"Sotto Voce" version control for composers, Part 2, keeping document history

By Bernie Zelitch 

Preserving private comments 

The last blog showed how all edits happen in the file called latest-<title>.musx. All preserved versions are to files containing the date of preservation.

These concepts come from software versioning systems. Let's borrow another good software versioning idea: associating comments with each version.

These comments help you consult an earlier version which may have material of interest. Or, seen as a visual accounting of your hard work to date, they may self-inspire you.

The Sotte Voce version control system keeps the log of comments in your own plain sight, right in the score. Don't worry. Your grumbling and rambling never reaches the eyes of the performers.

This is the secret sauce. My example is in Finale. In "Page View", open a "Text" box right above your copyright information at the bottom of the first page. Use the "Hidden Text" option. Now, any text you type will appear greyed out. It will not export to the public, pdf view.

Entries would look something like this on the bottom of the first page.

The performers' pdf version may not show the greyed-out comments.  But you want them to see the identifying "1909017" date somewhere. So, right after you add to the greyed-out log, you change the identifying date in the separate public copyright text box. Then you can "save as" the file.

The public-facing date literally keeps everybody on the same page. You can imagine a scene where performers have received some last-minute changes. The conductor might do well to say to the performers, "Does everybody have the 190917 version?"

Previous subjects:

Subjects to follow:  


  • Sotto Voce version control for composers, Part 3, tracking versions 
  • Sotto Voce version control for composers, Part 4, how often to save drafts, 11/18/19  
  • Sotto Voce version control for composers, Part 5, vendor software solutions, 11/25/19  
  • Sotto Voce version control for composers, Part 6, how to reconcile changes between competing scores, 12/02/19  

Bernie Zelitch is a choral composer and lyricist living in the Boston area.  website: berniezelitch.com email: berniezel@gmail.com.

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