New site feature: tune composers

New site feature: tune composers

On the Session, you’ve always been able to add information a tune’s composer (if one is known) by adding a comment to a tune. Now there’s also a field you can fill in when you click on the “edit this tune” button.

Here’s a list of composers currently listed:
https://thesession.org/tunes/composers

Click on one of those names to a list of tunes composed by that person. For example, here’s what you get if you click on “Ed Reavy”:
https://thesession.org/tunes/composers/3

(Many thanks to Fernando for keeping track of tunes associated with those composers! I was able to use those discussions to seed those lists.)

There isn’t currently way to search for a specific composer other than looking through that list (it’s linked to from the tunes index page: https://thesession.org/tunes). I think this will work fine as long as there isn’t a huge number of composers. If the list gets too long, I might have to add a search feature.

The vast majority of tunes on The Session don’t have any known composer, so when you submit a tune, you aren’t asked to add a composer: you can do that later using the “edit this tune” button.

So it’s a fairly discrete feature but one I hope you’ll find useful and interesting.

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That’s perfect, I can remove all the Fernando bookmarks now.

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Excellent addition. Thanks, Jeremy.

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This is a great feature!
What if a composer of a tune is not one of these listed? I don’t see a way we can fill that out ourselves, only the options to pick the ones already here.

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you can just add the composer to the tune and they will appear in the list.

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Oh, I see now, thanks!

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Excellent, thanks Jeremy!

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This is going to keep me busy for a bit!

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Really handy thanks

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Nice feature Jeremy! I will stop using the discussion section for this then. Thanks a lot for improving the website!

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All the lists that I used in the discussion section are transferred to this new feature now.

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Hi everyone, just a quick question. I have been editing tunes to add composer information, and was wondering if Morgan Magan was an oCarolan tune. I thought that it was, because I’ve seen it with “Planxty” beginning in the title, but the composer was filled out already as Josephine Keegan. I couldn’t find any reference in the comments for this being a Josephine Keegan tune, but I don’t want to change it if it’s already right… Thanks.

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Fantastic, already a wonderful feature - I’ve already found new tunes with it I might not have otherwise.

I think there’s a slight bug in that if you attempt to update a composer who has already been entered against a tune, it doesn’t seem to be accepted. For example,

https://thesession.org/tunes/1756

and

https://thesession.org/tunes/8475

are not by the same person; so I thought, well, the sensible thing to do is change 1756 so that the composer is Dr Angus MacDonald, as he’s usually known (and one could also change 8475 to P.M. Angus MacDonald for the same reason). But I don’t seem to be able to.

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Yes, another great advancement. Thanks Jeremy.
And on the subject of thanks, re:- “All the lists that I used in the discussion section are transferred to this new feature now” … Thanks for your great efforts Fernando. I have been appreciating them all.

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Thanks, Calum. I added the one for 1756 and probably should have written “Dr” at first, but wasn’t sure about adding prefixes. Good to know there are two different Angus MacDonalds. Perhaps Jeremy can tak
a look at it.

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Hmm, interesting. If you click on Chloe’s Passion, the composer just shows up as Angus MacDonald. But if you click on Jeremy’s original link with the list of composers, Chloe’s Passion shows up twice… both under Dr Angus MacDonald and Angus MacDonald.

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The duplicate tunes issue also appears for the two entries in which the name Angus (again!) was spelled incorrectly as Aonghas and Aongus, and still appear even once the spelling was corrected.

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Aonghas is the correct spelling, Whimbrel. Aonghas Grant, who wrote The Wescoaster, is the father of Angus Grant, who wrote 250 to Vigo.

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To change composer name update first with a blank name and then update with the modified name.

I presume anyone changing a composer name is pretty sure the change is correct, there will be errors at first, but it will eventually get sorted out so nothing to worry about.

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Cool, Theilandais, how did you work that out?

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Many thanks Jeremy.  That is a really useful feature.

Thanks Theilandais for explaining how to correct a name error.  I had originally entered Pat Mc Nulty, (composer of the Lough Muckno hornpipe), instead of Pat McNulty.  The style Jeremy uses is to have no space between Mc and the family name.  This is important as the listing is alphabetical.

It raises the question of what style should be used for Carolan tunes. Is the name Carolan,  O’Carolan, Ó Carolan or Ó Cearbhalláin?

Yes Whimbrel, Morgan Magan is one of his compositions, however we spell his name.

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Yes, looks like a very useful feature….

This morning I was notified that around six of my tunes were edited by different members and I couldn’t work out why! Then I realised that it was to add the composers’ names.

I have a wee suggestion though. Would it be possible for members to either notify the member who submitted a tune to explain any changes if there is a significant reason? An extra comment would suffice. It’s OK in these instances today, of course, and not really necessay but for more general editing it would be useful.

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940 tunes with composers so far!

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Wow! I’m overwhelmed by the response to this—it’s fantastic to see so much information get added so quickly! Thank you all!

I also spotted those bugs that were mentioned and I think I’ve managed to iron them out now.

The way that the composer list is growing, I might have to add a filtering mechanism sooner rather than later!

Johnny Jay asked “I have a wee suggestion though. Would it be possible for members to either notify the member who submitted a tune to explain any changes if there is a significant reason?”

You can send the person a message through their member profile (click on their name and then click the “send a message” button from their member profile—or if you’re using a mouse, hover over their name and a bubble will appear with the option to “send a message”).

But I think a public comment is also good if you have any information to add about authorship.

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Thanks, Jeremy. Sorry about the “typos” in my last post, BTW.

I’ve just been updating a few of my own submissions. I’ll try to do a few each day.

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> I also spotted those bugs that were mentioned and I think I’ve managed to iron them out now.

Brilliant, thanks Jeremy! That’s my Dr Angus problem sorted.

> It raises the question of what style should be used for Carolan tunes. Is the name Carolan, O’Carolan, Ó Carolan or Ó Cearbhalláin?

I guess we will just have to converge on something! I did make the argument a while back that the ideal would be to have a “people” section, alongside tunes, recordings, sessions, and so forth. That way each person could have a properly detailed entry, be linked to all places of interest (to that person’s tunes, sessions they run, recordings they’ve made or performed on, events they are doing…) and of course all that information about different forms of names, etc, could be captured.

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Right now, “Turlough O’Carolan” is the most popular choice for attributing Carolan tunes so let’s stick with that.

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Happy to stay with O’Carolan Jeremy. As you say, it is the most common usage.

Fadas can be awkward for non-Irish speakers but hopefully contributors will bear in mind how composers spell their own names, e.g. Ó Riada, and respect that with their updates.

A really great feature. I don’t know how many tunes and composers you started with yesterday Jeremy but it has really grown. Thanks again for it.

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Thanks Jeremy - great addition!

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Great addition, thanks. What happens when two composers have the same name? The MacDonalds are already stacking up.

I guess we can use initials inventively, but then are “ J Murdoch Henderson“ and “James Murdoch Henderson” (both already used) the same person or a deliberate distinction?

I guess before or after editing-in a composer we need to search on that composer to check we are not creating a mix-up.

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Rats, I’ve created a mix-up already 🙁 Sorry Jeremy !

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Thanks, Jeremy. That is useful

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Thanks a lot for this, great to have this new feature!

What’s the recommended way of using this when a tune has multiple composers (e.g. £50 Cashback, https://thesession.org/tunes/9741 )? Is it possible to extend this feature to support multiple composers per tune too, or should we create a unique composer entry for that combination of musicians?

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There are two composer entries for Paddy O’Brien with exactly the same spelling, how did that happen ?
and how do you distinguish between the two, the second one if Paddy O’Brien (offaly)

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Multiple composers for a tune aren’t possible, I’m afraid.

I’d suggest picking one to list as the composer, and leaving a comment to clarify that the tune was composed by more than one person.

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I changed the second Paddy O’Brien to Paddy (Offaly) O’Brien, hopefully that will stop anyone linking tunes to the wrong Paddy O’Brien. If that’s not the right thing to do, shout now before it’s too late, I couldn’t put the Offaly at the end because it sorts on the the last word.

just need to agree a convention for when someone needs to add a composer who has the same name as someone else

eg
Joe Burke
Joe (Banjo) Burke

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Thanks for the informwhn about the spelling of Aonghas, DonaldK. My confusion arose because in the comments for the WestCoaster, it was listed as being by Angus Grant! Same with the other entry.

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I am so impressed! When I announced this feature just over 24 hours ago, I had seeded the database with less than 150 tunes from 7 different composers (gathered from Fernando’s lists). Now there are over 1500 tunes from over 400 different composers!

Thank you all for your contributions—wonderful stuff!

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Sorry to go on with this, but I think it’s ‘on topic’ as an example. There is an album ‘Port An Dubh Ghleannach’ on which both father and son play and the Angus of Shooglenifty is given as Angus R Grant.

(any contributions from me on this are going to be non-Irish - the few that are not ‘author unknown’ have already been updated. But I have been perusing other tunes by composers of those few, so really useful)

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Thank you Jeremy. I’ve wanting something like this for awhile now - happy birthday for me!
I like the location for Paddy O’Brien (Ofally). The two composers are both well known enough that people tend to add that as a suffix anyway.
I have a my personal list of tunes that I’ve added composer names to when I could find them so tomorrow I’ll try to contribute any that I can.

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however if you do need to distinguish two identically named composers put the distinguishing information in the middle of the name as it sorts the composers names based on the last word and you want that to be on the “O” and not “(” Paddy (Offaly) O’Brien. I don’t know if Sean Ryan the whistle player has composed tunes, if he has then I guess he would be Sean (The Whistle) Ryan.

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Yes, and his books were published as Aonghas as well. To me it makes sense to distinguish the two as Aonghas Grant and Angus R. Grant.

By the way, I don’t know if someone has edited it back, but although I successfully changed Chloe’s Passion to Dr Angus MacDonald, it has not stuck.

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Just a thought, based on Calum’s comment (directly above mine) and Johnny Jay’s earlier comment. What if there was a way to see a tune’s “activity” from its page, so that people can see who edited it? With Chloe’s Passion, for example, now, if someone edited it you would only likely know about it if it had just happened and so was at the top of the tunes link.
I also think that it might make sense to have an activity page for tunes because all of us can already view any user’s activity from their profile page.
Hope that makes sense!

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Just as someone asked upthread about the duplicate James/J Murdoch Henderson, I’m wondering if Lauren MacColl and Lauren McColl are meant to be the same person too.

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Also, see possible duplicate Michel Ferry/Michael Ferrie?

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That’s not a duplicate, Whimbrel. Farewell to Chernobyl was composed by the Frenchman Michel Ferry whilst Michael’s Mazurka was composed by the Shetlander Michael Ferrie. Would you like to undo your “correction”?

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Whimbrel said “Just a thought, based on Calum’s comment (directly above mine) and Johnny Jay’s earlier comment. What if there was a way to see a tune’s “activity” from its page, so that people can see who edited it?”

There’s no link to it from a tune’s page but if you add /activity to any tune page you can see its history.

So for Chloe’s Passion, which is:
https://thesession.org/tunes/1756

You can add to /activity to get:
https://thesession.org/tunes/1756/activity

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Apologies, Whimbrel, looks like it was that did the correction.

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.“.looks like it was Ben that did the correction.“

Jings, I’m doing well this morning!

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Good feature, Jeremy!
I’ve been adding some composers, e.g. Ruaidhrí Dall Ó Catháin, and will add some more.

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That’s really useful, Jeremy. Thank you!

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And when you click the Download ABC button, the C: field appears in the ABC with the composer’s name. 👍

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Now what I would like is to be able to add some information page about each composer.

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> I’m wondering if Lauren MacColl and Lauren McColl

Yes, I’m pretty sure there isn’t another composer called Lauren McColl out there. Just a typo, I think (FWIW, Mac is much more common than Mc in Scotland, as a rule of thumb).

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Yes, lots of Macdonalds “here in Scotland”
McDonalds are more common in NI and, of course, worldwide underneath “the arches”.

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Ben here. That was me who messed with Michael’s. I am so sorry DonaldK. Thank you for resetting my mistake. Sorry for the bother.

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No worries, DonaldK. That was my bad: even though I wasn’t the one who made the “correction”, I was the one who pointed it out hence probably why Ben edited it. I think I will stop mentioning possible errors, because this is the second one I’ve gotten wrong! I am very happy to fix anything if anyone asks though!

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No problem, Whimbrel and Ben.
If I remember correctly, the tune “Michael’s Mazurka” was discovered, untitled, in a score after Michael Ferrie died at a far too young age. So his friends decided on the tune title.

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O’Carolan or Carolan - Donal O’Sullivan’s book about him, quote (page 31) “His full name in Irish is Toirdhealbhach O’Cearbhallain, though one often meets with minor variations in the spelling of both forename and surname…… When Gaelic names of this type are written in full, it is proper to prefix the O to the surname. When, however, the surname is used singly, the only satisfactory method is to follow the form used by the owner of the name and by his friends……It is therefore certain that Carolan was known to himself and his friends as Cearbhallan, or, in English, Carolan.” (Chapter gives some examples of his own and his friends’ use of “Carolan” which would take a while to write out in full here!).

Just for interest, as “Carolan” is the name he wanted to be known by. Perhaps I am being pedantic, but Carolan is a good name.

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That’s a good thought!

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Great feature this -thanks
One question
Is there, or could there be a quick method of calling up the list - I am searching the discussions for your post to find the link each time I want to look at it ?

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You can find it at the bottom of the tunes page.

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Thanks for the fantastic new feature, Jeremy, and thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the ID of submitted tunes!

There’s just one issue there that’s a bit of an elephant in the room! What do we do if the tune’s authorship is really, really disputed? Think Cooley’s reel, for one. Crikey, it’s literally the first tune on The Session! “Carolan” tunes whose style/signature has been questioned by certain experts studying Turlough O’Carolan is another example.

Should we maybe introduce one mystery composer named Disputed for this kind of tunes? This, too, would be a conversation starter for the comments, but not as categorical as picking one of the names when there are several (including Unknown). I went ahead and did one frivolous correction to see how it looks *ducks for cover*

https://thesession.org/tunes/1

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I’m not sure I like the term “Disputed”, but I agree, Bregolas, that there has been a bit too much enthusiasm in assigning authorship to some tunes on scant evidence.
Some contributors, I think, have confused “composed by” with “associated with”.

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I wonder if ‘normally attributed to’ should be left in the comments. I was looking at a tune earlier that has a composer name given by someone who is respected, but I decided it was best left until an expert comes along.