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Best strategy for commenting musical scores (Read 862 times)
Christoph
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Best strategy for commenting musical scores
Jan 13th, 2016, 8:14am
 
I am planning ahead to set up a Tinderbox document that will contain details regarding the interpretation of pieces of music that do not lend themselves to being scribbled into the score itself. Fingering and phrasing typically go there.
However, some comments regarding the interpretation itself are too large and distracting and sometimes it is great to be reminded that repeated motives are not verbatim etc.
Also, I expect a fair amount of linking to other such snippets (not the piece as a whole, which in my strategy would be a parent) from other pieces to accumulate over time.

In order to keep the Tbx document as small as possible the PDF containing the score as well as the final recording will only be linked, but I'd like to see the small sections - mostly just one bar or two - right inside the text of the note.
After having learned the piece, a printout of this work including the images would be added to the score.

In v6 these snippets (via Grab-Capture-Selection from the PDF) can be pasted in directly but is that a good strategy? A related note is that I have only briefly dabbled with HTML Export and not managed to include the images.

I'd appreciate your comments and suggestions
Christoph
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Best strategy for commenting musical scores
Reply #1 - Jan 13th, 2016, 8:45am
 
Thoughts on a few aspects of this.  

First, linked assets. You can use the File-type attribute to link to files and folders on your Mac. When used as a key attribute (or as seen in Get Info) the attribute offers a clickable link to open the asset using Finder (see more). The URL-type attribute work similarly as key attribute (see more) but access not only Web URLs but the pseudo-protocols on your Mac that work with apps like DEVONThink and Bookends - to name but two.

Images. As you've noted embedding images in your TBX may blood the size of the TBX as all the image data is not including in the TB data. Putting a low-res visual prompt in the note's text makes sense so you've an in-context visual cue whilst a larger/higher res image could be linked to via the above File/URL attribute methods.

Export. Embedded images don't (currently) get included when exporting. So, if the final viewed form is outside TB do consider how to re-combine the images post export. A good method is to store (a copy of) the images externally to TB in a single folder and then add export code into your note text to create an HTML <img> tag with the right info (ask in a separate thread if you want more on that task). Now, if you export to HTML, the resulting web page with include your image(s) and can easily be 'printed' to PDF from your Mac's web browser; current CSS includes special tags for controlling things like page breaks.

TB has very flexible export (though you have to write design custom templates for arcane things). So if you want a complex PDF layout, you might be able to get TB to export data in a form a PDF assembly tool could read and use to lay out, for example, text annotations to overly a main PDF page image of a score. The detail of the latter isn't my expertise but I can see this is a path into which TB could feed data.
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Christoph
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Re: Best strategy for commenting musical scores
Reply #2 - Jan 13th, 2016, 9:23am
 
Thanks Mark, this is already very helpful.

For testing I have copied an area as per the method outlined above (rather larger than necessary) and the resulting file is around 40kb. This is not overly large as a file but it still makes me concerned that over the years a growing number of these small files might slow down Tinderbox collectively.

What would be a good compromise between having the information at hand whilst writing or browsing, i.e. visible in the note's text, and not interrupting the workflow too much? If possible, I'd much rather not have to export as HTML first in order to see the included images, switch back to Tinderbox, search for similar notes, switch back to the HTML export, locate the corresponding note there, inspect the note's text and the associated bar or two, switch back to Tbx and establish a link between the notes.
This example is deliberately over-dramatized but I hope it gets across what I am trying to achieve.

Does Tinderbox ship with an automated way of generating a lower-res thumbnail inside the note and a link to the higher-res outside of Tbx automatically? I imagine this would be a recurring problem but this side of Tbx is very new to me.

Thanks again
Christoph
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Best strategy for commenting musical scores
Reply #3 - Jan 13th, 2016, 10:00am
 
Unless you're embedding massive files or have vast numbers of embeds I doubt Tinderbox performance will be the choke point. Likely before then you'll find you're constantly updating and duping (iCloud, Dropbox, etc.) big files as iterative edits change the file. There's no hard and fast rule. Your Mac's age/speed, web access speed, spare storage space, etc. are part of the general considerations. †there's no precise right wrong. The point to think on is "If I do X, and read that 00s or 000s of times will there be an effect of scale I don't like".

Screen size is also a factor. If you've several or big screens then having both a TB window and another showing an image will be be possible. On an 11" screen, you may not have room for both at once. Again, you need to factor in your personal workspace/style. That's not to be unhelpful, but it's hard to both generalise and be specific at the same time. †Smiley

Don't forget, there is no requirement to put everything in a single TBX file. Having a file per composition, or composer, or whatever grouping, might help manage the scale issues alluded to above.

I think you're misunderstanding my points on HTML. You wrote initially that your end point was a PDF. I was simply indicating how you might get there. That is a separate issue to how you use image inside TBX. If your work style means you must see an image in a TB map background or a TB note text then, yes, you must embed an image, regardless of the separate needs of export.

Have you tried the File & URL methods I described? If not I suggest you do a simple test of each. For instance, make a File type attribute and set it as a key attribute in a note. Then from Finder, drag an image you'd like to see when working on a note. With the note selected, click on the folder icon for that attribute in the KA table. †the image will open. Does the result meet you work needs. If it does but you want a URL based asset, try repeating the exercise with a URL-type attribute. Given the nature or your questions and stage of work I'd definitely recommend you actually do this test rather than just conceptualise it from the description. It's the work of a few minutes but may give some needed clarity; for instance it will help show up issues like available screen space.

The point about embedded images and export is that, if you export a note with an embedded image to HTML, the HTML will have no (exported) image or HTML info pointing to as asset, present or otherwise. If you want to use HTML export and want the HTML pages to use images, you'll need to manage that as a separate task storing images on Finder and putting export code into your note text. It's not complex - try it.

TB isn't an image editing/management programme, you're better off getting a suitable tool for that.

I think at this point, trying some of the techniques will help you avoiding what-if questions that will only confuse things further. Do small tests with TBXs you'll throw away after. The point of such experiments are to see how things work so you can implement the ones that work cleanly in you actual working file. The temptation is to use your working data. That's not a problem but generally leads to lots of cruft piling up in the corner from half-finished and abandoned experiments. If you need real-world specimen data, make a copy of tour work, rename the file as a treat, do the test, note was works that trash or archive the test file.
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« Last Edit: Jan 13th, 2016, 10:01am by Mark Anderson »  

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Mark Anderson
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Best strategy for commenting musical scores
Reply #4 - Jan 13th, 2016, 12:55pm
 
My guess is that brief images will be fine. Iíve queried some musicians on the best way to approach this.
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