I’m currently working on my doctoral dissertation on virtual “ethnic”/“world” instruments, and have been creating a database for my thesis research. I’ve got about 350+ titles from 100+ developers at the moment, with both current and discontinued titles, or as much as I could find online.
I’ve got title, developer, country of developer, file size, release date, name of producer/performer (if available), that sort of stuff. I haven’t even entered every single title for each developer (companies like Loopmasters have little variations of libraries) but I think I’ve got a pretty good representation of what’s out there.
One of the fields I want to include is “product type” and I’m having trouble deciding how to go about it. Most products nowadays are Kontakt soundware, and then there are wav+rex libraries, loop packs, some standalone (like Kong Audio chinese instruments with their own GUIs), mobile apps, multi-format (wav+rex+sf2…), and even expansion packs for old hardware samplers. I’m having trouble finding a good guideline for the number and kind of formats to use for this field. The closest I’ve come is the search engine on KVR, which has fields like General Plug-in Types, Plugin Formats, Sample Formats, etc., with lists of formats and categories, but I find there’s a lot of crossover and gets really confusing how products can be sorted. I’ve also read some books on VST instruments and they’re kind of useless.
I get the feeling there’s no clear-cut way to do this, but would anyone have suggestions/resources? And by the way, I’m happy to share the database once I get it all sorted if anyone’s interested. I also plan to include product image and maybe a link to product description for every product for discourse analysis.
I’d probably use some sort of many-to-many, generic tags field for these, so that one instrument might be tagged with sound-library, kontakt, and rex or whatever else… For dedicated instruments, you could also have have separate tags for standalone, plugin, vst and au, etc
I think the problem you’ll run into is that software instruments or really anything digital can be many things. What you’re looking for sounds like a traditional/standard taxonomy which would work more nicely for acoustic instruments. I agree with @rknLA that you’d be better off with a many-to-many, which is what sites like Modular Grid use.
No wisdom as of yet, but just wanted to chime in and say that this is an amazing topic for a dissertation!
Have you come across the book Presets: Digital Shortcuts to Sound by Stefan Goldmann at all in yr research? Feel like it touches a bit on ‘authentic’ cultural object vs simulacrum in an interesting way at points-
Hey @mdg, thanks! Boy have I come across that Presets book! I bought it a few months ago and devoured it. Such insightful stuff from both Goldmann and the interviewees. The M1 is particularly interesting, and I actually had a Skype interview Jack Hotop last year, one of the M1’s lead sound programmers. Super sweet guy - he still does Korg demos at NAMM shows.
Funny you should mention simulacrum; I also started reading Baudrillard recently. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around all of his ideas but I know there’s something useable in there
@Jonny - at one point I used the Hornbostel-Sachs taxonomy in my database, which might still be useful for certain kinds of filtering, say, if i want to see what types of acoustic ethnic instruments gets virtualized the most.