The Soundslice Blog

New speed-changing interface, organization accounts and more

We have lots of new Soundslice improvements to share with you today. The biggest news: we’ve launched a new speed-changing interface and a way to share scores across your organization.

New speed interface

Changing playback speed has always been an integral part of Soundslice. But due to the variety of audio/video sources Soundslice supports, we’ve had a variety of slowdown interfaces:

The YouTube player traditionally has allowed only 50% and 100% speeds — so we customized our interface to reflect that. For non-YouTube videos, we support any arbitrary speed down to 50%. For audio files, if you’re using a modern browser, we support any speed down to 25%.

These differences have been tricky to maintain, and they’ve caused some confusion with some of our customers. What’s more, our “slider” interface required a bit too much precision on smaller screens and touch devices. And some of you have (rightfully so) been asking for slower minimum speeds and faster maximum speeds — something we were hesitant to do because it would complicate the interface even more!

All those problems are solved today, with our new interface:

Use the up and down arrows to quickly change speed. For fine-grained precision, click (or tap) the number in the middle and enter whatever speed you want. That’s it.

As part of this, we’ve increased the maximum supported speed for our synth player from 125% to 300% — and decreased the minimum speed from 25% to 10%.

YouTube 75% speed!

In related news, YouTube now supports 75% speed in its embedded player! That means any YouTube video in Soundslice now supports 75% speed. Enjoy your new, moderately faster slowdown powers.

And if you want to practice faster, you’ll appreciate that we now support 125%, 150% and 200% speeds for YouTube videos.

Organizations

Do you use Soundslice with other people in your company/school/group, sharing a single Soundslice login across multiple people? We’re here to help.

Instead of sharing passwords, you can use our new organizations feature. With it, you can share scores across Soundslice accounts, and easily switch between them:

For more, see our new documentation. Note that this is only available for our licensing customers at the moment. If you’re interested in using it, please get in touch!

Multi-bar rests

Our rendering engine now supports multi-bar rests:

We’ve updated our MusicXML and PowerTab importers to handle multi-bar rests properly.

Soundslice player

As always, we make daily improvements to all aspects of our product. Some highlights:

Notation rendering

Notation importing

Score manager

Overall site design

For people embedding Soundslice

Thanks for using our site, and please get in touch with feedback, as always!

Introducing horizontal view and advanced settings

Today we’ve launched a great new feature that several of you have requested: a “horizontal view” for notation/tab.

When you activate horizontal view, the Soundslice player will continuously scroll notation horizontally — rather than spreading it over multiple lines (staves) as in paper sheet music.

Whether you prefer this is a matter of taste, of course. The advantage is a more compact interface, and the disadvantage is that you see less music at one time.

To activate horizontal view, use the advanced settings menu — which is also new today! Click the Settings button at the bottom right of any Soundslice score, then click “Advanced.” You’ll see a few options:

At the moment, your preferences are not saved between page loads — you’ll have to set them each time you want to change a score to horizontal view — but we plan to make these preferences saveable.

When horizontal view is active, you can scroll notation by dragging the scrollbar at the bottom of the player, or using a mouse scroll wheel, or using a two-finger drag on a touchpad.

You have two options for playhead scrolling with horizontal view

Astute Soundslice users will notice there’s also a new option for scrolling in the normal (non-horizontal) view: Keep playhead at top of screen. Here’s what that does:

Finally, for those of you embedding Soundslice, you can tell your embedded player to default to horizontal view by using the new horiz=1 URL parameter.

New features and fixes, Jan. 16

As always, Soundslice has gotten lots of tasty new features and fixes lately. Here’s what’s new:

2017 NAMM Show

We’ll have a booth at this week’s NAMM Show in California. (Hall E, booth 1670.) If you’re coming to the convention, please drop by and see us — we love to meet our customers in person.

Auto-hiding of empty staves

Our player now automatically hides empty staves. If your Soundslice score has multiple tracks, and one of the tracks has no music in a given stave (row) of music, we’ll automatically hide that stave.

This makes for a much more efficient use of vertical space. You no longer have to scroll through meaningless empty staves for instruments that don’t contain any information.

If you embed Soundslice in your own site, you can disable this behavior with the new collapse_empty=0 URL parameter, documented here.

Smarter resizing

With music that contains many notes in a single bar — say, lots of 16th and 32nd notes — you may have noticed that the Soundslice player would automatically reduce the size of the notation, to make sure all the notes fit in the screen. Otherwise, the notes would overflow the width of your browser window.

This behavior was unintuitive, though. Several customers had emailed us, assuming it was a bug because they weren’t able to make the notation bigger.

Now, we have a better solution. If notation doesn’t fit in the current browser window, first we’ll try to “smoosh” the horizontal spacing in that bar, to put the notes closer to each other. If that works, then great — no need to auto-change the zoom level. But if the “smooshed” notes are too hard to read, then we’ll resort to the old way, zooming out.

Mobile-friendlier design

We’ve made many changes to many pages on our site to make things work and look better on mobile devices.

Of note, the score manager is much easier to use on smartphones, with more than a dozen usability improvements for touch devices and small screens.

Soundslice player

Our player keeps getting better:

Notation rendering

We polish our rendering engine on a nearly daily basis, so printing a whole list of recent changes would break the Internet. But here are the highlights:

Score manager / course manager

Notation importing

Embedding

New: Use Soundslice video tools without music notation

Soundslice is amazing for syncing notation with real audio/video recordings. But in some cases, a student might want to focus 100% on a video, without the distraction of synced notation. Or a teacher might want to enable our excellent slowdown/looping/navigation features for a video that doesn’t have music notation available.

Today, we’ve launched a collection of features that make all of that possible.

Notationless toggle

If you’re working in a Soundslice score that has video, you now have the ability to make the video full-screen, hiding the notation. This lets you focus directly on the video.

Just click the icon at the upper right of a video:

When the video goes full-screen, you’ll see a waveform below, which lets you make loops simply by dragging across it. (See our separate announcement about that.) And you’ll still be able to control the video’s speed, with the slider at lower left.

To return to the notation view, click the icon in the corner again.

This is a fantastic interface for learning music from video, in situations where synced notation isn’t available or you want to focus fully on the video. Enjoy!

Embedding notationless videos

Around 60 sites embed the Soundslice player to enhance their music-instruction videos. We’ve heard from several of these customers that they love using our player to sync videos with music notation, but they also want to use our slowdown and looping capability for videos that don’t have associated notation.

In some cases, sites have a deep backlog of videos that they haven’t transcribed into notation yet. In other cases, the videos just don’t lend themselves well to synced notation — e.g., they primarily consist of talking instead of music-making.

So today we’ve launched some tweaks to our player to make it useful for video content even when you don’t have associated music notation. Our goal was to build the best video player for music study — with or without notation.

Here’s what’s new:

Put together, these new features mean you can use Soundslice as a general-purpose video player that’s specifically been built for music education. Use our synced notation if you can — we believe that’s the ideal online music learning environment — but if you can’t for whatever reason, you can still benefit from Soundslice.

Introducing the Mixer

Here’s something a bunch of you have been requesting for ages. We’ve launched a Mixer view on Soundslice.

This lets you tweak settings of all a score’s tracks/parts in one place. For each track, you can:

All of this — except soloing and muting — was already possible by clicking track names to the left of notation, but that was a cumbersome process for people who want to make lots of changes at once. The Mixer makes it much faster and easier!

Here are some specific use-cases for the Mixer:

The Mixer is available now on every Soundslice score. You’ll find it in the “Visualizations” menu — the menu that also contains the Keyboard, Fretboard and Waveform buttons.

If you don’t have a multitrack Soundslice score handy, play around with the Mixer in these examples:

If you embed Soundslice in your own site and want to disable the Mixer, use the new enable_mixer=0 URL parameter, documented here.

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