How do you organise your music?

Home Forums Coffee Break How do you organise your music?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
  • Author
  • #104798


    I am interested to know how you organised your music? Random piles? Folders by genre or era?

    Best wishes



    Hi Armande,

    I organize my lever music by key, starting with most number of flats and working up to highest number of sharps.


    I put solo music first, then ensemble. Within each of those categories it is by composer’s last name, with collections at the end.


    I hate to admit it, but mine are random piles. That way I can be assured that whatever I’m looking for is on the bottom of the biggest stack…



    Probably depends on what kind of music you play.


    Mostly by genre, but it gets a little hap hazard. Some things don’t fit nicely into a single genre. Some books have selections from different genres… So there is a bit of fly by the seat of my pants method of organizing.

    Generally I have no problem finding what I am looking for, but if I ever had to explain to someone how it works I would not really be able to except in a very general sense.


    Interesting how we all have different ways depending on what we do!

    Now if only I had a secretary to file them all nicely…..

    (hmm, answer phone, chase up paperwork….)

    Anyway, back to real life!!


    I basically have a four-drawer legal file cabinet that contains three drawers of solo music in folder by alphabet and composer, filed by composer’s last name, and chamber music, which continues into another 2-drawer cabinet, which also holds my own manuscripts. I have another 2-drawer x-ray file cabinet (oversize), which holds in one drawer my concerto collection, which barely fits, and my orchestra parts and scores.
    It is important to use folders to protect the edges. It is good to use file cabinets for protection from dust. I think storing them flat makes it harder to pull music and put it back without damage.


    A first rate way to organize most things is with an alphabetical file, by title of the piece, or by author and the the title of the piece. Put the work or your work immediately back in the file when finished. Best Wishes!


    I use plastic tubs with hanging legal-size folders. The folders come with little plastic labels which are anchored to the top where I can label the folder, usually by author and title. The tubs are not quite as convenient as a filing cabinet because invariably the one I want is under two or three others, but it allows for great flexibility in organizing. One tub is for orchestra music, another for teaching materials, another for pedal harp solos, another for hammered dulcimer music, another for ensemble music, another for Celtic, another for New Age, another for Christmas, etc. I usually file the folders of music by composer/arranger in alphabetical order and I maintain an Access database of all the books and sheet music so I can identify quickly which tub contains the music I want. An organizer freak? Well, maybe, but I love being able to immediately find whatever music I need.
    — Alice in windy Wyoming

    Sarah Mullen

    An enormous, haphazard pile that spills out of the cabinet each time I open the door ;-)

    Organization has never been my strong suit, and going through my music is one of my over the winter goals.


    I keep my work in multiple gig books.


    I like those hanging file folders somebody mentioned because of the moveable and changeable color-coded labels, but that just covers individual pieces of music. Never solved the problem of book-size music.


    I bought a bunch of large oversize manila envelopes, probably 11 by 17. I put about a half inch of music similar in size in each one and wrote the names of the pieces on the outside. I number each one of the envelopes. Then I typed up a master list of all the pieces with the number of the envelope next to each title. When I finally had music cabinets made-a bunch of shallow drawers large enough to hold the envelopes- I just put the envelopes in the drawers and put the number of the envelope on the outside of the drawer. When I want a piece of music, I just find it on the master list and see what drawer it is in. It’s worked very well.


    Carl, you must have been a librarian in a previous life. That’s a great system.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.