Digitizing the band's library

jobriant

Active Member
I wouldn't worry about this [a standard file naming convention] at all. With an electronic system searching against any word within would find the title. I'd search for 'Poppins' in your example and it would make no difference what the preceding words in the file name were.

Still, you need a way to keep track of each title in the library, and you need a system for naming the files for that title in order, all in one folder. A large library will have literally thousands of files for thousands of individual parts. And until we all use digital music stands, the computer filing system must not conflict with the filing system for physical scores and parts. If all of this is not totally and completely organized, starting from day one, you will soon have a mess that will take longer to straighten out that it would have taken to do it right in the first place. Ask any professional Librarian or any Information Technology professional whether you need a standard filing system. The answer will be a resounding "Yes!"
 

4th Cornet

Well-Known Member
Still, you need a way to keep track of each title in the library, and you need a system for naming the files for that title in order, all in one folder. A large library will have literally thousands of files for thousands of individual parts. And until we all use digital music stands, the computer filing system must not conflict with the filing system for physical scores and parts. If all of this is not totally and completely organized, starting from day one, you will soon have a mess that will take longer to straighten out that it would have taken to do it right in the first place. Ask any professional Librarian or any Information Technology professional whether you need a standard filing system. The answer will be a resounding "Yes!"

Where did I suggest that a standard system wasn't required sir?
 
I currently have one PDF file for each title. The instrumental parts exist within that file in score order with full score coming last and the first page for each instrumental part is bookmarked with an appropriate name - e.g. "Trombone 1". Five years I went to the trouble of splitting it up into a separate PDF file for each instrumental part. That gave me a very large number of files . I was using the "Music Reader" program at that time for screen displays but two serious problems emerged. (1) Each time that I launched the "Music Reader" program it constructed an index of file names and attributes (e.g. composer, genre, key, difficulty level) and that process took longer and longer as I increased the number of files. Eventually there were too many files and "Music Reader" would no longer work. I now favour the program named "Mobile sheets" which can handle a large number of PDF files and find a particular instrumental part via the bookmark. Having one PDF file per title instead of one PDF file per instrumental parts is easier for me to manage and makes it much easier for me to assign attributes - e.g. Composer, Arranger, Genre, Degree of difficulty and more for each title. "Mobile Sheets" allows me to have multiple libraries instead of a single library. I have separate libraries for brass band, concert band, big band and quartet. "Music Reader" suits users of Android tablets or Microsoft Windows. "ForScore" for IPAD users has a good reputation.
 

ghost

Member
For anyone concerned about losing sheet music here is a really interesting link.

nkoda: sheet music on subscription

Nkoda have already digitalised a huge percentage of the world's music and they are soon going to be approaching the brass band publishers with a view to adding their music to their lists. It works a bit like Spotify where you can subscribe and then download as much as you like whenever you like from 7 platforms. Further, the system will allow for whole bands to have the individual parts on stands and the MD can make a change on the digital screen on his score and it goes out to all the other parts etc. In our digital age, this really has to be the future. Many top world orchestras are subscribing and endorsing this system. But individuals too can use this to download for training and teaching purposes etc.

The system was officially launched recently but it will in time be a source for all digital music. It makes sense that everyone has access to all music cheaply and that publishers (and in turn composers) also get a fair share.

See what you think but remember, they are only now just getting started with brass band music - interestingly Handel in the band is included in their library already!
 

4th Cornet

Well-Known Member
For anyone concerned about losing sheet music here is a really interesting link.

nkoda: sheet music on subscription

Nkoda have already digitalised a huge percentage of the world's music and they are soon going to be approaching the brass band publishers with a view to adding their music to their lists. It works a bit like Spotify where you can subscribe and then download as much as you like whenever you like from 7 platforms. Further, the system will allow for whole bands to have the individual parts on stands and the MD can make a change on the digital screen on his score and it goes out to all the other parts etc. In our digital age, this really has to be the future. Many top world orchestras are subscribing and endorsing this system. But individuals too can use this to download for training and teaching purposes etc.

The system was officially launched recently but it will in time be a source for all digital music. It makes sense that everyone has access to all music cheaply and that publishers (and in turn composers) also get a fair share.

See what you think but remember, they are only now just getting started with brass band music - interestingly Handel in the band is included in their library already!

I'm all for moving towards using digitised music, I use a tablet for my charts in a small group I play with.
For brass bands to adopt this however, there seem to be several hurdles to overcome...

1. Cost. It looks like nkoda costs £9.99 (per person?) per month. That's around £3000 per year based on 30 subscribers. I'd suggest this alone is a complete barrier for many bands. Maybe I've misunderstood the charging structure.
2. Devices. Many people will have a suitable tablet to use, however a number won't. I've no idea of the cost of a suitable spec device, but if we say £100 each, that's another outlay of around £3000 to equip a whole band plus ongoing replacement / updates.
3. Devices go wrong / members may have not downloaded the correct pieces for use offline. Back-ups would need to be considered (I have a paper copy as back up when using a tablet with my small group. I've never needed to use it yet, but wouldn't dare be without it). I couldn't see anything suggesting you could print parts from nkoda so spare tablets would need to be the answer.

It would be interesting to see how having access to pretty much any piece would change the behaviour of bands. Once you've committed to the large subscription, will there be a attitude to 'get ones's money worth' and flit from one piece to another without focusing on working it up to a level of quality.
 

ghost

Member
I'm all for moving towards using digitised music, I use a tablet for my charts in a small group I play with.
For brass bands to adopt this however, there seem to be several hurdles to overcome...

1. Cost. It looks like nkoda costs £9.99 (per person?) per month. That's around £3000 per year based on 30 subscribers. I'd suggest this alone is a complete barrier for many bands. Maybe I've misunderstood the charging structure.
2. Devices. Many people will have a suitable tablet to use, however a number won't. I've no idea of the cost of a suitable spec device, but if we say £100 each, that's another outlay of around £3000 to equip a whole band plus ongoing replacement / updates.
3. Devices go wrong / members may have not downloaded the correct pieces for use offline. Back-ups would need to be considered (I have a paper copy as back up when using a tablet with my small group. I've never needed to use it yet, but wouldn't dare be without it). I couldn't see anything suggesting you could print parts from nkoda so spare tablets would need to be the answer.

It would be interesting to see how having access to pretty much any piece would change the behaviour of bands. Once you've committed to the large subscription, will there be a attitude to 'get ones's money worth' and flit from one piece to another without focusing on working it up to a level of quality.

I am not by any means an expert on this system but I can answer a few of the points very simply:

Cost: an organisation will get a charge per month but (I understand) it will be reasonable ie hundreds perhaps but not thousands. Given that many bands spend that and more now, it gives them far better value than at present.
Printing: I understand that printing is perfectly possible.
Re-printing: you can re-print and re-download as many times as you wish so you can have your tablet and also paper copies in case a tablet breaks down.
Access is unlimited to all their music and I see they have over 30 million pieces (if I have read it right) already.

There would be a cost of getting the hardware - that is true but the savings for a band which currently buys a great deal of music would probably offset that cost. Also, I understand that it will link to peoples own tablets and most people do have them these days. I really like the fact that you can write in different markings if that is what you wish to do, on the screen and it is 'absorbed' by the machine in to the music. There is an immediate advantage here: when the MD tells the 16 people at rehearsal to change the music to (for example) leave the crescendo until the last two beats of the bar, then all parts can be updated at the same time. How many times have us regular attenders had to hear that same instruction 4 times until everyone has been there and heard it and written it on their parts.

Anyway, i am not trying to sell this system, but I had a good look and I think that it looks a good bet to move forward. After all, I stopped buying CD's years ago and when I did, some of my friends thought the new downloading format would not work - but for many, probably the vast majority and growing year on year, downloading audio music is now the norm. I suspect digital music will go the same way.

Interestingly there is also a community page where people can reach others, discuss, learn etc about music. Seems like a potentially great tool. Cheers!
 

4th Cornet

Well-Known Member
I am not by any means an expert on this system but I can answer a few of the points very simply:

Cost: an organisation will get a charge per month but (I understand) it will be reasonable ie hundreds perhaps but not thousands. Given that many bands spend that and more now, it gives them far better value than at present.
Printing: I understand that printing is perfectly possible.
Re-printing: you can re-print and re-download as many times as you wish so you can have your tablet and also paper copies in case a tablet breaks down.
Access is unlimited to all their music and I see they have over 30 million pieces (if I have read it right) already.

There would be a cost of getting the hardware - that is true but the savings for a band which currently buys a great deal of music would probably offset that cost. Also, I understand that it will link to peoples own tablets and most people do have them these days. I really like the fact that you can write in different markings if that is what you wish to do, on the screen and it is 'absorbed' by the machine in to the music. There is an immediate advantage here: when the MD tells the 16 people at rehearsal to change the music to (for example) leave the crescendo until the last two beats of the bar, then all parts can be updated at the same time. How many times have us regular attenders had to hear that same instruction 4 times until everyone has been there and heard it and written it on their parts.

Anyway, i am not trying to sell this system, but I had a good look and I think that it looks a good bet to move forward. After all, I stopped buying CD's years ago and when I did, some of my friends thought the new downloading format would not work - but for many, probably the vast majority and growing year on year, downloading audio music is now the norm. I suspect digital music will go the same way.

Interestingly there is also a community page where people can reach others, discuss, learn etc about music. Seems like a potentially great tool. Cheers!

Well if the pricing and printing capability is as you suggest then this does sound like a direction to encourage.
 

4th Cornet

Well-Known Member
There is an article on 4barsrest on this system last week with their review at this link: Looking for music? Then look no further than nkoda
I hope that this link works...It seems to come through as a narrative.... You may need to hover over it.

Thanks. I had seen this before, but I only see a sales-pitch article and no review. Am I missing something?

One comment on the article that fascinated me "...meaning musicians need no longer battle their practice room's Wi-Fi." Practice room what? Is WiFi common place in band rooms? Not from my experience. Makes me wonder how in-touch they really are with the reality of brass bands.

I'd suggest that for many bands, parts would need to be downloaded by individuals at home. Contingency plans (printed copies / spare tablets) would need to be available for those who couldn't, wouldn't or forgot to download.
I have a real concern that the technology (at least for some considerable time) will be a time-consuming distraction and steal time from music-making.
 
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ghost

Member
Thanks. I had seen this before, but I only see a sales-pitch article and no review. Am I missing something?

One comment on the article that fascinated me "...meaning musicians need no longer battle their practice room's Wi-Fi." Practice room what? Is WiFi common place in band rooms? Not from my experience. Makes me wonder how in-touch they really are with the reality of brass bands.

I'd suggest that for many bands, parts would need to be downloaded by individuals at home. Contingency plans (printed copies / spare tablets) would need to be available for those who couldn't, wouldn't or forgot to download.
I have a real concern that the technology (at least for some considerable time) will be a time-consuming distraction and steal time from music-making.

Well certainly, like with most innovations I would see this starting with the high end outfits and filtering down ( just like it is in the orchestral world). Whilst you may be right and only time will tell, I don's see printing as an issue and as for spare paper copies, well we still have these problems now eg when someone goes on holiday and takes the music folder with them - except with a digital system you can simply print off another at no cost at any time!

This system will also work really well for schools who need to download music for students.

I suppose that as with all new things, we have to change the way we think and approach processes. But whether it will be this system or another, I cannot see music groups using un-digitalised sheet music exclusively in years to come.

Finally, how nice it will be to play a test piece which has been played before by the band, without loads of illegible scrawl on the part by whoever was sat in your seat the last time it was played, relating to instructions from a different MD who wanted it very differently to the current MD etc etc etc - and that new clean copy would be free to download under the subscription..... Its worth waiting to see how many of the vast number of brass band publishers move over to this system (or another - and there might be a few along challenging NKoda soon as happens with all new innovations) and then trying it. I wouldn't get too hung up about the tablet side - that is the ultimate use as I read it - its a great thing though to be able to log on somewhere and just print off one part - or a lot of parts without having to order it and pay and wait for the postman.....

In the meantime, I will go home and take out some old, brown, torn, water-stained piece dating back to 1964 which the band have taken out for the concert this autumn - you know the piece - the one with the bit missing from page 3 just before J..... :)
 

jobriant

Active Member
Where did I suggest that a standard system wasn't required sir?

Raymond Morris wrote: "You should decide upon a standard file naming convention before you start the project. ..."

You replied, "I wouldn't worry about this at all. "

Perhaps I mis-interpreted your comment. If so please explain more clearly.
 

4th Cornet

Well-Known Member
Raymond Morris wrote: "You should decide upon a standard file naming convention before you start the project. ..."

You replied, "I wouldn't worry about this at all. "

Perhaps I mis-interpreted your comment. If so please explain more clearly.

Some people might file "The best of Mary Poppins" under "T" for "The", others under "B" for "best" and others under "M" for "Mary". Personally I consistently drop a leading "The " and file it under whatever comes next.

It was this part that I meant I wouldn't worry about. I would personally include the whole published title to ensure absolute integrity and good results if searching for an exact title. However, if another librarian did drop the 'The', whilst it would irritate perfectionists, the system wouldn't break.
 

jobriant

Active Member
Some people might file "The best of Mary Poppins" under "T" for "The", others under "B" for "best" and others under "M" for "Mary". Personally I consistently drop a leading "The " and file it under whatever comes next.

It was this part that I meant I wouldn't worry about. [i.e., the part about whether to file pieces based on grammatical articles such as "The," "A," "An," etc. at the beginning of the title.]

Yes, I did misunderstand your intent. I do believe, however, that the system that libraries use -- NOT filing things based on these articles. It will help the next librarian know where things are because they'll probably expect things to have been done to accepted standards.
 

4th Cornet

Well-Known Member
Yes, I did misunderstand your intent. I do believe, however, that the system that libraries use -- NOT filing things based on these articles. It will help the next librarian know where things are because they'll probably expect things to have been done to accepted standards.

To be fair, my comment was misleading by copying that first sentence in error.

If I were creating a system from scratch, I'd leave music titles out of file names and give them a unique ID, 0001,0002, 0003 etc. and remove any ability to find them without searching a database to locate the number. This removes constraints and self-imposed complications when trying to classify and name within the file name.
Overloading data fields is a trap that businesses fall in to, believing that they are creating ease, but in fact constraining the future.
 

jobriant

Active Member
If I were creating a system from scratch, I'd leave music titles out of file names and give them a unique ID, 0001,0002, 0003 etc. and remove any ability to find them without searching a database to locate the number.

We give each title a unique ID number, as you recommend, but we include the title in the filename. Since we're The Pacific Brass Band, we use PBB-00001 Two Bach Chorales, PBB-00002 Band Demo on Sandon, etc. Our highest number is currently PBB-00635 Battle Cry of Freedom, The.

These file numbers apply to both Public Domain music that's scanned and to music still under copyright, for which we have only the printed sheet music; we file the music envelopes by ID number and list them in numerical order on an Excel file, which is searchable (as you described in your first reply on this thread). The spreadsheet does have lots of fields for each title: File #, Title, Composer, Year of Composition, Arranger, Year of Arrangement, Style, Performance Time, a "Notes" field (used to keep track of what's been scanned and what hasn't etc.), and then fields to tell us what parts we have, and what parts might be missing. The latter fields are important to us in the USA because many of our Baritone, Trombone, Euphonium and Bass players read only Bass Clef, which is standard in American Wind Bands. Thus, these fields tell us whether we still need to make the necessary bass clef parts for these instruments. These fields also tell us at a glance what the percussion requirements are for each title.
 
I am looking into scanning our band's very extensive library of music. We have a vast amount of music, some of which is old, rare, and/or irreplaceable. Has anyone had any experience of companies that will do this in a sympathetic fashion? Some is very fragile, so it isn't all a case of putting it through a scanner on block. We want to make sure we preserve our music should the worst happen....
I know it won't be cheap, and am looking into grant funding. And it would need to be a company that would come out and do this on site.
Any leads would be appreciated.
Here are some reasons why it is not feasible to engage of print shop to feed band music into a scanner via a magazine.
1. Some pages are very old and fragile and these have to be carefully hand fed.
2. Multiple pages exist on large folded sheets of paper that have to be individually unfolded and hand fed.
3. A variety of paper sizes exist.

Look for a retired musician, preferably with band librarian experience, who has lots of spare time. Rent a scanner that can handle oversize pages. Pay your volunteer a modest fee for scanning your library.

Regarding copyright.
Your old sheet music will likely be out of copyright. Some countries have given copyright until 70 years after death since long ago but other countries gave copyright for 50 years after death but in 1996 those countries (U.K. and Australia) standardized on 70 years after death. The publisher's copyright lasts for a few decades after the publishing date. What we need is a database of published band music so that everyone can search that database via the Internet to find out whether a particular piece of music is out of copyright. The writer is unaware of any such database.
 

jobriant

Active Member
.... Regarding copyright. ... Rent a scanner that can handle oversize pages. ...

Or buy one. In the USA, at least, they're not that expensive. We use an Epson WF-7510; I think the current model is the WF 7520. It will scan and print American 11" x 17" paper, and European A3 paper. It's available at prices ranging from $200 - $250 (US Dollars).

... Some countries have given copyright until 70 years after death since long ago but other countries gave copyright for 50 years after death but in 1996 those countries (U.K. and Australia) standardized on 70 years after death. The publisher's copyright lasts for a few decades after the publishing date. ...

For music published in the USA, copyright subsists for 95 years from the copyright date. ON January 1 of 2019, music first copyrighted in 1924 will enter the Public Domain. Starting with music published (I think) in about 1995, some musical compositions will remain under copyright for 125 years rather than 95.

Jim O'Briant, Music Director / Staff Arranger
The Pacific Brass Band, Salinas, California, USA
www.PacificBrassBand.org
 

Queeg2000

Active Member
On a slight tangent regarding copyright, what happens if a new arrangement of an out of copyright tune is published?

Is the new arrangement subject to copyright? If so does the arranger gain rights to the original piece too?

Then you get band arrangements of current pop songs. If for arguments sake Frank Baernarts arranges an Ed Sheeran song and a band want to record it, who do they need to get permission from, Baernarts, Sheeran, the publisher?

Then to mix both scenarios, what if the pop song was a rehash of an old out of copyright tune? Is it copyright protected at all, if so, who has the rights?
 

jobriant

Active Member
On a slight tangent regarding copyright, what happens if a new arrangement of an out of copyright tune is published?

Is the new arrangement subject to copyright? If so does the arranger gain rights to the original piece too?

A new arrangement is copyrightable, but the arranger does not gain rights to the Public Domain original. If I score (for example) Beethoven's Fifth Symphony for Brass Band, I (or my publisher) can copyright my arrangement. But neither my publisher nor I will own copyright on Beethoven's work. If you want to right a re-arrangement of my arrangement, you must first obtain permission from me or my publisher, whoever owns the copyright on it. If you want to write your own arrangement based on Beethoven's original composition, you need no permission to do so and you can copyright your arrangement.

Then you get band arrangements of current pop songs. If for arguments sake Frank Baernarts arranges an Ed Sheeran song and a band want to record it, who do they need to get permission from, Baernarts, Sheeran, the publisher?

I can only speak to US Copyright on this one. In the USA, publishing rights, performance rights and recording rights (and the royalties paid for eacy) are all handled differently. It your example, US performance royalties would be paid to one of the performing arts associations, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers) or BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated). The royalties are based on the seating capacity of the performance venue. If a band wants to record a piece, no permission is needed to produce and distribute the recording IF there has been a previous recording of the same piece. The royalties are established by law and are paid based on the number of copies of the recording which are produced.

Then to mix both scenarios, what if the pop song was a rehash of an old out of copyright tune? Is it copyright protected at all, if so, who has the rights?

The new arrangement is copyrightable by the arranger or the publisher.

DISCLAIMER #1: I am not a copyright attorney nor an intellectual property attorney.

DISCLAIMER #2: I have a pretty good understanding of US copyright law. Laws in other countries differ. Most countries are signatories to the Berne Convention, under which each country agrees to honor the copyright laws of each other signatory country.

Jim O'Briant, Music Director / Staff Arranger
The Pacific Brass Band, Salinas, California, USA
www.PacificBrassBand.org
 

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