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Introducing our new Paged layout

Until today, if you wanted to sightread music in Soundslice, you had two options:

  • Press Play and rely on our player’s automatic scrolling of the music. This means you see a moving playhead, and you hear the audio. You’re locked into playing at a certain tempo, and the scrolling is out of your control.
  • Scroll the music manually, without playing the audio. This means you need to drag the music forward a bit every so often, making sure you scroll just the right amount — which is difficult, or at least finicky, depending on what instrument you’re playing and how busy your hands are.

Now there’s a third option: our new Paged layout.

In the new Paged layout, we automatically split your music into pages — screenfuls, really — and you can navigate between pages simply by clicking the left or right edges of your screen.

Screenshot of paging through music

It’s like flipping through pages in a PDF reader, but there’s one big difference: the music is dynamically sized. The pages are drawn on the fly depending on your screen size, your zoom level, your chosen stave width and the nature of the music itself.

Each stave of music is guaranteed to fit fully on the screen, with no scrolling whatsoever. So if you’re sightreading, you can quickly and confidently move forward with a single click or tap.

Some of you are probably saying: “But Soundslice already had something called Paged layout!” Yes, that’s true; we added it back in 2020. It did two things: it set a fixed stave width (as opposed to stretching music across your screen) and it honored the slice’s stave breaks. Confusingly, there were no “pages” to be found in that old Paged layout. We should have called it Fixed-Width layout.

At any rate, if you open our player’s settings menu today, you’ll see a new look in the Layout section. Here’s how it changed:

Screenshot of old UI and new UI side by side

Instead of four top-level options, there are now two: Scrollable vs. Paged. When you set Scrollable, you can optionally choose “Horizontal notation.”

We’ve introduced a few more features as a part of this:

First, there’s a brand-new “Stave width” control. This lets you increase or decrease the width of the music — which can be handy if you’re on a large screen. If you move that slider all the way to the right, you’ll reach the special value “Fit to screen,” which tells our graphics engine to always stretch the music to fit all available space.

Second, there’s a new “Respect author’s stave breaks” checkbox. You’ll only see this if the particular slice you’re viewing has stave break data. If you check that box, we’ll make sure that the slice author’s stave breaks are honored. If you uncheck the box, we’ll decide the stave breaks automatically, depending on your current screen size, zoom setting and stave width setting.

These new options are a different way of organizing the previous layout options. Here’s a small migration guide, for those of you accustomed to the old system:

  • For the old Fluid layout behavior: use Scrollable layout, change the stave width to “Fit to screen,” and make sure “Respect author’s stave breaks” is unchecked.
  • For the old Paged layout behavior: use Scrollable layout, set the stave width to 100, and make sure “Respect author’s stave breaks” is checked.
  • For the old Auto layout behavior: you don’t need to do anything. Our player has the same default behavior as before — automatically choosing the stave width and “Respect author’s stave breaks” settings based on your screen width at the time you load the music. The only difference is that there’s no explicit Auto button in our interface; we found that to be unnecessary in retrospect.

If you’re in a paid plan, we’ll automatically save your layout, stave width and “Respect author’s stave breaks” settings on a per-slice basis. (See here for more.)

If you embed Soundslice in your website via our Licensing plan, please note that the existing layout URL parameter will continue to work exactly as before, for backwards compatibility. We’ve also added an option layout=5 if you’d like to default your embeds to use the new Paged layout. (See here for more.)

Finally, for more info, see our totally revamped help page on layouts.

Hope you find the new Paged layout useful, and please let us know your feedback!


Cool, but when I'm on the last bar before the page flips I have no idea what's coming next. I'd love if there was a way of seeing a bit ahead right before the page flips (maybe show the top bars of the next page before the flip; or maybe show 2 pages and keep the cursor bound to the left page).
The above is only an issue when trying to play along with a slice.
I really like this new paged way when navigating around with CTRL-Left and CTRL-Right.
Thanks! Yeah, if you're playing along with the music, I'd suggest sticking with Scrollable layout. There, we have a few different scrolling options:…
ALT-Left and Alt-Right navigates prev/next page. Awesome!
I occasionally notice slices that don't allow Expand Repeats. Is there a reason for this?
See "Availability" on the expand repeats help page:…
Expand Repeats seems to be disabled whatever options I choose, never used to have any problems enabling it. Not in edit mode, not in focus mode and there is no checkbox for respect authors stave breaks.
@mikehaysom Thanks for the heads up — that should now be fixed! We had a bug in slices that don't have any line break data.
This is excellent.

You might need to explain how these settings interact with the print function.
It seems as if print moves the sliders.

It wasn't completely intuitive to me, though with fiddling I could get it to print in an appropriate number of pages.
This change is worse. It now making the bar lengths with less notes super short. This causes the cursor to speed up and slow down drastically. Here's an example:

It was kind of like this before, but it's worse now.
That part of our graphics engine hasn't changed; this was already the case (and looks good to my eyes).

If you'd like the playhead to move at a constant rate, you can use proportional notation:…
That only works with horizontal notation
Awesome! Would it be possible to have 2 pages side by side? Thanks!

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