Section 3.2. Searching for Songs

3.2. Searching for Songs

You can call up a list of all the songs that have a specific word in their title, album name , or artist attribution, just by typing a few letters into the Search box at the top of the window. With each letter you type, iTunes shortens the list of songs that are visible, confining it to tracks that match what you've typed.

For example, in Figure 3-1, typing train brings up a list of songs by different performers that all have the word "train" somewhere in the song's informationmaybe the title of the song, maybe the band name. This sort of thing could be useful for creating themed playlists, like a mix for a Memorial Day barbecue made from songs that all have the word "sun" or "summer" in the title.

Figure 3-1. The Search box in the iTunes window can quickly find all the songs in the library that match the keyword you enter. To erase the Search box so that you see all of your songs again, click the little circled X button at the right side of the box.

Figure 3-2. When you click an Artist name in the left column, you get a list of all attributed albums on the right side. To see the songs you've imported from each listed album, click the album name. The songs on it appear in the main list area of the iTunes window, beneath the Browser panes.
If you see duplicate songs and suspect there might be more lurking around your iTunes library, choose Edit Show Duplicate Songs to round up the doubles and clear up some hard drive space.

3.2.1. The Browser

The Browse button is the eyeball in the upper-right corner of the window. (It appears only when the Library icon is selected in the source list at the left side of the screen.) It produces a handy, supplementary view of your music database, this time organized like a Finder column view (shown in Figure 3-2).

Tip: Can't get back that full list of albums on the right Album pane after you've clicked on a name in the Artist list in the left pane? Go to the top of the Artist list and click All. The complete album list reappears.

It's worth noting, by the way, that this two-panel Browser can become a three -panel browser, much to the delight of people who enjoy the phrase "drill down." Figure 3-3 has details.

Figure 3-3. The Genre pane in iTunes preferences can add another whole layer of categorizing for your music collection. If you don't see the Genre pane when you start iTunes for the first time, you need to turn it on in Preferences. Press -comma, or choose iTunes Preferences General, and then turn on "Show genre when browsing."

3.3. Ratings

Although there's no way to give a song two thumbs up within iTunes, you can label each song in your collection with a star rating (one to five). Not only can you, too, now feel like a Rolling Stone record critic, but you can also use your personal rating system to spontaneously produce playlists of the hits, nothing but the hits.

To add a rating to a song in the Song list window, first make sure the My Rating field is turned on in the iTunes Options box ( -J). Then proceed as shown in Figure 3-4.

Once you've assigned ratings, you can sort your list by star rating (click the My Rating column title), create playlists of only your personal favorites, and so on.

Tip: One the newer iPods, you can even rate songs on the go; your ratings will transfer back to iTunes. To rate a song on the iPod, start playing it and tap the Select button twice from the Now Playing screen. Use the scroll wheel to spin across the ghostly gray dots onscreen and transform them into the number of stars you feel the song deserves .

Figure 3-4. Click inside the My Rating column. The position of your click determines how many stars you're giving. You can also add a rating by selecting a song, pressing -I to open its Get Info box, and then clicking the Options tab.
Ratings are helpful for snagging the best songs in your collection if you're making a Smart Playlist or using Party Shuffle.