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.
For those of you creating slices, we’ve added a much-requested feature today. You can now copy syncpoints across slices, using our new “Import syncpoints from a file” feature.
We’ve already had an “Export syncpoints” feature, which lets you download your syncpoints to a file. Now, we’ve added the final missing piece: you can import those files into any other slice’s recordings.
It’s simple to use. When viewing the syncpoint editor, click the “More” menu and “Export syncpoints” to save a syncpoint file. Then, in any other slice, use the syncpoint editor’s “Import syncpoints” to load that file.
We’ve redesigned the way you can post slices to your channel or get shareable links.
Previously, you’d post something to your channel by changing its “Audience” setting. This was a bit anticlimactic and didn’t give a proper sense of the “weight” of the action. Nor did it provide a moment for you to double-check the slice’s name and description.
Now, when editing a slice, you’ll see the Settings menu has explicit “Share link…” and “Publish to channel…” options.
Click either of those to get specific options for sharing or publishing, along with a big, satisfying button to complete the job. This feels much nicer and clearer to us, and we hope you agree.