Working on songs in the MCMS

Transcribing a song

  1. Choose a song from the collection page that's labeled "Ready to Transcribe." Clicking on the song will take you to the song page.
  2. Use the links on the right (or at the top, depending on the width of your screen) to find the lyrics or sheet music for the song. You will want to resize the browser windows so you can see the MCMS and the sheet music side-by-side. If you're not able to find sheet music, skip to another song or contact an admin.
  3. Click the "Start Transcribing" button to claim the song and switch into Edit mode.
  4. Fill in every field with information from the hymnbook, using the detailed instructions below. Information that isn't specified (for example, subtitles, or translators) should be left blank.
  5. When you are finished, click "Save" to leave the Edit mode.
  6. Scroll down, checking your work, and click "Ready to QA."

Don't correct typos that appear in the published book. Transcribe as-is, then record the error on the Typos in Sheet Music tab of the Languages spreadsheet. To avoid sending a song through the QA process several times, make sure you transcribe completely according to the instructions on this page before you mark it as Ready for QA.

Quality-checking a song

  1. Choose a song from the collection page that's labeled "Ready to QA." Clicking on the song will take you to the song page.
  2. Open to the song source using the "♫ Sheet Music" button or one of the other links.
  3. Click the "Start QA" button to claim the song.
  4. Review each field. Make sure everything is filled in completely and exactly, following the detailed instructions below.
  5. If you see a mistake in the transcription, click the "Edit" button and make changes. Then click "Save."
  6. Scroll down, checking your work, and click "Ready for QA" or "QA Complete" (depending on whether or not you made changes).

Some resources that will help you do a detailed quality check are:

  • Refer often to the instructions on the wiki.
  • Finding specific "exceptions" using the Administrative QA Items list.
  • Comparing with the English version of the song ("Resources > See English version of this song").
  • Making a list of common errors you see, so you can make sure to check for them in every song.

Field helps

  • Title – The title of the song, as it appears on the sheet music. Titles can only be edited by administrators, so if you see an incorrect title you can send an email to Samuel.
  • Subtitle – Any text that appears below the title of the song (not including cross-reference information or the title in another language).
    • Examples: Men’s Choir / Round / Crusader’s Hymn
  • First line – The first line/phrase of the song, as it would appear in a First Lines and Titles index. Often this is the same as the title, though sometimes capitalization or punctuation is different. Do not include periods or commas at the end of a first line (though you may include exclamation points or question marks).
  • Title and first line are the same – Choose No if the first line is significantly different from the title (ignoring capitalization and punctuation).
  • Mood – Word or phrase that says in what mood the song should be sung. This often appears next to the tempo at the top of the sheet music. Do not include tempo numbers or other text by the mood like "Conduct two beats to a measure."
    • Examples: Reverently / With conviction / Energetically
  • Full credits – The full credits as they appear on the sheet music. This could include composers, arrangers, years, copyright notices, or background information about the song. Instructions for performing the song are not included – these go under "Verses and Choruses." Scripture references from the right side of the page are also not included. Include italics, special formatting, and special symbols.
    • In most languages, the character that is used between a range of years in the full credits is the en-dash ("–"), not the hyphen or em-dash. If you have a Mac, you can type this symbol using [Option]+[-]. The copyright symbol on a Mac is [Option]+[g]. Both of these characters can also be accessed using the special characters panel (click the Ω symbol above the full credits text area).
    • Books and other works in the full credits that appear in italics should be formatted using the "Cite (for books/works in italics)" style (instead of the regular italic style). Tune names in the full credits that appear in all caps should be typed in all caps, then formatted using the "Small (for tune names in caps)" style. Scripture references in the full credits should be formatted as a hyperlink.
    • Text: James Montgomery, 1771–1854
      Music: George Coles, 1792–1858, alt.
      Hymn sung prior to the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. See History of the Church, 6:614–15.
    • Words: Mary R. Jack, 1896–1985. © 1965 IRI
      Music: Darwin Wolford, b. 1936; based on a melody by Norman Carl Ahern Jr., b. 1925. © 1965 IRI
    • Words and Music by Sharlee G. Mullins
      Copyright © Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All rights reserved. Making copies of this music for use within the Church is permitted.
  • Author(s) (text) – The name of the person who wrote the words, or the source (such as the title of a book).
    • This field references a list of people and sources entered into the database already. Start typing the person or source name. If you see the name on the list, you can click it. If it doesn't come up, use the "Add New Person/Source" button at the bottom of the page.
    • Complete instructions for adding a new person or source are found under "Editing the People/Sources index" on the Transcribing LDS music content page.
  • Composer(s) (music) – The name of the person who wrote the music, or the source (such as a traditional tune or melody).
  • Adapted by, Translated by, Arranged by – The name of the person who adapted, translated, or arranged the song. Only fill in these fields if the person is mentioned in the credits by name. People who wrote an obbligato or ostinato for the song are considered arrangers.
  • Published date – The date the song was published in a periodical. Only fill in this field if the song is from a church magazine or other periodical. You can use this date as a reference if you need to look up the song online. Many of the songs from church magazines have been transcribed already and just need to be copied and pasted into the database.
  • Verses and Choruses – Each verse or chorus, or instructions from the sheet music.
    • Type: Verse (regular) – A regular verse of the song.
    • Type: Verse below the music – An extra verse of the song that appears below the sheet music.
    • Type: Chorus (regular) – The chorus of the song. Enter in the chorus for each time it is sung (not just once). Occasionally the chorus will change for one of the verses, or it comes before the verse instead of after; that's why it should be entered multiple times.
    • Type: Chorus below the music – A chorus that goes with a verse below the music (to be entered in even if it isn't written on the sheet music).
    • Type: Instructions – Instructions for performing the song, alternate words, actions that go with the song, informations about other versions of the song, etc. Texts of descants and ostinatos are also included in the instructions field (for example, the descant for “I Am a Child of God” in the Children’s Songbook).
    • Text – The text of the verse, chorus, or instructions.
      • Type each verse in poem form: Put a return after each phrase. A phrase usually ends where there is a rhyming word or where a note is held out longer. The end of a phrase is not necessarily the end of the line of music.
      • Some languages capitalize the first word on a new line even when it's not the end of a sentence, but others do not. You can check verses below the music in other songs in the hymnbook to see what your language does. Follow the same pattern you see in the extra verses.
      • Do not type the hyphens that appear between syllables of words in the sheet music, unless they are part of the word.
      • Songs that are rounds: Use Unicode circled numbers to mark where each phrase of a round starts, if it is indicated in the sheet music. These are the numbers (you can copy and paste): ① ② ③ ④ ⑤ ⑥ ⑦ ⑧
      • Don't transcribe secondary choruses (for example, when the bass part sings different words from the melody). Only type the text that goes with the melody, with the exception of descants or ostinatos, which are considered “instructions” (see above). If you're not sure how verses should be transcribed, you can use the English version of the song as a guide, or check with an administrator.
    • Delete – Checking this box will cause the verse to be deleted when the song is saved.

Most common errors and questions

The errors that occur most often are: missing italics in the full credits; not using the correct dash in ranges (such as year ranges in the full credits) or in the verses; not using curly apostrophes and quotation marks; forgetting to fill in people; skipping a field completely; forgetting to repeat the chorus for every verse.

  • If it is a dash, type an en-dash (looks like a wide hyphen) or an em-dash (looks like a really wide hyphen), not a hyphen.
  • Use curly/smart quotes and apostrophes instead of straight quotes and apostrophes. Make sure you use the style appropriate for your language.
  • If there is a dash in the sheet music to indicate that a note is not sung in a certain verse, include the dash in your transcription.
  • In Spanish and Italian (as well as some other languages), there are curved synalepha markers in the sheet music that indicate that two words are to be sung together. Include these in your transcription. Use this ̮symbol for Spanish and this ̑symbol for Italian. Note that the symbol is typed as [space][character] because the synalepha markers are combining characters – they appear on top of the preceding character (in this case, on top of the space).
  • In Chinese and Japanese, use full-width punctuation and spacing.
  • In Korean, the tilde ("~") is used for ranges of numbers, instead of the en-dash.

Some languages have a character that looks like an apostrophe, but is actually a consonant – a glottal stop. Different languages use different apostrophe-like symbols for the glottal stop:

  • Samoan uses the curly LEFT single-quote mark: ‘
  • Fijian uses the curly RIGHT single-quote mark: ’
  • Tahitian uses the curly RIGHT single-quote mark: ’
  • Tongan uses this symbol ("modifier letter turned comma"): ʻ
  • Kekchi (Qʼeqchiʼ) uses this symbol ("modifier letter apostrophe"): ʼ


  • In most cases, you should use Japanese full-width punctuation and characters:
    • Spaces ( ) – except when part of an English phrase.
    • Numbers (1) – except when part of a group of numbers, such as a year.
    • Letters (Y) – except when part of an English phrase or group of letters, such as "LDS".
    • Interpuncts (・).
    • Colons (:) – except when part of an English phrase.
    • Parentheses() – except when part of an English phrase.
    • Commas (,) – use the full-width comma instead of the touten (、) – except when part of an English phrase.
    • Periods (。) – except when part of an English phrase.
  • Include furigana/ruby annotations in parentheses in the hymn verses and song titles.
  • Use an em-dash (—) between years in year ranges.
  • Use full-width spaces to add spacing in the credits and the verses, as they appear in the book.
  • Use the chouon symbol to indicate a held-out note, as it appears in the book.
  • Put spaces where it makes sense.
This page was last modified on 31 March 2017, at 12:46.

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