Apple Music Classical (Mostly) Plays the Right Chords

Originally published at: Apple Music Classical (Mostly) Plays the Right Chords - TidBITS

People unfamiliar with classical music who want to discover new music will find the Apple Music Classical app more than sufficient. Classical music fans familiar with the genre and looking for uncommon recordings will find it somewhat frustrating.

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As I’ve stated elsewhere, Kirk is right that the search capabilities of the Classical app are a real advance for classical music fans. But the user experience itself (its iPhone-only interface, its inability to play directly to HomePods [that is, the AirPlay popover lacks the “Control Other Speakers & TV” button], no way to copy titles and other text info) is very very weak. Let’s hope that changes soon.

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I’ll wait till the pieces can be listened to on a Home pod.

Well, Donald, you can…clumsily: you can play the pieces on your iPhone and use the AirPlay feature to route your iPhone’s output to your HomePod. I would, however, prefer the Classical app to have the ability to play directly to a HomePod like the Apple Music app can.

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Isn’t it possible to create a playlist in the new app and then use the Music app to play those files? (It seems to be as I just tried it. The playlists also appear in the Music app on Ventura.)

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How useful will this Classical app be for those of us with large classical CD collections (and no interest in Apple music streaming)?

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Yes, you can do that, Doug, but it is an extra step just to listen to something you might not want to have cluttering up your Music app. I would prefer to be able to tap on something in the Classical app’s Listen Now collection and play it on my HomePods without first putting it in an Apple Music playlist or running my iPhone battery down playing it from the Phone via AirPlay to the HomePod.

I found this Apple Support page about Apple Classical useful.

I’m hoping this is v. 1.0 of Classical music and Apple.

When you stream from an iPhone to a HomePod, you are technically playing on the HomePod. It’s not actually handoff, but it sort of is. I recommend that you try playing some obscure classical music on the HomePod, with Apple Music using Siri; you will discover why Apple is not recommending that.

Yes, there is a common library between the two apps, at least, as far as classical music is concerned

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No, that would require a Mac app for you to add your own library. I have a feeling Apple is not going to allow this, because it creates all sorts of problems regarding syncing and metadata.

Thanks, that’s what I was afraid of. That makes this totally useless to me. (And I suspect a significant number of other classical listeners already have extensive libraries.) Of course, the metadata situation is a mess in substantial part of Apple’s own creation.

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Kirk, I can add the “obscure” music from Apple Classical to an Apple Music playlist and then play it on my HomePods using Apple Music’s “Control Other Speakers…” capability without involving Siri at all. I’m asking why Classical does not offer the “Control Other Speakers” capability itself.

Hmm, that should be part of the OS. I’ll have to fiddle with that later.

Why is it Apple’s creation? They’re just using what everyone else does. They did add work and movement tags for classical music.

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Folders get lost though. We’re Apple Music subscribers and I have playlists that were built on my MBP in folders separated by composer or whatever. Those translated just fine to Music on iPhone but in Classical Music they’re gone. Hopefully they’ll continue to improve this app.

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As an occasional listener, I’m very happy with it. Baffled at the absence of an iPad or Mac version.

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I look forward to exploring this. At the same time I am trying out another service called Idagio (sic) which is currently offering a 1 month free trial (iPhone and web interface). At first glance this looks very good. It will be interesting to compare the two!

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They did add work and movement tags. Those should have been there from the beginning. It’s not like classical music is something new and unusual… This is a case where an absence of design work created the total mess that is metadata for classical music. Apple should have leaned forward and gotten this right from the beginning. If nothing else, the distinction between “performer” and “composer” is true pretty much across genres. I started ripping my CD collection in the last millennium, before there was even ‘grouping’. I had to decide how to handle ‘performer’ vs ‘composer’. I also use custom genres, since “classical” doesn’t provide much discrimination when 90% of my stuff would be ‘classical.’ (But even genre is still messed up! Last night I ripped a CD of Mozart string quartets whose genre was recorded in the default metadata as ‘pop’.)

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Another cool search feature is the normalization of titles by language. Searching “Histoire” and “Soldiers tale” will both get the same composition suggestions.

I do wish Apple would have used more modern transliterations of Russian composers, though perhaps “Chaikovsky” would be confusing.

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