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How to organize my music - newbie to Android and MobileSheets
#1
Sorry for the very dumb and basic question here, but I am new to Android and to Mobilesheets.  I just got a Boox Max-2 e-ink device and put Mobilesheets Pro on it.  My first time using Android and using Mobilesheets.  I am trying to figure out how to organize the large music collection I have.  I am in several ensembles and an orchestra, and so have a large collection of music in parts (with score) that I need to organize.  On Dropbox i have them all neatly in nested folders - a set of top-level folders one for each ensemble, below that a set of folders for genre (baroque, renaissance, modern, etc), and below that one folder for each piece, and inside that folder are pdf's one per part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass, keyboard, score, etc.).  I don't see how to do that on MobileSheets if i have the app manage the library.  Is there a clean way to have nested categories like this?  I'm probably missing something basic here -- I'm still going thru the manual and getting confused.

Thanks for any pointers.  I hate to import 400 pdf's only to find I've done it totally wrong and have to start over...

-Dan
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#2
Hello Dan,

As you've noticed, MobileSheetsPro isn't really designed around the file system in the sense that you can't have nested folders with a deep heirarchy in the app itself. You can certainly store your files that way if you choose, but you have to go to Settings->Storage and uncheck "Let MobileSheets Manage My Files". You would also need to copy all of your files/folders off Dropbox onto the device first before importing the files (otherwise MobileSheetsPro would just copy those files into its own storage location). The application is designed to work without an active internet connection, so I don't allow links to files on the cloud. The files must exist on the device itself.

So assuming you copy all of your files/folders off Dropbox onto the device, the next step is to import all of the files. You have many ways of going about this, but this would be my recommendation:

1) Use Import->Batch Import to pull in all of the files at once
2) On the Batch Import dialog, Check the "Populate Metadata from Directories" checkbox, and then provide a format string that matches your directory structure. So you could do something like:

%COLLECTION%/%GENRE%/%SOURCE%

That would put each ensemble into a separate collection, and each piece would be stored under Source. You could use the "Custom Group" field and rename it under Settings->Library Settings->Custom Group Name to something different if you prefer that.

3) Uncheck "Auto-crop" pages if you don't want all of your files to be cropped. The import will be much faster if you do this, and you can always crop your files later to remove margins.
4) Tap "Start" at the top righ to begin the import.

Once you've imported the files, all of the metadata fields you selected during the batch import should be populated in the songs that were created. You can go to the collections tab, tap on an Ensemble and see all of the songs under that ensemble. If you want to view Source or Instrument, go to Settings->Library Settings->Tab Order and add that tab to the list of tabs that are displayed. Once you do that, go to that tab, tap on the piece, and you will see the list of songs for that piece.  You can also use the search field at the top to search for any keyword (ensemble, genre, piece, song title, etc). 

So you might be concerned because you've lost all the layers of heirarchy you had before. You can still accomplish nearly the same level of filtering in MobileSheetsPro by combining filter selections. For example, tap the Collection dropdown, and you can pick one or more ensembles that you want displayed. Now any tab you go to will only show songs from one of those ensembles. Next, you could filter further by picking a genre, instrument, etc from the dropdowns at the top of the library screen. You can tap the circle at the right side of the filter bar to show additional filters if you want to select one that isn't part of the default list. 

The reason I don't support deep heirarchies is because they are tedious and slow to navigate through. With MobileSheets, I want users to be able to find their songs as quickly as possible, and having to navigate through folders gets in the way of doing that (otherwise you aren't much better off than just using a file explorer to search through folders, find your files and load them into a viewer). While folders can help with organization, I believe for most users, it's much faster to just filter on a couple fields to find the songs they want. Setting up setlists is really important for this as you can find the songs and group them together beforehand so that they are ready to go when you need to perform.  Let me know if you believe the app will work for what you are trying to do. If not, we can discuss potential changes or I'm happy to give you a refund if you don't think the app will work for you.

Mike
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#3
Great reply, thank you very much!  I will try it how you suggest.  I'm fine with using filtering instead of file hierarchies.  I think my situation is a bit atypical, because I am storing separate parts as PDFs for a single piece under a folder, so when I look at a single piece I see 5 individual PDFs (or maybe even 20 in the case of my orchestra).  If I understand you correctly, I can't use filters to display just all the "pieces" (i.e., lowest level folders, not individual PDFs) within an ensemble\genre "folder", I would always see all the individual PDFs for all the pieces under that ensemble\genre.  Is that correct?

I'm not saying I can't get it to work, or it won't be useful to me.  I'm just trying to understand how to organize things.  Even the best tools need some training/adaptation on the user's to get full utility out of them!

So far I'm very impressed with MobileSheets, and I think all the members of at least one of my ensembles are going to "go digital", buy their own copies, and start using it.

-Dan
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#4
Dan,

At the moment, yes, you are going to see all of the individual pieces. There is one piece missing in MobileSheetsPro to be able to help you filter out instruments you don't want to see - the ability to either populate metadata from the filename using a matching format string, or the ability to create multiple versions of one song with a different instrument in each (and a switch to change which instrument you want to see which would drive which version is automatically selected). I have solutions for both of those planned, but at the moment, you would have to manually edit each song and assign a piece of metadata you could filter on. For example, if you use custom group for instrument (or source type), you could then edit each song under a piece and add the instrument for that particular song/PDF. Then if you just filter on instrument using the dropdown in the filter bar, and your library would only show songs/PDFs for that particular instrument. I do apologize that I don't have a better solution in place for handling this at the moment, as I realize that is going to be tedious and a fair amount of work if you have a large number of PDFs. Having said that, if you have uniquely named all of your songs to include instrument in the title, there are a few tricks you can use to speed this up:

1) Type in the instrument in the filter box at the top. Only songs with that instrument in their title should be shown. You can tap the dropdown next to the search bar and limit it to title if the instrument name might show up in any other piece of metadata and you want to be explicit.
2) Long press one to start selection mode, tap the select all button in the floating toolbar at the bottom right, then tap "Edit Songs" at the top of the screen
3) Add a piece of metadata to uniquely identify them all (i.e. source/custom group/etc)
4) Tap OK to save the changes

This obviously depends upon your songs being named a certain way, but if you are lucky enough to have them all named in such a way that you can filter on them all quickly, then this shouldn't take you very long to fix at all.

Mike
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#5
Thanks, Mike!  I'll give all this a try this weekend and see how it works out.

-Dan
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#6
Sorry to disturb in this topic, I have my android tablet back after 1 year and I am trying to reset my music on msp. 
2 questions: I remember that is possible having a big PDF songbook put page markers so to get to the desired song without having to split it. How to do this? Do you have to load the full PDF for every song? Thanks, Simone
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#7
Any suggestion to my previous question?

Thanks a lot
Simone
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#8
Simone,

One option is to use bookmarks. Load the song, tap the center to bring up the song overlay, then tap the second icon from the left at the bottom right for the bookmarks window. You can then bookmark each song in the large PDF. The full PDF document is always loaded, but only the pages that need to be rendered are actually loaded.

If you want to create multiple songs from that one PDF (which makes organizing your library a lot easier), check out the quick guide https://www.zubersoft.com/mobilesheets/M...oQuick.pdf section on breaking up large PDFs.

Mike
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#9
(12-28-2018, 04:19 AM)Zuberman Wrote: Simone,

One option is to use bookmarks. Load the song, tap the center to bring up the song overlay, then tap the second icon from the left at the bottom right for the bookmarks window. You can then bookmark each song in the large PDF. The full PDF document is always loaded, but only the pages that need to be rendered are actually loaded.

If you want to create multiple songs from that one PDF (which makes organizing your library a lot easier), check out the quick guide https://www.zubersoft.com/mobilesheets/M...oQuick.pdf section on breaking up large PDFs.

Mike

SUPER!!! thanks a lot

Simone
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#10
Hello @all,

I guess I am in a similar situation as Dan, the original thread starter: Multiple bands, multiple genres, some pieces played from more than one band, pieces being transposed or otherwise modified for some, but not all bands, ...

A specific difference is my relation to a (Linux) PC, with MuseScore as origin of many variations, which is the administrative core of my music sheets library. At the moment I try to work out a sensible organization of files hierarchies to reflect the various interrelations and multiplicities of the individual pieces but have not yet succeeded. But I assume my core structuring means will be the setting of hard links, so variations of existing pieces will be reflected in different places automatically even after modifying only one of the hardlinked targets.

I guess I have to cope with a basically unidirectional export to the Android device with MSP on it. But at least I would like to re-import some newly created snippets or some annotated PDF files back to the PC, to maintain my basic library there as reference. My main problem now is that I didn't find the place on the Android tablet where snippets, that represent some work I have input in their definition, are stored so I can pull them back to the PC.

Main problem now: where are these modified flies stored? Or do I need to export each file individually into a (favourably) separate file hiearchy?

Kind regards,
Peta
Playing classical music on a wind controller hobby-wise - and tired of carrying around tons of paper sheets.  Wink
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#11
Snippets aren't stored separately from the original file they reference. If you edit the song, go to the files tab and long press on the file, you can see the path to it on the file system. If you want to export the snippet/song into a new PDF with annotations embedded in it, then you will need to use the Share->Export files option to create that PDF. 

Mike
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#12
(06-14-2019, 07:11 AM)Petra-Kathi Wrote: I guess I have to cope with a basically unidirectional export to the Android device with MSP on it.

That is exactly what I have been doing from day one and what I would advise to everyone. A PC is much better suited to maintain/organise collections of music, and much less liable to get stolen, lost, or damaged. This is assuming you always make backups of the PC data -- which we all do, of course.

On the PC I have several folders, one for each musical project. Within these folders the music is prepared and eventually copied to the master tablet. I use rsync to copy but of course there are other means.

The master tablet is then synched (using library sync) to the cloud, and the other tablets are synched from the cloud.

Quote:My main problem now is that I didn't find the place on the Android tablet where snippets, that represent some work I have input in their definition, are stored so I can pull them back to the PC.

MSPro stores the annotation information in its database, and imposes this upon the document contents when displayed. So there is no 'modified snippet'. You can use the Print option to print to a PDF document.
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 10.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0.0 (emergency).
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#13
Okay, I now adapt to the general idea of putting snippets into a database, relating to the same basic PDF files that are stored without changes in the file system. And the "return path" begins to get organized (in my brain, at least Blush ) by exporting annotated PDFs back again to my main comp. The main objective of not relying completely on pure PDF is the missing internal structure of this file format, compared to e.g. MuseScore files, or MXL formats etc. I do not want to drop this feature for reasons like practising playing with the computer, with varying instrumentation, varying speeds, varying phrasing, etc.

As I typically want to re-integrate annotations (w/r/to phrasing, changing speeds etc.) in the original internally structured file formats (typically by MuseScore) to get clean sheets after discussing and coming to terms with my fellow musicians once again, I am still searching for a viable way to get some sensible loop between main comp and tablet, including the removal of reworked PDFs and respective replacements of hand-annotated files by the cleaned-up ones. And here I am a bit clueless: What would be the most efficient way to get rid of the old files on the tablet with their annotations and replacing them with the same set of categorizations, just leaving out the annotations?

Related to this problem set, but better addressed as a separate issue, is the administration of the snippets themselves. In order not to confuse this thread I'll create another one dedicated to that topic.

Cheers,
Petra
Playing classical music on a wind controller hobby-wise - and tired of carrying around tons of paper sheets.  Wink
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#14
It helps a lot when you are aware what's in the file(s) and what's in the MSP database. And it is good to know where the files are.
This is why I set "Let Mobile Sheets Manage My Files" to OFF and organized my song files in a folder structure within the MSP folder.
I synchronize that folder structure to all my devices and edits within the files show up in MSP immediately (if the file name and path is not changed)

Using relative file paths and "Expose Database File" set to ON I can even copy my MSP database from my main device to all others, no matter if MSP runs on Android or Windows.
first language: German
Acer A1-830, Android 4.4.2 - HP x2 210 G2 Detachable, Win 10 2004
www.moonlightcrisis.de - www.basdjo.de - www.frankenbaend.de


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#15
(06-21-2019, 05:31 PM)itsme Wrote: It helps a lot when you are aware what's in the file(s) and what's in the MSP database. And it is good to know where the files are.
This is why I set "Let Mobile Sheets Manage My Files" to OFF and organized my song files in a folder structure within the MSP folder.
I synchronize that folder structure to all my devices and edits within the files show up in MSP immediately (if the file name and path is not changed)

Using relative file paths and "Expose Database File" set to ON I can even copy my MSP database from my main device to all others, no matter if MSP runs on Android or Windows.

This!

For your use of sheets it probably would've been better if you'd started out with managing your files yourself. I've never seen the advantage of letting MSP managing the files. I don't know how difficult it is to switch from one way to the other.

But indeed snippets are only another aspect of the concept to let the source files untouched, keep changes like cropping, annotations, page order etc. in the database and use only the same file (like when you a big PDF collection in one file and assign songs to the pages to the PDF).

If you want to export annotations etc. to a PDF to share with others (without MSP) or for whatever reason that's a whole different thing the snippets aren't for and therefore IMO don't need to be changed.
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