The iTunes 11 redesign has pretty much ruined usability for those of us whose library consists primarily of classical music. Both iTunes 10 and 11 allow two values for Composers in addition to the normal Artist

Something similar to "Artist List" view would be extremely useful, but don't see any filtering/sorting options for that view. Is it possible to change the "pivot" field for that view to use composer instead of artist?

Composer view from iTunes 10

Hopefully someone can figure out How to get the Column Browser in iTunes 11 on the left side? and most of my usability concerns would be addressed, but I would like to be able to leverage the new Artist List view, but by composer. Has anyone found a good way to expose metadata fields like composer

  • Do you perhaps have a screen shot of how your ideal layout used to look or would look?
    – bmike
    Nov 29, 2012 at 22:26
  • @bmike, here's what I had in 10.x: Vertical column browser for composer and grouping, list grouped by album with album art inline. grab.by/hTL6
    – lukiffer
    Nov 29, 2012 at 22:33
  • Ouch - I totally agree - browsing by composer seems like a very painful regression. Let me poke a bit...
    – bmike
    Nov 29, 2012 at 22:48

5 Answers 5


Apple added the Composers view to iTunes 11.0.2.

You have to enable this setting under Preferences > General > "Show Composers".

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Selecting the Composers tab will display a list similar to the Artists view.

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  • Thanks for letting me know. I had all but given up on iTunes. Is there a way to enable this view for playlists? It seems that I can't use both the smart playlist for filtering and this view at the same time.
    – lukiffer
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:16
  • I can't find any way to do that with a playlist. The new Composers view only seems to work when selecting Library > Music.
    – Bryan Luby
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:19

To filter the "Artist List" by composer, go to the Artist list, click on the magnifying glass next to the search field and de-select "Search Entire Library", then on that same menu, under "filter by" select Composer.

This also works on the Songs list and also filters the Column Browser. If you leave it to "All" it's pretty much the same default functionality of iTunes 10.


The closest I can get to your layout is to customize the column browser by control clicking on the existing headings when it is visible.

iTunes - additional column browser headings

Composers and groupings can be added, although you may want to remove or reorder Artists or Albums if the view becomes too cluttered with columns.

  • I was able to get it reasonably close with the exception of the orientation of the column browser and the inline album art/album grouping. grab.by/hTNY I just hope that Apple hasn't completely abandoned its classical music user base and will work the missing features back into iTunes.
    – lukiffer
    Nov 29, 2012 at 22:58
  • 1
    I would be nice but firm at apple.com/feedback and get like minded people to also express their hopes for managing large and complicated music libraries.
    – bmike
    Nov 29, 2012 at 23:00

Another option but probably not quite what you're looking for.

With the Songs header selected, you can go to View > View Options and check Composer and Grouping for them to be columns in the view. You can grab the column header and drag them around to arrange the columns in the order you want.


My solution - which is, admittedly a workaround - has always been to put the composer's name in the Artist field. This not only simplifies browsing in iTunes, but also on iOS devices. I have a huge amount of classical music in my iTunes library - about 50,000 tracks currently - and this makes it practical to access music.

I really miss the column browser's ability to be visible everywhere, as it was in iTunes 10, as that was my favorite way of drilling down through my iTunes library.

There's no way to get the Column Browser back on the left, alas, with iTunes 11. While I didn't use it all the time, some of my playlists were easier to browse with it on the side.

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