What is Songbee?
In many churches, hymnbooks are on the out and computer projection of worship song lyrics are coming in. Some churches use Microsoft's Powerpoint to do this, but there are problems with Powerpoint. The main one is that a Powerpoint presentation is linear - you go from one slide to the next until you get to the end of the presentation.
But songs are not linear, and worship less so; you have a verse, then a chorus, then another verse, and then the worship leader might choose to go back to verse 1, or sing the chorus, or sing the bridge. If you're using Powerpoint you have to flick around between slides when something unexpected like that happens.
Songbee is a dedicated projection tool, which allows you to say "go to next chorus", "skip to next song", "go back to previous song in playlist", and so on.
For more about how to use Songbee, including some screen shots, see the manual.
What can Songbee do?
- The big one: Proper Japanese text support, including furigana.
- Multilingual worship - have a song in Japanese and English (or any other languages) and move seamlessly between the different languages.
- Bible verses - give Songbee a reference ("Psalm 29") and a Bible version ("Japanese Shinkayaku") and it will display the Bible text for you. Requires you to have Songbee Bible files installed. Songbee comes with NET and KJV versions.
- Powerful song search facility, even while worship is going on.
- Customizable display.
- Displays web pages as well as Bible verses and songs.
- Export to Word for printed songbooks.
- Song count report for copyright reporting.
|Windows 2.1 release. (Requires XP or above)|
|OS X 2.1.1 release.|
|Unix 2.1 release|
Additional Bibles for Songbee
Here are some additional files you can download to add new Bible versions to Songbee
- Portuguese Joao Ferreira de Almeida
- Spanish Reina Valera Actualizada
- Spanish Reina Valera 1909
- Spanish Sagradas Escrituras
Songbee is designed for a particular situation, the Japanese church. There are many alternatives to Songbee, which do not attempt to solve the unique problems of displaying Japanese song lyrics.
- Easislides. It's Windows only, it's fully bilingual, (although it doesn't support Japanese ruby) it makes songbooks, it's got Bible text integration, and it's very pretty. If you're using Windows and you don't care about free software, and it does what you want, use this.
- openlp.org. It has a silly name, it's Windows only, it's open source, it does Bible text integration and Powerpoint integration, and it's very pretty, although it doesn't support Japanese ruby, and because I can't develop on Windows, I couldn't make it do so. If Easislides doesn't do what you want, use this.
- Opensong. This is Windows and Mac. It's open source. It's really good, although it doesn't support Japanese ruby, and it seemed like an awful lot of work to make it do so and besides I don't understand Realbasic. If neither Easislides nor openlp.org does what you want, use this.
- Lyricue. This is Linux only(!) and does all the usual stuff. As usual it doesn't support Japanese ruby, and I couldn't be bothered to make it do so because my target audience wouldn't be using Linux anyway. If you're a complete Linux-head, use this.
- Zionworx. This was written by a friend of a friend. I haven't tried it. It's not open source. It's Windows only.
2.1 was released 2009-09-01. See the release notes.
2.0 was released 2009-01-09. Changes include:
- Songbee not only supports songs, but is now extensible to allow display of other kinds of material: Bible passages, web sites, and so on.
- Two such extensions are currently part of Songbee:
- If you are online, Bible passages will be displayed from the online ESV. This is a proof-of-concept until we have sorted out Bible licensing.
- You can add a web site address into a playlist and have the site appear on the projector.
- You can add any additional "annotations" to a song that you like - for instance, the hymnal name and hymn number. Future versions will allow you to search on this data.
- When one song is marked as a translation of another, the option is given during worship to switch between translations of the current song.
- You can change the style (background, colours, etc.) of individual playlists.
- The menus have been rearranged to make creating new types of material easier.
- On the "edit playlist" window, you can now drag songs from the library into your playlist.
- Fix problem where databases were getting locked and could no longer be modified.
- Fix problem where the "edit playlist" window was coming up empty.
- The default display now has its text nearer the top edge of the projector; verse text is also centered on the screen.
1.1 was released 2008-06-10. Changes include:
- Search bar is now visible under Microsoft Windows.
- Songs are ordered in the "edit playlist" window by popularity.
- Furigana is scaled proportionately to main text. (Thanks to Tim Crowson for this bug report.)
- Furigana is centered correctly with main text. (Thanks to Karen Ellrick for this bug report.)
- General under-the-hood tidying.
- Various other fixes. (Source repository got corrupted so I can't tell you what they are.)
Songbee development, trouble ticketing, and source code is available at github.