Making a Songbook

• Feb 1, 2017 - 21:29

One other question while I'm here. Is there some established method for producing a songbook? Or has anyone gotten so far in imagining how this would be done? Some of the problems are that I want to use MS with some other format like Word. A songbook typically has a table of contents, each song is a chapter in itself. I will be editing the songs as they are developing and would like to add and subtract material, so the table of Contents, including page number would have to automatically adjust. This may be available in Word, but how do I collate MS into it? This is a horror to even imagine! I don't see how it can be done because I would have to number and print every page individually.

Any solutions to this? Has anyone here ever produced a songbook? I suppose this is much like producing any kind of collection? It's easier with the classical composers when they don't have words, I suppose.


In reply to by Joe H

No, LOSA is independent and can work with PDFs, SVGs or other graphic formats exported from Musescore (or any other program).

For shorter snippets there is also a LibreOffice extension by Marc Sabatella called
MuseScore Example Manager

that has a connection between LO and Musescore.

If you don't need to have an automatic TOC and your songs are all of the same instrumentation then you could also just use Musescore's Album feature. (I don't have experience with that)

Even without a special extension, it should be simple ebnough to do this in word. Just export your song as individual files in PDF, PNG, or SVG format with no page numbering. Import those into your word document, let word take care of the page number and table of contents. It knows how to adjust these just fine.

In reply to by mike320

I've converted the score into a PDF. When I use the Import function on MS (musescore) it opens a web page. Why is it doing that? I want to import a PDF. I'm working with MS, Word and a PDF. Now that I have a PDF, I have closed Word.

In reply to by Joe H

The web page is a third party that converts simple PDF to musicXML (the underlying format of MS). There may be some utilities out there that convert PDFs to MS Word, but I don't think that's what you are looking for. You can insert PDFs into MS Word and adjust their size to properly display in Word. I'm guessing your songs are pretty short, if they are more than a page you will need to print them to PDF 1 page at a time rather than export to PDF. This will allow the song to span multiple pages with more control over page breaks. Once they are inserted into the Word document they act pretty much like a picture, which is what they really are.

Additional info: If you print them to PDF, you can adjust the paper to the size you want so they will look good in your Word file without a bunch of extra white space.

In reply to by Joe H

Unless you score spans several pages and you want to preserve that exact page layout, youn probably don't want to use PDF. Either PNG or SVG would be better choices for pieces in a songbook normally, so they appear within the existing page in Word rather than as new pages unto themselves.

In reply to by Joe H

OK, but the whole thing - presumably all of this is already in the score - should appear within a single page in Word. That is, it should include Word's header, footer, page numbering, etc. So as I said, export as image (PNG or SVG) from within MuseScore, insert the image into Word.

In reply to by Joe H

First, "import" means you are bringing something *into* the program. You don't want to import anything into MuseScore - you already have it in MuseScore. You want to import the score into Word, not into MuseScore. But maybe it's called "Insert", and it's probably not in the File menu, but somewhere else. You'd have to consult the documentation for Word to learn more about how to insert images.

"MS" is the common / colloquial abbreviation for Microsoft. We don't normally use it to refer to MuseScore. There is no commonly understood abbreviation for that, best to just write it out, as if you write "MS" people won't know what you mean.

Anyhow, the basic process should be, from MuseScore, export a PNG or SVG (not PDF), then from Word, insert it into your document. Again, if you use LibreOffice instead of Word, this process is simplified further, as my extension allows you to insert the MSCZ file directly. It still gets converted to PNG behind the scenes, but you don't have to do it as a separate step. And it sets up a hyperlink so you can then open the score in MuseScore just by ctrl+clicking the image within LibreOffice. But if you're not already comfortable working with LibreOffice, probably better to stick to the program you know.

Marc - That might be the best option. But thanks to everyone who contributed. I'll look at all of these ideas.

I need to have an automatic TOC. That's the main issue I have in compiling a songbook manually. Every time I edit the songs, I have to rearrange the whole book so that the songs occupy one or two pages each. I want each song to be a chapter, in appearance and in the TOC.

In reply to by Joe H

A word processor is a type of software program used to create documents like books. Microsoft Word is one famous example, LibreOffice is another. What I have been saying all along is that if you are trying to create a book, use a program that is designed for that - like Word or LibreOffice. It works very well. I've done quite a few of them over the years.

In reply to by Joe H

Both programs can handle any form of graphics - you just need to import it as such (using PNG, SVG, or PDF depending the specific needs of the case at hand). It works extremely well, I do it all the time. And the MuseScore Example Manager extension I created for LibreOffice automates the process to make it even easier.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I still don't quite understand. I can make a PDF of a Musescore. Got that much. I can make a PDF of a Word doc. But how do I get both on the same page? Maybe I should do this with Example Manager extension for LibreOffice? I won't be back on Linux for a couple of months. Word is my only option for now. I've only managed to make single pages of either Musescore or Word.

In reply to by Joe H

Right - you import the graphic *into* the Word document. You don't export a PDF of an empty Word document. Once you have *all* the graphics imported, then you can print from Word directly, or export a PDF. Again, by doing the work within Wrod (or better, LibreOffice, so you can use the extension), you can take advantage EOF the chapters, a TOC, etc. Works beautifully.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Open up a new Microsoft Word document "myWordDoc.doc". Find a small one-page pdf document like "myPdf.pdf", but don't open it. Drag and drop the pdf into the Word document and voila! The pdf is now embedded into myWordDoc.doc.

Search on "embed a pdf in Word" and you'll find plenty of info on it. If you have a large pdf, you have to embed one page at a time, or you'll get an error. Also, once you embed a pdf in Word, you can't edit the image/copy of the pdf that lives within Word.

For completeness, if you wanted to go the other way (you don't) and embed a Word document into a pdf, then you convert the Word doc into pdf, then incorporate it within the pdf world. I assume that all of the above applies to LibreOffice in place of Microsoft Word, mutatis mutandis.

In reply to by MikeN

I'll try it. That might move me a little further along. But, ultimately I need an option that allows me to edit the doc and the pages are automatically adjusted along with the TOC. I just need something for book publishing. When an author adds or subtracts material from a chapter, the program makes the adjustments to the TOC and the chapter divisions. Right?

Marc - The image is now talikng up the whole page. There is no room for text. I tried to resize it, but that distorts the image.

In reply to by Joe H

It will be the same size in Word it was in MuseScore. My guess is you have you page size set to 8.5x11" in both programs so of course the graphic takes the whole page. You'd need a smaller page size in MuseScore, or crop the extra white space out of the image. Again, the LibreOffice extension automates this, but you should be able to crop (as opposed to resize) manually in Word.

Just a suggestion:
Scribus is the best for this kind of thing. (Open Source desktop publishing software)
PDF (SVG, PNG, JPG) files can be put directly on the page. (Which you exported from MuseScore)

But it's hard to use. (Really)
It is also difficult to prepare TOC. (For each song, you have to give and set a title in the page properties section.)
But the result is perfect :)

Maybe you can get used to it. Https://
Warning again: It's hard to use. And not everyone has such free time.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

I managed to use the "M" and control and place some text that appears in bold text. I then positioned it below the stave. I don't have as much copntrol though. I don't need centered text and I might want to enlarge the type. This might do for starters. But eventually, I want the page numbering and chapter divisions - for a songbook. I would think this is a common task for songwriters?

The only way i can figure this is that I will need to crop the image and place it on top. I still have the basic problem of how to put both text and images on one page. Could we not have a feature that allows text to be entered and formatted on the MS page? I know that there is a text feature, but it just renders smaller type. The "M" button gives me larger bold type but it automatically centers the text. The M would do alright if I could reformat it a little bit. Type size and alignment is all I need for now.

From that, I could produce a PDF and number the pages. I've looked at te other suggestions given in this thread and still see that they work from a PDF. I've got my music notated in MS and my lyrics notated in a Word document.

In reply to by Joe H

Yes, you certainly need to crop the image. You can either do it by exporting a full size score to PNG and then cropping it within Word or some third party graphics program, or by stting a more page size in the score itself, or using the image capture tool in MuseScore instead of exporting to PNG, or you can use the LibreOffice extension which does it all automatically. But once you have a croped image, the is no problem - it will work *perfectly* in Word, with respect to table and contents and everything, because that is exactly the sort of thing Word was designed to handle and that it excels at.

As for text within MuseScore, you can already center it, via the text properties or text style. Not sure what you mean about smaller type - that has nothing to do with alignment. but of course, you can indeed change both text size and alignment independently. Not sure what you mean about the "M" button - that is normally the shortcut for toggling multimeasure rests.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think I mean M for Rehearsal Marks - with that I get a bolder type but it's centered and I want to change that. I would like the lines to be aligned with the left margin rather than being centered. I would also like the option of enlarging the text. If I could do both of those things, I could then export to PDF and print the pages. I think that PDF should number the pages.

In reply to by Joe H

Ah, you mean Ctrl+M then. If you are not trying to create actual rehearsal marks, you shouldn't use that function. You haven't said what your actual purpsoe is - what is the text you are creating supposed to represent? Depending on what it is, you should add whichever type of text (rehearsal mark, title, staff text, chord symbol, lyric, etc) is closest in *meaning* to what you want, then use text style or properties to make it *look* like what you want. There should be no trouble using those functions to make your text bigger, small, bold, centered, or pretty much however you like it. If you continue to have trouble, best to start a new thread, attach the specific score you are working on, and describe as precisely as possible what you are trying to do, so we can give you the best possible assistance.

Right-O Marc. There are many ways to make a songbook. I guess I should have said a "basic songbook" like what we used in elementary school or the way a common church hymnal is assembled. I plan to do several different styles. I'm currently working on the basic type and also full piano scores.

So, I'm looking at frames now. I've managed to condense things by moving the Title frame upward. Now I have a text frame appended, and I see that I can copy and paste text to it. Line breaks and paragraphs are preserved. The text formatting appears below.

Looks like this will make life easier. Thanx for the help.

It would be a nice feature if this type of songbook functionality, (TOC etc), could be included in MuseScore's albums:

In Microsoft Word 2013 I would use Heading 2 texts to become the automatic TOC and insert images of scores generated from MuseScore, (in Word use Insert > Picture). Then set the image wrap text option to "In front of text". This will hide the Heading 2 text and give you maximum page area for the image.

The image should already have score title etc. and the hidden Heading 2 texts can be used by Word to build the TOC.

In reply to by musikai

When you export to .PNG from MuseScore it generates an image file per score page and these .png images have a transparent background. So any whitespace on the image allows Word's page to show through, including any header/footer text. (This also means that you need to modify the style for Heading 2 to white text when your songbook is finished otherwise these Heading 2 TOC builders show through the images. The point of moving them behind the image is that they take up no page spacing.)

I do crop to remove the margins that MuseScore has generated according to my page setup and I also crop off the MuseScore generated page numbers. You could change your MuseScore setup before exporting the png files but it's really not worth the effort as this hardly affects their filesize at all – most of it is whitespace so the PNG format compresses it efficiently).

If you work with images with a white background, (rather than transparent), then you would need to crop manually and you would not need to modify Heading 2 style to white text.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Thanks for the detailed explanation that will make it easier for Word users.
To change the headings to white is the same concept I'm using in my automated solution for Libreoffice (LOSA)

I prefer to directly use exported Pdfs but both, pdfs and transparent images give the nice opportunity to mix them with the text on the page of the word application.

I am making music collections that I would like to remain editable. In a music book -especially collections- not every piece uses the same engraving. In collections, each piece may come from a different volume or publisher, and the engraving style may change for every piece. But even in a volume of like works by a single composer, the engraving may be adjusted, e.g. for a particularly troublesome piece with a radically different density of notes from the others.

Is there any way to do this in MuseScore? In particular, two questions:
1.... to Collect several pieces into the same file, with different master engraving settings?
2. ... to merge two existing musescore files so that one is appended to the other?

the problem with copy and paste is that the layout changes. Measure proportions, leading spaces, adjusted slurs, all pedal markings -to name a few- have to be redone.

In reply to by rkhirst

I read up on your Word/Office solution above, and I'm happy to use it when I can. However, I'm a ballet accompanist, and when using and sharing music for class -- for a number of reasons I'm happy to discuss-- the music needs to remain editable.

In reply to by rkhirst

So far I've never tested this with MuseScore or Lilypond which I use more frequently and have not had any need for it, but it must be possible to compile a songbook more or less automatically also in MS Word.
In my work at Airbus Space, when generating test reports for satellites, we use MATLAB to generate the plots/curves in PNG format we need for the report. It could be many hundreds maybe thousand in one report. I didn't do the preparatory work myself, but a skeleton MS Word file is prepared where a fixed naming convention is used for the png- files to be included.
From MATLAB (or in this case MuseScore) you generate all PNG files of any other format. The size need to be correct if you don't want to scale them in Word. In Word you obviously have a TOC, and links back to the source png-files and MATLAB. You can add any text you wish to the Word file, the TOC, links within the document, list of figures and tables etc are automatically updated.
If you, via the link, jump back to MATLAB (which is automatically started off it's not already running), you can immediately make any modification and regenerate a png- file, or all of you want. To generate an updated word file, you just need to refresh it. In our case with change tracking and generation of a change log as we have to document every single document change and the reason for it.
Maybe I've not completely understood the use case and the need/wishes in this posting, but if there is an interest, conceptually it should also be possible with MuseScore.

In reply to by TomStrand

Thanks, Tom. Sorry for the late response. The linking system is actually very helpful, I tend to overlook these important details and waste time deleting and reimporting images.

Unfortunately, the end user must be able to edit the file directly in musescore. Obviously I can include a bundle of Musescore files alongside a .pdf... but then anyone who downloads a volume... must also download an attendant folder crammed with files.

I play piano for ballet classes. A ballet accompanist has to be able to edit the score. If I publish something for other accompanists, if the score is not editable, its value is greatly diminished. There are essentially 3 use cases

  1. Class combinations: Ballet classes are roughly the same the world over. Each step is practiced in a short "combination". Almost without exception, a combination is made up of an even number of groups of 8 counts. For example
    Steps: Left side (balance) Right side
    Counts: 64 counts (16 counts) 64 counts

Music for this combination should have even (8 or 16 count) phrases and an ending at each section.

  1. Variations: Well known pieces from famous ballets.

  2. Performance: recital pieces and ballet performances.

Each of these can require substantial editing of the score. This is still done by most accompanists by meat space cut-and-paste, and purchasing ballet class "collections" filled with short, easy renditions of well known classical themes crammed into 8-count phrases.

In reply to by rkhirst

A lot of class music comes directly from classical pieces. To play a wide range of music, many pieces have to be edited, into even counts. Full orchestral reductions are uncommon; while "Melodies from X" collections vary in quality, and may contain only a few phrases of each. Ballet music is often the worst of all: most composers are unknown and rarely published. One often chooses between dolling up a rubbish piano reduction or transcribing from scratch.
There is no one way to do any of these things, and the accompanist's life is filled with loose sheets of paper; different arrangements of the same music, from different collections, in different keys, with different cuts and edits.
Of particular interest are
-- how to fit as much music as possible on a single page, and
-- laying out the music so that phrases fall at the head of a line.
Clever repeat schemes, and fixed patterns of measures (e.g. all blocks of 16 measures as (4+4+4+4), (8+8) or ( 5+ 6 + 5)) are desirable, but impact readability, and everyone has their own preferences. And almost no printed music is laid out this way.

Good reductions for popular variations encountered in the classroom are scarce. When they can be found, different companies have different versions... with different cuts.

Ballets are a bird's nest of drastic cuts and interpolated pieces. Two performances of the same ballet may have different cuts, omitted pieces, and different -inserted- variations by different composers. But that is not to say chaos. Versions that are popular, survive. There are "standard" versions.
Lastly, for new choreography, the cuts are up to the choreographer. It doesn't have to be a grand event. The accompanist may play for seasonal recitals: each recital piece with several short musical sections chained together. Very often these are the kind of music played for class (CASES 1&2)... but with different cuts.

Almost all of the music in question is in the public domain.

In all of the above cases, there is one, magical solution: digital volumes of high-quality, complete scores, with a pre-edited class sheet for each piece... where all scores and class sheets remain editable within the source application, so the end user can tailor any piece to the needs of the day. The get-out-of-jail card for the dance class accompanist, is a Musescore Book. Any reduction to image dooms the end-user to photocopy cut-and-paste.... or making their own scores again from scratch.

I strongly suspect the Theater Accompanist is in the same dilemma. I admit to having spent a few months transcribing about 500 pages of scores and their class sheets for this project, before realizing that it was impossible to put two pieces with different formatting into the same document in musescore.

In reply to by rkhirst

Here is an example of a commonly used piece.
This is a reproduction of the piano reduction available on IMSLP, from Drigo's Les Millions d'Arlequin. I included everything. A supplemental moving line is shown above the staff. There are entrances and exits, instrumentation notes.
There are only a few measures on the first line because -in the original score - this piece segues mid-line from the previous.

If someone is performing this Coda, this version might be very helpful. Although it will almost certainly require cuts. Much more common, is to use this piece for class, in which case almost all the incessant repeats can be boiled down to about two pages, with a small B-section in the middle... and one of the principal phrases has to be knocked down from 12 counts to 8.

I have made a class sheet with these changes, but the most important work to pass on to another accompanist, is the tedious work of copying the original into Musescore.

Attachment Size
Galop - Harlequin - 60.85 KB

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