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Posts tagged with “Notation editor”

You can now quickly and easily change the width of the “page” when Soundslice is in Paged layout.

Our default width is 100 staff spaces — where a “staff space” is the vertical distance between two staff lines — but you can now change this width for any slice you’ve created.

To do so, edit your slice and use the editor search box to find “Resize stave width.” This will give you a simple slider that you can move back and forth to instantly resize your page. Here’s what this process looks like:

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This feature is especially useful if you’re trying to replicate some paper sheet music. Enjoy! And for more, see our new help page.

Our sheet music editor now supports adding and removing piano pedal markings. These tell a pianist when to press and release the sustain pedal:

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Though we’ve supported pedal markings via MusicXML import for a long time, it wasn’t possible to edit those markings after they were imported — an omission that users were keen to point out to us. Glad to have this feature in place now!

For more information, see our new help page.

Happy new year! Here’s what we’ve launched and tweaked recently.

Control over fingering position

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By default, our system automatically decides where to display fingering — above a note, below, left or right. You can now override our automatic positioning on a per-note basis. Read more.

Control over tuplet position

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By default, our system automatically decides whether a tuplet marking should be above or below the notes. Now, you can override this. Read more.

Better editor support for smartphones

If you’re using our notation editor on a smartphone, you might notice we’ve tightened the interface in various places, to provide more vertical screen space for your music.

New workflow when starting with a recording

When you create a slice by starting with a recording (as opposed to starting with notation), we’ll now immediately take you to a full-screen version of the video. Previously we assumed you would want to upload notation, so the video remained small.

Our intent with this change is to make it easier to throw a quick YouTube link into Soundslice, for quick practicing (e.g., slowdown and looping) without syncing notation.

Partial support for colored fingering and colored text

We improved our MusicXML importer so that we’ll use any custom colors you’ve used for fingerings or text. We haven’t yet improved our editor to allow for setting these colors directly, but at least there’s a half-solution now!

Keyboard shortcuts to change player speed

You can now use the (somewhat standard) keyboard shortcuts > and < to change playback speed in our player. Read more.

Waveform now allows for moving the selection

In our waveform view — both the standalone version and in the syncpoint editor — you can now click and drag a selection to move it left or right. Previously dragging on the selection would clear it and create a new one.

Assorted editor improvements

We’re always making tweaks and fixes based on your feedback (thanks to all people who make suggestions!). Here are some highlights of what’s changed in the editor recently:

  • You can now click the slice title to rename it.
  • If you upload a notation file, we’ll now automatically set the slice title. (But not if you’ve manually set the title before uploading.)
  • In the touchscreen interface, there’s a new “Select bar” feature.
  • Selection edges are now draggable. This works nicely with the previous “Select bar” feature on touchscreen devices.
  • It’s quicker to switch between edit and view mode. Previously there was a dropdown menu containing “Editing” and “Practicing.” Now it’s a simple “Edit” vs. “View” button, requiring fewer clicks.
  • We’ve added editor commands for 64th, 128th and 256th notes. (These functions are available in editor search.) It was already possible to use these small note values via our “Decrease duration” function, but these additional methods should make it easier to find.

Assorted rendering improvements

We’ve made many improvements to how music looks in Soundslice. As always, there’s nothing you need to do to take advantage of these; the improvements apply automatically to everything on our site. Highlights:

  • Accidentals are now right-aligned (previously they were left-aligned), and there’s now a consistent distance between an accidental and it notehead. This is very subtle stuff but hopefully makes the music feel nicer to read.
  • Ghost note parentheses no longer collide with dots, accidentals or fingerings.
  • Slide (gliss) lines in notation now always have a minimum width. Previously they could be comically small in some cases.
  • Arpeggio markings (the squiggly lines) are positioned better. Previously they were a bit too far to the left.
  • Bar numbers are now hidden at the start of a new passage. You can override this by specifying a manual bar number.

Percussionists, rejoice! Soundslice now natively supports sticking.

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Sticking instructions tell a percussionist which hand to use when performing a given note. Soundslice supports the following:

  • L — left
  • R — right
  • B — both

Per convention, stickings use an all-caps serif font and are positioned in a horizontal row below the notation. For grace notes, we’ll automatically reduce the sticking size.

Previously, people would use various hacks in order to use sticking on Soundslice — such as entering it as lyrics (yuck!). This was a problem because our system automatically does certain things for slices with lyrics, such as enabling lyrics-only mode, repositioning dynamics/hairpins above the staff and displaying a “Toggle lyrics” button in the Instrument appearance settings. Stickings are not lyrics, and they deserve their own special treatment.

Here’s why our sticking feature is great:

1. Entry is very quick. In our editor, just open the sticking tool and type L or R. No need to hold Shift; we’ll capitalize it automatically. Hit spacebar to go to the next note.

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2. We import them automatically. To those of you creating slices by importing them from other notation programs: we’ve improved our MusicXML importer to detect stickings. We look for text such as “L” or “R” in percussion staves and automatically treat this as sticking instead of boring “plain text.”

3. Stickings can be dynamically shown or hidden. If a slice has stickings, the “Instrument appearance” settings will include a button that lets you quickly toggle them:

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This works the same as fingering, tablature, lyrics, etc. It’s the power of our “living sheet music.”

4. Stickings are treated as semantic data. Our system doesn’t just see the text L and R — it actually understands those underlying concepts of left and right. This opens the door for future features where we can use this data in intelligent ways. Stay tuned...

For more on sticking, see our new help page.

Here’s what we’ve launched and tweaked recently. There’s something for everybody in here!

Improved editor touchscreen interface

Since launching a touchscreen editing interface last month, we’ve gotten good feedback from musicians actually using it. We’re following up with some improvements directly based on that. Can you spot the differences in this new screenshot?

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First, we’ve made the piano keys function as a toggle. If a note is selected and already exists in your notation, you can tap it in the piano keyboard (or fretboard) to remove the note. This feels really intuitive and was suggested by a few users.

Second, we added an “Auto-advance” button. Click that to enable auto-advance mode, which will automatically advance the cursor each time you enter a note. Handy for quick entry of single-note lines.

Third, we removed chord mode. It no longer felt necessary due to the previous two changes.

Fourth, we removed the up/down arrow buttons, to make the interface less cluttered. Those arrows weren’t really useful, as you can simply tap on the keyboard or fretboard to select another note in the current beat.

All of this is covered in more detail in our updated help page. Thanks to the folks who sent us feedback to help guide these changes!

“Pending” students in private courses

This one’s for people in the Teacher plan.

Previously, on the “Manage students” page for a private course, you could add students via email address — but it required the email address to already exist in our system. If you tried to add an email that didn’t yet have a Soundslice account, you’d see an error message.

Now, if you add an email address that doesn’t have a Soundslice account, no problem. The student will be marked as “Pending,” and we’ll send them an email inviting them to your course. As soon as they create their free Soundslice account, they’ll get access to your course. Smooth!

Improvements to student management

Another thing for Teacher plan customers: we’ve made the student management page more useful.

First, we added a dedicated page for each of your students, listing all of the private courses they’re in, plus all of the slices you’ve shared with them personally. (See our separate blog post about the new individual sharing feature.)

Second, we added a way to remove students directly via your students page. This is much faster than removing the student from each individual course or slice.

See the updated help page for more info.

Slice manager redesign

We’ve updated the visual design of the slice manager — the page where we list all of the slices you’ve created.

The new design has explicit links for “Edit” and “Practice.” We’d found that some people thought it was only possible to open slices in edit mode — with all of the editor tools taking up valuable screen space — so we’ve provided clear, separate links to both views now:

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To help guide your eyes to the right place, we’ve redesigned the slice and folder icons to be more subtle, and to add more color to the page.

We’ve also tweaked the filters at the top of your slice manager:

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The “Shared privately” filter is brand new. It lets you quickly find all of your slices that you’ve shared privately — either in a private course or with individual people.

The “Secret link enabled” filter is also new, but in name only. This filter used to be called “Shareable,” but that turned out to be a confusing name, given we now support private sharing with individual people — a totally different thing. Hence the new name: secret links.

And regarding secret links, we’ve also changed our editor to use this term, in the slice privacy settings menu. The menu now looks like this:

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“Add to course” is now “Share privately,” as the sharing options in that menu option have expanded.

More natural playhead behavior

This one is subtle, but it affects anybody and everybody using our player. We’ve changed our playhead’s behavior at the start of a bar.

Previously, our playback engine treated the barline as the start of the bar. This meant that, during playback, the playhead would touch the barline at the exact moment that the bar’s audio began:

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However, this meant we had an inconsistency. For the first note in a bar, the playhead wouldn’t visually touch the notehead until a split second after the note’s audio. This was especially noticeable at slow tempos and in cases where a bar’s first note had an accidental (hence pushing the note even farther from the barline). For super-duper-beginner students, who rely heavily on the playhead position to know when a note is played, this caused confusion.

Hence, we’ve changed our playhead positioning so that this is no longer an issue. The Soundslice playhead will now always intersect with a notehead at the exact moment that note is played in the audio — even for the first note in a bar:

Animation

Various fixes

Some other fixes we’ve made recently, in no particular order:

  • Improved automatic positioning of fingering numbers to avoid clashing with ties.
  • For people selling courses: We’ve added a convenient link to your sales stats from the edit-course page.
  • In slices with triplet feel, when dragging across the notation to make a loop, the loop background was sometimes off by a few pixels. That’s now fixed.
  • In our notation editor, we redesigned the sidebar to make the buttons larger on smaller-screen devices such as tablets.
  • In our notation editor, if you hit the Enter key while editing text, you’d be taken to the start of the slice — due to a conflict with our default keyboard shortcut “Hit Enter to go to the start of the audio.” That’s now fixed.
  • In our notation editor, if you deleted the last rest in a bar and had tablature selected, your selection would move to the staff. The selection now stays in the tab. This was particularly apparent in our touchscreen interface, which changes dramatically if you have staff vs. tab selected.
  • In our notation editor, sometimes tuplet numbers and brackets weren’t rendered when creating the initial track in a new slice. That’s now fixed.
  • Our player’s transposition feature helpfully displays the slice’s original, pre-transposition key, but it naively took the key signature from the slice’s very first bar — meaning slices starting with commentary bars always displayed the key of C. That’s now fixed.
  • When you share your slice on LinkedIn, it’ll now bring in the proper title.
  • When using non-YouTube videos in our player, looping is a bit more precise now. Previously we would pause the video for a split second after each loop iteration. We’ve removed that pause. The video looping is still not as precise as MP3 looping due to the realities of Internet video (see here for comparisons), but it’s a bit better than it was before.
  • We made some subtle improvements to our visual keyboard. If consecutive white keys are highlighted, we now make sure to retain a visual border between the keys. Previously the highlighted color bled across the keys, making the distinction between keys hard to see.
  • We’ve decreased the stem length of grace notes in our rendering engine. Previously they always used a uniform length; now their default length is shorter, and they’re even shorter still for beamed notes. This results in a tighter and nicer look.

Two weeks ago, we launched a tablet-friendly interface for our notation editor, using a piano keyboard. Today we’ve launched a big follow-up improvement: you can now use a fretboard instead of a piano keyboard.

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This is fantastic for fretted instruments such as guitar, mandolin, ukulele or bass guitar. You can simply tap on a fret/string to enter a note — it’s fast and easy.

If your instrument uses tablature but you prefer the keyboard interface, no problem. Just tap a note or rest in your standard notation (as opposed to the tablature) and the interface will switch to the keyboard.

As we mentioned in our previous announcement, you don’t have to be on a touchscreen device to use this interface. It’s always available in our editor if you click the “...” menu at the top of the screen and select “Toggle touch input.”

More info is in our updated help page. Thanks to the various folks who requested this!

We’re excited to announce that our notation editor is now optimized for use on tablets. This feature is free for all Soundslice users, and it works equally well on iPads and Android tablets.

We’ve built a bespoke note-entry interface specifically for touchscreen devices. If you open our editor from a tablet, you’ll now see a piano keyboard at the bottom of the screen. Tap any of the keys to add that pitch to your sheet music.

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By default, if you’ve selected an existing note and tap a key in the keyboard, you’ll change the selected note’s pitch. To append a note to an existing note, click the “Toggle chord mode” icon above the keyboard. (That’s the button that’s highlighted in the screenshot above.)

Along with that button, you’ll see various other buttons for common tasks: navigating, changing rhythmic duration, toggling enharmonics, deleting, undo/redo and a few more.

Of course, our comprehensive editor sidebar has the full suite of notation tools Soundslice supports, and that works really nicely on tablets as well.

If you’d like to use this new interface from a non-tablet device such as a laptop or desktop, that’s also possible. Just click the “...” menu at the top of the editor screen and select “Toggle touch input.”

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For more details on this new interface, see our new help page.

By the way, if you use Soundslice regularly on your tablet, don’t forget to add us to your home screen.

We’ve added a way to browse people’s public Soundslice channel posts by instrument — making it easier to find stuff to learn and people to follow.

Each instrument we support now has its own page, which showcases slices for that instrument.

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It’s really fun and inspiring to browse around and see other musicians’ work!

If this looks familiar, then you’re likely already acquainted with our genre pages, which work the same way.

And speaking of genre pages, we’ve improved those too. They now list the most commonly used instruments in that genre, as measured by Soundslice channel post activity:

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Click one of those, and you’ll get to another new type of page — the genre-instrument page. This shows you slices that have been tagged with the specific combination of genre and instrument. This is great for drilling down to find new musical material. Like jazz mandolin or fusion drums.

How do you get to instrument pages? One way is by clicking “Community” in the left sidebar of your Soundslice homepage, then selecting “Instruments.” (Here’s a direct link.)

Another way is by clicking the instrument tags that now appear across our site. Channel posts now include instrument tags below their name and description, like so:

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You can click those tags to get to the specific genre or instrument pages directly.

Instrument data

How does our site know which slices use which instruments? It’s all based on another new thing we’ve launched: Our system now has a high-level “Instrument” classification for each instrument in your slices’ notation.

In our notation editor, when you add or edit an instrument, you’ll now see a drop-down Instrument menu at the top of the screen. Here’s where you can tell our system which instrument that music is intended for.

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Our system already had two somewhat related pieces of data — the instrument name and the preferred synthetic sound — but these were loosey-goosey. Often the name ends up being something like “Track 1” and the synthetic sound ends up being the default piano even if the music isn’t intended for piano.

Those two other fields are still there, but the new dropdown gives you a clean, structured way to tell the system what instrument the music is for. We’ll likely be rolling out other features that take advantage of properly classified instrument data.

Here are various improvements we’ve made to Soundslice over the last month or so.

New “Add recording” screen

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We redesigned our editor’s “Add recording” screen. It now has a nicer design and gives more appropriate weight/context for the various options.

New sidebar toggle design

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We redesigned the little arrow button that lets you toggle the sidebar when viewing a slice. Previously, when the sidebar was closed, the arrow would jump all the way to the bottom of the page. Now it’s in a more consistent and obvious location.

Clickable instrument names

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Those instrument names at the left of your music? They’re now clickable. If you click them, we’ll open the Settings menu and highlight where you can change visibility.

Better default beaming

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We changed our default beaming for 4/4 time. Previously, beams would break on each beat; now they only break at the middle of the bar. Thanks to YouTube sensation Rick Beato for the suggestion.

Grace notes without slashes

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Our editor now lets you create grace notes that don’t have a slash through their stem (appoggiaturas). Previously we only supported grace notes with a slash. We’ve also improved our MusicXML importer to detect this for all files uploaded from now on.

Use our handy editor search to find this feature.

Descriptions in course slices

When viewing a slice in a course, we now display the slice’s description (if available) in the left sidebar. Previously the description was only displayed on the main course page. It’s much nicer to have access to that when viewing the slice!

We’ve added the ability to color notes in the slices you create. This is nice for visually highlighting certain passages or helping beginners learn to read music.

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Setting colors is easy. Just use our editor to select a bunch of notes, then open the color panel in the “Engraving” section:

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For those of you using other notation software, we’re upgraded our MusicXML importer to import notehead colors as well.

For lots more information, see our new help page about colors. Enjoy!

Note that this feature is limited to people in a paid plan.

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