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Catalog workflow questions


What is the suggested workflow when someone is working with custom catalogs?

If I understand the documentation of catalogs correctly, then a custom catalog is  NOT saved together with an arrangement, palette, progression or library using them, only custom catalog *items* are saved, and when later these files are opened again and another catalog is the current catalog, then these files may show different chord or scale names. Right? I think in principle, I like this separation of catalog files and used items (likely reduces conflicts), but I run into some issues.

If one wants to avoid confusing scale/chord name changes, what is the recommended workflow? Always first start with an empty arrangement, then loading the required catalog, and then the actual arrangement, palette, progression or library one wants to work on? Or is there a way to ensure that by loading such files, their custom catalogs are always automatically loaded?

I understand that automatically loading respective custom catalogs can lead to conflicts, but not doing that seemingly also leads to problems, and it looks like I am currently running into some of these.

1. If custom catalogs are not automatically loaded, is then the new start screen -- which does not allow to first load any catalog -- redundant for projects with custom catalogs, or am I perhaps missing something?

2. I happen to work with multiple catalogs, and different versions of these catalogs. Should I best always exactly remember the catalog for every arrangement, palette, progression or library to preserve the intended scale/chord names? (I guess different catalog versions are not really a problem, as I assume Synfire matches chords/scales in the arrangement etc. with matching entries in the catalog by interval structure.)

Seemingly the start screen shows some infos on files: perhaps I should save what catalog to use there? The file information (File > Show Information) has some field Notes, but seemingly that cannot be edited by users.


The catalogs I actually need for my current project seem to be broken, as discussed elsewhere. If I want to avoid loading catalogs the system marked itself as currently unusable (by adding the extension .temp) to the file, then my palettes, arrangement etc. are running into the to be expected naming issues. I hope that despite such problems it is OK to simply continue working on these projects, and that later once the problems with the catalogs are fixed also these naming issues are fixed again. Right?


Wed, 2022-11-02 - 18:33 Permalink

Unlike global racks, catalogs cannot be associated with arrangements. It may be useful, but there's more to consider before adding this as a feature.

The catalog is basically a dictionary that maps interval structures to names (mostly). If you open an arrangement that includes custom chords with yet unknown interval structures, they are added to the catalog along with their custom names (as temporaries, i.e. not saved). If an interval structure already exists, the loaded chords will use the name listed in the catalog.

So yes, you need to load custom catalogs before opening an arrangement that uses them, if you want to continue working on them, or if you renamed the interval structures of the chords included in a minimal default catalog.