Organizing Music Charts

One of the features I like most about having music files on my computer is the ability to sort them by their id3 tags. Using iTunes (or most any mp3 player), I can sort my music by genre, artist name, song title, album title, year, and many other categories. Everybody who listens to music in some sort of digital format takes this kind of powerful sorting and searching capability for granted.

But I want this same kind of tagging functionality for ALL of my digital files, especially Microsoft Office files like Word documents and Excel spreadsheets.

As a music pastor I create all of my own music charts in Microsoft Word. I transcribe the music myself, transpose it into a variety of keys, save the Word documents with file names like "Name of Song - Key.doc" and save them in a folder called "Charts". The problem is that Finder (or Explorer on a PC) is very limited with regard to sorting and searching. I can organize the files into folders, and give them long complicated file names with lots of information, and I can search within the contents of the files for keywords like "Love" or "Mission", but I would prefer a way to "tag" them like I do my mp3 files. I would love to be able to sort my Word docs by Artist, Genre, and more.

I would especially like a way to add custom tags. I would create a tag category called "Theme" that would support a list of keywords (comma separated?) like Easter, Christmas, Sacrifice, Mission, Kingdom, etc. Then I could tag each file with a variety of theme keywords whether that word is actually in the lyrics of the song or not. From a planning perspective, this would greatly facilitate my ability to select songs based on their themes without having to rely so much on my memory.

I guess there are probably many types of workaround ideas using the properties of the file to add keywords and such, or creating long file names and duplicating files across a variety of folders, but I think this would become an organizational nightmare. Does anyone know of an app that does this? I would really like a browser window that has all my tag categories as column headings (like iTunes) so I can just click a column heading and sort by that tag (like Theme or Genre). And a Boolean search function to find all the files that match set of criteria, like all songs with a tempo between 100 and 120, or all songs in the key of G with an alto lead.

I could imagine some sort of meta data appended to a file that might look like this:

[artist="matt]
[genre="rock"]
[theme="mission,love,incarnation,easter"]
[key="am"]
[tempo="85"]
[voice="baritone"]

Having this information embedded in a Word doc would make my planning time so much more efficient. I imagine the ability to add custom tags like this would be useful in a wide range of situations. It would be much more powerful than simple keywords. Is anyone aware of such an app?

5 comments:

Ranjit said...

This might work, if you're using Vista and Word 2007.
http://wordprocessing.about.com/od/microsoftword2007/qt/2007tags.htm
- Ranjit

Ken said...

Thanks Ranjit. But yeah, that's more adding keywords to the file properties than actually creating sortable tag categories.

Ken said...

But I was thinking you might be someone who would knowa way. So keep thinking about it! Do you know anyone who might program something like this?

Gorian said...

I also said I would work on it... need to learn win32 first...

caedmon said...

Are you familiar with opensong? (opensong.org, I think) It's not the prettiest piece of software and my needs aren't as detailed as yours, but I think it does most of what you're looking for.