How To Tag Classical Music Files Effectively

There’s plenty of technology to help you get your digital music collection into shape, but most approaches are designed with an artist-centric pop music approach in mind. Lifehacker reader Chris outlines an alternative approach to use if you have a large classical music collection and want to play movements in the correct order.

Picture by Horia Varlan

Here’s how Chris does it:

As any classical music geek can attest, most music players and apps do not handle classical music elegantly. The problem is that the usual way of organising pop music is Artist -> Album -> Title, whereas with classical music, it’s Composer -> Composition ->Movement. Using a tag editor, such as Mp3tag, and with a bit of cutting and pasting, the relevant tags can be rendered more classical friendly.

For example, the first movement of Beethoven’s piano sonata number 16 becomes:

Artist: Beethoven Piano Sonatas
Album: Piano Sonata #16 in G
Title: 1. Allegro Vivace

The track number should also be changed to the number of the movement.

This makes it much easier to locate pieces on an iPod, or a music app and to play the movements in the correct order.

This approach won’t always apply — for instance, you might also want to reflect a particular conductor or performer in your listings — but it does make more sense than standard tagging. Got your own system or preferred tool for managing digital classical music? Tell us in the comments. Thanks Chris!

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