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    Music Library System

    I've been needing to organize my music library for some time. I had a filing cabinet that kind of worked except that I had no way of seeing what I had unless a flipped though every sing page. In the last couple of weeks (and with some advice from smithge31419), I finally organized all of my music and put together a spreadsheet to keep track of it all.

    Originally posted by smithge31419 View Post
    Music is organized generally by instrument and genre. My wife has cataloged it all in a searchable spreadsheet, so the standard practice for finding a selection is to look up the Title/Composer/Artist...etc to find the location. Each publication has a sticker detailing where it is stored so it gets returned to its proper home. This is really handy for finding a particular selection that is contained in a collection. ... Music that is being actively worked on gets stuck in the cabinet just to the right of the organ. When no longer "active" it goes back to its "home". Yes, this takes some discipline, but we sure don't waste much time trying to find music.
    My organization keeps shifting a bit as I make decisions about where 'gray area' pieces (that could go in more than one section) get placed. I opted to make binders for each section with labels on the the spine and tabbed dividers to separate subsections (if there are any) and/or alphabetical groups. I have two groups of binders (active and storage). The active binders are separated by instrument and have only the pieces that I'm currently playing, practicing, or performing. The storage binders have everything else in them. Each piece in the storage binders is placed in a page protector (or multiple if it's more than about 20 pages) and then placed in alphabetical order by composer or title depending on the genre (i.e. classical and jazz by composer vs. holiday and soundtrack by title because it's easier for me to find that way). I decided to limit the storage binders to 1" rings and add volumes if the category extends beyond one binder.

    The more time consuming part has been building the spreadsheet database. I've had to enter all of the information I might want to use to find music for each piece of music I have (this includes title, composer, editor, arranger, transcriber, library location, book, genre, holiday, instrumentation, key, difficulty, rating, and several other codified parameters). I initially started in Excel but I switched over the google sheets after finding out that the filter options in Sheets are more flexible. Plus, I can access Sheets from my phone if I need to find something quickly. Since it is in a spreadsheet, it is very conducive to generating interesting stats (number of songs, amount of paper, favorite instrument, etc.)

    The only stuff left to do is to keep adding music that I missed, fill in more information in each of the fields for each piece, put together a sticker system to put on each piece, and get a cabinet to put all of the binders and books in (right now they are on a small wire shelving unit that works but is a little hard on the page protectors and binders). I'd also like to put together some 'gig' binders that are full of sight-readable music that I could use for particular occasions (church, prelude, postlude, wedding, funerals, sing-a-longs, etc.)

    It has been quite the excursion down memory lane as I've entered the data for each piece. A lot of the music I haven't seen, played, or thought about since I was a kid.
    Last edited by samibe; 01-22-2019, 01:19 PM.
    Sam
    Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
    Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

    #2
    A very interesting subject. To me the ideal would be a dB containing every movement in every piece in every publication I've got giving composer, title, key, alternate titles/translations, number of pages or measures -- the works for each one. Each pubn. numbered with a Dewey-type decimal system.

    Good drawer dividers are of the essence -- one per letter of the alphabet. At a yard sale ages ago was a beat-up old file cabinet of no interest, but inside was a complete set of legal size tabbed dividers made of some kind of nice tough cardboard. Office stores have them in card stock, of course. Have often wished for a set made of masonite like record stores used to use, but they'd take up an awful lot of valuable drawer space. Maybe for main sections e.g. composers, multi-composer collections, organ with other player(s) etc.

    I have so much organ (and other) music at church I've had students do some dB work in exchange for lessons, with little gummed colored dots on or near the bindings showing status. At home I have one drawer for organ solos, one for piano music, one for vocal and choral -- just happens to work that way what. Have sometimes wished for a lateral file against the wall for all this but they don't seem to make them with compressors in each drawer.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Victor.

      I never updated this topic. I eventually found a nice steel bookshelf at a second-hand store to replace the wire shelving. It is tall enough to fit two shelves of 9x12 music and have a little room on the top shelf for my shoes, organ bag and other odds and ends. Currently, all of my printed music fits on only one shelf. Having the printer on top of the bookcase is great. Any new music I print goes right on to the music desk (for me to play through) and then into an appropriate binder (after I make an entry for it in the database).

      I bought a few smaller binders (½" rings) to use for actively-playing/learning, small sight-reading performance volumes (church prelude, guitar campfire songs, etc.), or library expansion (sections that more than fill up one binder but don't fill up two). I also bought some bookends to keep thing organized.

      I updated my google sheets database to include all of the songs that I keep in pdf form on my computer or on cloud storage. The location column for those songs includes the path to the pdf file so that I can find it easier. If I print one of the pdfs then I copy the song info to a new row in the spreadsheet and change the location of the new version to match the hard copy location. That means there is plenty of duplication in the database but filtering by a particular song shows all of the different versions of that song and where each version is located.

      The big thing that I still need to do is put reference stickers on each of the page protectors that holds a whole song and put a matching sticker on the song itself. That way when I pull out a song to play or work on, I can leave the song's page protector in the binder and return the song to it when I get done with the song. I'll probably put together some Dewey-type numbering system (and add a column for that number in the database) I just haven't gotten around to figuring that one out yet.
      Last edited by samibe; 05-24-2019, 12:51 PM.
      Sam
      Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
      Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Sam,

        Your SS went off the side of the screenshot. I was wondering if you have a column for the numbering system of the composers (i.e. BWV, K, BuxV, etc.)?

        Michael

      • samibe
        samibe commented
        Editing a comment
        I don't. I don't have very many pieces that have those numbering systems, yet. Currently, I include it in the title or put it in the opus number column. The only info further to the right is publisher info, key (or at least the starting key), and part info. I do have several columns to tabulate all of the different instruments required for a piece. I also have a couple of columns to rate the song's difficulty and quality

      #4
      Man, you are COOKING. I've been wanting to get my printouts and other loose sheets in order and keep 'em that way -- closest I've come is making flimsy folders for such pieces out of 11x17 sheets of printer paper with one edge sticking up at tab level, and mixing them in with the general population. Hope you're making free, ample use of those invaluable small or skinny post-in notes known as page markers. Their uses are without limit. I'll be covering this in my organ music email zine -- if you'd like to be BCC'd PM me with your email address.

      Comment


        #5
        Several years back I created an Excel spreadsheet for my printed music library. I have columns for Title, Composer, Arranger, Instrument (organ or piano, or organ&piano duets) and the last column for the collection title. I can sort on any column easily. I presently have 5,832 titles in that Excel spreadsheet, and as I acquire additional resources I simply add them to the bottom of the list and then resort.

        My digital library (all PDF) that I've downloaded from IMSLP over the years is now at about 5.0 Gb (2,754 files in 473 folders.

        It's also super easy to move and PDF to my iPad Pro 12.9, which I used for all my church music ... hymns, liturgies, preludes, postludes, etc etc. And arranged by set lists for each Sunday service by date and time. Saves lugging around 5 huge binders and/or 2 suitcases of music for my weekend services.

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