Monday, August 08, 2005

Statistical details.

I had resisted posting stats on the size of my collection, because I don't want to get all embarassed that it is not as bad-ass as I wish it were. Plus, there is this tendency to believe that women don't obsess about music. Yes they do.

But then I got some spec type questions from Tim, so here goes.

Stats? How many CDs are you ripping, and how much hard disk space have you consumed doing so?

As of right now (9:46 am EDT on Monday, 8 August 2005 CE), I have ripped 8287 tracks, which has filled 30.3 GB when ripped in mp3 format. I estimate that I have about 900 CDs total, and that I have 150 to go. I will give a final figure when I have ripped everything. [ADDENDUM: I am ripping at 128 kbps. Not the highest quality, but a reasonable compromise.]

What are you planning to do about liner notes? I have taken to annotating my jazz tracks with the list of personnel and recording dates, when I can get them, but classical recordings have a whole nother level of complexity. What's your solution for managing that data?

I have sooooooo not solved this problem yet. There are places embedded within the tags for detailed information, but then you have to hunt for it. And how long do you want your "artist" tag to run, when you have a large number of personnel? I just don't know how to handle this.

And I am finding that classical music presents yet another dilemma, in that rarely is a piece performed by its composer. So then where do you list the composer? As far as I have discovered, there is no separate composer tag, so one is left to list the composer elsewhere. For the most part it works to list the composer's name at the front of an album title, because then an album search would give you the capacity to see all your Brahms together. But right now I am ripping a CD of three concerti by three separate composers, all performed by Jascha Heifitz with various second soloists and orchestras. So what do I do there? I entered the composer names in the title tag, but nowhere else have I done that, which will get confusing.

And there is the other liner-note problem of people like Matthew Herbert. Because of the way he constructs his electronic music, it is often of interest whether a song features the sounds made by the contents of Dani's bag on the day of recording or of newspaper clippings about Iraq from around the world shaped into instruments and filled with popcorn, rice and foreign coins. Where is the tag for that?

It all leads me to believe that although a digital database provides me with new ways of listening to my music (about which more soon), it cannot eliminate my need for my CDs.


Tim said...

Regarding composer, there is a composer tag at the individual track level, at least in the MP3 tag v.3.2 standard, which is what iTunes uses. That of course doesn't solve the whole problem (how do you list conductors vs. performers, where is the place to list recording date vs. original release date vs. date of the current release, etc.) but it's a start.

iTunes also has a field called "Grouping" which allows you to pull together different movements of a classical work under a common header, minimizing the need for really long song titles.

Screen shot of a classical movement in iTunes here. I tend to use that "comments" field as a hold all for a bunch of other information, like the items I mentioned above.

Tim said...

Er, sorry: "MP3 tag v. 3.2" is nonsense. I meant MP3's ID3 tagging scheme, v. 2. Just found a good introduction to ID3 and a reasonable end user view of what ID3v2 means.

There's also a list of defined frames (fields), though I have yet to find a music player (including iTunes) that supports all of them.

Isis said...

Yeah, since I wrote that post I found the tag, although I have not yet figured out how to get it to display in my main list. I had a brief moment where I considered inputting all the info that those tags allow--conductors, record label, nature of ensemble, etc.--but then realized that my summer vacation is fast slipping away.

The screen shot of the iTunes page was helpful, too, as is the info about the tags generally.

I clearly need to keep playing around, to find the balance between enough information and too much typing.

W. Ian Blanton said...

As far as showing a field, that's actually easy in iTunes, just right-click on the field titles, and you get a pop-up list with check-marks to show what fields you want to see in your main view.