I started using notation software in 1990. For years, I kept backup copies of all my pieces on diskettes. As time went on, these diskettes were capable of holding more and more information, but they hit a ceiling around the end of the decade. Over the first few years of this century, they were phased out, replaced by CDs.

Since I spend much more time with my head buried in sixteenth notes than I spend keeping up with technological shifts, this change caught me by surprise. I saw the CDs becoming more prevalent, but it didn’t occur to me that diskettes would disappear as quickly as they did. I got two different disk drives to help me get through the transition, but now even those no longer work with current operating systems. As a result, a handful of the pieces I wrote in the 1990s no longer exist – I printed most of them, but not all.

Which is okay – the ones I didn’t print probably weren’t worth the trouble. I don’t find it difficult to move on – I’ve got a lot of new music I want to write. And now my living quarters are more spacious than ten years ago, so I’m able to print everything.

CDs hold a lot more information than diskettes. I could barely fit a large work on a single diskette; I can fit 50 of them on a CD. But I hate backing up files on CD, because I can’t get the rewriteable ones to actually rewrite, so when I revise a piece I have to toss the disk I’ve saved it on. Then sometimes I just want to back up one piece, and it seems a waste to burn a CD for something so small, since it just gets tossed when I make revisions.

Has anyone found a good solution to backing up notation files? If so, I’m all ear. I’d like to be able to keep copies I can make little revisions to from time to time. And I’m on a Mac OS 10.3.9, if that clarifies.

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