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Posts tagged with “Embedding”

Aside from the new Paged layout feature (which got its own announcement), here’s a roundup of other improvements we’ve made to Soundslice recently:

New homepage

We’ve completely redesigned our homepage. It does a much better job of communicating the various things you can do with Soundslice — we hope you’ll agree.

While we were at it, we also added a page about selling on our store.

Improvements to player’s settings menu

We made two small usability improvements to the settings menu:

  1. The “X” button at upper right will now always stick to the upper right, meaning it’s always accessible to quickly close the settings. Previously, if you scrolled downward within settings, you wouldn’t have an easy way to close. This was especially annoying on mobile devices.
  2. The background of the settings menu is now partially transparent — meaning you can still see a bit of notation behind it. This can be helpful when you resize music or switch to Paged layout.

“Replay repeats after jumps” feature

You can now specify whether repeat barlines are honored after a jump such as D.S. al Coda. This one will be appreciated by anybody who frequently creates music in AABA form. :-)

For more, see the new “Replaying repeats after jumps” section in this help page.

Visual improvements to Horizontal layout

We made two subtle improvements to Horizontal layout. Can you spot the differences in these before-and-after animations?

Old:

Screenshot

New:

Screenshot

The differences are:

  1. The music now goes “flush” against the left edge — removing that inelegant horizontal space we had previously.
  2. We now add a subtle gradient/shadow effect to communicate that there’s more music offscreen.

Accessibility improvements to player

Thanks to some user feedback, we’ve improved the accessibility of our player for people using it with assistive technologies. Various parts of it are labeled in a clearer way and we hope it’s easier to navigate and use.

Editor: Usability improvement for text entry

When you use our editor’s text features and change the font parameters, we’ll now retain your changes for any subsequent text you add. A nice little productivity booster.

Smarter transposition of tablature

If you use our player’s transposition feature on tablature tracks, we now disallow downward transposition if it would result in unplayable music.

For example, if your tab has a note on an open low E string of a guitar in standard tuning, we no longer allow transposing downward — because that low note can’t go any further down.

Fortunately our transposition works an octave in both directions, so you can always transpose upward if needed.

Improvements to mouse scrolling

Previously our player had some weirdness when scrolling with the mouse — especially noticeable when you tried to scroll diagonally with both horizontal and vertical scrollbars active. This is much smoother and more natural now.

New player JavaScript API methods

We’ve added a few methods to our JavaScript API:

Many people have requested fine-grained control over line breaks in the music they create on Soundslice. Today we’re happy to announce this is finally possible! We’ve launched a new “Paged layout” feature and expanded our notation editor to give you control over this stuff.

Historically, we’ve always automatically wrapped music to fit whatever screen size you’re on. So if you look at a slice on a smartphone, we might opt to put two bars per system. The same music on a larger screen might use four bars per system:

Screenshot

But in some cases, you might want to force a certain layout, regardless of screen size — to make the music easier to read (and more consistently layed out across devices).

Our solution to this is a new view called Paged layout. If you open the player’s settings menu, you’ll now see a new Layout section:

Screenshot

This lets you quickly switch between three layouts:

  1. Fluid — music wraps to fit your screen (our “classic” approach)
  2. Horizontal — music never wraps, it just continues rightward forever
  3. Paged (new!) — music wraps to fit a set page width and preserves your chosen line breaks

Our default remains Fluid, though we might change this over time, based on feedback.

When music is in Paged layout, our zoom feature will not rewrap music. Instead, zooming works basically like a PDF:

Screenshot

This makes it less than ideal for use on small screens, but it’s certainly useful in other situations. Importantly, though Paged layout makes the music look like a PDF, you can still use Soundslice’s big features such as transposing, looping and playback.

Setting line breaks

So that’s Paged layout. But how do you actually control line breaks in Paged layout?

Our new help page goes into the details. The quick answer is: Our notation editor now lets you add/remove line breaks. It also lets you explicitly prevent a line break — for cases where you want the music to be a bit tighter than our normal spacing.

And for those of you using Soundslice with other notation programs, our MusicXML importer now imports line break data automatically.

Changes to the print version

Our print feature now uses Paged layout to determine how the music should be printed. So if your slice has line breaks, they’ll be honored when you print (as you’d expect).

Changes to our MusicXML exporter

Our MusicXML exporter now includes any line break information from your slice.

Specifying a default layout

Those of your embedding sheet music in our licensing plan now have the ability to specify a default layout. Use the new layout URL parameter, described here.

For everybody else, we don’t yet have a way to specify a slice’s default view; it’s always Fluid. If you have some feedback on this, we’d love to hear your specific needs.

Enjoy these new powers and let us know how it goes!

Here’s a variety of improvements we’ve made to Soundslice this week.

Quickly copy embed codes

For those of you embedding Soundslice in your own websites, we’ve made it easier to get a slice’s embed code.

There’s now a “Copy” button next to the code. Click that, and the full embed code will be copied to your clipboard. Much better than highlighting the text manually!

Screenshot

Input fingering more quickly

Last week we improved lyrics entry in our notation editor, so that the spacebar automatically moves you to the next note. Now we’ve done the same for fingering entry.

After you enter a note’s fingering, you can hit spacebar to automatically move to the next note. This makes the entry process really fast! If a given note doesn’t need a fingering, just press spacebar again to go to the next one.

This applies to both of Soundslice’s fingering concepts: general fingering (e.g., piano) and right-hand fingering (e.g., pima for classical guitar).

More info in the slice manager

We’ve improved the slice manager to add two new badges to your slices when appropriate:

  • Embeddable — you’ll see this if a slice has embedding enabled.
  • Shareable — you’ll see this if a slice has sharing enabled.

This lets you see this information at a glance, without needing to go to the slice’s page. It can help prevent silly mistakes like mistakenly thinking you’d already marked something as shareable.

Screenshot

Duplicate slices stay in their folders

Previously, if you used our “Duplicate slice” feature, the newly created duplicate would appear at the top level of your slice manager — even if the original slice was in a folder.

Now, the duplicate will be in the same folder as the original. This makes it generally easier to keep track of your duplicates.

Synth playback now honors tremolos

We’ve improved our synthetic audio engine to honor tremolos in notation.

Fix for sharing edit URLs

Our recent editor redesign changed things so that the edit view of a slice has a different URL than the non-editable version. This has caused some small confusion, as people were trying to share their edit view URLs instead of the non-edit URLs — which didn’t work.

We’ve made a fix for that now. If you share an edit view of a public slice (something you’ve marked as shareable or published to your channel), your recipient will no longer see an unfriendly 404 page. They’ll be instantly redirected to the proper non-edit page.

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.

Screenshot

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.

Screenshot

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.

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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.

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

And here’s the new look:

Screenshot

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.”

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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

Screenshot

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.

Screenshot

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!

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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:

Screenshot

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.

Screenshot

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.
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