work for many of the albums we’ve been talking about. An album that is a re-recording of one composer’s music, performed by a single artist/orchestra, is not a VA release.

I didn’t say to replace artist with VA, but removing composers from RG will clean their pages from albums they are not associated with, but they will keep on being associated to their composer by clicking on “Show official various artist release groups” at the bottom of their page.


I’ve actually never used those links – didn’t even realize they were there.

That would take a lot of study to form an opinion. It seems like it would have a profound effect on how the database is organized, and it would affect composers like Beethoven and Mozart as well. It doesn’t seem compatible with the way the music industry views classical. But, as I said, it would take some study.

1 Like

It does not make it clear at all. As is seen in the example I supplied in the above image . Listed under “albums” are albums of Barry’s non-classical pop work, there are albums of his performances, and two albums of re-recordings by the City of Prague Orchestra that he does not have an involvement with. All mushed together under albums. CSG applied to those Prague performances makes it impossible to spot his work. Only that disambig is acting as a clue as to what is not his stuff.

I also don’t see the logic of trying to rely on tags. I would not call a track like Goldfinger “classical”. It is Shirley Bassey knocking out a hit that also went up the charts. But you have added more no votes to some of my older edits that is now applying your logic of “anything done by an orchestra is classical” even though you claimed above that this isn’t the case. That is a quite fundamental difference to what some of us think is classical.

Yeah, I get it you want to tag your collection in a certain way. But this seems against the logic of the database when you apply this to pop tunes.

I have never seen a discography show every cover version of someone’s work. Go to Wikipedia, or the artist’s own websites or autobiographies and it will list their own work. Elsewhere in MB “artist’s intent” is important, but you are changing those rules when an orchestra appears.

1 Like

Should we care how the music industry views classical?

But, I don’t think it’s a massive change needed in the DB to cope with the idea of not putting composers in artist credits for releases/RGs, which forces a credit to be either classical or not classical.

What’s needed is way to bubble up the work or recording credits to the surface of the artist’s page, so people can choose to include releases with works composed by that artist. Or any of the other relationships we have, like arranged.

Currently if you were interested in interpretations of an artists work, you have to go through works, which means picking each one and seeing who’s covered it, not exactly the quickest task.