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Recommendations For Tagging iTunes 12 Music (Classical)

Article ID = 152
Article Title = Recommendations For Tagging iTunes 12 Music (Classical)
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 1st July 2015
Article Last Updated = 23rd September 2016
Article URL =

Article Brief Description:
Recommendations and instructions for correctly tagging iTunes classical music with iTunes 12 or later

Recommendations For Tagging iTunes Music (Classical - iTunes 12 Or Later)

If you are using iTunes 11 or earlier you should use this article instead.

Classical tagging uses the same principles as tagging popular music but with a little extra emphasis on certain types of tags. These are:
  • The original composer e.g. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • The conductor
  • The performer e.g. orchestra
  • Soloists
You have to decide which of the above is most important to you and which fields you will use to store these tags? Possible primary fields to use are:
  • Composer + Sort Composer
  • Artist + Sort Artist
  • Album Artist + Sort Album Artist
  • Album
  • Grouping
  • Genre
  • Comments
  • NOTE: The Grouping, Genre and Comments fields do not have a Sort equivalent.
  • NEW - Work (iTunes 12.5 or later)
  • NEW - Movement number and name (iTunes 12.5 or later)
  • NOTE: When you open the Info window for tracks in iTunes 12.5 or later you get a tick box to "Use work and movement" fields.
Artist is a powerful field to utilise because you can also sort albums "by Artist" or "by Artist/Year" in the main iTunes library window. Apple added the Composer field specifically for use with classical music so you can use it as such but some people prefer to put the actual composer in the Artist field and performers (artist) in the Composer field. You also have to consider the year field - will you use it for the original year of composition, the year of the recording or the year that the music was released in? Are you going to classify all Classical music as Classical for Genre or are you going to be a bit more descriptive e.g. Classical - Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, etc? Remember you can always add additional information to the Notes field e.g. OYOC (for Original year of composition) = 1788. Using additional abbreviations in fields for information can be useful such as adding "LPO" (for London Philharmonic Orchestra) to track titles e.g. "Symphony #1 [LPO]". The more information you put in tags the more useful they become for searching and/or using (smart) playlists.

Before you start tagging in earnest you really need to decide on what information is most important to you and what to use the various fields for specifically the Artist field. If you use an iPod/iPhone/iPad and/or Apple TV you must also check how your tagging looks and sorts on these devices. A long tag like "London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski" may be truncated to "London Philhar…" on some devices which would not be very useful when browsing/searching for music to play. Thus it might be worth tagging some music e.g. 10-20 pieces of music/albums to start with and see if you can get along with that particular method by trying it out not only on your computer in iTunes but on the other devices you have too. Once you have decided on a method try to stick to it especially when importing new music.

Now you are ready to start tagging your music.

More guidance on Taming iTunes for Classical Music.

Article Keywords: iTunes 12 13 tag tags tagging ID3 mp3 sort sorting album artist genre classical music

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