Thank you Ronda, for addressing several of the many knotty questions
relating to digital domain sources. Below I just wanted to summarize,
hopefully briefly, some of the issues I'm facing.
This concerns documentation of digital files of my own recordings. I keep a
running list of the things I work on as a composer/recording artist. Some
may feel this the apogee of egoism, but hear me out. As I have edited for
All Music many of the worklists of major composers, I have grown to believe
that it is the responsibility of composers to maintain their own worklists.
To not do so is irresponsible; I'm not sure what we would do if major
composers like Haydn, Mozart and CPE Bach hadn't kept their own lists. A
good example of what may happen when a very prolific composer does not is
the case of Georg Philipp Telemann, whose system of nomenclature is a
disaster and almost totally useless. I'm not concerned with whether anyone
finds my work significant, just that if anyone ever does and I'm no longer
around that there is some kind of tool to use for it.
I work primarily in three areas; (a) rock songs with or without lyrics and
the usual guitar/bass/drums combination, (b) electronic works, encompassing
pieces made with records or tape and (c) conventionally notated music in the
form of music manuscripts or scores made with the aid of programs like
Finale, Noteworthy etc. My list, which I started in 1991, is organized into
four sections: (a) the main worklist, of completed, published or performed
works, now running to 542 numbers, (b) Anh. 1, of unfinished, lost or
abandoned works, now running to 271 numbers, (c) Anh. 2, Non-original works
which I have performed, arranged or contributed to; up to 78 numbers and (d)
BI, the "black index" of works I don't want distributed for any reason,
which for now sits at only one number.
In June I experienced a disaster that caused me to lose many to most of my
primary source recordings, to the extent that I now don't know what I have.
I had to modify my list for each entry to include the following headings:
STATUS - LYRIC SHEET - SCORE - Q - FILE
"Q" refers to an original source recording, whatever that is. "File" refers
to digital sources of same, and the problem I'm having is in distinguishing
the various files relating to a work, especially as in most cases the Qs are
now gone and I'm recovering file versions from emails sent, online storage,
copies made by friends and other places where I have squirrelled works away.
In the case of UD 542, "For Dan," this was a piece recorded on a digital
device I once had on my computer that was like a patchcord moog synthesizer
which you could play with your mouse. I was not satisfied with it at the
time, and the takes I made for the project vanished with a major system
crash I experienced when it was only a few months old. At the time I did it,
I made this entry into Anhang 1:
Anh1 212. For Dan 1-5 (a-e) 20071001 conserved, not distributed
This provides the recording date of 10-1-2007 and that five takes were made;
none passed. This indicates that I would have lettered the takes "a thru e."
Just yesterday I came upon a removable media disc that I recognized as a
computer backup that I thought had failed; in fact, my tech told me at the
time that it was no good. But I plugged it in and discovered that the drive
was partly accessible. Among the contents were some of the takes of "For
Dan" in the form of FLAC files. I decided to try and finish the piece in
some way as a way of answering my good fortune in recovering it, and
converted all of the FLACs back into wav files. But they didn't come to me
quite in the form I thought:
For Dan 1
For Dan 2
For Dan 3
For Dan 22
For Dan ses
1-3 and 2-22 are related thematically; "ses" would have been a Cool Edit
multitrack version of the piece which I cannot open as I do not have
CoolEdit at the moment. So I assume that I tried to name take "4" take "2"
by mistake, but instead of renaming it "4" I named it "22." The "ses" file
must have been the "e" indicated in the list entry, but if there was a
two-track version made there was no sign of it on the removable media.
In the end I went into Audacity and set up a multitrack version where the
four sources appear in successive order, however I overlaid 22 with part of
2 in order to create a kind of double canon between the slow chords in each
track. With the submix I decided to slow the whole piece down to 82 percent,
because the nervous tempo of the original was something that had always
bothered me; I also added some reverb. In making an mp3 to send around, I
discovered that the high quality mp3 I'd made was too big at 32MB to post in
my box.net account, so I made a lower quality version to post.
This adds up to a lot of files:
Audacity files for all four original elements
UD - For Dan.aud (multitrack)
UD - For Dan.wav
UD - For Dan.mp3
UD - For Dan lo fi.mp3
So altogether, 15 files for this project, including one that I can't access;
the changed speed and reverb information isn't encountered until For
Dan.wav. So I am faced with filling in my entry in the main catalogue:
543. For Dan 20101229 [<Anh1 212]
LYRIC SHEET Instrumental
Q UD - For Dan.wav
In the past I have typically "retired" numbers in Anh 1 when the piece has
moved to a "finished" status, but in this case I have decided to keep it in
order to affix the older files to that entry. Nevertheless, it sure would be
easier if I had some consistent way to enter the sources numerically, as I
do for tapes, issue numbers of records etc.
Thanks for reading this far.
Uncle Dave Lewis