Posts tagged with “Notation editor”

We’ve simplified the way multiple voices work in our notation editor.

Previously, if you wanted to create a second voice in a given bar, you had to explicitly click the “Add voice” button. Our editor’s Voices menu — where you switch between voices — would only show the numbers for the voices that existed in the selected bar. And if you wanted to clear a voice, you had to click “Delete voice.”


Now, it’s much simpler. The Voices menu always shows numbers 1 through 4, and we’ve removed the “Add voice” and “Delete button” buttons. To write in a voice, just select the voice number and start entering notes.


We’ve also fixed a related annoyance when moving between bars. Previously, if you were in voice 2-4 and clicked into a bar that didn’t have that voice defined, we would automatically create the new voice, with a single rest. This was annoying if you inadvertently clicked on a bar without meaning to create a new voice!

Now, if you click into a bar that doesn’t have the current voice defined, we’ll still create a rest — but it will be a “temporary” voice. If you then navigate to another bar (or voice) without having entered any notes, we’ll immediately delete that temporary voice. This is much nicer, and it means you don’t need to worry about creating random voices all over the place.

Finally, there are two other changes as part of this:

  • When you drag across notation, the selection is now limited to the current voice. Previously, it would select everything across all voices, and there was no way to limit the selection to a single voice.
  • We now gray-out all notes outside the current voice, when the editor is open. Previously, we did this only for the currently selected bar. And we’ve improved the gray-out effect to include the note stems, making it easier to see which voice you’re editing.

You can finally add and remove hairpins — aka crescendo or decrescendo markings — in the Soundslice notation editor.

Previously, we only supported hairpins if you happened to import a MusicXML file that already had them defined. Now, you can create and remove them directly within our editor.

Use these two new buttons in our editor’s “More notations” menu:


To create a hairpin, select a bunch of notes and click the appropriate button to specify a crescendo or decrescendo. That’s it!


While we were at it, we improved the way we display hairpins. If a hairpin is split across multiple staves, then we’ll now make sure that the hairpin isn’t fully closed at the stave break. Here’s a before-and-after:


It’s subtle change that communicates the intent of the hairpin more clearly.

Over the past month, we’ve rolled out several improvements to how our music looks — plus some new functionality in our notation editor. Here’s an overview.

Slur positions

Our system has always used built-in rules to determine whether slurs should be displayed above or below a staff.


Now, you can manually override our automatic positioning. Use the new “Toggle slur side” button in our notation editor.


You can also assign a custom keyboard shortcut for this, if you’d like.

Relatedly, we now preserve the slur position for any music you import from MusicXML files going forward. (Previously, we ignored that information.)

Better accidental positioning with multiple voices

Previously, in music with multiple voices, our rendering engine was quite naive about accidentals, resulting in ugly clashes like this:


Now, we take multiple voices into account when positioning accidentals, to ensure they don’t collide:


Much better!

On a similar note, our rendering engine is now smarter about whether an accidental is strictly necessary in a multiple-voice context.

In this example, the second A♭ isn’t necessary, because it’s already been made active by the first note in the bar:


That’s how we used to render it, because our algorithm for accidentals didn’t properly take multiple voices into account. Now, we do the right thing and hide that second accidental:


Of course, you can still manually display the accidental if you’d like. Which brings us to...

Forced accidentals

Previously, our system would only display an accidental if it was absolutely necessary, or if you specified a cautionary accidental within parentheses. Now, you have the ability to force the display of any accidental.

To do this, just highlight the note in our notation editor and click one of the accidental buttons.

In addition, we’ll now detect forced accidentals for any music you import from MusicXML going forward.

Cautionary time signatures

We now display a cautionary time signature at the end of a stave, if the first bar in the next stave has a different time signature:


Note that our system lays out notation according to your device’s screen size and your current zoom level — so cautionary time signatures will appear automatically when the situation presents itself.

Right on the heels of our recent notation engine improvements, here’s a nice new way of formatting text within your slices.

Previously, we only supported “text above” and “text below,” which look like this:


This type of text always gets its own dedicated margin — which, in practice, means it can be quite far from the notes it’s describing. It works well for high-level descriptions of music but not well for performance instructions and expressions such as accel.

Now, we support a second type of text — expression text — which is positioned much closer to the associated note.


You can place it either above or below notes, and it can be optionally italicized (a longtime convention for expression text).

To create this type of text, use the new “expression” buttons in our notation editor (documented here). We’ve also updated our MusicXML importer to use that style of text when appropriate.

Here’s a new feature that several people have requested: you can now customize bar numbering in your slices.

Before this change, bar numbering in Soundslice was simple and “dumb.” The first bar was labeled as number 1, and the number increased by one for each subsequent bar. There was no way to change that.

Now, you can use our notation editor to override the bar numbers however you’d like. For example, you might want to:

  • Change the bar number to 0 for a pick-up bar, so that the first full bar gets marked as bar 1 instead of 2.
  • Reset the bar number to 1 for each lick/phrase within a larger lesson.
  • Change the first bar’s number to a larger number, to communicate that it’s an excerpt of a longer piece.

Here’s an example of the second idea:


This slice includes two licks, and we’ve reset the bar number for the second lick (hence the bar number “1” at the start of the second stave).

If you’ve overridden a bar number, all subsequent bars will be labeled relative to your override — so you only need to override one bar. For example, if you change the first bar’s number to “9,” the second bar will automatically be labeled as bar 10, and so on, without you needing to override the subsequent bars.

If you’ve overridden a bar number, the number will always be displayed in notation. Otherwise, we only render bar numbers for the first bar in each stave. Eventually we plan to add a “Display bar number for each bar” setting.

You’ll find the new “Override bar number” feature in our notation editor (see the help page here). We’ve also improved our MusicXML importer to automatically detect custom bar numbers for any MusicXML files you upload moving forward.

Here’s a new feature for those of you using our tab editor with capo or shifted guitar tunings: you can now control whether the standard notation takes the capo/tuning into account.

Previously, if you used a shifted tuning such as “Tune down 1 step,” our standard notation would always reflect the sounded pitch. For example, here we see some tablature in a shifted tuning, with the notation reflecting the sounded pitch:

Screenshot of notation

The problem is, this notation is a bit hard to read, because you have to keep in mind your strings are all shifted a whole step down. It’s much easier to read if it’s relative to standard tuning. (This is similar to the concept of transposing instruments.)

That’s where our new feature comes in. The “Add track” and “Change track” menus now have an “Ignore tuning shift in notation” option. If you check the checkbox, then the notation will ignore the tuning shift. Hence, our above example would look like this:

Screenshot of notation

Much easier to read. An experienced reader will be able to see this is an open G shape, without needing to do the mental gymnastics of the tuning shift.

Note that you’ll only see the “Ignore tuning shift in notation” option if your tab track has a shifted tuning, with six strings. If it uses a non-shifted tuning, such as Drop D or Fourths tuning, we’ll always take the tuning into account in the notation.


We’ve also added a similar option for capos. When you add or edit a track with tablature and specify a capo, you’ll now see the option “Ignore capo in notation.” It’s checked by default.

This is a bit less exciting than the shifted tuning feature, because our notation engine already ignored capos — but now you can opt in to taking the capo into account.

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.

“Supporting” badges

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.

Finally! Soundslice now supports cautionary accidentals, otherwise known as courtesy accidentals or reminder accidentals.

These basically mean: “an accidental is not technically necessary to display here, but it’s being displayed as a courtesy to prevent confusion.”

This example has one in the second bar, to remind the reader that the note on the B staff line should be a B flat (because in the previous bar it was a B natural):


At the moment, Soundslice always renders cautionary accidentals within parentheses. Eventually we might add the ability to hide the parentheses, either slice-wide or on a note-by-note basis.

Entering cautionary accidentals

If you create slices by importing from MusicXML files, then you’re in good shape: we’ve improved our MusicXML importer to detect cautionary accidentals automatically.

Our built-in notation editor also now has the ability to toggle cautionary accidentals. You’ll find the button in our editor’s second menu (“Note basics"):


For quick editing, you can assign a keyboard shortcut to “Toggle cautionary accidental” using our new custom keyboard shortcuts feature.

Today we’ve made a small change to the way slice creators can set default visibility of notation, tab, chords or lyrics.

Say you wanted to change your slice to use stemmed tablature, or to hide the standard notation (showing only tab). Previously, you could click the vertical text to the left of notation, hence opening the “track controls,” and you’d see a little Save button appear if you made changes to visibility:


We’ve now removed this Save button. Instead, use our built-in notation editor to accomplish this.

In the notation editor, open the tracks menu and click the track you want to edit. You’ll see a new Visibility section there, with the same icons as before:


We’ve made this change because it makes things more consistent and predictable. Now, everything involving changing tracks — from the name to the tuning to the visibility — lives in the same place.

Today we’re excited to announce a powerful new feature for people using our notation/tab editor: you can customize the keyboard shortcuts! We’re also providing several presets, based on other popular notation software, and you can switch between these shortcut sets easily.

Keyboard shortcuts in notation software are a touchy thing (pun intended?). Lots of musicians invest time in memorizing shortcuts for their preferred software, and it can be hard to switch software once you’ve developed muscle memory. For those of you coming to Soundslice from other notation software, we want you to get productive quickly, so we’ve added several presets based on other apps.

To see the available presets, open the Soundslice notation editor and click the “Shortcuts” icon at the top of the page. You’ll see the new shortcuts panel appear on the right:


This will show you all of the currently available keyboard shortcuts in one convenient place. At the top, you’ll see a drop-down menu with all the available presets (including any that you’ve created yourself). For now, the following presets are available:

  • Like Finale™ Simple Entry
  • Like Guitar Pro™
  • Like Sibelius™ Notebook Entry
  • Soundslice default

Choose a preset, and the editor will immediately begin to use those shortcuts. We’ll save your preference automatically.

Creating your own

For power users who want more control, click “Edit” next to the currently selected shortcut set. You’ll get a window that shows you all available Soundslice editing commands (currently 186) and lets you assign a keyboard shortcut to any of them!


You can then give your shortcut set a name and save it. It’s only accessible to your account; it’s not public. (But if you’re particularly proud of it, drop us a line and we’ll consider adding it to the list of defaults.)

Creating your own keyboard shortcut set is available to anybody with a paid Soundslice plan.

As part of this, we’ve added several editor capabilities, all of which can be assigned to a keyboard shortcut:

  • “Move note up/down diatonically” — changes the pitch of the selected note(s)
  • “Add bar to the end of the slice”
  • “Copy beat to the right” — copies the selected beat immediately to the right
  • “Append note with interval of a 9th” (we already had intervals 2-8)
  • “Set fret 10” through “Set fret 15” — in case you want to assign a single key to each of those higher frets
  • Set double sharp/flat — previously doable only via “Toggle enharmonic”

As always, we’d love to hear feedback on this new feature, and we hope you enjoy your new powers!

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