Classical Clean Up #4: Hyperion

Hi all!

We almost got Dvořák fully cleaned, with only a page and a half of hard-to-fix recordings from compilations left. Which honestly is a great result (especially since most people won’t care that much about those compilations).

That said, I thought we could do something different this time, and hopefully avoid albums with no info available at all 🙂 The best way of doing that is to focus on a label instead of a composer: ideally, a label that offers (almost) all of their booklets for free so that everything can be checked without needing to have a copy of the release. One of the best examples of this is hyperion (official site), a British label that puts out all sorts of interesting stuff from medieval music to contemporary classical. So this February we’ll clean up hyperion (Hyperion? the logo is lowercase, anyway!) releases 🙂

Tools

  • Our user loujin has made a nice dashboard that shows our current hyperion (and related label) releases, and the ones from their complete catalog list that we seem to be missing. It matches by barcode, so if we’re missing the barcode, the release will still appear on the “we’re missing this” list – make sure we really are missing it before adding a new one! 🙂
  • A hyperion website importer has been written by loujin specifically for this cleanup.
  • My own Classical Editor’s Toolbox, especially if you’re a relatively new editor. You’ll definitely want to install most of the userscripts mentioned there.
  • The label website, of course.
  • Discogs pages for hyperion and helios. Usually, the label page will be better than these, but some old releases (especially vinyls) might be on Discogs and not in the official catalog.

How to use the Hyperion website

The website has a lot of info! Here’s an introduction, I’m sure I’m missing some stuff.

  • Choose the right label! In general, you can look at the catalog number: CDA = hyperion, CDH = helios (other sublabels and distributed labels are more obviously different).
  • For full booklets, click “Digital booklet (PDF)” under the cover art. It might not be always there but I can remember almost no cases where it wasn’t 🙂 All the booklets include a request not to upload them elsewhere, so let’s respect that: please do not upload the full booklets to the Cover Art Archive. Keep in mind when something has been re-released on Helios, the Helios booklet will also be linked from the old Hyperion version. It’s generally safe to follow this booklet, but of course if you know something was printed differently on the old tracklist you should keep it like it actually was 🙂
  • For a big cover image, click on the cover and then right-click + open image in new tab. These are ok to add to the Cover Art Archive: please do upload them! 🙂
  • For the release date (up to the month) see the box on the top right side of the page.
  • Barcodes are often not available on the release page itself for some reason, but you can get them from loujin’s list, from the full catalogue itself or by searching Amazon for the catalog number and looking at the back cover.
  • Hyperion often re-releases stuff on the budget sublabel Helios, or as part of collections. If you see “Superseded by CDH12345” (or whatever the catalog number) to the right of the cover under the title area, you’re in luck! You can fix two releases instead of one with just a bit more effort 😉 (if one of the two is missing, just fix the existing one, then create the missing one based on the now-fixed version). Remember, CDA = hyperion, CDH = helios.

Other hints

  • Remember you have the full liner notes. This is very helpful when trying to identify works! If in doubt, check what the liner notes say. If that still doesn’t help (say, you have one of Dowland’s “A Fancy” and no idea which one that is) just leave it unlinked, don’t guess the work.
  • The website will sometimes be more specific than the booklet about which performers perform on which works or work parts. If the booklet is not too clear, see if specific performers are printed under the track title on the website’s tracklist.
  • Recording dates are usually more exact on the booklet than the right-side box. Even if you see “Recording details” there, check the booklet first 🙂 Old booklets might have only recording dates but no locations – recent ones seem to include both pieces of info almost always.
  • When choosing release artists, I’d suggest following the cover, not the website (if the website says Johannes Brahms and the cover Brahms, use just “Brahms”).
  • The hyperion website entries can be linked either with “purchase for X” or “discography page” relationships. I’d suggest at least “discography page” (with the purchase ones on top if desired), but just linking it is already good – that’s the quickest route to booklets, after all! 🙂

What to work on

  • Take either loujin’s dashboard or the actual label pages in MusicBrainz, look at releases and see what seems to need work. An easy start is releases that still have the performers on the title rather than the artist field 🙂 You can also look at the data quality column: anything with “unset”, “low” or “normal” should be missing stuff (if not, go and change data quality to high!).
  • Add missing releases: in loujin’s dashboard you can see releases that haven’t matched to MB by barcode or catalog number. Make a quick check in case they’re in MusicBrainz but missing the info, but most of them are simply missing and need to be added!
  • If you’ve added all the info from the booklet (including engineers, copyright info and whatnot) and added the covers please set the release data quality to high from the sidebar. That way, other people can see that and not check the data again 🙂 If something is terribly entered and you don’t have time to fix it, feel free to set it to low quality to point the mess to others!

As always, if you have any doubts or questions or you just want to ask the community to help with something, you can post under this 🙂

PS: Thanks to Chhavi Shrivastava for the banner!

Classical Clean Up #3: Dvořák

Your favourite time of the year is at hand! No, I don’t mean Christmas, I (obviously) mean the Classical Community Clean Up. Debussy went very well, Mahler was fantastic, and it’s time for a third! Come join us in paying a little special attention to classical masters!

This time around the community has chosen (probably) the world’s only composer who is also a keyboard layout, the titan of Czech music Antonín Dvořák. We encourage you during this time to not only help the community clean up Dvořák’s metadata, but to learn more about Dvořák as well.

The clean up events officially last one month (but can be continued until they’re complete!) and are meant to utilize our community’s power to clean up our classical metadata. If you are new to MusicBrainz, to classical editing, or both, we have a whole tool box and plenty of advice, tips and tricks to share. We advise you bookmark the tool box—it’s quite helpful! Our team of classical music enthusiasts will also provide plenty of support on our forums, so come join us!

What we will work on:

  • Reviewing the existing works to make sure there are no duplicates and the information looks correct, and add any missing works (keep in mind while it is perfectly ok to add lost works, it’d be good to specify they’re lost so that people don’t accidentally use them on recordings).
  • Check the release list for anything that doesn’t follow the classical guidelines. Not only that should be fixed, but that’s a good sign of the recording and relationship info being incomplete too.
  • Check the recording list. The only recordings that should be here by the end of the cleanup are of Dvořák himself as a performer (probably none, and in any case very few). Anything else being here should have performer relationships added to it if missing, then the artist credits for the recording should be changed to list the main performers (you can use the relevant script for that). Try to fix the whole release the recording is on, even if it’s not all by Dvořák! But in the case of a very large compilation, it’s always acceptable to fix only the Dvořák content on it.
  • Add missing Dvořák recordings! If you have enough info to add a Dvořák release we’re missing, that’s always useful. Just make sure to try to add as much info as possible from the get go, so we don’t have to clean that addition up as well. 🙂

We recently had 2995 recordings, 781 works and 862 releases under Dvořák, and we’re expecting to have many fewer wrongly listed recordings and many more Dvořák releases by the end of the month. Don’t know where to begin? Join us and ask, let us help you find a jumping in point! Here’s to another great month of Classical Clean Up with Dvořák!

By the way, you can get the above poster and a wallpaper version courtesy of Chhavi, in case you feel like having Dvořák himself staring at you will motivate you further! 😉

Classical Clean Up #2: Mahler. The Conclusions!

As we published at the start of October, during the last month we’ve been trying to clean up our data for Gustav Mahler. October is over now, and you might be wondering how that went. Well, no need to wonder anymore, because our users have made a fantastic job not just of cleaning Mahler’s data up, but of showing us how clean it is!

Our editor stupidname took statistical snaps at the start, the midpoint and the end of the project:

Oct 1st Oct 18th Nov 2nd
Recordings 2361 66 (-2295) 11 (-2350)
Tracks 11866 14094 (+2228) 15228 (+3362)
Releases 924 1192 (+268) 1363 (+439)
Release Groups 720 871 (+151) 986 (+266)

As we can see, the existing recordings where mostly cleaned up 18 days in, but a lot of new releases kept being added up until the end of the month.

Additionally, stupidname also checked the amount of recordings for some of the main works by Mahler to see the changes over time (specifically, due to the way our works… err.. work, the data is for one movement of each work rather than the main work itself):

Oct 1st Oct 18th Nov 2nd
Symphony no. 1 95 115 (+20) 120 (+25)
Symphony no. 2 114 145 (+31) 149 (+35)
Symphony no. 3 108 141 (+33) 144 (+36)
Symphony no. 4 68 82 (+14) 85 (+17)
Symphony no. 5 92 93 (+1) 98 (+6)
Symphony no. 6 65 74 (+9) 87 (+11)
Symphony no. 7 76 86 (+10) 96 (+20)
Symphony no. 8 89 108 (+19) 106 (+17)
Symphony no. 9 125 141 (+16) 176 (+51)
Das Lied von der Erde 47 53 (+6) 55 (+8)
Kindertotenlieder 41 52 (+11) 62 (+21)
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen 54 63 (+9) 68 (+14)

This data is a bit less precise, because some of these recordings are partial (and the specific organization of Symphony no. 8 makes it especially tricky to count), but it is still a very nice view of how we’ve gotten extra recordings of basically everything!

Our editor loujin made graphs with the amount of edits per editor during the cleanup. There are too many editors for the legend to show them all, but the graph shows that the two biggest contributors by far were ListMyCDs.com (green) and stupidname (light blue), with a bunch of other editors making several hundred edits as well.

And finally, also thanks to loujin, you can see how the cleanup affected the amount of edits done on Mahler (no prizes for guessing which bar it is!):

Thanks to all this hard work, our entry on Mahler should be a particularly good example of the amount and quality of classical data you can get from MusicBrainz, and an inspiration for other composer pages! Thanks so much to everyone, and we’ll be back with more in December!

Mahler is impressed

Classical Clean Up #2: Mahler

It’s time for our second Classical Community Clean Up! Since our first clean up of Debussy was quite successful, we are back for another!

Haven’t heard about our new favorite task at hand? You can read about our first clean up on the forums here. Come join us in paying a little special attention to classical masters!

This time around the community has chosen the late Romantic composer Gustav Mahler (who was quite the conductor as well!). We encourage you during this time to not only help the community clean up Mahler’s metadata, but to learn more about Mahler as well.

The clean up events officially last one month (but can be continued until they’re complete!) and are meant to utilize our community’s power to clean up our classical metadata. If you are new to MusicBrainz, to classical editing, or both, we have a whole tool box and plenty of advice, tips and tricks to share. We advise you bookmark the tool box—it’s quite helpful! Our team of classical music enthusiasts will also provide plenty of support on our forums, so come join us!

What we will work on:

  • Reviewing the existing works to make sure there are no duplicates and the information looks correct, and add any missing works (keep in mind while it is perfectly ok to add lost works, it’d be good to specify they’re lost so that people don’t accidentally use them on recordings).
  • Check the release list for anything that doesn’t follow the classical guidelines. Not only that should be fixed, but that’s a good sign of the recording and relationship info being incomplete too.
  • Check the recording list. The only recordings that should be here by the end of the cleanup are of Mahler himself as a performer (probably mostly this piano roll album). Anything else being here should have performer relationships added to it if missing, then the artist credits for the recording should be changed to list the main performers (you can use the relevant script for that). Try to fix the whole release the recording is on, even if it’s not all by Mahler! But in the case of a very large compilation, it’s always acceptable to fix only the Mahler content on it.
  • Add missing Mahler recordings! If you have enough info to add a Mahler release we’re missing, that’s always useful. Just make sure to try to add as much info as possible from the get go, so we don’t have to clean that addition up as well 🙂

Don’t know where to begin? Join us and ask, let us help you find a jumping in point! Here to another great month of Classical Clean Up with Mahler!

Live streaming MB Summit 17

The MetaBrainz Summit 17 is slowly starting up, with everyone having arrived in Barcelona now, and people have already started discussing a bit in the corners of the MetaBrainz office. (As well as devouring a lot of chocolate!)

The summit officially starts tomorrow however (we’re aiming to begin at around 11 AM Barcelona time (CEST)), and while we’re having probably the most people at a summit ever, we recognise that a lot of people from the community are not able to be here for one reason or another, so we’re going to try something new tomorrow: live streaming the summit!

We’ll be live streaming on our YouTube account at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClC89t81khDKLCVs45prLqg/live – there will be a live chat as well, which I will try to monitor as best as I can. Keep in mind that this is a first for us, so sorry in advance for the technical difficulties we will almost certainly encounter. 🙂

Classical Community Cleanup #1: Debussy

The Metabrainz Classical Music Enthusiasts Team has kicked off to a strong start! If you are unaware about the formation and tasks at hand, you can read more about it on the forums.

It’s clear by the number of discussions and engagements in the forum that a community effort on classical music was long overdue! It’s thrilling and we are eager for the first mission: after some discussion and voting we decided that the first community effort would be a clean-up of all our data for Claude Debussy.

As a composer with a huge influence in 20th century music, yet with a relatively low amount of hard to edit compositions like operas, Debussy is a great first choice for the community of classical editors to start actively working together to improve the data. As such, if you’d like to help out, but are new to classical editing or not too active in the community yet, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask any questions. The classical community is active in its own forum category, and we’re hoping to see a lot of activity there with editors both asking and answering questions.

What will we be working on in this first classical cleanup project?

  • We will review the existing works and catalogues to make sure there are no duplicates and the info looks correct (several very active classical editors have already been working on this in preparation for this cleanup).
  • We will check the release list for anything that doesn’t follow the classical guidelines. Those should of course be fixed to follow the guidelines, and that’s usually a good sign of the recording and relationship info being incomplete as well.
  • We will work on the recording list. The only recordings that should be there by the end of the cleanup are of Debussy himself as a performer. Anything else currently there should have performer relationships added to it if missing, then the artist credits for the recording should be changed to list the main performers.
  • And we will add missing Debussy recordings! If you have enough info to add a release we’re missing that includes works by Debussy, that’s always useful. Just make sure to try to add as much info as possible from the get go, so we don’t have to clean that addition up as well!

Don’t know where to begin? Let us know and we can help find a starting point–or just jump in and help out! We can’t wait for Mr. Debussy to be a great example of how much information MusicBrainz can provide!

MusicBrainz User Survey

It’s hard to stress how much MusicBrainz depends on the community behind it. In 2016 alone 20.989 editors made a total of 5.935.653 edits at a continuously increasing rate.

But while MusicBrainz does collect data on a lot of different entities, its users are not one of them, and the privacy policy is pretty lean.
Unfortunately this does make it fairly difficult to find out who you are, how you use MB and why you do it.

Seeing as this kind of information is fairly important for the upcoming project of improving our user experience, I volunteered to create a survey to allow you to tell us how you use MB, what you like about it and what you don’t like quite as much.

So without further ado, click on the banner to get to the survey: (It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes of your time.)
MusicBrainz User Survey

Now if you’re still reading this blog post, that hopefully means you’ve already completed the survey! I’d like to thank Quesito who joined this project earlier this year and has been a great deal of help, our former GCI student Caroline Gschwend who helped with the UX part of the survey, CatQuest who has been around to give great feedback since the first draft and of course also all the other people who helped bring this survey to the point of release.

If you’ve got any feedback on or questions about the survey itself, please reply to the Discourse forum topic.