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Hello;

Is there a way to change the sort order for all songs which would result in article like 'the', and 'a' being ignored for sorting purposes?
For example: 'The House of the Rising Sun' will not be listed with songs that start with 'H', but will be listed with songs that start with 'The'.

In MusicBee on my Windows 10 PC, sort ignores the article if it is the first word of a title. I can also specify a custom sort order by setting a tag.
It does not appear that Poweramp reads this tag.

Thanks for your help

Ultrarunner

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There is an option to enable/disable that sorting functionality (in Settings > Library > Lists > Don't Ignore Article for Sort) but it currently only works for Albums, Artists and Composers. I don't know why Titles are not processed the same way, as it would seem logical to include that tag in the same option too. Max?

Andre

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@andrewilley I guess it was never requested for tracks. Probably, we need a generic solution where various prefixes (articles) can be removed from the sorted fields. With the UI similar to the artist split chars, but for the articles - as there were similar request for German articles removal. Added to TODO.

@ultrarunner2019 do you want this feature applied to all possible categories (controlled by single global, or may be 2 options - tracks and others), or per category selection is needed (each category is then optionally ignores articles, but that requires per-category configuration)?

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1 hour ago, maxmp said:

@andrewilley

@ultrarunner2019 do you want this feature applied to all possible categories (controlled by single global, or may be 2 options - tracks and others), or per category selection is needed (each category is then optionally ignores articles, but that requires per-category configuration)?

This could be addressed if the existing sort fields in tags were supported.😉

This could apply to Artist, AlbumArtist, Album, Composer, and Title sort tags fields. 

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I think such a feature should be global, applied to a specific set of tags when used for sorting - Title, Artist, Album Artist, Album, Composer. No need to change it per Category, unless you really want to add an extra List Options override tickbox for "Ignore Articles"? But I think having it as a global choice is sufficient, just as it is as the moment. I like the idea of a user-editable set of choices too, the perfect solution to the international requests. Oh, and this should NOT apply to file/folder name sorting, only to tagged content.

Could I ask for something else while you are at it? I'd like an option to also ignore punctuation symbols at the start of the same sort strings. I have a few Titles and Artist names that start with double-quote marks or "..." and there are a number of songs which start with bracketed portions, such as "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo", "(Just Like) Starting Over" and "(I've Had) The Time of My Life". It looks very odd when these all get sorted at the front of the All Songs list for example, instead of sorting by their first actual word. Again, just for those five tags, not folders/filenames.

Andre

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Yes, a global feature would work for me.
I agree with andrewilley on the punctuation issue as well.

In the meantime, I am changing the titles of tracks that begin with an article, so that PA will sort them as desired. Pretty much work, but definitely do-able.

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11 minutes ago, ultrarunner2019 said:

In the meantime, I am changing the titles of tracks that begin with an article, so that PA will sort them as desired. Pretty much work, but definitely do-able.

Personally, I'm going to wait until Max gets a chance to add this option. I prefer to keep my Title and other tags as accurate and correct as possible - and anyway I've lived with this for 10+ years, a little while longer won't make a huge difference.

Andre

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3 hours ago, andrewilley said:

Personally, I'm going to wait until Max gets a chance to add this option. I prefer to keep my Title and other tags as accurate and correct as possible - and anyway I've lived with this for 10+ years, a little while longer won't make a huge difference.

Andre

😉👍

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@andrewilley I can see this as user editable  "articles" (actually any strings, prefixes, symbols, etc.) with preference UI similar to the split characters. As for adding some pattern matching there - while technically easily possible - it would be very hard to explain to users (or may be allow very limited, glob like patterns - with * ? matches).

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@maxmp I wasn't asking for any complex pattern matching, just a really basic option to ignore any non-alphanumeric characters when sorting. But as there are only a handful of cases I know of (mostly brackets and quote marks) it would actually be very easy to do it with the editable "articles" strings anyway.

All I wanted was for the following examples to be sorted by their first real letters, rather than by the punctuation marks (which currently place them all at the start of an alpha-sorted list):

... and somewhere else, the tea's getting cold --- Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection
"Heroes" --- David Bowie
(I've Had) The Time of My Life --- Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
(Is This the Way to) Amarillo --- Tony Christie
(Just Like) Starting Over --- John Lennon
(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me --- Sandy Shaw
... Things to Come --- John Williams (unused cue track from the Harry Potter soundtrack)

I know I could just edit the files tags easily enough, but I'd prefer to keep them accurate as per the song releases. In all my cases, simply adding " and ( and ... to the new Articles list would work fine though, so don't worry about adding an extra punctuation option for now. 

[Edit] Just thought of a snag to my plan. My examples don't have any delimiter spaces, but the text just runs on into the title string. Which is fine for my punctuation examples, but would break words like "The", "A", and "An" as they would require a space delimiter to avoid the first three letters being ignored in titles like "There Must Be An Angel". 

Andre

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It's ironic how my brain is working (or not) on this issue:
I have OCD tendencies, and as such, have this thing about how my tracks are listed.
Normally, I will allow PA to select a track, using one of the shuffle modes. But a while back, I decided I wanted to play my entire library from A to Z. When I realized that there were many tracks that begin with an article (the, a, an), I became obsessed with changing that. But now, the same OCD is causing me to re-think the situation. Perhaps MotleyG has the best idea; just leave the tracks alone, and a solution will come along one day.

So now that I've gotten halfway through the process of moving the article to the end of the title and in (..), I think I may just let the titles be what they are - as released, and wait for PA to add the feature we are discussing.
If I could just get rid of the OCD, I would be a much happier camper - overall...

Edit: And one more thought:
Simply eliminating the article from the beginning of the title may not be appropriate for some tracks:
Example: The Doors "The End". I don't think it would be appropriate to title this track "End", or "End (The)". It just doesn't sound right, and destroys the impact of the title as it was intended by the artist.

Edited by ultrarunner2019
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58 minutes ago, ultrarunner2019 said:

Edit: And one more thought:
Simply eliminating the article from the beginning of the title may not be appropriate for some tracks:
Example: The Doors "The End". I don't think it would be appropriate to title this track "End", or "End (The)". It just doesn't sound right, and destroys the impact of the title as it was intended by the artist.

And this is exactly why every personal library is different. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. In my library I would definitely still drop the article, and expect this same Doors song to be found under "E". 

Regardless I would still want the title to display as "The End" on the Now Playing screen, just using a smart sort to correctly list it. No different than I would show the artist "The Beatles" under "B", "John Lennon" under "L", and "Pink Floyd" under "P" in my library. That's the beauty of using the background sort tags - they define the sorting method without destroying your expected sort pattern.

Artist = The Beatles     Artistsort = Beatles

Artist = John Lennon     Artistsort = Lennon, John

Artist = Pink Floyd     Artistsort = Pink Floyd

The same can be applied to Title, Album, AlbumArtist, and Composer. Apple has been doing this for IOS devices and the "Love It/Hate It" iTunes going back to around 2007. And most metadata editors have supported them since as well. If these aren't used in a library, simply default to the regular non-sort tag. So for the examples provided by @andrewilley

... and somewhere else, the tea's getting cold sort as and somewhere else the teas getting cold
"Heroes" sort as Heroes
(I've Had) The Time of My Life sort as Ive Had The Time of My Life
(Is This the Way to) Amarillo sort as Is This the Way to Amarillo
(Just Like) Starting Over sort as Just Like Starting Over
(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me sort as Theres Always Something There to Remind Me
... Things to Come sort as Things to Come

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@MotleyG Agreed. In addition to improving the facility for ignoring Articles as per this thread, it would be great to have automatic support (i.e. transparent after the next full rescan, without needing any further option setting) for any TITLESORT (TSOT), ALBUMSORT (TSOA), and ARTISTSORT / ALBUMARTISTSORT (TSOP / ????) tags when arranging those fields alphabetically.

But that would involve more work, so just the existing suggestion bringing Title into the scope of the Ignore Article feature, and adding user-definable words, would be great for now.

Andre

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