What’s going on with instruments anyway? (part 1)

Hi everyone! I’m CatQuest, the Endeavouring MusicBrainz Instrument Inserter. I’ve been meaning to write a post or two about this for a while, but now finally everything is in order!

As some of you may know, I have “officially” taken over instrument additions from reosarevok. I suggested this way back in June 2016 because a) reo was already overworked enough between doing Style, handling support, dealing with social media, and other things, and b) as a consequence of this, the Instrument Requests queue had grown unmanageably large.

Initially I started without grouping, components, or “fix versions”, but later I’ve been allowed to organise everything to my liking and so, I’ve gone back and retroactively added tickets for initial batches, modelled on freso’s ORG tickets.

So without further ado: Here is a list of the instrument tickets I solved from my initiate appointment in July 2016 to roughly October:

Very first batch:

New Feature

It felt natural to separate this at Pipe and Tabor, so the next batch got a different “fix” version, from October to (taking a Christmas break) January 2017:

Second batch:


New Feature


Stay tuned for part two!

Author: CatQuest

boff! I like music, cats, lego, colouring, cooking and daaataabaseees (and Instruments)..

4 thoughts on “What’s going on with instruments anyway? (part 1)”

  1. Hi CatQuest.
    Looks good in general.
    And it’s great to see someone taking on such tasks. Thanks.
    What follows is (I think – it’s totally possible that i have misunderstood the basics) criticism – if I unduly or unnecessarily disturb your feline grace please accept my apologies.
    Getting microscopically focussed very quickly: [INST-407] does not have a clear source.
    The edit that adds it to the recording is fairly opaque.
    “Information from my CD”
    It is not yet clear what [INST-407] actually refers to.
    Is it a specific subtype of [INST-216] – Spinet?
    Why is “virginal [spinette]” also given as an instrument type?
    Is it a separate instrument or another name chosen by the editor?
    Or does the CD info not specify what sort of spinet is played?

    Widening focus again:
    Having duplicate or poorly defined instrument types would seem to detract from the usefulness of the encyclopedia. And make work for future editors trying to get things straightened out
    I suggest that the process for creating new instrument types be made more stringent and rigorous. Specifically that the sources for new instrument types are accessible or at least explicitly listed by the adding editor. The alternative of “fuzzy and fluid intrument types” seems messy.

  2. Hello.

    «Having duplicate or poorly defined instrument types», if they have a unique/specific Wikipedia/Wikidata item, then it is, to me, unlikely to be “poorly defined” (considering Wikipedia’s fairly stringent notability guidelines). The spinet you refer to as a case here does in fact have its own Wikipedia page – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinet – and is linked to far more recordings than just the one you linked to an edit of – https://musicbrainz.org/instrument/42d9a141-2a20-4c6d-bdb9-ab7e7e4bec42/releases and https://musicbrainz.org/instrument/42d9a141-2a20-4c6d-bdb9-ab7e7e4bec42/recordings – so it seems the addition of the spinet is not really controversial at all?

    Also, «The edit that adds it to the recording is fairly opaque.» (ignoring that the linked edit is fairly straightforward and not really opaque at all), this can’t really be the instrument editor(s)’s fault, can it? They add requested instruments to the database (after much research!), but it’s for “regular” editors like you and I to use the instruments properly. If the instrument was added just for that one Recording (and there indeed was anything off about the edit adding it), then sure, maybe the instrument shouldn’t have been added, but as I already showed, the instrument is used for a lot of Recordings and a number of Releases too.

    I’m also not sure why you refer to https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/INST-216 – its resolution is “duplicate”, which means no action has been taken about it (other than closing it in favour of another ticket). There is also only one “spinet” in the database: https://musicbrainz.org/search?query=spinet&type=instrument&method=indexed

    I think maybe you’re a bit confused about some of how instruments (and maybe the tickets system) work? Is there anything in the docs or the interface you think would help alleviate this confusion for you or others?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.