PathStats Excel Guide

Here's a basic step-by-step guide on how I start pathing a song with this data and Microsoft Excel 2007:

Get a Template

First, download one of my spreadsheet templates. This guide uses screenshots from using the V2 template, but I recommend using the V3 template if you have Excel 2007 or higher, or the .xls version of the V2 template if you have an older version of Excel.

Copy the Template

Make a copy of the spreadsheet file and rename the copy to something based on the name of the song, then open the spreadsheet.

Go to PathStats

Next, go to the PathStats data for the song you care about. I'll use Today as an example. Disclaimer: the "obvious" path I show below is not the best path for the song. Copy the first table minus the headers. As a matter of personal preference, if I'm using data divided by measures, I'll copy starting at the second row of the data, so that the measure numbers line up with the row numbers in Excel. This can make it less confusing for some people.

Paste the Data

Now highlight cell A2 in Excel and paste. You may need to paste special:

and select Text:

in order for this to work correctly. As an alternative to that step, you could paste it into notepad, copy it again from notepad and then do the default paste in Excel, and it seems to work.

Exploring the Spreadsheet - Pasted Data

At this point, the first several columns of the spreadsheet should look like this:

The colors in column D help you visually identify the more point-dense parts of the song, so you'll more intuitively see that you should try to use overdrive then. In the V2 templates, green cells are in the top 20% highest-valued measures and the red cells are below-average points for the song (and white is anything in between). In the V3 spreadsheet, you'll see a more gradual transition from red to white to green, where the darkest green cell is the highest valued, the darkest red cell is the lowest valued, and white occurs at around the 70th percentile.

Exploring the Spreadsheet - Your Workspace

The next couple of columns look like this:

Columns F-J and N are what you fill out for your paths, and columns K-M calculate the score for your path. I'll describe further down exactly how you do that.

Exploring the Spreadsheet - The Average Columns

The last couple columns look like this:

In the V2 template (as pictured), these last 5 columns are the average score per measure for 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 measures starting at that row. In the V3 template, it is the average score per beat, which makes it a little easier to use for songs that have shifting time signatures. These are here to find the best places to start activations of different lengths. The colors have the same meaning as in column D.

Start A Path

This is a good time to save, before you start messing with stuff. To create a path, first make a copy of the "Template" sheet. You do this by right-clicking on the tab at the bottom and selecting "Move or Copy..."

On the resulting dialog, select "(move to the end)" and select the "Create a copy" checkbox.

Now rename the new sheet to something appropriate.

Fill Out the Path

Now fill out the sheet with your prospective path. Use the "od notes" column to make notes about what's going on with the path. Put x's in colums G-J for the measures that each instrument will be using overdrive. In the V3 template, you can also use y's to indicate that roughly half of the measure will be under OD for that instrument. Put x's in column F for measures in which a drum fill will appear.

Notice that the x's (and y's for OD the V3 template) you enter will automatically change color, and that column K will adjust with the OD score multiplier (or average score multiplier) for that measure. Note: when there is more than one y in the same row, it is assumed, for purposes of calculating the score multiplier, that the same half of the measure is intended for each instrument.

Once finished, scroll down to the bottom and look at the estimated score for the path:

Rinse and Repeat

Now copy either the template sheet or a path sheet and try another path. I generally make it a personal rule to always try at least 3 different paths before considering myself "done", but sometimes I'll end up trying 10 or more paths if I'm not sure I've found the best one. It's fairly common for my first attempt to be the best in the end, but I also find that even the songs that seem the most obvious, I'll still find something better on a subsequent attempt.

Write It Up

Once you're done and you have a path you're happy with, write it out in a way that your bandmates can understand.

Talk to your bandmates about what format they prefer - maybe you'll want to do it in text, maybe it'll be most useful to draw activations on one of ajanata's charts.


Finally, play the path with your band! Make note of activations that didn't work, or things you didn't properly account for. You may get a lower or higher score than you expect.