Indexed Search Syntax

This page describes the syntax for MusicBrainz indexed searches which use the Lucene text search engine. The search indexes for these types of searches are updated every 3 hours, and thus may not reflect up to the minute changes. The direct search searches the database directly: it can only carry out simple keyword searches with no boolean logic, but it is always up-to-date.

Overview

Lucene offers much flexibility in defining search queries for all needs imaginable. To make it easier to understand, this page was divided into subpages. While this one offers an introduction to the most commonly used features, the others explain more advanced search operators and constructs.

First some words on the the terminology used in these pages:

Query
A query is the complete expression you put in one of the search fields.
Term
A term is the smallest unit inside a query. In the default case each single word inside a query is a term of its own, except for ...
Phrases
A phrase is a groups of words surrounded by quotation marks. Even though it's containing more than one word, a phrase is handled like a term.
Operators
or search operators are special characters and words that define either how single terms are processed by the search system (e.g. in -house the - tells the search system, not to return anything with the word house) or how to terms are to be combined in the search (e.g. one AND love means search for anything that has both words one and love).

The sections below Query Syntax describe simple and commonly used operators, more advanced features can be found in the Lucene Search Syntax

But first take a look at a few simple examples which might show everything necessary for the majority of your searches.

Notes

Example searches

Artists

"tori amos"
  • search artist, sortname and alias fields
comment:electronic
  • search for the word electronic in artist disambiguation (comment) fields
begin:1984 AND type:group
  • search for all groups formed in 1984

Releases

café del mar
  • search for all Café del Mar albums
"the understanding" AND artist:royksopp
  • search for the album The Understanding by the artist Röyksopp
date:1999 AND country:de AND rock
  • search for releases from Germany in 1999 with the word rock in them

Recordings

type:album AND amadeus
  • search for recordings with the title amadeus from albums
day life
  • will retrieve A Day In The Life
  • will retrieve Life In A Day
  • will retrieve This Day
  • will retrieve That's Life
day AND life
  • will retrieve A Day In The Life
  • will retrieve Life In A Day
  • will not retrieve This Day
  • will not retrieve That's Life
"day in the life"
  • will retrieve A Day In The Life
  • will not retrieve Life In A Day
  • will not retrieve This Day
  • will not retrieve That's Life
"voodoo people" AND artist:"the prodigy"
  • search for all recordings with the title Voodoo People by the artist The Prodigy

Query syntax

Wildcards

To perform a single character wildcard search use the "?" symbol. To perform a multiple character wildcard search use the "*" symbol. For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search te?t, to search for "test", "tests" or "tester", you can use the search test*.

Note: You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

Fuzzy searches

To do a fuzzy search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a single word term. Optionally can specify the required similarity, a value is between 0 and 1. For example to search for a term similar in spelling to "roam" use the fuzzy search roam~ or roam~0.8

MusicBrainz-specific search fields

Artist

Search Fields

The artist index contains the following fields you can search:

Field Description
area artist area
beginarea artist begin area
endarea artist end area
arid MBID of the artist
artist name of the artist
artistaccent name of the artist with any accent characters retained
alias the aliases/misspellings for the artist
begin artist birth date/band founding date
comment artist comment to differentiate similar artists
country the two letter country code for the artist country or 'unknown'
end artist death date/band dissolution date
ended true if know ended even if do not know end date
gender gender of the artist (“male”, “female”, “other”)
ipi IPI code for the artist
sortname artist sortname
tag a tag applied to the artist
type artist type (“person”, “group”, "other" or “unknown”)

Artist search terms with no fields specified search the artist, sortname and alias fields.

Release Group

Search Fields

The release group index contains the following fields you can search:

Field Description
arid MBID of the release group’s artist
artist release group artist as it appears on the cover (Artist Credit)
artistname “real name” of any artist that is included in the release group’s artist credit
comment release group comment to differentiate similar release groups
creditname name of any artist in multi-artist credits, as it appears on the cover.
primarytype primary type of the release group (album, single, ep, other)
rgid MBID of the release group
releasegroup name of the release group
releasegroupaccent name of the releasegroup with any accent characters retained
releases number of releases in this release group
release name of a release that appears in the release group
reid MBID of a release that appears in the release group
secondarytype secondary type of the release group (audiobook, compilation, interview, live, remix soundtrack, spokenword)
status status of a release that appears within the release group
tag a tag that appears on the release group
type type of the release group, old type mapping for when we did not have separate primary and secondary types

Release group search terms with no fields search the releasegroup field only.

Release

Search Fields

The release index contains these fields you can search:

fieldDescription
arid artist id
artist complete artist name(s) as it appears on the release
artistname an artist on the release, each artist added as a separate field
asin the Amazon ASIN for this release
barcode The barcode of this release
catno The catalog number for this release, can have multiples when major using an imprint
comment Disambiguation comment
country The two letter country code for the release country
creditname name credit on the release, each artist added as a separate field
date The release date (format: YYYY-MM-DD)
discids total number of cd ids over all mediums for the release
discidsmedium number of cd ids for the release on a medium in the release
format release format
laid The label id for this release, a release can have multiples when major using an imprint
label The name of the label for this release, can have multiples when major using an imprint
lang The language for this release. Use the three character ISO 639 codes to search for a specific language. (e.g. lang:eng)
mediums number of mediums in the release
primarytype primary type of the release group (album, single, ep, other)
puid The release contains recordings with these puids
quality The quality of the release (low, normal, high)
reid release id
release release name
releaseaccent name of the release with any accent characters retained
rgid release group id
script The 4 character script code (e.g. latn) used for this release
secondarytype secondary type of the release group (audiobook, compilation, interview, live, remix, soundtrack, spokenword)
status release status (e.g official)
tag a tag that appears on the release
tracks total number of tracks over all mediums on the release
tracksmedium number of tracks on a medium in the release
type type of the release group, old type mapping for when we did not have separate primary and secondary types

Release search terms with no fields search the release field only.

Recording

Search Fields

Recording searches can contain you can search:

fieldDescription
arid artist id
artist artist name is name(s) as it appears on the recording
artistname an artist on the recording, each artist added as a separate field
creditname name credit on the recording, each artist added as a separate field
comment recording disambiguation comment
country recording release country
date recording release date
dur duration of track in milliseconds
format recording release format
isrc ISRC of recording
number free text track number
position the medium that the recording should be found on, first medium is position 1
primarytype primary type of the release group (album, single, ep, other)
puid PUID of recording
qdur quantized duration (duration / 2000)
recording name of recording or a track associated with the recording
recordingaccent name of the recording with any accent characters retained
reid release id
release release name
rgid release group id
rid recording id
secondarytype secondary type of the release group (audiobook, compilation, interview, live, remix soundtrack, spokenword)
status Release status (official, promotion, Bootleg, Pseudo-Release)
tid track id
tnum track number on medium
tracks number of tracks in the medium on release
tracksrelease number of tracks on release as a whole
tag folksonomy tag
type type of the release group, old type mapping for when we did not have separate primary and secondary types or use standalone for standalone recordings
video true to only show video tracks

Recording search terms with no fields search the recording field only

Label

Search Fields

The label index contains the following fields you can search:

fieldDescription
alias the aliases/misspellings for this label
area label area
begin label founding date
code label code (only the figures part, i.e. without "LC")
comment label comment to differentiate similar labels
country The two letter country code of the label country
end label dissolution date
ended true if know ended even if do not know end date
ipi ipi
label label name
labelaccent name of the label with any accent characters retained
laid MBID of the label
sortname label sortname
type label type
tag folksonomy tag

Label search terms with no fields specified search the label, sortname and alias fields.

Work

Search Fields

The work index contains these fields you can search:

fieldDescription
alias the aliases/misspellings for this work
arid artist id
artist artist name, an artist in the context of a work is an artist-work relation such as composer or lyricist
comment disambiguation comment
iswc ISWC of work
lang Lyrics language of work
tag folksonomy tag
type work type
wid work id
work name of work
workaccent name of the work with any accent characters retained

Work search terms with no fields specified search the work and alias fields.

Annotations

Search Fields

The annotation index contains the following fields you can search:

Field Description
text The content of the annotation
type The entity type (artist, releasegroup, release, recording, work, label)
name The name of the entity
entity The entity's MBID

FreeDB Releases

Search Fields

The FreeDB index contains the following fields you can search:

Field Description
artist artist name
title release name
discid FreeDB disc id
cat FreeDB category
year year
tracks number of tracks in the release

CD Stubs

Search Fields

The CD Stub index contains the following fields you can search:

Field Description
artist artist name
title release name
barcode release barcode
comment general comments about the release
tracks number of tracks on the CD stub
discid disc ID of the CD