Proper Song Titles

This has been touched on a few times on this forum (there is one expression made relating to this subject in the pinned topic at the top of this board). However, I don't believe anyone has come up with a regular expression that satisfies all the 'rules' of song titles.

According to the the Standard MIDI files, song titles should adhere to the following rules:

  1. The first and last words of each title are always capitalized

  2. All words in a title are capitalized as well, except:

2a. Articles (a, an, the)
2b. Conjunctions (and, or, but, nor)
2c. Prepositions <5 letters (at, by, for, from, in, into, of, off, on, onto, out, over, to, up, with)
2d. As (if followed by noun)

  1. Prepositions are capitalized if part of a two-word phrasal verb (i.e. "Come On," "Hold On," "Get Up," etc.)

Here is a partial list:

Beat Up
Blow Out
Break Down
Break Into
Break Up
Bring Up
Call Off
Call On
Call Up
Carry On
Come Back
Come Down
Come On
Come Out
Come Over
Do Over
Fill In
Fill Out
Find Out
Get Along
Get Around
Get By
Get Over
Get Through
Get Up
Give Back
Give Up
Go Along
Go Away
Go On
Go Over
Hand In
Hang Up
Hold On
Keep On
Keep Up
Leave Out
Let Down
Look For
Look Into
Look Like
Look Out
Look Over
Look Up
Make Out
Make Up
Pack Up
Pass Out
Pick Out
Pick Up
Put Away
Put Off
Put On
Put Out
Put Up
Roll Over
Run Into
Run Out
Run Over
Show Up
Take After
Take Back
Take Off
Take On
Take Up
Talk Back
Talk Over
Throw Away
Try On
Turn Down
Turn In
Turn Off
Turn On
Use Up
Wait On

  1. The following words are supposed to be capitalized, though mistakenly are not always:

(Also, Be, If, Than, That, Thus, When)


Anyone brave enough to tackle this one? As I said, there was one in the regular expression thread that was pretty close, but it didn't adhere to these rules. This is supposed to be the standard, so if anyone can make this work, it will be grammatically correct.

Yes, you would be the first one. So try harder.

If you search for a good overview and collection of Style Guidelines, then look there ...

And do not forget, Mp3tag is famous for its ability to support any user's style, even yours.


Not sure what the snark is about. I freely admit I am not well-versed in expressions which is why I'm asking people that know better. I'm not sure what "so try harder" is supposed to mean?

I don't need to search for the style guidelines. I posted them in my original post. That's the point... I'm asking if anyone is able to come up with something that satisfies the standard MIDI format (the guidelines that I included already).

'Try harder' means, try it yourself first, a little bit, step by step, and not instigate other to solve the problem for you. You do not need the power of Regular Expression to do this, use other simple functions from the Mp3tag Scripting Language and the actions.
Read the manual and the FAQ areas, read through the Forum posts. All has been said multiple times.

What full name is the abbreviation MIDI?
What you have described is one style, beside others. See the Musicbrainz reference.


Please note, that this applies only to English language titles.

Isn't this a support forum? I'm not trying to instigate, I'm flat out asking if anyone is willing. If someone wants to do it, why is that a problem? If you're unwilling, fine, but I don't understand your contempt for my asking, on a support forum, if anyone is willing to come up with a solution for me. I've already spent hours searching the forum for a solution that meets these rough guidelines and I haven't found it. If I had and if I knew how to do it after searching FAQ, forums, etc., I wouldn't be asking. It's not a matter of being unwilling, it's a matter of not yet knowing how. If you have a solution, or know of one that you can point to, feel free. Otherwise, telling me to find out for myself seems like defeating the purpose of "support."

I know what MIDI stands for. But that's a generally accepted style for published music. Even Music Brainz' styleguide is modeled after the same style, with only minor exceptions (prepositions are limited to three or fewer letters rather than four or fewer which is basically Chicago Style). Basically whether I use MIDI or the Music Brainz styleguide, the principles are essentially the same other than a few additional prepositions.

Don't feel be criticized at all, I think you got it right: the principles are essentially the same.
You can use the Mp3tag tool box to reach your goal and harvest the laurels to be the first one, who has created a styling procedure for Mp3tag, which follows the MIDI style.

There is a thread ....
... which demonstrates par excellence what a standard Mp3tag user, willing to learn, can put together in very short time, with a little help from other Mp3tag users, of course.



Have your try, present your approach, describe the problems which are left.
The problem as your present is a bit complex to give it over to others without having/presenting your try.

My general approach for this would be:

  • Capitalize all words
  • transform all your exceptions back to lower case.

You can do this with a very long fromat string, or with a series of single actions, combined in one action group.

There are some problems a machine can't solve without complex grammatical analyses as MS Words does it:

Quite a large number of words can switch word classes in Enlish without changing the spelling:
a house (Conjuction) <-> the letter A . I got a A in the test (Noun)
not fish nor flesh (conjunction) <-> I don't like fish, nor do I like meat (Adverb)
But me no Buts! (Verb / Noun)
he keeps off the party (Preposition) <-> he ran off (Adverb)
the sky over my head (Preposition) <-> over there (Adverb)
as -> there you see it yourself, before an noun it's a preposition, at other places an adverb or a conjunction (there are more conjunctions in English as the four you are naming)

Phrasal verbs are an open verb class. That means there is no complete list and new compositional verbs are introduced into language.
Note that not all words in your list are phrasal verbs. Most are prepositional verbs. The difference is, at pharsal verbs verb and preposition can be splitted (I beat you up <-> I beat up the gang), at prepositional verbs this is not possible. (I look for help <-> I look help for).
You can only make a (incomplete) list of matching words for prepositional verbs, where the two words are always in one postion. Note further problems with grammatical forms: look up, looks up, looking up, looked up.
And the same words can be a prepositional verb or just a verb with preposition:
look up the meaning of the word (prepositional verb) <-> look up into the sky (verb + preposition)

So much for the little grammatical excurse. Good luck at finding correct automatic formating rules. Not even the grammar checker of MS Word works without mistakes.

That gives me another idea:
Maybe you should export your tags in textfiel which you can open with MS Words. Maybe (I don't know) there is a function which checks the grammar according to Headline formating rules (Which are similar to your MIDI rules).

BTW, in an effort to prove it wasn't a case of being unwilling, I have taken the initiative to make it work for myself.

I've taken fragments of other ideas on this forum, as well as hit the books hard to learn the basis of Regex, and I believe I've come up with an expression that incorporates most rules of title-style capitalization.

I've been able to program Mixed Case with lower case of <4-letter prepositions; articles & conjunctions. I've then made it to where it does upper case on about 200 common phrasal verbs.

While there will always be a few oddities I can't account for, I've (at least I believe) gotten really close to properly accounting for most common exceptions.

Can you share your script it would be greatly appreciated.