Browsing Composer-tagged classical music on the iPod

Q: I keep lots of classical music on my iPod. For these tracks, I’m not terribly concerned about the “artist,” and so I leave the field blank, tagging only the “Composer” field. This way, they do not show when I go through my iPod’s “Artist” menu, which works great. However, I’m having one problem with this way of operating. To play all of my classical music, I select “Music → Composers → All” from the iPod’s menu, but it lists all of the audio tracks on the iPod, including those with empty “Composer” fields. Why? Do you have a better solution?

– Corey

A: This is indeed an odd menu behavior that can’t really be changed, but it’s easy to create the functionality you’re looking for.

First of all, the easiest way to browse all of your classical music would be to simply choose “Genre → Classical.” This menu’s default behavior is to show a list of Classical artists (which should be empty for you), then albums (which may not be).

Alternatively, if not all of your “Composer”-tagged tracks are labeled under the “Classical” genre, you could create the following smart playlist to obtain all tracks which have a Composer, and omit those that don’t:

Browsing Composer-tagged classical music on the iPod 2

Note that although this would only give you a flat listing of tracks, though you can select in iTunes how you’d like to sort it: sorting by the “Composer” field or “Album” may be the most logical, or, if you’re using the “Grouping” field for the title of the overall classical composition, you could sort using that.

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