Music is painful

I don’t want my MTV.

I discovered that the reason why my MP3 player [probably my Aigo a5 –Mr B] is so contrary about the order in which it plays music is because it does it by title instead of the more reasonable folder and file name. As a consequence, I’ve been going through the music that I ripped off my CDs and editing the title information so that I’ll get the tracks from each album grouped together and played in the right order (sort of).

[28.07.14. I assume that Sony, Apple and other companies which ma­nu­fac­ture MP3 players only conceive of music in terms of modern albums where every track is a discrete entity. On the other hand, most of the music I listen to comes in suites in particular keys. Such suites could be randomised so long as they remained suites, and not three Courantes followed by five Sarabands, etc.]

When I ripped the albums in the first place, I found one or two oddities such as information listed in Chinese or Japanese or some other language when I might’ve expected English. But such linguistic quirks were only the half of it.

When I reached disc 2 of Corelli’s Op. 5 (violin sonatas), I noticed that the tracks all seemed to have the same file names as those from the first disc, although the music was different. Fortunately, the Hyperion website supplied a listing of the tracks so that I was able to edit them and their titles.

François and Louis Couperin were this morning’s pains in the arse. Under artist information for each track, the latter had the name of the former. I have two different editions of François Couperin’s Concerts Royaux, one of which has them in their due and proper order (but the track names are generic), the other of which does not. One also has a couple of extra harpsichord pieces which I can’t identify.

Whether you can find a listing of the album tracks is a bit hit-and-miss. My attempt to find information about Louis Couperin’s Pièces de Clavecin played by Bob van Asperen revealed that it seems to be a back catalogue album which has probably been superseded by another performed by van Asperen which was released in 2007. What information I could find did not include a detailed listing of the album contents. I wasn’t even sure whether I’d found the right album. In fact, trying to find information about Louis Couperin’s works listed par ordre (or whatever the correct French phrase is; apparently en règle) seems impossible. When I found the a site selling the sheet music, it had the table of contents from the book in which the works were listed according to their key.

On the other hand, I found a good listing for the tracks on the album For Lute and Base Viol by the Geneva Baroque Duo. wikipedia has also been hit-and-miss. For example, it give precious little information about the Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel. The album I have is the one with that work and Concerti a due cori (No.s 2 and 3) which was released in 1985. The re-release I’ve been finding online is for a 1997 album. But because I’m more cunning than the Count of Cunning (I’m sure this is a name which Shakespeare used for an exceptionally obscene pun in some play of his), I use Amazon to find the current album by Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert which has the two Concerti a due cori (No.s 2 and 3 – if I haven’t already mentioned that), and find the information I need.

The titles for the Water Music are a little better, but I need to do some editing to ensure they’re in the right order. Bugger. More tedious, repetitive work. And now, having listened to Bach’s French Suites and then the Complete Harpsichord Concertos this afternoon, I find myself listening to the French Suite in E flat major for some reason. More editing required. Ugh.

[Later.] Turns out that the tracks were merely on the album, but not actually part of the French Suites.

[Even later.] I thought I’d see what actual classical music I had on CD only to find that I have both Water Music and The Music for the Royal Fireworks, but played by the Academy of Ancient Music. I thought I’d already ripped the disc, but when I checked, I could only find the content of the second CD, which had apparently been ripped over the content of the first. I changed the folder name and ripped the first CD again, but as I was editing the title information, all the tracks, apart from the first one, suddenly disappeared. I found them in the original folder as the tracks as they had been ripped not as I had edited them. My suspicion is that WMP was behind it, but I don’t know.

The discs of the concertos by Vivaldi were the same in that ripping the second disc wrote over the firs, but this time, at least, there was no unexpected moving of files from one folder to another. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to separate the concertos into individual folders for tidiness if for nothing else.

[Even, even later. Well, 07.05.14. Since I wrote this nearly five years ago, I’ve acquired two Walkmans, which are a good deal more sophisticated than my original Aigo players (which are also still around, still sound, but only good for people who want to listen to individual songs rather than organised suites).

I did not originally appreciate WMP, which I thought was cantankerous, but which I now quite like for editing the metadata with music and for transferring music to my Walkmans.

I also have iTunes, which if I owned a Mac, I’d no doubt use in the same way. I’m not sure whether WMP does it’s job more efficiently or differently from Apple’s media player. At the moment, I’m using it for the creation of play lists of single suites.

I have a copy of Winamp, which was recently killed off, but which may see life after AOL. That’s the player I turn to when I want to play some music, but without a huge amount of fuss and bother. I normally use it in the mornings, playing music before I head off to school.

I’ve got Real Player at school, although I forget why. I think it might be because it enables me to download some videos and other things without a lot of fuss and bother, but I rarely use it like that.

I’ve just installed the latest version (RealPlayer Cloud) here at home, but it’s very slow and cranky, and seems to be obsessed with videos. I think I’m going to uninstall it, which won’t be the first time I’ve done that within half an hour of installing RealPlayer.]

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2 thoughts on “Music is painful”

  1. I had trouble of a similar nature. The ripping procedure links up with Gracenote which tries to identify the particular CD being copied and sometimes offers several options to select from. This is problematic as it’s often difficult to tell which of them is my disc. I just make a best guess which seems OK. I too get info in Japanese. Sometimes with 2 or 3 disc sets eg operas one disc will have Japanese data and the others English. You can edit them and replace the Japanese with English. The transfer also depends on whether you use the ripping programme provided with the MP3 player or WMP. With my new Sony Walkman programme I get an image of the CD cover insert but with WMP I don’t – just a Sony logo. Also the transfer of The Goons has been problematic with WMP which sometimes misses tracks altogether, although I found I was able to go back and rip the missing tracks again and they transferred into the right position sequentially.

  2. I found that the info about the tracks for Handel’s Water Music was all to pot. I ended up having to compare the length of each track with what was on Amazon UK to find out what they ought to be named.

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