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Posts tagged with “Embedding”

We’re announcing a bunch of new features and improvements today:

Embed channel posts

An exciting new option for those of you posting to channels: You can now embed your channel posts in other websites — for free.

Each channel post now has an “Embed” tab on its page (example). Click that to get the embed code for the post. Then just copy and paste that code into your own website. If you’ve ever embedded a YouTube video, you’ll feel right at home.

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The embed looks like this (go on, press Play!):

This is our “miniplayer,” which is optimized for giving a quick taste of the music as opposed to being a full practice environment. It has a “View full version” link, along with a link back to your Soundslice channel.

Some ideas for why you’d want to embed a channel post in your website:

  • For bloggers: Easily share licks/ideas in your music-focused blog, so that people can hear the real audio and see synced notation
  • For course creators: Promote a course you’re selling in our store
  • For Soundslice licensing customers: Give your potential customers an idea of the high-quality music learning experience paying members get access to
  • For music teachers: Give your potential students an idea of the high-quality music learning experience you’re using with your private students

Strum directions

You can now add strum directions to your slices. These are arrows that specify whether to strum upward or downward:

To add this to your slices, use the new “Strum upward” and “Strum downward” buttons in our notation editor‘s “More notations” section. This works for music with and without tablature.

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Disable synth playback

Each slice you create on our site has synthetic playback active by default, regardless of whether you’ve synced it with separate audio/video. You can now disable the synthetic playback option, such that only the “real audio” recordings are available for that slice.

Some reasons for why you might want to do this:

  • The specific piece of music doesn’t have pitched notes (e.g., it’s only chord diagrams)
  • You want to minimize choice/confusion for your students/customers
  • You simply don’t like the synth playback and don’t see value in it

To disable synth playback for one of your slices, edit the slice, click “Settings” and choose the (new!) “Advanced” menu. This is available for all paying Soundslice customers.

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Update your channel posts without unpublishing

Previously, if you published a slice to your channel and wanted to make a change to its channel post settings, the only way to do that was to unpublish it, make the changes, then republish. That was rather annoying…!

Now, you can edit the channel post’s information without unpublishing. Much better.

Ability to put a course on sale

For those of you selling courses in our store, you can now mark a course as “for sale.” Previously, you could have simply changed the price, but that didn’t communicate that the course was on sale. With our new feature, the old price will remain on the page, crossed out, for context.

More info is here.

Loading indicator

For those of you on slower connections, we’ve added a loading indicator in our player. Previously, the notation area of our player simply stayed blank until it loaded. Now you’ll be assured that things are loading.

A larger default video width

We’ve increased the default width of videos in our player. Previously, they were a bit too small. The video will now be 40% of the player’s width:

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Although it’s always been possible to resize videos easily, by dragging the vertical line between the video and notation, this is a nicer default.

Here are some improvements we’ve made recently:

Better rendering of half notes in stemmed tab

Previously, our stemmed tab view treated quarter notes and half notes in exactly the same way, which made it impossible to tell them apart:

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Now, half notes use shorter stems, while quarter note stems continue to extend all the way through the strings. This should clear up any ambiguity.

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New “About Soundslice” page

We’ve revamped our About section. Have a look!

Nicer design of “Add recording” screen

We’ve added some icons and removed the cheap-looking radio buttons. Here’s how it used to look:

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And here’s the new look:

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Proper key signatures with capos and tuning shifts

We made an improvement to our recent new options for capo and shifted guitar tunings. If you choose “Ignore tuning shift in notation” or “Ignore capo in notation” for a track, then we’ll automatically update the track’s key signature so that it takes the ignored shifts into account.

For example, if your slice is in the key of G major and you have a tab track that’s set to “Tune down 1/2 step,” then we’ll change that track’s key signature to Ab major. (Previously it remained in G major.) If you don’t want this behavior, just uncheck “Ignore tuning shift in notation” or “Ignore capo in notation” in our notation editor’s Tracks menu.

Changed enable_synth parameter in embeds

For those of you embedding Soundslice, we’ve changed the way the enable_synth=0 URL parameter works.

Previously, if you specified enable_synth=0 in a slice that had no recordings, playback wouldn’t be possible because our player got confused. Now, we’ll still allow playback — just with no audio. This is useful if you’re doing a sophisticated integration with your own audio playback engine.

If you use enable_synth=0 in a slice that does have recordings, then the synth player will be hidden, as before.

For those of you who embed Soundslice in your own website: we’ve made it faster to access embedding information for a slice.

Previously, if you wanted to embed a slice, you had to go to two places. First you’d edit the slice’s embedding settings on the slice page itself. Then you’d have to go back to the slice manager to get the slice’s embed code.

Now, everything is in one consistent place. When editing a slice, click “Share” at upper right, then select the new option “Embed this slice.”

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There, you’ll be able to mark the slice for embedding and get the embed code — all in one place.

Hope this saves you time, and stay tuned for further improvements in the world of Soundslice embedding!

We’re excited to announce we’ve redesigned our player!

It still has all of the music-learning and practice tools you’ve come to love — now with a fresh design, to make things easier and more intuitive. These changes are all based on feedback we’ve received since our player was launched in 2014.

Here’s an overview of what’s new. We hope you love it.

Visualizations are easier to discover

In our previous design, the “Visualizations” (Fretboard, Keyboard, Mixer and other tools) were all combined behind a single button:

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This was nice and compact, but it meant these features were quite hidden: you had to know to click the small double-arrow icon to show the menu. We got lots of feedback from people who didn’t even know these visualizations existed.

In our new design, all visualizations are available directly from the controlbar, making them much easier to discover:

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This change also opens the door to exciting features in the future. For example, many customers have asked us for the ability to put “View full screen” and “Print” icons directly in the controlbar. We’re planning to make that possible in a future update.

Much better layout at smaller widths

In our previous design, important features like the speed controls, recording toggle and visualizations were hard to discover at smaller screen widths, because they were hidden behind the Settings icon:

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In our new design, more controls are available when the player is embedded at smaller widths. This means less clicking and faster access:

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At even smaller widths, the new design still keeps the speed and recording controls available. We use icons for these controls at smaller widths (instead of text), ensuring they have enough space:

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Changes to the Mixer

Previously, the Mixer contained per-track volume and appearance controls (a way to show/hide notation, chords, lyrics, etc). The tools themselves were great, but some students struggled to understand the metaphor of a “Mixer” and why the various tools were grouped together.

Our new design keeps all the functionality of the Mixer but groups the features in (we hope) a more understandable way.

1. Consolidated volume controls

Our player has three volume controls: per-track volume, metronome volume and overall volume. Previously, these three volume controls lived in three different places:

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Our new design consolidates all volume controls into a dedicated volume panel, accessible directly from the controlbar:

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2. Consolidated appearance options

In our previous design, track appearance options (showing/hiding notation, chords, lyrics, etc) lived in the Mixer along with the volume options:

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Now, these options live in the Settings sidebar, alongside other appearance-related controls:

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Easier-to-find play controls

For a while now, we’ve offered two features that let you control playback:

  • “Play with count-in” — adds a metronome count-in each time you press Play
  • “During loops, play only once” — changes playback so that, if you’ve selected a loop, the music will only play once

Problem was, these features were hard to find, because they were located in menus behind small arrow icons next to the play and loop buttons respectively.

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In our new design, we’ve removed those small arrow icons and added a “Play options” section to the settings menu. Much clearer and easier to find!

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Easier-to-access advanced settings

In our previous design, the “Advanced settings” lived in a separate modal menu, accessible by clicking “Advanced...” in the Settings panel. These were quite hidden, and lots of people didn’t know about them:

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Now, these are always available in Settings, alongside other appearance-related controls:

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More fully collapsed sidebar

If you’re taking a Soundslice course or viewing a post on somebody’s channel, the player has always had a sidebar to the left, with information about the slice.

In our previous design, when you collapsed this sidebar to get rid of it, we still displayed a thick vertical bar at left, to indicate the sidebar was collapsed:

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In our new design, we’ve removed that collapsed sidebar. We realized it was taking up valuable space that would be much better used for the main learning interface. Now, after collapsing the sidebar, you’ll find a little button directly within the controlbar:

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New visual design

Beyond these improvements in functionality and organization, we’ve made many tweaks to the player’s visual design — from refreshing various icons to polishing typography, colors and layout. It’s nothing revolutionary, but the improvements help make the player feel fresh and modern.

Importantly, our new design lays the groundwork for more customization ability. In the future, we’ll add ways for you to customize the player’s look and feel even more.

Feedback wanted

This redesign is now live everywhere on Soundslice, including embeds.

We’d like to thank all of our licensing customers who were testing the redesign over the last month. Do you have any thoughts on the redesign? Or ideas on what additional changes we can make? We always love to hear from people, so leave a comment below or get in touch.

A quick technical announcement for those of you who embed the Soundslice player in your own websites: we’ve changed the URL format for our embeds.

Specifically, the embed URLs used to start with soundslice.com/scores. Now they start with soundslice.com/slices — which matches the rest of our site. The embed works exactly the same with both URL formats, so this is purely a bit of housekeeping on our end, to make things consistent.

The old URLs will still work indefinitely, so you don’t need to worry about changing any of your existing embeds.

Note that, for a given slice, the ID that comes after soundslice.com/scores is different than the one in soundslice.com/slices. For example, soundslice.com/scores/193583 corresponds to soundslice.com/slices/nZHcc. This means you can’t just replace /scores/ with /slices/ in your existing embeds; just leave the existing embeds as-is.

If your publishing system assumes Soundslice embed URLs start with soundslice.com/scores, followed by a number, no problem. In the slice manager, we’ve added a little message, beneath the embed code, with the old-school /scores/ embed ID. This is specifically for old-school users in this rare situation (we know there are a few of you). Feel free to keep using that old-school ID until you update your systems to the new URL format.

Please feel free to contact us any time with questions!

We’ve made three big changes to make it easier for people to learn about and try Soundslice Licensing.

As a reminder, Soundslice Licensing lets you embed our technology in your own website. Lots of great music education sites are using it, and it’s an important part of our business.

The three improvements are:

1. Self-serve signup

Until now, if you wanted to sign up for a Licensing plan, you had to email us — it was a manual process. Now, you can sign up on your own, without having to communicate with a human. :-)

Just head to your account settings page and click “Change” next to your plan, to access our “Change plan” page (direct link here). You’ll now be able to choose “Licensing” as one of the plans, hence immediately getting embedding access.

Of course, we’re more than happy to email or chat any time with customers who need some more guidance on how to best use Soundslice in their website — so don’t hesitate to contact us!

2. A free embed for everybody

Many customers who are considering Licensing ask us for the ability to test it before committing. We’re always happy to accommodate. And now we’ve formalized this by giving every Soundslice account a free embed!

Yes, everybody can embed one slice for free, regardless of your account type. This should give you a nice feel for how the embedding works. If you’re evaluating Soundslice for use on a music education site, feel free to use this to make a demo for your students/customers — we’re confident they’re going to love it.

To enable embedding for a slice, edit the slice and change its embed settings. If you’re not in our Licensing plan, you’ll be able to enable embedding for one slice at any given time.

3. A much nicer and more detailed Licensing page

We’ve completely redesigned our Licensing info page to be much more informative and better looking. There’s also a brand new, comprehensive FAQ.

We’ve made a nice improvement to our player today. If you’ve arranged your video to be above notation, then you can now resize the video to make it taller or shorter.

You’ll now see a thick gray line between the video and notation. Click and drag that to seamlessly make the video smaller or larger.

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This mirrors the behavior we’ve already had for left-side videos, which have had the same thick line. In making this change today, the top-side videos and left-side videos now have the same resizing capability.

As a reminder, you can toggle between “video above notation” and “video to the left of notation” by clicking the icon over the video. When you load a slice, we’ll automatically position the video based on how big your screen is.

For Soundslice embeds

Finally, a note for our embedding customers: this resizing UI is not yet enabled by default for Soundslice embeds, because we want to give you some time to alter your page and embed designs if needed. This new horizontal resizing gray bar naturally changes the number of pixels of notation on the screen — and some of you might want to test before making the change live on your site.

With that in mind, here’s our plan for rolling this out to embeds:

  • You can start using it immediately by including the vrt=1 URL parameter. If you include this parameter, the player will include the resizing UI for slices that have the video on top. Feel free to use it for testing or just enable it on your website outright.
  • On August 15, 2018, we will make the resizing UI active for all embeds, and the vrt=1 URL parameter won’t be needed anymore.

We’ve changed our playhead scrolling algorithm today.

Previously, we ensured that both the current bar and the next bar are always visible during playback. In practice, this resulted in the playhead being near the bottom of the screen.

Now, we always put the current playing bar at the top of the screen. This makes it much easier to read ahead — and generally less stressful during complicated music!

This scrolling mode was already available as a setting (Settings -> Advanced settings -> “Keep playhead at top of screen”). We’ve simply changed the default. You can restore the previous behavior by unchecking “Keep playhead at top of screen.”

For those of you embedding Soundslice, you can use the URL parameter scroll_type=1 to set the old behavior. The previous URL parameter scroll_type=2 is no longer necessary, as it’s default behavior.

Thanks to the several customers who have advocated for this change!

We’ve been rolling out a bunch of new features lately, as always. If you create scores in Soundslice, you may have already seen some of these.

Wistia integration

We now support Wistia, for people who use Wistia video hosting.

When you add a recording, just select the Wistia option. You’ll first need to link your Wistia account with your Soundslice account. From then on, you’ll be able to access your Wistia videos within Soundslice.

Disabling notation

You can now disable a score’s notation.

Click “Hide notation” when creating or editing the score, and the score will behave in notationless view (i.e., showing only a full-screen video).

Why would you use this? Perhaps you embed Soundslice in your website and want to give people access to your lesson video as soon as possible, before you’ve synced it with notation. In that case, create the score with “Hide notation” checked, then add the video as a recording. Your users will immediately see the video, and you can take your time with notation and syncpoints. When notation and syncpoints are ready, just uncheck “Hide notation.”

Simplified printing toggle

Previously, when creating a score, you had to choose among three printing options — “Printing is disabled,” “Printing is disabled only for embed” and “Printing is allowed.”

This was unnecessarily complicated, given how people were using it, so we’ve simplified it to an “Allow printing” checkbox.

If you check this, then your score will have a “Print” button in its Settings menu.

Switching recordings in the syncpoint editor

You can now switch among a score’s recordings while editing syncpoints.

Previously, you had to click back-and-forth between the syncpoint editor and the score manager. Now, just toggle recordings at the bottom of the player, and you’ll be able to edit syncpoints for multiple recordings.

You can also switch to the the Synthetic player, which wasn’t previously possible in the syncpoint editor. This can be useful if your recording is hard to hear and you need to hear how the notation sounds when played “perfectly” by a computer.

Embed over non-white backgrounds

Previously our embeddable player assumed your website had a white background — causing a flash of white during loading. It no longer does this, meaning it works elegantly with, e.g., black page backgrounds.

New player API methods

If you embed Soundslice in your site, you’re welcome to use these new hooks for customization:

  • The setViz API method lets you dynamically activate (or deactivate) a visualization in the player — the piano keyboard, fretboard, violin fingerboard, waveform or mixer.
  • The viz=0 URL parameter lets you turn off all visualizations.
  • The getFullscreenSupport API method tells you whether the user’s browser supports web pages going full screen.
  • The setFullscreen API method lets you make the Soundslice player full-screen.
  • The narrow_video_height URL parameter now accepts percentages — so you can, for example, specify that the video should use 40% of the available height. This lets you make the player more responsive.
  • The settings=0 URL parameter lets you disable the Settings menu.
  • The vfs=0 URL parameter lets you hide the icon that lets users toggle notationless (full-screen video) view.
  • The setNotationVisibility and getNotationVisibility let you programatically control whether notation is visible.
  • The ssAudioEnd API event is triggered when playback reaches the end of the recording.
  • The ssToggleSettings API event tells you when the Settings menu is toggled.
  • The show_notation=0 URL parameter lets you activate notationless view on a per-embed basis.

All of these new hooks are fully documented here.

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:

  • Fixed a bug in iOS where you had to tap the Play button twice for videos to start. Take that, Apple!
  • Fixed a bug in Safari where the keyboard/fretboard/mixer would sometimes overlap the bottom of the notation.
  • The visual fretboard now has more padding on top and bottom, which means notes on the outer-most strings no longer get awkwardly cropped.
  • Score owners can now activate the virtual violin even on tracks that have tablature. Previously this wasn’t allowed.
  • When in notationless view, our player now always resizes video to fit the full width of the screen. Previously, it did different things depending on screen size.
  • When in notationless view on a small screen, our player didn’t have a way to toggle notation back on. Now, the arrow icon is available in the upper right of the video.
  • In the waveform, if you use your mouse wheel while dragging the boundaries of a loop, we now keep the loop properly anchored.
  • Made the mouse wheel more sensitive in Firefox, when you scroll through notation. It now matches the “feel” of other browsers.
  • Notationless scores now include a Settings menu. Previously it was hidden.
  • Notationless scores no longer have a Synthetic player. That was rather useless!

Notation rendering

  • Improved chord-diagram rendering to compress the names of really long chords, so they don’t bump into neighboring chord names.
  • Improved the vertical positioning of several tablature symbols: let ring, P.M. (palm mute), tap, pop, slap and artificial harmonics. They use space much more efficiently now, though there’s more work to do.
  • Fixed commentary-bar rendering so that tempo and triplet feel markings are rendered above (if applicable).
  • Fixed beamed grace notes to have an even beam width. Previously it was slightly oblong.
  • Fixed trill rendering to avoid doubling up the trill squiggly line in case of subsequent trilled notes.
  • Made some nice performance improvements, especially in the music-glyph rendering.
  • Fixed barre (aka Roman numeral position) rendering on retina screens.
  • Fixed our renderer never to display accidentals for slash noteheads. That bug was just silly.

Notation importing

  • Began implementing specific error messages for our MusicXML importer, if your uploaded file contains a known problem. Much better than a generic “Invalid file” error message.
  • Fixed a bug with funny characters in MusicXML chord names.
  • Fixed a bug where multi-line lyrics in MusicXML would sometimes import in the wrong order.
  • Fixed some bugs with our MusicXML importer’s handling of cross-staff beaming in piano music.

Score manager

  • In the syncpoint editor, inner-bar syncpoints no longer display the fraction (which was confusing and unnecessary), and their circles are smaller.
  • In the syncpoint editor, the notation’s playhead now properly autoscrolls during syncpoint tapping.
  • In the syncpoint editor, if you double-click a syncpoint to edit its bar number, you can now use the Escape key to cancel your pending change.
  • In the syncpoint editor, syncpoint deletion is much more intuitive. Previously, when deleting a syncpoint, we used weird logic in determining whether to alter the subsequent syncpoints.

Overall site design

  • Redesigned the “Account settings” page to be better on small screens, nicer looking and simpler to use.
  • Changed all file-upload pages to use the same design. And all file-upload pages now support drag-and-dropping files onto the page.

For people embedding Soundslice

  • The new flippable=0 URL parameter lets you hide the “Flip video” button in Settings. Useful for instruments like piano in which flipped video is meaningless.
  • The new waveform URL parameter lets you control whether the waveform is visible at page load time.
  • If you use top_controls and have a video above your notation, our tooltips (e.g., for audio sources) will now go upward, not downward. This feels more natural.
  • The “Powered by Soundslice” logo looks better at super-small player widths.

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

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