ParentWork Plugin

The parentwork plugin fetches the work title, parent work title and parent work composer from MusicBrainz.

In the MusicBrainz database, a recording can be associated with a work. A work can itself be associated with another work, for example one being part of the other (what we call the direct parent). This plugin looks the work id from the library and then looks up the direct parent, then the direct parent of the direct parent and so on until it reaches the top. The work at the top is what we call the parent work.

This plugin is especially designed for classical music. For classical music, just fetching the work title as in MusicBrainz is not satisfying, because MusicBrainz has separate works for, for example, all the movements of a symphony. This plugin aims to solve this problem by also fetching the parent work, which would be the whole symphony in this example.

This plugin adds five tags:

  • parentwork: The title of the parent work.
  • mb_parentworkid: The musicbrainz id of the parent work.
  • parentwork_disambig: The disambiguation of the parent work title.
  • parent_composer: The composer of the parent work.
  • parent_composer_sort: The sort name of the parent work composer.
  • work_date: The composition date of the work, or the first parent work that has a composition date. Format: yyyy-mm-dd.

To use the parentwork plugin, enable it in your configuration (see Using Plugins).


To configure the plugin, make a parentwork: section in your configuration file. The available options are:

  • force: As a default, parentwork only fetches work info for recordings that do not already have a parentwork tag. If force is enabled, it fetches it for all recordings. Default: no
  • auto: If enabled, automatically fetches works at import. It takes quite some time, because beets is restricted to one musicbrainz query per second. Default: no