[mythtv] "A", "An", and "The" for sorting - ticket 3048

brian turbo at talstar.com
Tue Feb 6 03:55:09 UTC 2007

Matt wrote:
> I don't believe "An" or "A" should be stripped when sorting.  I also
> noticed this in mythmusic.  For example... the Band named "A Perfect
> Circle" isn't refered to as "Perfect Circle".  Also, I believe "An"
> should be in the same boat.

   In musical group names, I would agree... but not in TV & Movie 
titles.  "A", "An", and "The" should not be considered when sorting 
these titles.

> However, I still believe that "The" should be ignored in sorting.
> This is traditionally how the majority of media players sort their
> playlists.  iTunes, WMP, etc.
> What does everyone else think?

   Well, since you asked, here's my take on sorting music artists...  ;)

   I'm not particularly enthralled with the way the current sorting 
works, either.  I'm equally non-plussed by the way iTunes, WMP, (and I'm 
throwing my Zen 40G Jukebox in with the 'etc') sorts artists, either. 
Both methods fail in one respect or another.

   Currently, the sort looks like:

	10,000 Maniacs
	3 Doors Down
	Al Green
	The Beatles
	Booker T. & The MG's
	Carl Perkins
	Frank Zappa
	The Hooters
	Huey Lewis and The News
	Hurricane Smith
	Looking Glass
	Paul Simon
	The Police
	Simon & Garfunkel
	ZZ Top

   Ideally, it should be alphabetized by {GROUPNAME} if it's a band name 
(usually ignoring A, AN, and THE), {LASTNAME,FIRSTNAME} in the case of 
an individual artist, and bands consisting of, or starting with, numbers 
should be alphabetized as if the number were spelled out.  Most pop 
music references (and 'the bible', as it were - Joel Whitburn's "Top 
Pop") alphabetize artist names as such:

	The Beatles			(Beatles)
	Booker T. & The MG's		(Booker T. & The MG's)
	Al Green			(Green, Al)
	The Hooters			(Hooters)
	Journey				(Journey)
	Huey Lewis and The News		(Lewis, Huey and The News)
	Looking Glass			(Looking Glass)
	Carl Perkins			(Perkins, Carl)
	The Police			(Police)
	Paul Simon			(Simon, Paul)
	Simon & Garfunkel		(Simon, Paul & Garfunkel, Art)
	Hurricane Smith			(Smith, Hurricane)
	10,000 Maniacs			(Ten Thousand Maniacs)
	3 Doors Down			(Three Doors Down)
	Frank Zappa			(Zappa, Frank)
	ZZ Top				(ZZ Top)

   So, it's not simply a matter of stripping off "A", "An" and "The" 
from the artist name -- it's really a matter of devising an 
understandable, consistent manner of alphabetizing.   Accomplishing this 
algorithmically would be impossible (or, at the very least, quite 
tedious!).  It would be far easier to create a new (not necessarily 
displayed) column in the music_artists table strictly for 
sorting/listing purposes (SORT_NAME).   This field could be 
automatically (or algorithmically) "filled in" when songs are imported 
into mythmusic (derived from the 'Artist' id3 tag or from the directory 
name), but easily changed by the end-user if desired when editing the 
meta-info/tag info (via the 'info' button) in mythmusic.

   It doesn't seem like this would pose a very large programming task, 
either -- the "default" fill could simply be a blind copy of the current 
'Artist' field.  Those that wish could simply change the SORT_NAME field 
to cause the sorting of a particular entry to be done differently. 
There would need to be some minor tweaking of the current sort for the 
numbers (10,000 Maniacs & 3 Doors Down), but everything else necessary 
to achieve the result as in the second list, above, is very minor 

   If Paul and/or Stuart aren't up to it, I'd be more than willing to 
make the necessary change(s) and submit a patch, once they're both done 
with what they're doing in the mythmusic code.

  - briand

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