Here are three new courses in our store produced by musicians in the Soundslice community.
Classical Guitar for Beginners & Intermediates (@guitarrasinlimites) — $59
Felipe Munoz is a classical guitarist from Valencia, Spain. In addition to being a wonderful performer, Felipe is a well-regarded teacher in the Spanish-speaking world: He’s the mastermind behind the popular YouTube channel and instructional website of the same name, Guitarra Sin Limites. (Guitar without limits.)
Each slice in Felipe’s Soundslice course has three camera angles to select from. The lessons progress in difficulty, and they’re a good mix of both classic repertoire and fundamentals.
Purchase or preview the course here.
Five standards: Improvisation/Inspiration (@UffeSteen) — $16
If you’re a blues guitarist with an interest in jazz, Uffe Steen is your guy, and this collection of etudes is for you. Hailing from Denmark, Uffe approaches jazz improvisation with some of the tools that blues guitarists know well: bends and vibrato. That said, his melodic approach does not contain cliches that you’d hear in the 12-bar form. (Perhaps owing to his conservatory training as a classical clarinetist.)
In this collection of etudes, Uffe plays over the form of five standards — Blue in Green, Recordame, Misty, Afternoon in Paris and Alone Together — each with their own melodic focus. (E.g., Rubato, bebop lines, bends, etc.) You can purchase or preview the course here.
30 Melodies for Cello, Volume 1, 1-10 (@dcason) — $10
David Cason is a music educator who runs a real-world K-8 strings program, as well as a YouTube series called Cello from the Beginning. This Soundslice course he’s put together contains 10 short Berthold Tours cello pieces. Each piece comes with two recordings: a solo cello reference track for study (recorded by David) and a piano-only playalong track. No accompanist needed! For the intermediate cellist, this is an encouraging and, dare we say, fun way to practice these pieces.
Purchase or preview the course here.
Create and sell your own courses
Did you know you can create and sell your own lessons and transcriptions on Soundslice? We have a section of our store dedicated to community-created courses. You’ll also see any such course listed on the channel of its creator (as in the neighboring photo). If you’re comfortable creating slices and you’re interested in making instructional content, check out our guide on selling courses.
If you’re new to Soundslice, we recommend that you first get a feel for making a slice or two for your own channel before diving into course creation. Have a look at our “Getting started” video.
Here’s what we’ve improved on Soundslice this week:
New keyboard shortcut for ‘go to start’
When viewing any piece of music on Soundslice, you can now use the Enter key to go back to the beginning. This is a convention we’ve borrowed from DAW software, and many musicians already have it in their muscle memory. :-)
This keyboard shortcut also works in our notation editor. If you have a paid plan, you can use our custom keyboard shortcuts feature to change the specific key combination (look for “Seek audio to start” when editing your shortcuts).
Autoscroll during playback in editor
If you’re editing a slice and hit Play, the notation will now autoscroll during playback. Previously, autoscroll was disabled in the editor and enabled in view-only mode. Now things are nice and consistent across both modes (editing and viewing).
More intuitive editor selection behavior
If you’re editing a slice and hit Play, then eventually hit Pause, we will now select the note or rest that’s closest to where your playback paused.
Our previous behavior was a bit weird: we didn’t update the selected note, but our player’s internal “start playback from here” position was indeed updated. Meaning sometimes playback started from the selected note but sometimes it didn’t.
If that all sounds confusing and technical, just know that the new behavior should be much more intuitive!
Here are three small improvements we’ve made this week:
Autoscroll during playback when the editor is open
Previously, if you were editing a slice and hit Play, the playback wouldn’t autoscroll the notation. This was inconsistent with our non-editing mode, in which we autoscroll by default.
Now, both editing and non-editing modes do the autoscrolling. This is much more intuitive.
‘View’ links in the slice manager
In May’s editor redesign, we had changed the slice manager so that clicking on a slice would open it in editing mode. The only way to get a “read-only” view of your slice was to first open it in editing mode, then click the “View” link — which was a bit annoying.
Now, each slice in your slice manager has a separate “View” link at right. Click that to open the slice without the editor. We’re planning to continue improving the design here; stay tuned.
Ability to delete folders in the slice manager
Previously, you could only delete a folder if it was empty. Now, there’s a way to delete it along with all the slices and subfolders within it.
This is useful mostly for our customers who have mass-imported hundreds of slices and want a quick way to delete all of them.
Because deleting a folder is a large, potentially dangerous action, we have two safeguards in place:
- If you try to delete a folder, you’ll be asked to type the exact folder name. This is intentional friction in our confirmation screen.
- In organization accounts, only admins are allowed to use this feature.
In our fourth “Featured transcriber” interview, we chat for the first time with a bassist. Marco Zammuto of Palermo, Italy has been wowing the Soundslice team with his detailed jazz transcriptions that feature the greats of not just jazz bass, but many other instruments. (Vocalists, guitarists, winds, etc.)
What’s particularly enjoyable about checking out Marco’s transcriptions, is that he often records himself playing them. We wanted to find out more about his dedicated process, and the mysterious claim that his channel bio makes: That he’s also a classical musician.
Soundslice: Marco, thank you for being the first bassist in our “Featured transcriber” series. It’s nice to get some commentary from the low end!
Marco: Thanks for having me! It’s been a pleasure for me to take part in your community.
Soundslice: Before we get into your background, something we love about the transcriptions you share on your channel is that you actually perform many of them. What motivates you to spend the extra time doing that?
Marco: Well, I’ve always transcribed music. I think it is the fastest and most practical method to learning a musical language. You improve your ears, you create a routine of active music listening and you also begin to understand why certain things are played certain ways.
My [performance] videos show the mere execution of a solo, but behind them, I study the harmonic analysis carefully. I break the solo into small parts which I learn from. It’s how I enrich my vocabulary.
Soundslice: Ah, so there’s even more work going on that what we see. How long does it take you to learn and break down a solo that way?
Marco: It depends on the length and complexity of the solo. If I’ve transcribed the musician many times before, I have a familiarity with their vocabulary and my transcribing and breakdown speed increases. The process is typically: I learn it by ear, notate it and then compare it with the track.
I usually post a [transcription] video once a week. Sometimes I have to archive it for later study. (To keep up with the 1-per-week rate.) Many times I‘ll focus on just one or two harmonic concepts to practice in twelve keys and with rhythmic variations.
Soundslice: That’s a very dedicated process! Some of your transcriptions are by musicians that don't play bass. (E.g., Ella Fitzgerald, Clifford Brown, Biréli, etc.) It’s fantastic to see you execute them so well on a completely different, and much bigger instrument. What are some of the challenges you find in playing other instrumentalist’s lines on the bass?
Marco: The biggest challenge is to make every execution musical and fluid. When it comes to working out the technical, it’s just a matter of a study routine. But the real difficulty is making everything sound melodic. The sound emission from a bass is much different than other instruments, but it’s still possible to mimic them. In ancient times, stringed instruments were invented to imitate the human voice and wind instruments, so, it can be done. I ask myself, “How does a double bass have to articulate sound like a trumpet?” I have to listen a lot to pick up on these things.
Soundslice: The listening shows. What’s your primary motivation for sharing these transcriptions on your channel? (For yourself, for others, something else…?)
Marco: A few reasons. The first is that I think it’s right to share music, points of view and experiences. I was lucky enough to study in a very open academic environment right from the start. I was used to not being protective of my musical discoveries. I’d share without borders.
Another reason is for self-evaluation. Looking back on these published transcription videos lets me see things that have yet to improve. It’s is also an excellent system for learning many things that have nothing to do with bass playing! I am referring to placing microphones, working with a video camera, DAW, video editing, social media strategies. Following a format helps to self-evaluate, reduce the time in the various steps, and compare with colleagues on the web.
Soundslice: That sounds like a fortunate environment to come up learning music. And I’m so glad you mentioned the practice of music-related things! That’s so true.
Backing up a bit now, would you tell us about where you’re from?
Marco: I’m from a small town in the south of Sicily, but now I live in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily.
Soundslice: Ah, our friend Michael Valeanu has a composition inspired by Palermo. What’s the music scene like there?
Marco: There is a solid jazz and music scene. In my opinion, Palermo is a beautiful city to be a bass player because there are so many different little worlds to play in. I’m lucky to work in big bands, mainstream groups, modern and gypsy jazz combos, symphonic and baroque ensembles, a world music band…
Soundslice: Sounds fantastic.
Marco: Yes, and all those differences between the different music worlds keep your brain fresh! It can give you the motivation to expand your knowledge, meet different players and see music with a different point of view.
Soundslice: Speaking of points of view, you have all these wonderful jazz transcriptions, yet your profile mentions that you’re a classically-trained bassist. Could you talk about your classical music background?
Marco: When I started to study double bass in conservatory, I was undecided about which musical world to choose: classical or jazz. I didn’t want to pick one, as a teacher had recommended. I wanted to learn both. I was drawn to the tradition of classical music, but also had an attachment to the electric bass (my first instrument). So I auditioned for both programs at the conservatory.
Soundslice: You started on electric. Were you already learning jazz?
Marco: On no. Jazz came later. When I was fifteen, I was in a recording studio with a death metal band to record a demo. I was warming up on my fretless bass, and at one point, the sound engineer gave me a record to listen to. It was Jaco Pastorius and I was blown away.
Soundslice: I wonder if that sound engineer has any idea what they’ve done. So what happened with the conservatory auditions?
I ultimately was admitted to both programs and decided to go for both. (Took it as destiny.) The first years were very hard: Each path had equivalent coursework, which meant double the effort. Bass lessons for both, piano lessons for both, music history for both. The list goes on. At one point toward the beginning, I was about to drop the classical degree. The instrument can be very stressful, and I was burdened by the differences in language with jazz. Still, I decided that I could not give up such a beautiful thing. I started to wake up very early to dedicate more time to classical music and to reach more and more distant goals.
Soundslice: What dedication! Do you find that you have different practice routines when working on classical vs. jazz?
Marco: Yes, and I’ve experimented with different routines over the years. These days, my classical routine is:
- Bow exercises. (Open strings, scales, arpeggios and arco strokes.)
- Concert studies (Caimmi, Mengoli, Capricci di Billè).
- Concert repertoire and listening. (I like to listen to one performer for a long periods of time. Lately it’s Marcos Machado and Giuseppe Ettorre.)
For jazz, the routine is:
- Warm up with a standard.
- Work on a specific concept over a medium-range time period (e.g., analyzing walking lines from original recordings, harmonic substitutions, rhythmical pedals, clichés, etc.
Soundslice: Again, what dedication! Do you practice all these topics for an equal amount of time?
Marco: No. The time depends on how new the topic is to me (more time for a newer topic), or say if I have a deadline to prepare repertoire. There is also personal desire. If I’m particularly inspired by something, I’ll spend more time.
Soundslice: You’ve got to learn the material by concert time, there’s no getting around that. Before we wrap up, we like to ask everyone: Do you have a dream feature request on Soundslice?
Marco: Soundslice is a great system! I might even upgrade my account to take advantage of the excellent other features. One thing that would be cool: automatic synchronization between a video and the notation.
Soundslice: Ah, we’ve got that one in the back of our minds as well. Well, thank you again, Marco! We appreciate you taking the time, and look forward to more of your transcriptions!
Marco: Thank you, Soundslice! It’s been a pleasure to take part in this interview and to be part of your fantastic community.
Here’s a variety of improvements we’ve made to Soundslice this week.
Quickly copy embed codes
For those of you embedding Soundslice in your own websites, we’ve made it easier to get a slice’s embed code.
There’s now a “Copy” button next to the code. Click that, and the full embed code will be copied to your clipboard. Much better than highlighting the text manually!
Input fingering more quickly
Last week we improved lyrics entry in our notation editor, so that the spacebar automatically moves you to the next note. Now we’ve done the same for fingering entry.
After you enter a note’s fingering, you can hit spacebar to automatically move to the next note. This makes the entry process really fast! If a given note doesn’t need a fingering, just press spacebar again to go to the next one.
This applies to both of Soundslice’s fingering concepts: general fingering (e.g., piano) and right-hand fingering (e.g., pima for classical guitar).
More info in the slice manager
We’ve improved the slice manager to add two new badges to your slices when appropriate:
- Embeddable — you’ll see this if a slice has embedding enabled.
- Shareable — you’ll see this if a slice has sharing enabled.
This lets you see this information at a glance, without needing to go to the slice’s page. It can help prevent silly mistakes like mistakenly thinking you’d already marked something as shareable.
Duplicate slices stay in their folders
Previously, if you used our “Duplicate slice” feature, the newly created duplicate would appear at the top level of your slice manager — even if the original slice was in a folder.
Now, the duplicate will be in the same folder as the original. This makes it generally easier to keep track of your duplicates.
Synth playback now honors tremolos
We’ve improved our synthetic audio engine to honor tremolos in notation.
Fix for sharing edit URLs
Our recent editor redesign changed things so that the edit view of a slice has a different URL than the non-editable version. This has caused some small confusion, as people were trying to share their edit view URLs instead of the non-edit URLs — which didn’t work.
We’ve made a fix for that now. If you share an edit view of a public slice (something you’ve marked as shareable or published to your channel), your recipient will no longer see an unfriendly 404 page. They’ll be instantly redirected to the proper non-edit page.