The Soundslice Blog

New features and fixes, Oct. 19

Here’s the latest rundown of Soundslice improvements:

Waveform view

Every score now has a “Waveform” view, which shows you a waveform of the audio/video. To activate it, open the “Visualizations” menu when you’re looking at a score, and select Waveform. (It’s the same menu that has the fretboard and keyboard views — formerly known as the “Instruments” menu.)


The waveform is useful for visual navigation of your audio. You can click anywhere in the waveform to seek to that moment in the audio, and you can drag across the waveform to create a loopable area. Zoom in/out with the icons at right. If you’ve used our syncpoint editor, this will look familiar. :-)


Note that waveform data isn’t always available. We might not have waveform data for a recording if its type is “Video URL.” And we don’t display waveforms if you use our synthetic audio player. Otherwise, all new Soundslice scores should have it automatically. Feel free to play with it in our example score.

If you license Soundslice to embed it in your own site, you can disable the waveform view with the new enable_waveform=0 URL parameter.

Better video uploading

For those of you who upload video files directly to Soundslice: we now accept many more video formats, and we transcode to the appropriate web-friendly format automatically. Previously, we only supported MP4 uploads. Much better now!

Soundslice player

  • Our video player no longer assumes videos use a 16/9 aspect ratio. So, if you have a square video, or a vertical video, our player will use space more effectively, without letterboxing.
  • You can now create scores with multiple recordings in which each recording is actually the same video. For example, say you have a video where you perform a piece of music three times, at three different speeds. Now, you can create a separate Soundslice recording for each snippet in that video — just pointing at a different timecode in it.
  • If you change the volume of a track in our synth player, you now have the option of saving that volume. Just click the Save button that appears.
  • A bit of intelligence: If your score has a “Da Capo” in it, and the score starts with commentary bars, the “Da Capo” will jump back to the first non-commentary bar, rather than jumping to the commentary bars.
  • For pickup bars with triplet feel active, the rhythmic “ticks” (e.g., for our metronome sound) are now in the proper places. Previously we naively counted from the start of the bar, despite pickup bars having an abnormal rhythmic width.
  • We increased the amount of space between notation and video, in the case when the video is displayed above notation. Previously it was slightly too cramped.
  • We fixed the “Bar X of Y” display in the control bar to use 0 instead of -1 for empty scores.
  • We improved our chord-only view to always display a chord name in the first beat of a bar, even if it doesn’t explicitly have a chord set. Previously, bars would be empty if their chord hadn’t changed from the previous bar.
  • I thought I’d never live to see this day... Apple’s newest version of iOS (version 10) no longer forces full-screen video in iPhones! That means Soundslice videos work properly on the iPhone, in iOS 10 at least.
  • When we’re not working on Soundslice, our free-time hobby is to make performance improvements to Soundslice. Lots of nice improvements lately: smaller memory use and faster rendering.

Notation rendering

  • We improved fingering rendering to prefer a “fingering next to noteheads” approach instead of “fingering stacked above/below notes” approach, in case of chords with three or more notes.
  • We fixed a rendering bug where vibrato marks clashed with bends in tied notes if the tie-ending note has no bend and is in a separate bar. Got that?
  • We fixed a rendering bug with dotted notes at the start of a stave that continue a tie from the previous stave.
  • We now support arpeggio markings in staff notation. Previously we only rendered them in tablature. If your score had arpeggio data, it’ll now display the markings (no need to re-upload your notation).
  • We fixed a rendering bug with bass-clef tracks that have lyrics.
  • For tuplets over beamed notes, we now break secondary beams at the tuplet edges. Looks much better and it’s easier to read.
  • We fixed a rendering bug with tempo markings that start in the middle of a bar.
  • We changed the rendering of “dead” notes to use distinct notehead glyphs for whole notes vs. half notes vs. quarter notes.
  • It finally had to happen. We added support for 128th and 256th notes and rests.

Score manager / course manager

  • You can now rename folders. Just click the icon next to the folder name, when you’re viewing the folder’s contents.
  • Search results now display each score’s folder, for context.
  • Our notation-upload page now supports drag-and-drop. Just drag your notation file onto the page.
  • “Move to folder” now works properly in Internet Explorer.
  • When you’re looking at search results and move a score to a different folder, we no longer remove the score from the search results. That was rather unsettling behavior.
  • You can now reorder lessons in courses! Just go to the course page (assuming you own the course) and click the arrows.
  • There’s now a single “Your courses” page that lists all the courses you’ve created or are a student in.
  • The default user avatar is no longer a guitar. There is no longer a vast Soundslice conspiracy to get everybody playing guitar. We like all kinds of music!

Notation importing

  • We now support TuxGuitar notation files (.tg) natively.
  • If you try uploading a raw Finale, Sibelius or MuseScore file, we’ll now detect that and will give you a friendly error message.
  • For instruments with tablature, our MusicXML importer now supports notes in the staff that don’t have a corresponding tab note. Previously this resulted in some weird behavior.
  • Our MusicXML importer now removes garbage such as square brackets from track names. For example, a track called “[Bass clarinet]” will now come in as “Bass clarinet” (without the brackets).
  • Turns out lots of people like to enter text as “lyrics” in Finale and Sibelius despite the text not actually being lyrics. Maybe it’s a UI problem in those notation programs, or people just like the look of the lyrics display. Anyway, we’re now much smarter about this. Previously, we would treat this text as lyrics, but now we do some heuristics and treat text as “normal text” instead of lyrics, if it doesn’t actually appear to be lyrics.
  • We improved the MusicXML importer to automatically transpose tracks with tablature for MusicXML files that don’t include transposition information — such as Sibelius. For example, guitar tracks from Sibelius now are correctly transposed despite Sibelius deciding not to tell us about the transposition.
  • Our MusicXML importer no longer assumes voice names are integers — hence we now support multi-voice notation as generated by some more obscure notation programs.
  • For MusicXML generated by Notion, we fixed a bug with accidentals in tablature tracks.

Several of our teacher customers have asked us for the ability to upload extra files — such as PDFs — along with their Soundslice scores, to keep all their student materials in one place. Today we launched this new feature!

Here’s how it works...

First, in the score manager, find the score you want to upload extra files to. Hover over its name and click the file icon (“Manage file uploads”).


You’ll reach the file-upload page for this score. On this page, you can upload one or more files. You can also delete files you don’t want to make available anymore.


Once you’ve uploaded a file, it will be instantly available in any course the score is in. Students viewing the course page will see the file link(s) just below the score name. Here’s an example:


That’s it! Simple. This new file-upload feature is available now, for all paying Soundslice For Teachers customers.

New feature: Video flipping

Today we’ve launched a nice little feature called video flipping. It lets you flip any Soundslice video to its mirror image.

If you’re left-handed — or you just prefer to learn from a mirror image instead of the traditional “sitting at the camera” perspective — this feature is for you.

It’s very easy to use. First, click the Settings icon at bottom left of any Soundslice score that has a video. Then, click the “Flip video” button, and the video will instantly flip to its mirror image.


Just click it again to return to normal perspective.

Yesterday’s lick in Soundslice Licks, with a closeup of the guitar fretboard, is a perfect video to try it on. Enjoy!

Video subtitle support

Here’s something for those of you who create Soundslice scores with videos: we now support video subtitles (e.g., closed captioning).

Obviously subtitles aren’t needed while music is playing, but several of our customers use Soundslice with instructional videos that contain talking — that’s the intended use-case here. For example, see this Soundslice video with subtitles. You’ll see “Subtitles off” just below the video. Click that to toggle subtitles on and off.


You can add subtitles to your scores using the Soundslice score manager. Next to each video recording, you’ll now see a “CC” (closed captioning) icon:


Click that to access the subtitle manager for the recording. Each recording can have multiple subtitles, each with a different language.

We accept the standard SRT file format for subtitles. If you have subtitles in a different format and are serious about using them with Soundslice, please get in touch — we’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy your new subtitling powers!

Introducing the visual violin

Our visual fretboard and visual keyboard are quite popular features — but why should guitarists and pianists have all the fun? Today we’re launching a visual violin fingerboard.


Like the visual fretboard, it’s a graphical representation of the violin, showing the strings and where to put your fingers. The notes light up in real time, synced with audio/video. Here’s an example.

You can also drag across any section of notation to see all of your selected notes in the violin fingerboard. This is a nice way of navigating where your selection of music is played on the instrument.

The violin fingerboard differs from the fretboard in a few important ways.

First, obviously, there are no frets — but we display “tape” marks in the standard positions used by beginner violin students.

Second, you need to opt into it. Our visual fretboard is always available for any score that has at least one track with tablature, but the visual violin is only available if you opt into enabling it. We decided this because we don’t want to clutter our interface.

To enable the visual violin for a score, click the track name to the left of notation, then make sure “Virtual violin” is checked.


From then on, your preference will be saved, and you’ll see a violin icon at the bottom of the score. Click that to display the visual violin.

Third, as with many fretted instruments, the violin has more than one way to play the same note. For example, the E note played on an open E string can also be played on the A string, higher up the fingerboard. So how does Soundslice’s visual violin know which string to use for a note?

The answer is: we use the data in the score itself — the fingering positions. These Roman numerals specify which position to use for subsequent notes, which makes the fingering unambiguous. You can see a few cases in our example score where the same note is played on different strings, according to the position data.

This means, if you want to use the visual violin, make sure your score has the correct position data. Otherwise, we’ll assume everything is in first position — which might not be right for your given piece of music. (That’s another reason this is opt-in!)

We’d like to thank the People’s Music School in Chicago, who guided us through making this. Please let us know what you think, and enjoy the new feature!

Read more posts in the blog archive…