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Monday, June 13, 2005

THE RULES, Part 2 (of 37) Finding the Tunes

A friend of mine started reading my blog a few days ago and said, "Heavy stuff!" Hmm, this about a blog that has revealed that the creator makes bird noises? OK, something REALLY frivolous, then:
I arrange my CDs (and used to arrange my LPs, before they got moved around so often that they have no particular order) in this way:
  • Classical, by composer (and chronologically within the composer range)
  • Classical compilations, alphabetically by title
  • Pop, by artist (and chronologically within the artist range)
  • Pop compilation, by title

    Of course, these are RULES, so it's never that simple.
  • Classical means that the composer is more prominent than the performer: Beethoven, Gershwin, Scott Joplin- all classical
  • Pop is defined as "everything else". I know some folks put their music in categories: folk, jazz, heavy metal, whatever. My problem is that I don't think the labels really MEAN anything. Recently, I was in a conversation about "punk". Were the Ramones punk? Was the Clash, or were they too competent? I've read the definition of "emo", e.g., and STILL don't know what it is.
    Bruce Springsteen won a Grammy for contemporary folk. Am I to put that album in one category and, say, "Born in the U.S.A." in another?
    A more striking example is k.d. lang, who started off as a country artist and became a chanteuse. It's much easier just to look under "L".

    Besides, an alphabetical list generates a more interesting shelf read: Bill Miller (Native American/popular), Glenn Miller (big band), Roger Miller (country), Steve Miller (rock). "Shelf read": a librarian must have written that.

    In the pop compilation category, I violate my own rules (but they're MY rules, so I can do that), in the placement of tribute albums, mostly because I'm having an increasingly difficult time REMEMBERING what they're called. So I've moved:
  • Common Threads from C to E (for Eagles)
  • Complete Stax/Volt Singles from C to S
  • Come Together (both of them, one country, one Motown) from C to B (for Beatles)
  • Enconium to from E to L (for Led Zeppelin)
  • For the Love of Harry from F to N (for Nilsson)
  • Till the Night is Gone from T to P (for Doc Pomus)
  • "Tribute to..." albums from T to the respective artists (M for Curtis Mayfield, V for Stevie Ray Vaughn, e.g.)
  • All the albums starting with "Concert for" under the next significant word (Bangladesh, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

    You may think this is anal. *I* think this may be anal. But I can FIND items in my collection, which is all a librarian can really want.

    socks said...

    But wait, doesn't that mean that compilations should come under "Classical", as their composers are more prominent than the performers?

    Actually, I agree with you on the main division: Classical and everything else as pop. I had one other division - a kind of "informal classical", i.e., jazz and near-jazz. I don't have much jazz, strictly speaking, but I do have a lot of music from the turn of- and early 20th century: blues, honky tonk, music hall, speakeasy stuff, etc. It just didn't seem right to throw it all together with "pop". And, although songs like, "Get Out, Get Under the Moon" certainly have more of a "pop" flavor than jazz, it seems more natural to have them under an "informal classical" label rather than in the same category as Led Zeppelin, Tom Jones and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

    On the other hand, I guess there are many other "just as logical" ways to categorize one's music collection (see "High Fidelity"), the main point being able to find stuff when you *need* it ... so, enjoy!

    Smilodon said...

    I follow a similar system with my own collection. However I put tribute albums in with the artist that they are a tribute to. So, lets say "fast and bulbous" the Captain Beefheart tribute, for example, would be placed after all the actual Beefheart albums. Also when I have a best of collection, I don't put those in chronologically but instead place them right at the end (before any tribute albums of course).