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File and Project Organization
I had the unpleasant task recently of trying to go through 8 drafts of the same piece and figuring out which one to keep...I am really bad about keeping track of changes I make, and being organized. ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED.

I have asked other composers and they are no help at all. Most of them say they struggle with the same thing, or just delete all old versions. The problem is that I take time to commit to one idea, so I like to keep the other drafts until I have decided for sure. However, sometimes a lot of time has gone by since then and I can't remember what was unique about a past draft.  Or, I may have the same piece arranged for different voices/instruments, so there are slight changes to the arrangement (i.e. give the piano runs to the flute and change the piano accompaniment to adapt). Any advice on this? Where do you note things? I can be taught new tricks, just need ideas of what will be the easiest method.

What I ended up doing was opening them all up using the tile feature and then shrinking them down to one measure width, and then going through them all measure by measure... sigh. It seemed like the best option without me losing my mind completely and flipping back and forth between full size scores where I kept losing my place! I haven't completely recovered but I was able to delete all but 2 drafts.

I have rearranged my computer files several times to try different ways of organizing my projects. Also, I print off drafts of the scores. Is there a way to print dates on the scores to help keep up with the changes? Or another way to keep track? I have been putting a number in the title and that helps somewhat.

I have a big unwieldy binder divided by Choral, Piano, Vocal, Instrument then subdivided by current, in process, complete, source material. Then I have a smaller binder that is just alphabetical and regardless of genre or voice, it gets filed under the title if I am still working on it at the piano or in reading session. Then when the piece is finished it is supposed to go back to the big binder. (Not always done to be honest) I'm not sure which way is better. I probably should change the big binder to alphabetical since I have different versions of the same piece all over that binder and it makes me feel unorganized.

I'd love to hear how others are staying organized and on track. I know we all work differently but ideas would be helpful. I apologize if some of the answers seem obvious. I am technically challenged.

Thanks and Happy New Year to all!

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #1
One trick that may be useful to you is Google Drive. If you upload a new file with the same name as an existing file, Google Drive's default behavior is to assume that it's a new version. You can go back to the other versions at any time, but you see only the latest cluttering up your folder.
Sincerely,
Francis Beaumier
Green Bay, WI

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #2
Also, I print off drafts of the scores. Is there a way to print dates on the scores to help keep up with the changes? Or another way to keep track? I have been putting a number in the title and that helps somewhat.
If you view File Info (File > Info... or Ctrl-I) you'll notice that there are Copyright Notice 1 and 2 fields, which print at the bottom of the first page. However, you can put whatever you like in those boxes, such as a score date or revision number. Also, you can use the Comments box on that dialog to put other special notes. The Comments field is not printed on the score, while the other fields are, if you have Title Page Info checked under Page Setup.

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #3
Empathy from this quarter. I'm in the process of trying to decide which beginning I want to extend into a complete piano quartet, choosing among a couple of dozen starts I've made over the last ten years. My file system is pretty scattershot, so it's not been easy. Two tools you may not have thought of: one is NWC's "file history" window ("History" in the File menu, or "File History" in the MRU window that opens from the file-folder icon in the lower LH corner). This is the only spot I'm aware of in NWC where the complete file paths to recently opened files are displayed, and it goes back a very long way - mine currently has 66 files in it. The second tool is a good file duplicate finder. I use FileGuru, but there are others. Getting rid of identical files placed in different folders is a necessary step in the process you and I are both going through right now.

My basic organization is by chamber music, choral music, orchestral music, solos and duets, and songs. There are subfolders in each category for things like string quartets, piano solos, songs with chamber accompaniment, etc. I also have separate folders for recently performed works and for sketches, although I'm not sure either of those is useful. I decided this morning to eliminate my "current projects" folder, as I hadn't actually been using it - just going to the type of music the project would normally be filed under, such as "/solos and duets/piano"

Dunno if this helps, other than the comfort of knowing that you're not alone.

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #4
If you view File Info (File > Info... or Ctrl-I) you'll notice that there are Copyright Notice 1 and 2 fields ... such as a score date ...
When working diligently, I do exactly this, using a format like date1/date2(info), where
  • date1 is the "major version"; if it changes, the result is no longer compatible with the previous on;
  • date2 is a "bug fix" where e.g. some instrument/voice or some text changed, but everything is still compatible with the date1 version.
Example:
     Copyright © 4.6./1.10.2017(T) Harald M. Müller
is an arrangement from June 4th, where the tenor was changed on October first. If I do not forget it, I record the change in the Comments field.

I put the copyright on every page (with PageTxt) - only then can I be sure in our choir which version someone has in his or her hands, possibly claiming that "this must be the most recent score!" (implying all others, some 30 people, of course do have the wrong version).

With "creative/explorative work", there is no such linear bureaucracy - there I scribble notes into some text file (or on some paper which I scan afterwards) and hope that when I restart I can disentangle what I wanted to do ...

H.M.

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #5
I simply use "Save As".  songname-Vn and increment n as required.

This gives me a set of historical files with incremental version numbers in the filename.

I use directories (folders) to segregate by whatever criteria I think appropriate.  E.G. files for use at church go under a directory called by my church name.

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #6
Hey thanks to everyone who chimed in. I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone.

It would be cool to have a search feature where you could highlight a passage and nwc would find all the files that have it. Really useful for when you realize that you've copied an error multiple times in multiple documents.
Is that possible? Also synchronized scrolling like when you have multiple Word documents open would be good.

I'm trying the dated version in the copyright section to see how that works for me on current documents. I haven't worked up the courage to face the binder file rearrangement yet. Blah.

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #7
I have realized that at some point in the past, entire song files were deleted from my computer. Hours of work wasted!!!! I am not even sure how that happens.  I must have had them highlighted by accident when I was doing some deleting or reorganizing.

But I can't even get my nwc notifications to show up in my email, so clearly there are some technical challenges.

Thankfully, I have hard copies of scores to use as templates to re-engrave. Blah. Let me encourage you to always have a printed copy of your scores just in case something strange like that happens to you.

Sadly,
SEBC


Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #8
I'm revisiting this thread to say that the struggle is real. I am still fighting disorganization.

3 things that sort of help are:

1. An alphabetical spreadsheet that I update with titles, instrumentation, key, genre, when finished and when performed (and with whom). It doesn't show all the works in progress or ideas/fragments though. Those are a hot mess of chaos.

2. A Word document organized by instrumentation with just titles and dates

3. A CV list of works that includes the titles, dates and the performance information (so a bit of a combo of 1 and 2)

I never did become diligent about labelling drafts by dates, or numbers. It resulted in two embarrassing moments this year - one, in a rehearsal at the university, the soloist had the wrong draft (his fault, and we quickly found the updated one that I had emailed to him) but then I discovered there was an even newer update. Did it matter? Yes, because the pianist had the most current version. The only way we figured it out was when problems occurred in rehearsal. Version numbers in the title would have overcome this issue, and keeping better track of which version was the final one.

Second embarrassing moment: after a concert, I asked the soloist why she had sung the wrong lyrics in one phrase of a piece, and she showed me her score. She did not have the lyric change. Did it matter? Yes, I had changed the lyrics for a reason but I had not sent her the update.

It's just unprofessional and disorderly, and I feel stupid. I will try again.

In the meantime, has anyone else come up with any more good organizational tips for their composition/engraving work?







Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #9
Quote
has anyone else come up with any more good organizational tips for their composition/engraving work?

You could include the version number and the date printed in the first empty Copyright Notice field or print to PDF and use your PDF program to include this info so the musicians have a visual check during your rehearsals.

One wrinkle, I tried entering the info in Copyright Notice 2 but it would't display in Print Preview until I wrote something in Copyright Notice 1 too.

 

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #10
I use Eric's PageTxtMaestro to place lots of information in the "Page Number" location.  I use information stored in the comments section of the File Info dialogue. 
E.G a typical File Info: Comments section might contain:
Key: C
TotalPages: /1
TotalPianoPages: /?
TotalConductorPages: /?

And a typical "PgTxt: PageNumber" object might contain the following:
%Title% - in %Comment,Key% - %StaffLabel% - Page %PageNum,1%%Comment,TotalPages%

%Title% returns the song title
%Comment,Key% returns the contents of Key: from the comments section
%StaffLabel% returns the staff label of the staff being printed
%PageNum% returns the current page number
%Comment,TotalPages% returns the contents of TotalPages: from the comments section.

This gives me a header in the page number location that tells me the song title, the key, the page number ant the total pages of the part being printed.  E.G.:
Jingle Bells - in C - Trom2 - Page 1/1

The one thing I can't seem to automagically obtain is the file name.  I can use lot's of parameters, but the filename seems to be unavailable.  Of course, I could create an entry in the comments section with the version details, but as I'm already putting that information in the filename I'd kinda like to be able to use the filename in a PgeTxt object and save having to remember to update the version information in the File Info dialogue.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #11
I am underutilizing pagetextmaestro and need to take  time to think and plan what to include on my scores.

Thanks for the tip about the PDF dates. That might be the solution. I need something preset so I don't have to rely on a faulty memory. 

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #12
I use Eric's PageTxtMaestro to place lots of information in the "Page Number" location.  I use information stored in the comments section of the File Info dialogue. 

I have been experimenting with  adding more information to the score using PageTxtMaestro. I'm having a couple of problems:

I can't seem to get the title to load.

I would like the heading to indicate full score, but I need clarinet to show up on the score print out. But I need the top stave to say "full score" to make the header show "full score".

I'm uploading the first couple of measures so you can see what might be the issue.

Also, I didn't find a simple solution for adding the date to the score, but I found a Stamp in Adobe that I can add after the final print out using PDFCreator which says "Revised" with the date and time. It is one extra step but I think it is the simplest extra step for me. PDF forge doesn't seem to include the ability to include date in the free version of PDFCreator.

Thanks for your help,

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #13
I have been experimenting with  adding more information to the score using PageTxtMaestro. I'm having a couple of problems:

I can't seem to get the title to load.

You can't have two PgTxt objects if the same kind on the staff - the latter will always override the earlier one - in my attachment I've deleted the first PgTxt: Title and edited the second

Quote
I would like the heading to indicate full score, but I need clarinet to show up on the score print out. But I need the top stave to say "full score" to make the header show "full score".

In the example I've attached I edited the PgTxt: PageNamber object to use the words "Full Score" instead of the %StaffLabel% variable and blanked the staff label in the staff properties of your conductor staff.
Quote
I'm uploading the first couple of measures so you can see what might be the issue.

Also, I didn't find a simple solution for adding the date to the score, but I found a Stamp in Adobe that I can add after the final print out using PDFCreator which says "Revised" with the date and time. It is one extra step but I think it is the simplest extra step for me. PDF forge doesn't seem to include the ability to include date in the free version of PDFCreator.

Thanks for your help,
I know of no way to add operating system file metadata to PageTxtMaestro objects - sorry.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #14
Thanks for your help. Is there any way to get the main title larger? At present, it is showing up as the same size as the subtitles (instrumentation).

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #15
On occasion I also use a couple of other custom variables in the Authoring Info|Comments field.  Like "SubTitle"...

When you add a PageText object you are prompted for a style.  Among the options are:
<new> and <once>  Select <new> and put %Comment,SubTitle% into the text field, or alternatively just put the text you need in there, name the style SubTitle, set the display font and size, set X axis to Center and adjust the Y offset, and voila
Probably good to set the Page Display Control to "Once" and the Block Alignment to "Center"

If you are going to use this kind of object a lot I'd suggest adding it to your favourite template and then setting the variables in the Authoring Info|Comments field.  In which case the text you need to add becomes:
%Comment,SubTitle%%br%%Comment,SubTitle2%
and in this case the text in the variables is: SubTitle: For Bb Clarinet, Trumpet, and SubTitle2: Tenor Sax and Tuba"

Unfortunately I don't know how to cause a break in the Authoring Info|Comments section to avoid having to use multiple variables.

Check out the sample attached

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #16

I've had some success in the past with PgTxt.nw, but I'm now an infrequent user (3 or 4 times a year),  I don't remember what worked and what didn't, the last times I used the object.  I remember being very happy with it last fall.  But now I'm struggling.

I think there are too many unexplained variables in the PgTxtMaestro and PgTxt.nw dialogue boxes to use them efficiently. 

Are the object variables documented somewhere so the user can see what each means without killing an hour or more to figure out how to do something that can be done in minutes with ordinary text entries? 

If there is documentation, does it actually explain awkwardities such as Laurie points out?
Quote
You can't have two PgTxt objects if the same kind on the staff - the latter will always override the earlier one


Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #17
There is a sample score named PageTxtMaestro.nwc, which has been a useful example to refer to when I've wanted to use these objects. I assume you are aware that there is help documentation on the Properties screen, specifically for PageTxt.nw. You click the '?' in the title bar, and then click on one of the available fields, and it gives more details on how that field is used. The help info for the "Text" field lists the various special variables, including %Title%, %Author%. etc.

Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #18
Thanks, Mike.  My problem with the question mark was I clicked it on the field names instead of inside the fields themselves.

The PageTxtMaestro.nwc sample score is very helpful, too. I had forgotten it existed if I ever new.  It wasn't super hard to find.

d




Re: File and Project Organization
Reply #19
If you are going to use this kind of object a lot I'd suggest adding it to your favourite template and then setting the variables in the Authoring Info|Comments field.


Lawrie, thanks for your help with this back in the fall! I have been using this regularly now and it has actually been very helpful to keeping me organized at rehearsal when managing multiple scores for multiple musicians and compositions. I'm off now to add it to my templates.