The Soundslice Blog

Introducing the loop button

We’ve made a big change to our player today: it now has a prominent loop button, which makes it simple to loop a section of music.

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Looping has always been a core part of the Soundslice experience — just drag across any notation to loop that section. But we’ve repeatedly found that some people don’t realize they can do this. In a world of PDFs and static images, the concept of “interactive” sheet music is still new and unexpected.

That’s why we’ve introduced this button. When you click it, the player will create a looped selection that spans whatever bar your playhead is in. You can then drag its edges to resize it to your liking.

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As part of this change, we’ve also improved the way loops look. They now have “grabbers” on either edge, which helps communicate that they’re resizable.

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Dragging to resize loops was already possible — but (again) we found people didn’t realize they could do it. The new design makes it much clearer!

Finally, we’ve clarified our player’s “play options.” Previously, clicking the double-arrow next to the Play button would give you three options: Play looped, Play once or Play with count-in. Now that we have a separate loop button, we’ve put the “Play once” option in the loop button’s menu, which simplifies things.

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We hope you enjoy these changes!

Prettier hammer-ons and pull-offs

We’ve improved our tablature rendering today to make hammer-ons and pull-offs more beautiful and easier to read.

Previously, we displayed a little slur between every note, like this:

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Now, we automatically detect when subsequent notes are all part of the same hammer-on or pull-off, and we display a single slur, like this:

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Much clearer!

We’ve made this rendering more sophisticated, as well. It’ll now draw slurs in the other direction if there’s not enough space above (due to other notes in the tab). And it’ll fall back to a smaller slur style if all else fails.

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This change is live now for all tablature sitewide.

New: Support for cautionary accidentals

Finally! Soundslice now supports cautionary accidentals, otherwise known as courtesy accidentals or reminder accidentals.

These basically mean: “an accidental is not technically necessary to display here, but it’s being displayed as a courtesy to prevent confusion.”

This example has one in the second bar, to remind the reader that the note on the B staff line should be a B flat (because in the previous bar it was a B natural):

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At the moment, Soundslice always renders cautionary accidentals within parentheses. Eventually we might add the ability to hide the parentheses, either slice-wide or on a note-by-note basis.

Entering cautionary accidentals

If you create slices by importing from MusicXML files, then you’re in good shape: we’ve improved our MusicXML importer to detect cautionary accidentals automatically.

Our built-in notation editor also now has the ability to toggle cautionary accidentals. You’ll find the button in our editor’s second menu (“Note basics"):

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For quick editing, you can assign a keyboard shortcut to “Toggle cautionary accidental” using our new custom keyboard shortcuts feature.

Changes to setting default visibility

Today we’ve made a small change to the way slice creators can set default visibility of notation, tab, chords or lyrics.

Say you wanted to change your slice to use stemmed tablature, or to hide the standard notation (showing only tab). Previously, you could click the vertical text to the left of notation, hence opening the “track controls,” and you’d see a little Save button appear if you made changes to visibility:

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We’ve now removed this Save button. Instead, use our built-in notation editor to accomplish this.

In the notation editor, open the tracks menu and click the track you want to edit. You’ll see a new Visibility section there, with the same icons as before:

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We’ve made this change because it makes things more consistent and predictable. Now, everything involving changing tracks — from the name to the tuning to the visibility — lives in the same place.

New: Customize your keyboard shortcuts

Today we’re excited to announce a powerful new feature for people using our notation/tab editor: you can customize the keyboard shortcuts! We’re also providing several presets, based on other popular notation software, and you can switch between these shortcut sets easily.

Keyboard shortcuts in notation software are a touchy thing (pun intended?). Lots of musicians invest time in memorizing shortcuts for their preferred software, and it can be hard to switch software once you’ve developed muscle memory. For those of you coming to Soundslice from other notation software, we want you to get productive quickly, so we’ve added several presets based on other apps.

To see the available presets, open the Soundslice notation editor and click the “Shortcuts” icon at the top of the page. You’ll see the new shortcuts panel appear on the right:

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This will show you all of the currently available keyboard shortcuts in one convenient place. At the top, you’ll see a drop-down menu with all the available presets (including any that you’ve created yourself). For now, the following presets are available:

Choose a preset, and the editor will immediately begin to use those shortcuts. We’ll save your preference automatically.

Creating your own

For power users who want more control, click “Edit” next to the currently selected shortcut set. You’ll get a window that shows you all available Soundslice editing commands (currently 186) and lets you assign a keyboard shortcut to any of them!

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You can then give your shortcut set a name and save it. It’s only accessible to your account; it’s not public. (But if you’re particularly proud of it, drop us a line and we’ll consider adding it to the list of defaults.)

Creating your own keyboard shortcut set is available to anybody with a paid Soundslice plan.

As part of this, we’ve added several editor capabilities, all of which can be assigned to a keyboard shortcut:

As always, we’d love to hear feedback on this new feature, and we hope you enjoy your new powers!

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