Here are three small improvements we’ve made this week:
Autoscroll during playback when the editor is open
Previously, if you were editing a slice and hit Play, the playback wouldn’t autoscroll the notation. This was inconsistent with our non-editing mode, in which we autoscroll by default.
Now, both editing and non-editing modes do the autoscrolling. This is much more intuitive.
‘View’ links in the slice manager
In May’s editor redesign, we had changed the slice manager so that clicking on a slice would open it in editing mode. The only way to get a “read-only” view of your slice was to first open it in editing mode, then click the “View” link — which was a bit annoying.
Now, each slice in your slice manager has a separate “View” link at right. Click that to open the slice without the editor. We’re planning to continue improving the design here; stay tuned.
Ability to delete folders in the slice manager
Previously, you could only delete a folder if it was empty. Now, there’s a way to delete it along with all the slices and subfolders within it.
This is useful mostly for our customers who have mass-imported hundreds of slices and want a quick way to delete all of them.
Because deleting a folder is a large, potentially dangerous action, we have two safeguards in place:
If you try to delete a folder, you’ll be asked to type the exact folder name. This is intentional friction in our confirmation screen.
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!
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
This slice, like many on our site, has a bit of audio introduction before the notated part (and some more after it ends). Until today, if you viewed this slice and pressed Play, the playhead wouldn’t start moving until 14 seconds later. This confused a fair share of Soundslice users; due to the lack of visual feedback, it was easy to assume something was broken!
After giving this thorny problem a lot of thought, we arrived at a solution: represent the audio intro (and/or outro) directly in the notation. This has some nice benefits:
The playhead immediately starts moving when you press Play, giving you feedback that things are working properly.
The timecode communicates the exact length of the intro, so you know how long before the synced notation comes in.
You can click anywhere in the intro area to pan to that moment of the audio, and you can drag across the area to make a loop. This unifies things nicely with the “real” notation area.
An additional benefit: This will save time for some of you who create slices. Several of our customers were already creating dummy bars of notation with labels like “Intro” or “Untranscribed audio” for this exact situation. Our new feature means you no longer have to do that! (Of course, the slices you’ve already created with that old workaround will still work as expected.)
For the record, here’s the specific logic we use:
If there is at least 1 second of audio between the first syncpoint and the (potentially cropped) start of the audio, display the intro section.
If there are at least 4 seconds of audio between the last syncpoint and the (potentially cropped) end of the audio, display the outro section.
We determined these thresholds based on experimentation with a variety of slices. We tried to find a balance between being useful and not being too overbearing.
Finally, for those of you creating slices, we updated our syncpoint editor to give you context on the intro and outro. The little message area atop the syncpoint editor will now tell you about it, providing some shortcuts to crop the audio.
Hope you find the new feature useful, and let us know what you think.
We’ve added some icons and removed the cheap-looking radio buttons. Here’s how it used to look:
And here’s the new look:
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=0URL 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.
We’ve redesigned our syncpoint editor — the tool that lets you sync your music notation with real recordings.
It used to look like this:
And now it looks like this:
Aside from some visual differences — a new color scheme, smaller syncpoints, a different style for the buttons — here are the larger new features:
Cropping is always available. Previously, you had to click “Crop” to enter cropping mode, at which point you could drag the left or right edges. Now, scissors icons are always available below the waveform, meaning you don’t need to enter a separate mode. Just drag the scissors left or right.
There’s a new area describing the current status. In the screenshot above, it’s the text that says “You’ve synced 13 bars.” When you first start syncing, this will say “Create your first syncpoint by tapping ‘T’ on the keyboard.” If your slice already has notation, it’ll tell you how many bars you’ve synced and how many bars are in the notation. Our goal here is to give some more context on what the next step is, especially for newcomers to Soundslice.
We’ve repositioned the zoom in/out buttons so they don’t overlap syncpoint circles. This fixes a longstanding minor annoyance.
Everything else remains the same, so we expect seasoned Soundslice users will feel right at home with this redesign.
We’ve just launched a new feature in our notation editor: you can copy notation across slices. You’ll find the button in our editor’s Other Tools menu.
Click that button, and you’ll see a list of all the other slices in your account. Once you’ve chosen a slice, we’ll import that slice’s full notation into the slice you’re currently editing.
We already had a “Duplicate slice” feature, which is accessible in the slice manager — so what’s the difference between that and this new feature? “Duplicate slice” duplicates all the recordings and syncpoints, while “Copy notation” only copies the notation. Both can be handy depending on your workflow.
This feature is available to all Soundslice users with a paid account.
Today we’ve made it easier to rename, delete and reorder your slices’ recordings. (Recordings are the audio/video files you’ve synced with notation.)
When viewing any slice you’ve created, you’ll now see a “Recordings” button at the top of the page, between “Sync” and “Settings.”
Click that, and you’ll access a convenient place to manage all the recordings in your slice.
Specifically, you can:
Rename a recording by clicking its pencil icon.
Edit a video’s closed captions by clicking its “CC” icon.
Delete a recording by clicking its trash-can icon.
Reorder the recordings by dragging the icons to the left of the names.
Add a recording using the button at the bottom.
All of these things were possible before, but some of them could only be done via the slice manager, as opposed to the slice page itself — which was inconsistent and required a little too much clicking. Our goal was to make everything accessible while you edit the slice directly.
Hi there, Corey here. Longtime member of the Soundslice team, first-time poster to the Soundslice blog.
Today we’ve released two “How-to” instructional videos all about using our syncpoint editor. The syncpoint editor is our powerful tool that lets you join notation and real recordings. It’s the bedrock feature of our product, making our rich notation and practice tools possible.
We produced these videos because the syncpoint editor can be a hard tool to describe, yet it’s actually quite easy to understand when you see it in action. We’ve broken features into two videos: the first covers the basics of joining notation with real recordings, the second covers advanced features (like managing multiple recordings on the same slice) and time-saving tricks.
Even if you’ve created slices on our site before, we bet that you’ll learn a trick or two from the advanced features video. (At least, that’s what we heard from a few early viewers!)
You’ll find both videos on our YouTube channel and embedded at the bottom of this post. We’ll also be sprinkling them around relevant parts of our site in the near future. If you have a suggestion for a new “How-to” video topic, we’d love to hear from you in the comment thread. :)
Here are some new features we’ve launched recently:
New speed changing interface
We’ve redesigned our interface for changing speed. The main difference happens when you click the current speed: you’ll see a little popup instead of editing the speed inline.
We made this change because it gives us some extra space to add a new feature. If you’re using the synth player and have changed the BPM from its default value, we’ll now display a “Reset to [default]” button. This closes a loophole we opened about a month ago when we changed the speed to use BPM; it wasn’t possible to reset the BPM without knowing what the original BPM was.
Count-ins each time through a loop
This was a much-requested feature. Previously, if you enabled the “Play with count-in” option and set a loop, you’d only hear the count-in one time. Now, the count-in plays each time through the loop.
All paying Soundslice customers now get a nice badge next to their username throughout the site. It’s a modest way for us to give thanks.
Editor supports copying/pasting across tracks
Finally! You can now copy and paste notation across separate tracks in our notation/tab editor.
Note: if you paste a non-tab track’s notes into a tab track, we’ll automatically figure out the tab. And if our automatic guess needs tweaking, you can use this other new feature...
Editor shortcut for shifting tab notes up/down strings
The new Option+Up and Option+Down keyboard shortcuts move tab notes up or down a string, retaining their pitch.
If you’re a paying customer, you can customize the keyboard shortcut. Look for “Move note up a string, retaining pitch” in the shortcut menu.
New recording type: MP3 URL
If you’d like to sync a slice with an MP3, but you don’t want to upload it to our servers for whatever reason (say, you already have a web host), you can use our new “MP3 URL” recording type.
When you add a recording, just select “MP3 URL” and enter the URL of your MP3. It works just like our “MP4 URL” feature if you do your own video hosting.
Improvements for store sellers
For those of you selling courses on Soundslice:
The account settings page now has a way for you to update your PayPal payment info for getting your payouts. Previously you had to email us to do this.
We now display courses directly on your user profile, for higher visibility. Previously they were accessible via the “Courses” tab (which is still there).
We’ve added a payout history page, which gives you a convenient summary of all the payouts you’ve gotten from Soundslice sales.