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(Again) another possible sign of progress on Apple Music

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 Hugh
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I've not yet seen any sign of booklets. However, I've noticed in the Android app that for some albums brief descriptions have started appearing above the tracklist. Most of these are quite short: for example, the Perpetual Night (17th Century Airs and Songs) album by Lucile Richardot with Ensemble Correspondances has a single paragraph similar in length to what one might see on Presto Classical or the record company's website. However, Francesco Tristano's On Early Music has something more like what I'd expect in a liner note, quoting his thoughts on the album and his descriptions of what he aimed for in each track.

I don't see anything similar when I view the album on the Apple Music website, and the implementation in the app is far from perfect: I can't see how to toggle easily between the notes and the track list, nor can I copy and paste the text so that I can view it in a different app. However, it's a start.

Here's a screenshot of the first few lines.

 


   
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(@capriccio)
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Posted by: @hugh

nor can I copy and paste the text so that I can view it in a different app.

To copy it in the Music app on the iPhone:

  1. Tap a word in the text to select that word
  2. Click and drag the selection handles to get the whole text
  3. Tap Copy and you're done.

And yes, hopeful signs! I'd rather than spun off a completely new app devoted to classical, instead of trying to shoehorn it into an incompatible framework, but let's see.


   
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 Hugh
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@capriccio

The Android app doesn't seem to allow me to select any part of the text. Strange that it should be different to the iOS app.

I too hope that they are planning a separate app. It's conceivable that what I'm seeing now is the result of them giving us the benefit of their work in progress on album descriptions and "work" headings while they work on a better app. I certainly hope that they are going to develop the Apple "Library" into something more like Primephonic's "My Music", and it would be great if they implement some of the many enhancements and feature requests that were suggested in the old forum.


   
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(@eldarboy)
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Our free subscriptions are ending soon. Does anyone plan on renewing? I find Apple’s interface to be confusing, user unfriendly, and limited. I doubt I will stay with them.

This post was modified 7 months ago by Eldarboy

   
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(@nenad)
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I will definitely continue to use Apple Music. No major flaws in my opinion.


   
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 Hugh
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6 months today since the announcement of Primephonic's closure.

I agree with Nenad. I've found on Apple everything I've wanted to listen to and nearly everything that's been mentioned in this forum. I'm aware of at least one set of performers that I very much enjoy whose albums are not on Idagio. It's a shame that Apple has no booklets (liner notes) but their absence encourages me to look elsewhere in books and online. The interface is far from perfect but it's good enough and will hopefully get better.

If Apple decide to separate Classical off into a separate service that will present me with an interesting conundrum. I haven't so far listened to much pop and jazz but I like knowing it's there for me to enjoy when I want to.


   
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(@clive)
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@eldarboy My free subscription does not end until 31 May, but I doubt very much whether I will renew.  I have not used Apple Music other than to look at the new releases listed under the Primephonic category.  I have not used it to stream music as, since I use a Windows laptop, I can stream only in mp3 quality.  Unless Hi-Res streaming is made available on Windows equipment (as was possible with Primephonic) it is no use to me.

I am not continuing with Idagio when my free trial ends tomorrow.  Although I do like Idagio, especially the availability of booklets and the superb filtering facility on the browser-based player, after a while of using this I found that I was missing the increased precision of Hi-Res streaming.  So I started using Amazon.  They gave me only a 3-month free trial, so I have been subscribing now for a couple of months.

Their browser-player streams only in mp3, but the Windows app streams in Hi-Res.  I used to use browser bookmarks to catalogue my favourites and albums that I wanted to hear when I was using Primephonic and then Idagio, where I used browser-players, but this is not possible with the Amazon app.  I have, for the last four months, used an Excel spreadsheet to catalogue recordings that I want to audition, or which are my Favourites.  I put the search string that will reach the album on Amazon Music on this spreadsheet, which is copied to the clipboard when I double-click the work's title.  I then paste this into the app's search bar.  This works even better than the browser favourites that I used on Primephonic, as I can identify favourites and albums yet to be auditioned by using different colours.  Finding a particular work is much easier than finding a work in my CD collection, especially where a work is on a CD containing works from more than one composer, which can obviously be put in only one position on the shelf!  So far I have about 1,300 entries on my spreadsheet.


   
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(@eldarboy)
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Given that there seems to be signs of the promised "Primephonic" re-emergence, I may keep the Apple Music, on reflection. I am currently using it to stream to a fine bluetooth speaker in my office, and have been doing this for quite a while. the sound quality is good enough to warrant continuation with it; however, as we all seem to agree, the interface is frustrating, un-helpful and difficult to navigate to find classical music. I don't want the suggestion to listen to the latest rap or pop song, which is always the case when I open the app.

I am too often reminded of sir Yehudi Menhuin's line about hearing the Rolling Stones, "I don not know what it is, but it is certainly not music". This seems to me more apt to what is passed off as music today: some is good, much is, well, flushable...


   
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 Jen
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I wonder if Apple Classical will be unveiled at the Apple event on 8 March? 

Personally I’d favour a dedicated app, with the option of this being part of a tailored Apple package.

But Idagio has done me sterling service on IOS… Apple Classical will have to be an irresistible offering for me to swap over!

 


   
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(@capriccio)
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Posted by: @jen

I wonder if Apple Classical will be unveiled at the Apple event on 8 March? 

Now wouldn’t that be nice. I’m with you, Jen - I really hope they create a separate app. I can’t imagine classical working shoehorned into their general music app. 


   
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 Jen
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Well… I followed the Apple ‘Peek’ event, and I guess there’s lots of good news there if you’re a baseball fan… or need a super-specified Mac Studio.

But not a mention of their classical music offering.  How disappointing 😢


   
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 Hugh
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Perhaps, as with UK budgets, the important announcements are in the small print that's released after the speech has finished. I'm not holding breath, however. 🙁


   
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 Hugh
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I've noticed that the app already has the ability to display text synchronised with the music. This could easily be used to display explanatory text like with the Maestro feature in Primephonic.

While playing the recent Mirrors album featuring the soprano Jeanine La Bisque I saw a button which popped up a display of the words for each aria. For the longer arias (for example Che sento? Oh dio from Handel's Giulio Cesare) the words scroll and the current line is highlighted. No translation is offered, which limits the usefulness for the time being. However, the technology is there to provide translations if they are available and/or Maestro-like text.

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mirrors/1580743157?ls


   
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 Jen
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It’s very good to hear that these features are gradually being added to the Apple Music offering.  I’ve not noticed anything like these ‘active’ libretti in Idagio.

As an aside, the Mirrors album reminded me what wonderful arias Alcina has to sing… am listening now to this recording of the whole opera:

https://app.idagio.com/albums/handel-edition-volume-1-alcina-orlando


   
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 Hugh
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Posted by: @jen

I’ve not noticed anything like these ‘active’ libretti in Idagio.

The programming required to synchronise text (and images) with music is relatively straightforward. In the last days of August, just before the Primephonic forum was closed, Thomas B posted a specimen page of one of Robert Greenberg's WordScores. When he mentioned that the WordScore was not synchronised with the music I thought it would be an interesting project to see how easy it would be to do just that. So I spent a happy weekend producing this.
 
 
This is not very pretty, but I would be interested to know whether it at least works for other people.
I only got as far as displaying text. The next stage would be to include images as well, displaying Greenberg's snippets of the score, but that should not be difficult.
So, the programming seems to be straightforward. Obviously, improving the appearance is important. The hard work would be in writing the text and working out the timings.

   
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