Direct input (editing)

To enter a tune or a document directly, start with the "Create content / new tune" (or document) menu option. To edit an existing one click the little icon of a pen in the lists or follow the "Edit this tune" (or document) link from its view page.

You may notice that it's possible to edit the content of a tune or document even if you have no permission to write to it, or even if you're not logged in. Don't worry, you can't save any changes you make.

There is one little point that may be confusing if I don't mention it - the site depends heavily on cacheing pages, for reasons of performance and responsiveness. When a tune or document is changed, some of these caches need rebuilding, and this can be slow. If other users happen to be looking at this material while you're working on it, it would be tedious for them to have to wait for this every time. Therefore, there's a time-lag - any changes you make won't show up for other users until a while (currently 1 hour) after your last change. Also the editing itself is slow - I may be able to improve this in due course, but my first priority is to make read-only browsing as responsive as possible; very few people edit much material very often, compared with the amount of browsing that goes on.


People who are already familiar with ABC may prefer to work on the thing that way, and the "Edit as plain text" button on the editor page gives you a simple text-edit box where you can do that (you can also make it the default behaviour in the Preferences form).

But by default, there is a "fancy" form that tries to make things simpler by providing separate controls for the various fields, dropdown lists and so on, and I would encourage people to use that unless they have good reason not to, because it makes my life easier too. Sadly, this only applies to the header fields, you still have to type the dots themselves as ABC. It would, of course, be very nice if I could give a pretty GUI editor for this, but it's more work than I want to get engaged in.

There are a few 'magic' fields, which provide some little bits of extra behaviour on this site :-
Link - if there is a value for it, it's expected to be a full "<a href=URL>link text</a>" link, which will be displayed as a normal link in the main body of the tune page.
Copyright - This will be printed as a copyright line under the tune.
Caption - a value for this field will be printed under the tune.
PrivateNotes - anything written in this field will be kept private. It will be visible to anyone who has permission to write to the tune (ie, the person who created it plus anyone else they've explicitly given write-permission to) and not to anyone else.

See This site's ABC for techier details.


A 'document' is pretty much equivalent to an ABC file as per the standard documentation, except that where you would expect the ABC notation for a tune, a document replaces that with the tunes' ID in the database. Thus, if you make a change to a tune, that change will show up next time you view any document containing it, which beats chasing around looking for all the files you might have printed that tune in, to change each copy. It is also possible to include a table of contents (see the 'Table of Contents' box in 'Edit Document details'), and there are a few more optional features that enable some useful fun stuff, like printing the same tune several times over in a different key with a different title each time, all on the fly without affecting the stored tune at all. In the drag-and-drop editor you access these via the 'Edit Document details' box at the right of each 'tune' line, and see the Document format for how to write it in the plain-text editor. Documents can be printed either in full or as 'leadin sheets' showing only the first few bars of each tune.

A passing note, hopefully temporary - in the course of testing this, I've seen one or two pdf files that don't display properly in my current Firefox browser, but are fine in other browsers and pdf viewers. I don't know why this is, but if you see a mangled pdf document, please try some alternative viewers before giving up on it.

As well as printing tunes, documents provide a way of structuring the material; they can be organised into a hierarchical structure, of headings, sub-headings, sub-sub-headings, and so on. The "General" collection that you see on the "Browse site contents" page is an example of this - I've created it to provide a heading for stuff that's of general interest, not having any particularly close connection with the person who typed it up and contributed it. People who have such material themselves are welcome, and encouraged, to include them under this heading.

As with the tune editor, you have the choice of a simple text edit box and a 'clever' form which attempts to provide a drag-and-drop interface. To be honest, I can't really recommend the clever form very strongly - it runs out of the available memory very quickly and I've seen it fail mysteriously and silently in ways I'm not altogether confident I've fixed; and given that it's hardly ever used, I don't really want to put much more work into supporting it. It's still very useful when it does work, but I recommend downloading a copy of the document text (via the 'Document options' box at the top of the edit page) as a backup just in case (if you need to do this, go to the plain-text version of the form, delete the existing content from the 'content' box and paste the downloaded text in its place).

How to get tunes into these lists

If you're typing a tune up within this site, there are widgets in the edit page's 'Edit Tune details' box where you can add it into any of the available collections and documents. They can also be added from a list of existing tunes (mark tunes in the tickboxes at the top lefthand corner of each tune, then 'Tune list options / Add marked tunes to doucument'). If you're uploading tunes that originated elsewhere, there are options on the upload form that will do the same thing.

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