Long works and classical music: ideas for overcoming the track dominant approach

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Long works and classical music: ideas for overcoming the track dominant approach

Olivier Biot
Hi list,

In the past couple weeks I've entered my classical CD collection in MB with the help of MB Picard, the MB web iterface, patience and a lot of Internet search queries.

My conclusions so far are that MB is by far the most useful audio media annotation system available today.

However, the "track/recording dominant" metaphor does not allow enough support yet for classical works or other lengthy contemporary works in which the tracks are nothing but "smartly chosen pointers into a single work", similar to the metaphor of a bookmark in a paper book.

Today, for works that span more than one track, MB cannot yet:
(a) determine whether a work has been completely recorded on a release
(b) return collections of related tracks that contain complete recordings of a work

Consider for instance the following release:
http://musicbrainz.org/release/875add80-0977-41e7-8321-a9f0552384c5
This release is a reissue on CD of a vinyl release.
Track 1 corresponds to the 1st movement of a concerto, but track 2 combines 3 movements of the same work.

A track-based approach should require the creation of an unrelated "MB Work" consisting of the combination of the 3 movements.

A second more complicated example is the following release:
http://musicbrainz.org/release/2f5f23b0-19b9-4f18-9371-6e715e5cd1c6
I have the music score of one of the concerti grossi (you can find them on IMSLP). I can tell that there are no real movements in the work but rather tempo indications, so the tracks have been arbitrarily assigned by the recording engineer to have meaningful pointers so the listener can select a fragment of the work. In this case, adding works per release will create a huge mess and will be hard to maintain as it will always be an arbitrary set of movements (parts in the score).

How could we introduce into MB a richer expressiveness when describing works and their constituents, and when linking recordings and works, beyond the one-way recording-to-work association?

I have a number of ideas, but probably this reflection is already on-going for a while, e.g. (1) marking a set of recordings and work parts (however independently) as being a complete set of parts (recordings) that represent the work; (2) adding precedes/follows relationships between parts (similar to the track editor when adding a release; (3) allow adding a directed sequence of movements to be associated to a recording (see my first example).

Any opinions?

Best regards,

Olivier

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Re: Long works and classical music: ideas for overcoming the track dominant approach

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
(1) marking a set of recordings and work parts (however independently) as being a complete set of parts (recordings) that represent the work;
We do have a way of marking works as parts of the parent/full work already.
 
(2) adding precedes/follows relationships between parts (similar to the track editor when adding a release;
Ordered parts for works is something we've certainly wanted for a while. It's not technically trivial though, unless we did it by literally adding "next in set" relationships, which can be a pain to maintain and are at most a hack :) The ordering should probably be stored in the part-of relationship, ideally (IMO) by this being an n-point relationship that includes all parts instead of n "has part" relationships.

 
(3) allow adding a directed sequence of movements to be associated to a recording (see my first example).
You can add several movements to one recording already - what's missing there is the ordering.

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Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren

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Re: Long works and classical music: ideas for overcoming the track dominant approach

Olivier Biot
On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren <[hidden email]> wrote:
(1) marking a set of recordings and work parts (however independently) as being a complete set of parts (recordings) that represent the work;
We do have a way of marking works as parts of the parent/full work already.

Agreed, but it only states if it is contained within the bigger work, not whether a set is a *complete* representation of a work.

(2) adding precedes/follows relationships between parts (similar to the track editor when adding a release;
Ordered parts for works is something we've certainly wanted for a while. It's not technically trivial though, unless we did it by literally adding "next in set" relationships, which can be a pain to maintain and are at most a hack :) The ordering should probably be stored in the part-of relationship, ideally (IMO) by this being an n-point relationship that includes all parts instead of n "has part" relationships.

An implementation could consist of (a) having the concept of a "set" and (b) assigning a weight attribute to list element (heavier items go below lightweight ones).

(3) allow adding a directed sequence of movements to be associated to a recording (see my first example).
You can add several movements to one recording already - what's missing there is the ordering.

This is something I didn't know until today (and I had something of an hint that this was the current way of working in the following release: http://musicbrainz.org/release/ef05ae0e-4807-4160-b83c-44a0ee3cfdaf). I will apply this now in the first example (http://musicbrainz.org/release/875add80-0977-41e7-8321-a9f0552384c5).

Best regards,

Olivier

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Re: Long works and classical music: ideas for overcoming the track dominant approach

Frederic Da Vitoria
2013/5/10 Olivier Biot <[hidden email]>
On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren <[hidden email]> wrote:
(1) marking a set of recordings and work parts (however independently) as being a complete set of parts (recordings) that represent the work;
We do have a way of marking works as parts of the parent/full work already.

Agreed, but it only states if it is contained within the bigger work, not whether a set is a *complete* representation of a work.

Yes, this would be useful, not only in classical music: books, plays, soundtracks...

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Frederic Da Vitoria
(davitof)

Membre de l'April - « promouvoir et défendre le logiciel libre » - http://www.april.org

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