itunes has two useful but different ways to find specific music in a collection of much larger music: smart playlists and its spotlight filter.
the filter simply returns every song with the filter key(words|letters) in the title, artist, album, etc. so type “pri” in the filter and you’ll get every song by prince in your collection, but also ‘private dancer’ by tina turner and ‘pride (in the name of love)’ by u2.
the smart playlist is a robust boolean search that lets you exclude certain keywords and include certain other keywords, something you can’t do with the filter.
what’s bothered me for a while about itunes is genres. the genre field seems set up to be its own filter. what i mean is, you get a drop-down list of genres and you have to pick one. so is prince funk, rock, r&b or pop? is miles davis fusion, bop or jazz? in order to use the filter or the smart playlists on genres you have to pigeonhole your music.
but today i realized that the genre field can just be filled with a space-separated list of keywords, which can then be manipulated with either the filter or the smart playlists. so if you want, type “rock r&b pop funk” in the genre of all prince songs, then when you type ‘funk’ in the filter, you’ll get prince, but when you type r&b, you’ll get him too. and if you want to listen to all your funk that’s not also pop, use a smart playlist and it’ll filter prince out.
plus, allmusic.com has a pretty good list of moods which could go in the genre field too, and then you could filter by mood. ‘i want to listen to all music that’s both hypnotic and druggy.’ spiritualized and stars of the lid, here we come!
there you go: my good idea for the day.