The Soundslice Blog

How to represent non-music in your Soundslice score

Soundslice is all about syncing audio/video with music notation — but in some cases your audio/video might feature talking and explaining, instead of music. How are you supposed to represent non-musical content in your synced music notation?

Traditionally our users have solved that by creating empty bars in their notation, with a whole rest, and syncing that single bar with whatever portion of their recording was instructional. But we’ve always considered that technique a bit of a dirty workaround. It’s technically not a rest, it’s something completely different!

We finally have a proper solution: something we call “bar commentary.”

This lets you mark sections of audio/video as “commentary,” which will be represented by a light gray labeled section of the music notation. It’s really nice, not only for navigating through a score but for helping underscore what’s being said. Here’s what it looks like:

Screenshot of bar commentary

Some of you have already noticed that lessons in Soundslice Lessons use this technique prominently. Here’s an example.

Here’s how to create bar commentary:

  • In your notation software (Sibelius, Finale, Guitar Pro, etc.), create an empty bar wherever the commentary happens.
  • Use your notation software to add text above the bar. This is how you specify the commentary bar’s label.
  • Make sure the text starts with “sstext:” (without the quotes) and is followed by whatever the label should be. You can put a space after that colon, or not — it works either way.
  • Upload your notation file to us. Whenever our importer sees “sstext:”, it’ll strip out that prefix and create a commentary bar with your given label. Note that we ignore whatever music notation (if any) is in commentary bars.
  • When you use our sync editor to sync audio/video with your score, just create a single syncpoint for the start of the commentary bar. Its duration will be whatever you specify — from its start syncpoint to the next syncpoint. It can be as short or long as you want, though we suggest breaking up super-long sections into multiple commentary bars, for better navigation.

We realize that “sstext:” seems like a magic incantation. Eventually we’ll have a way of creating these directly on our site, rather than having to use your notation program. It’s pretty fast and easy, though.

A score can have as many commentary bars as you’d like. They can be next to each other, or they can be sprinkled throughout the score, or both. Have at it!