Working with multiple Genres and Instruments

If you are referring to Poweramp as in the music player on Android, there is a more elegant solution available. That player supports multiple genres. You can choose any delimiter you choose, the typical is a semicolon. ;

In your example making this change

Would yield a list like this in Poweramp (if you enable this in the options)

Yes, this would be more or less the way to do it.
I would also take care that the individual words for each category are sorted alphabetically so that you get some kind of grouping when you sort by genre.

I still see problems with tracks where one may have
but the next
where one will be found under "C" and the other a lot further down under "P" (and all starting with OPERA, that's clear)
So I don't know if you need all this information to say "let's see alll the files that are opera and where the piano is played" - you would need a corresponding search function in the player that allows more complex search terms.
If everything is down to just single words in the player then you would not need anything sophisticated.
Also, you could think of reducing the work as the field GENRE already implies that you find genres in this field. I would assume that it would not have to be mentioned explicitly. The added non-genre information could be labelled to make clear that this is no genre.
But then again who would mistake flute for a genre and rock for an instrument?

Before you dig into it, I suggest that you also consider the possible feature of your player to support seperated entries in GENRE. So enter all keywords but separate them with the supported separator (e.g. semicolon space or slash - you have to try it out).
Like that you could search/sort/filter for "Piano" and you would get all the tracks that have the piano somewhere in genre. You would not have to mention that this is an instrument.
So it could all be a lot easier - yet, it deviates dramatically from the standard obeying use of genre.

Hi, and many thanks for your ongoing help!

I've just worked with one single file on mp3 tag, a screenshot of which I copy below:

As you can see, I have made the suggested changes in the Genre field, and am happy with how this looks. To do this, I simply added 'Instrument: or 'Genre to the respective entry. When I loaded this onto Poweramp, the Genre field was still alphabetically sorted, but all the 'Genre entries first, followed by the Instrument one.

To alter each of almost 800 files similarly by hand, would really be most unsatisfactory. No file has a mixed Genre/Instrument entry in this field, so I am just looking for a bulk facility to add the 'Genre' and 'Instrument' prefix respectively.

I have been shown how to do something similar before, but I do still need help in setting up the software.

Hopefully there is something to achieve this with the minimum of fuss?

You could create 2 actions, both of the type "Format value" for GENRE
1: Format string: Instrument: %genre% 2: Format string: Genre: %genre%

You could now filter for all the GENRE fields that need treatment with
%genre% HAS :
Then sort by the column for genre.
Then select all files of one type (e.g. Instrument) and execute the action for "Instrument".
Now toggle the filter (press F3 2x) to refresh the file list and do the same for then next set of entries in Genre.
You could also filter for genres or lists of them with
genre HAS Classic OR %genre% HAS Hip-Hop
and then treat all these in 1 go, in this case with the action that adds "Genre: " to GENRE.


Thank you so much for your continuing help. I started looking into the instructions you kindly gave me, I but I began to feel like a novice surgeon about to make the first cut, and worried that I’ll cut the main artery, and my patient will bleed to death!

I have my collection saved on my mobile phone, and on my desktop PC, but I’m never sure that, if I screw up bigtime, have I got a back-up apart from the other version.

But I was wondering if you could elaborate on what you have advised me to do?

Here is the present scenario, and how I want to change it:

Current entries in GENRE field:

Cello Concertos
Christmas / New Year
Clarinet Concertos
Early Music
Easy Listening (Instrumental)
Easy Listening (Military Band)
Easy Listening (Vocal)
Ethnic (Albanian)
Ethnic (Arabic)
Ethnic (Australian)
Ethnic (Bluegrass)
Ethnic (Chinese)
Ethnic (Georgian)
Ethnic (German)
Ethnic (Irish)
Ethnic (Japanese)
Ethnic (Klezmer)
Ethnic (Latin American)
Ethnic (Scottish)
Ethnic (Slovenian)
Ethnic (Turkish)
Ethnic (World Music)
Piano Concertos
Piano Decets
Piano Duets / Two Pianos
Piano Jazz
Piano Nonets
Piano Octets
Piano Quartets
Piano Quintets
Piano Septets
Piano Sextets
Piano Trios
PRB (Own Compositions)
Various Concertos
Viola Concertos
Violin Concertos

This is what I’d like to change it to:

Genre: Choral
Genre: Christmas / New Year
Genre: Crossover
Genre: Early Music
Genre: Easy Listening (Instrumental)
Genre: Easy Listening (Military Band)
Genre: Easy Listening (Vocal)
Genre: Ethnic (Albanian)
Genre: Ethnic (Arabic)
Genre: Ethnic (Australian)
Genre: Ethnic (Bluegrass)
Genre: Ethnic (Chinese)
Genre: Ethnic (Georgian)
Genre: Ethnic (German)
Genre: Ethnic (Irish)
Genre: Ethnic (Japanese)
Genre: Ethnic (Klezmer)
Genre: Ethnic (Latin American)
Genre: Ethnic (Scottish)
Genre: Ethnic (Slovenian)
Genre: Ethnic (Turkish)
Genre: Ethnic (World Music)
Genre: Operas
Genre: Orchestral
Genre: PRB (Own Compositions)
Genre: Vocal
Instrument: Bassoon
Instrument: Cello
Instrument: Cello Concertos
Instrument: Clarinet
Instrument: Clarinet Concertos
Instrument: Flute
Instrument: Guitar
Instrument: Harp
Instrument: Harpsichord
Instrument: Horn
Instrument: Mandolin
Instrument: Oboe
Instrument: Octets
Instrument: Organ
Instrument: Piano
Instrument: Piano Concertos
Instrument: Piano Decets
Instrument: Piano Duets / Two Pianos
Instrument: Piano Jazz
Instrument: Piano Nonets
Instrument: Piano Octets
Instrument: Piano Quartets
Instrument: Piano Quintets
Instrument: Piano Septets
Instrument: Piano Sextets
Instrument: Piano Trios
Instrument: Quartets
Instrument: Quintets
Instrument: Recorder
Instrument: Septets
Instrument: Sextets
Instrument: Trios
Instrument: Trumpet
Instrument: Various Concertos
Instrument: Viola
Instrument: Viola Concertos
Instrument: Violin
Instrument: Violin Concertos

I realise it’s a bit of a pain, but I’m wondering if you could give me the instructions one at a time, and assume that I’m only a really basic user of mp3tag.

That would be brilliant, and I think I’d have less chance to spoil things!

I happened to see that you come from North Germany. I know it’s a big place, but my best friend still lives there. He used to live in Bremen, but now he and his American wife live a few miles south of the city, in a little village called Bramstedt, on the rail line between Bassum and Syke. I first met Peter when we were paired as partners in the Plymouth-Bremen Jugendaustausch, when we were both ‘youthful’, many, many years ago!

Looking forward to your words of wisdom,

Best wishes,

PS I did reply directly to your email, but realise , I think, that you wouldn't receive this. to you email

If you are not sure how to create an action, see the FAQs
Also: get a column in the files list that shows the genre (it's there by default so unless you have removed it, you don't have to do anything special here).
Sort by the column for genre.
Now apply a filter
NOT %genre% HAS :
The files in the file list should now be reduced to a files that do not have a colon in the string - which should be the case for every single-word-genre.
The sorted genre list should now start with

Select all the tracks that have Bassoon as genre and apply the action "Genre#Instrument".
The selected files should now show as genre:
Instrument: Bassoon
Press F3 2x to refresh the filtered list - the files with Instrument: Bassoon should not be in the file list any more.
Next, the cello ones would have to be treated. And as Cello and Cello Concertos are probably close to each other, you can select all the files with Cello in it in 1 go and then apply the action Genre#Instrument.
After 2x F3 Choral would be next, the proceedings are the same: select files BUT this time execute the action Genre#Real Genre.
Go through the whole list of genres until the file list with applied filter stays empty.
The quickest way would be to select as many files of the same type (genre or instrument) in 1 go as possible and then apply the corresponding action.
So you can safely select all files with genres starting with "Ethnic" and apply "Genre#Real Genrres".

Hi, I'm getting stuck into the this, but need to clarify one thing.

How can I select all the files of the Genre column (it's already showing), so as to be ably to apply the filter - the actions have been saved.

The only thing I have open is one particular CD/MP3 file. I can select all the Genre entries here, but that wouldn't seem to give me access to the whole list of available genres, as I sent you earlier.

Many thanks!

You enter the filter expression at the bottom of the MP3tag window in real typing.
Once you have entered the filter expression, you will see in the status bar (bottom right) how many files are loaded and how many actually are displayed.

This is not the optimum way to do it - load your whole collection and then treat the files as described with filter an action. Like that you can be sure that you get all the files only once.

Many thanks again - getting there!

One question, that will surely make you think I've lost the plot:

You wrote:

load your whole collection

Does this actually mean opening the single folder which contains all the 800 separate mp3 files?

If I do, how do I then access the Genre column files for the whole collection?

Select the top-most folder, tick the "subfolders" option (if that is not already set) and load really all files.
Mp3tag is really meant to treat a lot of files in 1 go, not just those of a single album.

Once you loaded all the files, scroll the files list until you see the Genre column.
Click on the column header to toggle the sorting (ascending, descending).
The files will then be sorted by genre and not by (possibly) the filename or the album.
Like that you get all genres of the same kind into 1 block.

You are making a lot of changes. I strongly recommend you make a secure backup in advance. I would not rely on a mobile phone for this. Even something as simple as a USB drive that you can physically disconnect once you have copied your files over. The size will depend on your total music folder, but 800 CDs even all in lossless shouldn't be more than 1TB. These drives can be picked up for a relatively inexpensive price now from Amazon or locally. Far less expensive than the time and energy to replace anything should things go wrong.

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I've got a student coming at 4.30 (our time!!), but just wanted to check out what you said'

Select the top-most folder, tick the "subfolders" option (if that is not already set) and load really all files.
Mp3tag is really meant to treat a lot of files in 1 go, not just those of a single album.

This, I think is the 'top-most folder'?

This is where all the 800 single files reside.

I can click on this, and then this is what I see:

Obviously I'd have to scroll down to see them all.

Once you loaded all the files, scroll the files list until you see the Genre column.
Click on the column header to toggle the sorting (ascending, descending).

How do I locate / achieve the above step you mention?


I take that as the explorer window.
I am talking about the MP3tag window.
If you open a folder in MP3tag with File>Change Directory (Ctrl-D) then you see a folder selection dialogue like this:

and at the bottom of that dialogue you see a check box for the subfolders.

Select the folder that contains all the files that need treatment.
Then return to the MP3tag files list and scroll the files list until you see the Genre column.

Good evening!
Earlier, I was feeling proud of myself having managed to add Genre to all the Genres - as in Genre: Easy :Listening, and similarly with the Instrument prefix - Instrument: Bassoon.

BUT! I had forgotten - it seems, when clicking the Actions to achieve this, not only were the two that you showed me ticked, but a couple more, including Case Conversion!

This has seemingly now created a nightmare, because the titles are showing as 'The Lady Of The Lake', where I had wanted 'The Lady of the Lake', as in sentence format, also places where move than two capital letters were used, are now wrong. For example, incidences of my name - PRB now appear as Prb, but worse, as I always number movement s with Roman numerals, i'm now seeing I Ii Iii Iv etc which is wrong.

You may also have shown me a trick, using convert, where I automatically add the composer's name to a track - eg William Tell Overture [Rossini, Giacchino) but this is appearing (rossini, Gioacchino) - it sourses this from the composer listen via a little formula already in the Convert mechanism.

On my mobile phone, I have a complete copy of the exact files - as they were - I use Poweramp to play them.

If I were to move the files I've messed up on a separte drive, could I then copy the mobile phone files back to the PC and start where I left - i.e. without any changes from yesterday. If so, I would simply be able to adjust the Genres list, this time without affecting any other action. Is it not possible to be able to cycle through text conversions, so that, for example, I could have everything in upper case, every word starting with a capital letter, or punctuated as in sentence mode. Is the a re facility to reverse Roman numeral changes, i'e' from Ii back to II.

Things were going so well, but now it seems I've got a great deal to do, just to get it back to how it was!!

My fault, I know!


I would resort to the original files on the mobile and then start from scratch.

Or if you feel more adventurous, you could look for the Grammartron case conversion

Hi, I was taken your advice by going back to the original files on the mobile, and then starting the Genre issue from scratch, but being more careful this time!

However I have now run into a further problem because my PC is telling my that there is insufficient space either to Copy across, or just Cut/Paste.

It seems that my Windows drive (Windows 10) is all but a few GB short to do it.

I have read that it's possible to alter partition sizes, taking unused space from my Data Drive (F) and adding this to my Windows (C) drive..

I watched a video, and downloaded AOMEI which is straightforward (to me), and especially as it said it could a swap space from F to C, so I would be able to copy large files again.

I send you the main page below, which I've made a couple of notes on but I can't see how to move the freed-up space Ii can create on the F drive, which is labelled '3' and add this space to the C drive which is labelled (0):

Unfortunately my Computer guy seems to be away in Spain, and so I'm stuck.

Also I ordered my new Samsung S22 5g Ultra phone, and that will take a fair bit of setting up.

I do hope you of a fellow community can advise me on this technically off-top question


I think this is going too far away from the original topic and also it is not really an mp3tag problem.
So, could you please open a new thread for advice how to distribute data across your PC, preferably in the Off-Topic section?

Coming back to the handling of MP3tag:
For MP3tag it is not important that files reside in one folder or on one drive.
You can load files from the C drive and then use the function to add further folders which may live on the f: drive.
You can add folders either with the functions from the File menu or from the explorer via drag&drop plus pressing the Ctrl while you do so.
So if you copy first one bunch to c: and another to f: and then load the files from both locations then you might not need to dig into the intestines of your PC.

Hi, just to say that I have now got everything to work as I wanted to.

Thank you to everyone who chipped in with helpful advice, and the one particualr colleague who reminded me about the absolute necessity of having backups. I was so glad when I thought that I'd inadvertently screwed up days of work, but was able to salvage everything with the backups I'd made.

I must apologise for going off topic, but I'm not totally conversant with the forum protocols, as regards what goes where.

Thank you again for enabling me to solve my issues with you wisdom, and far greater experience.

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Better late than never

I myself use the GENRE field for literally one word tags. So that then I can filter my files using the Filter Box applied just to to GENRE. And then load the results to Winamp

It is manual method- but it is simple and it works