The Weekly Playlist – May 31st 2014

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The Weekly Playlist

After last post I found some more cool music, your recommendations for even more are very welcome!

The restoration for my iTunes library is going nice and I’m about 1/3 of the way. The work is very slow, I do it manually by looking at the library to find all the missing and corrupted metadata, I use MusicBrainz Picard but I still takes quite a lot of time. The main reason is because I’m doing it over WiFi and unfortunately for me, I’m still on 802.1n. I only notice when I work on large files and big amount of files.

Another reason is that I have to do other things beside fixing the library, sometimes I can work on two things at the same time, but much of my work require my full attention. This is something everyone can understand, I hope.

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A new composition – Toccata I for Lute

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A short Toccata for lute, I use it as a warm up my fingers in the very early mornings. I didn’t wrote any instructions so you may use your own interpretation for it. This is not a hard or sophisticated piece, don’t give it much thought other then warming up.

Just keep in mind, it is written for Renaissance lute. You may use equal temperament but I think 1/4 comma sounds better. And please respect my copyrights.

Toccata I

The Silent Troubadour And Technology – iTunes Story Part II

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iTunes is far from perfect, but again, it is the best application I found so far. One of the most annoying is that lack of styles in it but never mind, lets go back to the story. I bought most of the music I have from iTunes Store but yet, not every single album can be found. So If I can’t find it there, I go to Amazon. And if I can’t find it in Amazon?

Well, for that I go to the unofficial channels offered by the Internet, second hand stores mostly. Lets face it, even then not every album can be found, and lets be honest, a lot of people won’t bother to rip or buy their loved music. As far as I’m aware, Torrents are today the main and most useful way to spread files around the world.

Now we face few problems,first, again, as far as I’m aware, iTunes organize the library by the metadata of the files, I’m not sure if it can be changed or not and I don’t know how Windows or Android organize their libraries. I do know that in my very old MP3 player it used the file and library names. And even so, some files might just laying around without even a library, or in the wrong library.

Anyway, many of the files you might download from a torrent will have incorrect metadata, no album arts, no album names, artists, etc. For iTunes and the random album smartplay list it creates a problem and the library will become one big mess very fast. You can of course start changing it manually, it will probably takes forever when the library is huge. Lets take for example a torrent of Jethro Tull running around, some albums are <unknown> tracks, caps lock when aren’t needed, no album arts at all, some album is divided to 5 parts, no years, and some tracks are on the wrong place or just sitting alone without album.

What if I’ll tell you there’s an easier and much faster way? well, there is one. It’s called MusicBrainz Picard, this application works on Linux, OSX and Windows. It use a community based database, everyone can contribute to it, you can find many albums there (so far I only found one missing album art of AC/DC it’s fine now, I contributed) and it is very easy to use. The instruction on the website pretty much tells you what to do.

After using this application, the albums now have the correct metadata, the albums are organized well, songs are in the right position, tracks are listed, album arts, release dates, everything is fixed. That Jethro Tull album became “A” from 1980 with two extra tracks in the wrong library.

So now, not only I found out how to create the smart list I want, I was also able to fix all the bad metadata, as iTunes doesn’t care about the library structure or file names, I don’t even care how they’re organized. It will still take some time to fix the entire library, but it will go much faster now.

Just a request, if you share music, at least make the small effort and fix the metadata or go large and set the files right.

 

 

The Silent Troubadour and Technology – iTunes Story

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I will start this story from the start, few years ago I moved to Macintosh, I found better platform for my uses. several years ago I had two macs, my main iMac and Mac-mini For that handles my home theater uses. I had three external hard drives, one of them was dedicated to my music library which holds about a year worth of music and always expending. As a mac user, the logical choice to handle my music library is iTunes (I also had iPod and now iPhone) to be honest, I was looking for different application but I couldn’t find one I felt comfortable with.

Back to the hard drive. One day it died, not a natural death, one of my cats (Venus) just decided to kick it off the book case. I did managed to restore some of it, but much was lost and I had to use a different hard drive to store the survivors and to start restoring the library. For now, I managed to restore almost every single album I had.

Now you need to understand, I love music, I actually listen to music when I’m not playing, as B.B.King sings “Music is love and my love is music”. I have bands like Acid Bath, Soulfly, Kyuss together with B.B.King, Metallica, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and it goes to Dr. Dre, Eminem and of course some classical music, Beethoven, Telemann, Holst. I hope you got the point, I listen to a very wide variety of music.

But one thing in iTunes always bothered me, I could not find a way to create a smart play list of albums (I don’t like listening to single songs from albums) I had to do some research and after a while I gave up. Recently I tried again and asked the guys in Macrumors and the answer was found, I felt kinda stupid because it was in front of me all the time.

So as a good person I will share the answer with all of you. First step is going to Controls, then Shuffle and change it to By Albums. Then creating a smart list my first rule and only rule was to select only albums with less then 5 plays. Of course you can select by genres, rating, last played, and more. For the limit I selected 15GB (so it will fit my iPhone) and of course, to select it by random.

Now, iTunes is not a perfect application, there are a lot of missing features like styles or moods but it does work for me, it send music all over my network so I can listen to my music everywhere in the house, syncs with my iPhone and just works.

Here’s my love story with iTunes, the tragedy of a dead hard drive and the finding of what I need.