A Digital Symphony

A classical music lover’s guide to enjoying your collection on a computer.

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Overview of the tagging process

Step 2: Get the metadata to apply to the tags on your music files

This is the crucial step. Classical music has a huge amount of metadata (composers, performers, conductors, works, orchestras etc.) compared with popular music and most systems do not cater for this. The approach described here gets all that information (and more!) attached to your music files so you can see it all at a glance.

While this approach is designed for classical music, similar methods may also work for other types of music, particularly those with more complex tagging needs, such as jazz.

Tagging process

My process is as follows (in outline):

  1. When ripping the CD, I don't really care what tags the ripping app provides at this stage since they will all get overwritten later. However, if the CD is in MusicBrainz, there is some benefit in using the MusicBrainz tags sourced by CUERipper (or CUETools in EAC) because it makes the subsequent lookups quicker.
  2. In Picard (with the "Classical Extras" plugin),
    • if you already have tags from MusicBrainz, “cluster” the album and select “lookup”
    • otherwise try “lookup CD”
  3. Review the metadata and amend it in MusicBrainz if required.

The full details of how to do this are set out in the following sections. Note that if the album is not in MusicBrainz at all, then you can add it (also described later).