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Here is what I want. I have an old copy of Excel, but it seems to be an overkill.

Columns:
Song name | artist | Date | Tempo | Genre

I'd like to list my 600+ songs (and growing) and be able to click on the heading of any column, click A-Z (or whatever) and have it alphabetize by that column.

If someone asks for some 1980s songs, or something by Adele, or something reggae, I could click the column, scroll and get answers.

When I'm gigging, and in the zone, it's hard to remember all the songs we do.

Excel has a million columns, I can't see needing more than 6, 10 to be greedy.

I'm good at music, but have very limited experience with spreadsheets. I don't want a steep learning curve

Any ideas?

Is there a better alternative than a spreadsheet?

Thanks,

Notes


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Notes, you do not want a spreadsheet, you want a database.

What version of Windows office do you have? If it is Office 97 and you have Win 10 then you can get Access working in it IF you have Access.

If not there are some free office programs that include a database, i.e. like LibreOffice

https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download-libreoffice/

According to the docs it can convert an Excel file to a database.

Good luck and I hope this helps.


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I was a comp sci. prof specializing in relational databases. Mario is correct.


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Originally Posted by Notes Norton
Here is what I want. I have an old copy of Excel, but it seems to be an overkill.

Columns:
Song name | artist | Date | Tempo | Genre
Notes, an Excel spreadsheet is an ideal solution for what you need. I put this demo together in 4 minutes.
The left spreadsheet is sorted on Index Number (a simple count of your songs) and on the right is sorted on Tempo.
600 songs is no problem. If you need help setting up your spreadsheet, send PM
--Steve

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Last edited by Bass Thumper; 10/06/23 07:29 PM.

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That looks good, Steve.

The advantage of a database is that you can query by more than one column if you want.

Example: Do I have any songs where Adele is singing reggae at a tempo less than 100?


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Thanks y'all,

I don't know what version my Microsoft Office is. It's from 2002. I bought it with an XP ThinkPad computer, and came on CDs.

I was thinking about just loading a spreadsheet, and not the entire office app. My gigging computers (Win 11) have a minimum amount of software on them, and once setup, never go on the Internet. I have a USB external CD/DVD drive, so I can install it.

I won't use Word, PowerPoint or any of the other apps, so it seems to be akin to bloatware to install them all, but since they were written for XP, I suppose their footprint won't be that big.

I'll look into databases, any recommendations?

Notes ♫


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Notes, my Office 97 was written for XP and came on a CD. You don't have to load the entire software and in fact you can't install all of it. You would just install Access, the database program. I know that works in Win 10 but I don't know about Win 11.

I have all of my CDs and Vinyl on a database that was started around 1997 as well as all of my sheet music and music books. Both are still going strong today.

It used to be that if you sorted a spreadsheet but didn't highlight the entire sheet your data would get scrambled. I don't know if that is the case today as I converted the spreadsheet to a database program years ago. Maybe Steve can answer that question.

Personally I would use a database.


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A database would be ideal if you want to create a script or query or program to solicit results. Something like:
"select songs where artist is 'boz Scaggs', order by date."
or
"select songs where ( (date > 1-1-1980) and (date < 1-1-1990) ), order by date, ascending".

A spreadsheet would be good also to just sort everything by the selected column, e.g. choose the date column and select 'sort highest to lowest', then scroll down until you find values in the date range you are looking for.

Separately, Microsoft Office 2002? Wow, 20+ years is an eternity in this industry. Did it run on vacuum tubes? (ha ha , just joking).

Explore the different options and decide on a solution that works best for you. Also consider that eventually older software will ultimately become obsolete and incompatible with current systems. Just a fact.


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Thanks again.

Mario, I put the CD in, and indeed, I can just install Excel.

So it's solved. Database might be better, but this is quick, easy, and will do what I want.

2002 still runs, so for the minimal uses I have for it, I don't need to subscribe to anything. And, no, it doesn't run on vacuum tubes, but it has these big magnetic tape reels that are constantly going back and forth laugh

Notes ♫


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Great,
Just make sure that in your sort settings, the other columns follow the selected column and are not independent.


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Originally Posted by Matt Finley
That looks good, Steve.

The advantage of a database is that you can query by more than one column if you want.

Example: Do I have any songs where Adele is singing reggae at a tempo less than 100?
No doubt, relational databases have advantages over spreadsheets (and vice versa).

This screen shot shows how I would do this if I were gigging on stage.
The spreadsheet would have 6 individual tabs, one for each sort parameter; Index, Song Name . . . Genre and the sorting would be done at home. I wouldn't want to fiddle with sorting or programming inbetween songs on stage; too many things can go wrong.

Then I'd have a backup of the spreadsheet on a thumbdrive in my pocket.

Finally, for belts and suspenders, I'd print each of the spreadsheet tabs, punch them and place them in a 3-ring binder with the 6 [physical] tabs labeled from above. If required additional hard copies could be made for the venue manager and band mates so everyone has the same info. And no worries if a B&W printer is used because the sort parameters are all bold.

Icing on the cake is Excel is relatively easy to use and because of it's popularity, there are tons of people available to help if problems happen. Plus it's a snap to communicate online what your spreadsheet looks like as I have done here . . . just my 2 cents plus a nickel.

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Nice tips, Steve, from someone who has experience using this kind of info live.


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Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
I wouldn't want to fiddle with sorting or programming in between songs on stage; too many things can go wrong.

What can go wrong? It's 5 mouse clicks.

File > Data > Sort > select the tab you want to sort by > ascending or descending

I think what he wants to do is while on his 15 to 20 gigs per month select from his 600 songs on the fly as people request a song. He isn't programming anything. If somebody wants Elvis, it's

File - Data - Sort - Artist - Descending, and Elvis will be near the top. That would take about 5 seconds and Leilani can talk to the crowd while he does it.

So just to toss in a wrench, as I am normally a huge wrench tosser, you say you carry a thumb drive as backup. Okay. What if you need your backup and you pop it in to find that the thumb drive is corrupted? You have a backup to the backup? (To the backup, to the backup...)

The much shorter answer is "Just remember them." If you can't remember all of them, your list it too long. I mean, you need to have a file showing what key a song is in? It's in the same key you have been playing it in for 50 years.

And take this stuff made for aging minds.

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Thank you all for your help.

It's just for when someone comes up and says something like, “Do you do any _______?” (Insert artist name here).

For gigging., I have a loose-leaf notebook with paper pages. It has song titles sorted by genre; like hard rock, medium rock, shuffle rock, reggae, calypso/soca, country, disco/dance, up-tempo standards, slow rock, ballroom dance, and a dozen more, so while playing a song, if it looks like they need another hard rock song, I can flip to that page to jog my memory.

I can do that without getting completely out of the zone.

A few weeks ago, someone came up and asked if we do anything by a certain artist. We apologized and said we didn't. But actually we did.

So my idea is to say, “Let me see”, open the spreadsheet, click A->Z on top of the relevant column, and scroll. There are probably more efficient ways to do it, but it doesn't happen that often, so this will suffice.

I've got it started, and I realize for a few songs, I'll have to double the entry, if it was made popular by two artists. But that's OK.

We have 686 songs in our repertoire now, so it'll take some time to get it done, but I'm in no hurry.

The main thing I'm investigating now is how to get the top line, where I put the headings, not to move when I alphabetize a column. I'm sure it's something simple, but the help screens in Excel 2002 leaves a lot to be desired, and most on-line help is geared towards much newer models.

My temporary solution is to start the headings with a ! Symbol. So it's "! Title" or "! Artist" I'm sure there is a better way, and when I found out, I can make the change.

And yes, Eddie, I am aware the thumb drive can be corrupted, but it's the backup of the backup. We can get by with 2 computers, and we have 3 up and running at all times. I use ThinkPad computers, which are extremely dependable. Since 2002 when I went to computer, I've had to go to two computers only twice. I carry a fourth computer, it's one of the old ThinkPad XPs. I turn it on once a month or so to update, charge the battery and make sure it's working, but between those events, we usually learn new songs, that's where the thumb drive which is constantly updated comes into play.

Furthermore, I also back up all our backing tracks and charts to the cloud, just in case. I can quickly replace instruments, but the data is not quickly replaceable. The show MUST go on.

I know, it's the Department of Redundancy Department tactics.


Notes ♫


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Here is an idea, just create a text file in any application, including notepad which is free with any OS. Enter the list you have. Then use the Ctrl-F keystoke to "Find" the words you are looking for in the file. It will tell you immediately if the words are present , how many time they appear and then you can arrow down through each item.


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Just setup a Google account and use Google sheets. That way it is highly mobile you can find it on any device from phone to laptop to whatever. Oh and it’s free


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Originally Posted by Notes Norton
Is there a better alternative than a spreadsheet?
Have you looked at MobileSheets?
It's on several platforms.
I use it on Android ... it keeps all my .pdf music, categorised by group, allows selection from alpha index tabs, keys, genres. It'll batch import many files at a time.

I believe iGigBook does similar, but I've not used it


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Thanks y'all.

Since I found I can use Excel without installing the entire office suite on my work computer, it'll do just fine.

I had a pool party gig today, so I haven't entered many songs, but enough to find that it works.

I'll enter more after the weekend gigs.

Notes ♫

BTW, how do you mark the post "Solved" in the new forum?


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Re: BTW: I just looked at a thread I started and in my first post I see the expected option Mark as Resolved. Do you see that in your starting post here?


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Thanks, Matt.

I didn't think to scroll up to the first post.

Learned a little something else today.

Bob


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