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Posts tagged with “Notation editor”

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 are the latest Soundslice improvements:

New “Quick tour” integrated editor help

We’ve added a “tour” feature in our editor — an integrated help section that gives you a quick overview of the basic editor features.

Screenshot

You can access this tour via the editor’s Help menu:

Screenshot

We’ll also display this automatically for anybody creating their first slice.

Single-line percussion

Screenshot

You can now create single-line percussion in our editor! This was already possible via MusicXML import, but now you can do this directly within Soundslice.

Read more in the new help page.

New design when creating slices

We’ve simplified and beautified the options you see when you create a slice. Here’s the old version:

Screenshot

And here’s the new version:

Screenshot

We’ve also completely hidden the editor sidebar in this screen, as the sidebar wasn’t clickable anyway. Much clearer and better looking now.

Tracks are now Instruments

Previously we used the term Track to refer to each instrument/part in your slice. This term was not as clear as we’d liked, and it was too easily confused with our separate concept of Recording — so we now use the term Instrument.

The player, the editor and our help section have all been updated.

Here’s what we’ve improved on Soundslice this week:

Shortcut tabs in the slice manager

In your slice manager, you’ll now see some handy filters at the top of the page:

Screenshot

This lets you quickly access the slices that you’ve marked as shareable, posted to your channel or marked as embeddable.

Yes, you can use it in tandem with the search — so you can search your slices for a keyword and then apply the filters.

Improved editor design

We’ve tweaked our editor’s design to add a visual “frame” around the music. Here’s the old design:

Screenshot

And here’s the new design:

Screenshot

The goal here was to create a clearer visual distinction between your music and the rest of the editor.

We’ve also made some other small visual improvements to the editor. The editor search box now looks more like a standard search box, to help communicate its function. And we tweaked the sidebar’s design to be a bit more consistent with the other parts of the editor.

Support for “common” and “cut time” time signatures

We now support “common time” and “cut time” glyphs for time signatures. You can create them in our editor, and we’ll automatically import them from MusicXML files. Read more in our help page.

Screenshot

Previously we automatically converted these to 4/4 or 2/2 upon import — equivalent but lacking that visual panache.

Improved synth sounds for piano and guitar

We got new synth sounds for the following:

  • Guitar: Acoustic nylon
  • Guitar: Electric clean
  • Guitar: Electric distorted
  • Guitar: Electric jazz
  • Guitar: Electric muted
  • Guitar: Electric overdriven
  • Guitar harmonics
  • Piano: Bright
  • Piano: Electric
  • Piano: Electric grand
  • Piano: Honky tonk
  • Piano: Standard

Of course, Soundslice is all about syncing sheet music with real recordings as opposed to relying on cheesy synth sounds, but synth playback is useful sometimes.

Improved video icons for touch devices

You know those icons that appear when you hover over a video on Soundslice? The ones that let you choose video quality, change position or flip the video side?

Previously these icons were only shown when you hovered your mouse cursor over the video — which meant people using smartphones and tablets couldn’t access them (because they don’t have a mouse!).

This is now fixed. On touchscreen devices, you’ll now see those icons at all times, except when the video is playing.

Fixed slice manager titles not to be truncated

When we launched our navigation redesign last month, user TastyGuitarLessons pointed out in the comments section that long slice titles were getting cut off in the slice manager. This is now fixed.

Is there a lesson here? Good things come to those who post comments to our blog? ;-)

Here are a bunch of improvements we’ve made recently:

Editor note dragging

In our editor, you can now drag notes up and down to quickly change their pitches.

Screenshot

Great for making quick edits, and great for beginners who haven’t yet mastered keyboard shortcuts.

Editor support for more ornaments

Our editor now supports four new ornament markings: turns, inverted turns, mordents and inverted mordents.

Screenshot

See more in our updated help page on ornaments.

Smarter transposition menu for non-C instruments

For slices whose instruments are all non-concert-pitch — such as, say, a saxophone etude — our player’s transposition feature now displays the key relative to the transposed instrument. Previously, we always displayed the key in concert pitch, which was unintuitive.

This is a nice quality-of-life improvement for saxophonists, clarinetists and other players of transposing instruments.

Better positioning of staff and tab staves

Previously, there were some situations (particularly with bass-clef music) where the tab lines were way too close to the staff lines, making the music hard to read. This was dreadful and is now fixed.

Improvements to ledger line display

We made some subtle improvements to the way ledger lines (and their respective notes) are displayed. Ledger lines are now a bit thicker, and we now automatically reduce the width of ledger lines to avoid accidentals.

Here’s a before-and-after:

Screenshot

The first note is a normal note, to show our normal ledger line width. The second note is our old rendering — note how the accidental touches the line. The third note is our new approach — we reduce the length of the line so that it doesn’t clash with the accidental. Subtle, but it makes it easier to read.

Fixed ugliness in currently selected notes

In our editor, we’ve fixed the styling of the currently highlighted note, to avoid ugliness with the note stem:

Screenshot

The note on the left uses our old styling. The note on the right uses our new styling. Can you see the improvement?

Fixed annoyance when switching voices while editing tab

In our editor, if you’re editing tab and you switch your currently active voice, we’ll now make sure your cursor stays on the same tab string. Previously we had an annoying “feature” where switching voices would always bump you to the top string.

Fixed Safari problem when switching between recordings

If you use the Safari web browser to view a slice with more than one non-YouTube video recording, and you try to switch recordings in the middle of playback, we’ll now properly retain your position in the music.

Previously we had a bug where switching the recording would move the playhead to the start of the slice (annoying and quite disruptive to a practice session!).

Made editor’s “View” mode more accurate

This is a deep cut, for people creating slices with video but without notation. Let me see whether I can explain it properly.

If you create a slice with video but without notation (or you’ve set “Hide notation” in the slice settings), then anybody viewing your slice will see the video full-screen. That’s always been the case. But if you opened our editor and toggled “View” mode, you wouldn’t properly see the full-screen video — this “View” mode didn’t accurately reflect what your users would actually see.

This is now fixed. Our editor’s “View” mode will 100% match what your students see, in the case of notationless slices. (For the vast majority of slices, it was already doing the right thing. So if you read the previous paragraph five times and still don’t get it, there’s nothing to worry about.)

If you’re editing one of your slices, you’ll now see a button at the top of the screen that lets you quickly hide the editor.

It’s a little dropdown menu that says “Editing” by default. Click that, and you’ll be able to change it to “Viewing” to toggle off editing mode:

Screenshot

We used to have a similar feature, but it was removed when we redesigned our editor a few months ago. Now it’s back, with a (we hope) clearer design.

Why might you want to temporarily disable the editor? A few reasons:

  • To give yourself some more screen space while using the syncpoint editor.
  • To practice the music instead of editing it.
  • To see your slice as students would see it.

We plan to expand this menu to include some more view options in the future. Stay tuned!

We’ve launched some significant usability improvements to our editor! This makes editing sheet music and tablature on Soundslice easier than ever before.

Immediate ‘hover’ feedback

When you hover your mouse cursor over the music, we now give you visual feedback:

Screenshot animation

The bit of notation you’re hovering over will change color, and your mouse cursor will change to indicate that something is directly editable by clicking on it.

“Wait,” you say. “More than notes and rests are directly editable by clicking now?” Yes —

Clickable notation elements

We’ve made lots more of your music directly clickable.

Previously, our editor’s approach was: you select a note, then edit its attached information (such as text, chords, time signature, key signature) via the “Current” menu or the various icons on the left.

Now, you can click on those bits of notation directly. Here’s what’s directly editable at the moment:

  • Time signatures
  • Key signatures
  • Clefs
  • Section names
  • Section letters
  • Fingering
  • Right-hand fingering (for plucked instruments)
  • Commentary bar labels
  • Bar numbers
  • Lyrics
  • Our four types of text
  • Tempo markings
  • Triplet feel/swing markings
  • Chord names/diagrams
  • Directions (e.g., “D.C. al Coda“)
  • Segno and coda symbols
  • Fermatas
  • End-repeat bars
  • Multi-bar rests
  • Barre numbers (Roman numeral positions)

The “Current” menu is still available, as not every type of notation would make sense to be clickable. For things like accent marks, you still edit them by clicking the note and toggling the appropriate icon in the “Current” menu.

Change voices by clicking on the note

The concept of multiple voices can be confusing to newcomers to music notation. Historically our editor has grayed-out notes that aren’t in the currently selected voice — which is unintuitive if you don’t know what a voice is.

We’ve made an interface improvement that we think will help with this (along with saving time for more seasoned pros). If you click a note that’s not in your current voice, we’ll now automatically switch the current voice to that note’s voice. Here’s what it looks like:

Screenshot animation

This makes editing multi-voice music nice and snappy!

Better-looking selections

One more improvement: we’ve improved the look of the selection when you drag to select multiple notes/rests.

Previously, each note or rest had its own rectangle with rounded corners — resulting in awkward white vertical lines within the selection:

Screenshot animation

Now, we smash them together into a single rectangle, which looks and feels a lot nicer:

Screenshot animation

It’s a small detail but brings a little more joy to the editing experience.

Final notes

Please note that these changes only apply to slices in edit mode. If you’re in read-only mode (e.g., the view seen by your students or people looking at posts on your channel), nothing has changed.

Together, all of these changes add up to make the editing experience feel much more interactive and responsive. We hope you enjoy the changes. And we will continue to add polish and make Soundslice the best way to create/edit sheet music and tablature online. :-)

Here’s what we’ve improved this week:

More intuitive editing of invisible notes

Previously, if a note or rest in your slice was marked as invisible, it was hard to figure out how to change that. Now, if you’ve selected that note, we’ll indicate its invisibility in our editor’s “Current” panel:

Screenshot

Click that icon to toggle note or rest invisibility.

We’ve also added an icon for “Toggle note visibility” directly to our editor’s Engraving menu. Previously this function was only available by searching for it in our editor’s search.

Screenshot

Smarter rendering of invisible notes

Previously, if all of the notes in a beam were marked as invisible, we still displayed the beam itself — which was a bit silly. We’ve fixed that.

Quick access to edit tempo markings

We’ve added tempo markings to our editor’s “Current” panel. If you’ve selected a note or rest that has a tempo marking above it, you’ll see the tempo marking icon up there:

Screenshot

Click that to quickly edit (or delete) the tempo marking.

More intuitive key signature editing for transposed instruments

If you edit the key signature for a transposed instrument such as a Bb clarinet, you now do that with respect to the transposed instrument. Previously, key signatures were always edited in concert pitch — which required you to do a mental calculation.

Hid message from Mixer if synth playback is disabled

Our player’s Mixer feature displays a special message if you have a real recording enabled:

Screenshot

However, it’s possible for a slice owner to disable synthetic playback — in which case that message is incorrect/confusing. We’ve fixed our player to hide that message if synthetic playback has been disabled.

Today we’ve improved our editor’s handling of tab with capos and shifted tunings. Editing is a bit more intuitive now, and we’ve fixed some bugs.

(A quick note: in this blog post, we’ll use the term “capo tracks” to mean tracks that either have a capo set or have an equally shifted tuning such as “Tune down 1 step.” And we assume you’ve left the default “Ignore capo in notation” option checked.)

Here’s what’s new:

Key signatures are independent

Previously, our editor assumed a global concert key signature and automatically set each track’s key signature according to its instrument transposition and/or capo. For capo tracks, this meant that the key signature was set automatically based on the capo position and concert-pitch key signature — which was confusing.

Now, you can set the key signature for capo tracks independently. This gives you the ability to set the key signature however makes the most sense given the capo position.

If you change the key signature for other (non-capo) tracks, your capo tracks’ key signature will not be affected. Non-capo tracks maintain a shared global key signature. (For example, if a slice has three tracks — flute, piano and capo guitar — changing the flute’s key signature will also change it for the piano, but not for the guitar.)

To edit the key signature for a capo track, just make sure a note within the track is selected, then use our editor’s “Change key signature” function.

Default key signatures are C

Previously, when you created a capo track, it wouldn’t necessarily have a C major key signature; its default key signature would be calculated from the slice’s global key signature transposed into your given capo. This was confusing!

Now, when you create a capo track, its key signature will be C major. From there, you can set it to whatever you want, without affecting other tracks.

(Note that this does not apply if you’ve unchecked “Ignore capo in notation.” In that case, the key signature will be the same as the other tracks in the slice.)

Bug fixes with note pitches

Previously, there were certain situations where we would use the wrong note spelling/pitch for given tablature data with a capo. This is now fixed.

If you have any slices with capo tracks and you notice the notes in the staff don’t correctly reflect the tab data, you can fix this by changing the track’s key signature to something else, then changing it to the original key signature. This will force our system to recalculate things correctly.

Bug fix with copy and paste

Previously, if you copied notes from a non-tab track to a capo track, the note pitches would sometimes be incorrectly calculated. This is now fixed.

Here’s what we’ve improved on Soundslice this week:

New keyboard shortcut for ‘go to start’

When viewing any piece of music on Soundslice, you can now use the Enter key to go back to the beginning. This is a convention we’ve borrowed from DAW software, and many musicians already have it in their muscle memory. :-)

This keyboard shortcut also works in our notation editor. If you have a paid plan, you can use our custom keyboard shortcuts feature to change the specific key combination (look for “Seek audio to start” when editing your shortcuts).

Autoscroll during playback in editor

If you’re editing a slice and hit Play, the notation will now autoscroll during playback. Previously, autoscroll was disabled in the editor and enabled in view-only mode. Now things are nice and consistent across both modes (editing and viewing).

More intuitive editor selection behavior

If you’re editing a slice and hit Play, then eventually hit Pause, we will now select the note or rest that’s closest to where your playback paused.

Our previous behavior was a bit weird: we didn’t update the selected note, but our player’s internal “start playback from here” position was indeed updated. Meaning sometimes playback started from the selected note but sometimes it didn’t.

If that all sounds confusing and technical, just know that the new behavior should be much more intuitive!

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