Guitar Loot Blog

Another new start (April 2014 - May 2016)

I started to write this page in April 2014 as part of yet another reconfiguration of the website. I had not been updating the site much at that time but I have been continuing to make arrangements and I now (May 2016) have quite a stock of completed (and almost completed) pieces that I hope to post here on the site.

I started this website by writing it in a notebook application (Circus Ponies NoteBook - now discontinued) and using the HTML export function to create a website, having decided pretty early on that I didn’t want to write HTML myself. I then moved it to Rapidweaver (by Realmac Software) making use of one of the built in templates to create the appearance of an ancient manuscript.

By 2014 I noticed the site had notched up more than 100,000 hits, and over the years several people have contacted me to say they like the site - so I’m able to convince myself that it is worth going on with. However there were some aspects of the way I had designed the site and the process of compiling it that I was unhappy with, so I cast around for ways of making the task more straightforward. 

I decided to switch to Sandvox (Karelia Software) which is fairly similar to Rapidweaver but has a few features that seem to me to make the task easier. To start with I found a Sandvox template a bit like the Rapidweaver template I had been using; it looks like a piece of old manuscript, but it allows a wider page than the previous template. More importantly it’s a truly WYSIWYG application, so the page I am currently writing looks the same as it will appear on the published website. In Rapidweaver there is a separate writing page and a switch to toggle on and off the website layout. As a result it is much less effort to get the layout right in Sandvox. Rapidweaver does score over Sandvox by having a section for ‘Resources’, the files associated with the site, so that these can be uploaded by the application itself, rather than having to upload them separately. However Sandvox does also score better in some other small ways - such as automatically pasting clipboard contents into the dialogue that comes up when creating a link.

Other design changes are independent of the hosting software. I decided that a separate ‘What’s New’ page and Blog were a duplication of effort, so I have done away with the ‘What’s New’ page and I will use this blog to draw attention to new pieces. I also realised that I was spending time and effort creating different versions of page links for different parts of the site and to overcome this I will standardise all such links as (for example):
Chacone [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07 Solo
so that I can simply copy and paste links from one page to another.

The link format illustrates two other changes:
1) As explained on the Welcome page all the music files are available in PDF format but I am moving away from 
using the Sibelius Scorch format (which Avid, the owners of Sibelius, seem to have abandoned) and instead posting MIDI and Music XML files as a way of making the music more available. MIDI files allow playback of the music (albeit rather mechanically) and both MIDI and Music XML can be imported into notation programs if you want to edit the music (Music XML does a fairly good job of preserving the layout of the original).
2) I have added grade information to the solo pieces to give an approximate idea of their difficulty. I have adopted a 1 - 10 similar to that used on the Delcamp Guitar Forum* This aligns more or less with other gradings such as the 1- 8 grades of the UK Trinity College of Music though, of course, all gradings are subjective and can only be a general guide. 

I use Sibelius (currently at version 8.3) to make arrangements and I am happy to make my original files available or send files in other formats (use the Contact Me button in the footer of any page). Increasingly I am publishing the PDFs in iPad-friendly format so they can be displayed on the iPad in apps such as forScore (which is the one I use).

*which all classical guitarists should join



 ©2003-2016 Eric Crouch: you can use anything you find here, but please mention this site if you do.      [Contact Me]