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Posts tagged with “The player”

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!

Here’s a variety of improvements we’ve made to Soundslice this week.

Quickly copy embed codes

For those of you embedding Soundslice in your own websites, we’ve made it easier to get a slice’s embed code.

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!

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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.

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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.

Here’s a new feature that makes it easier to isolate the music you want to learn. Our player’s settings menu now has a Solo button next to each track:

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Click Solo to hide the notation of all other tracks, displaying only the track you want to see. This is great if, for example, you’re looking at a choral piece or full band arrangement, and you only want to see your specific part.

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Technically this was already possible on Soundslice — we’ve offered a way to hide parts of notation for years now. The problem was that it took lots of clicks! In the above example, you’d have to click the yellow icons to disable notation and lyrics for each track, one at a time. The Solo button turns six clicks into one, making this common task much quicker.

Note that the Solo button will only appear in slices that have at least two tracks. The button wouldn’t make much sense in single-track slices. :-)

Using Soundslice for music that has fingerings? Now you can quickly hide the fingerings if you don’t want to see them — and toggle them back on at any point.

In our player’s settings menu, you’ll now find a fingerings icon under “Track appearance.” It’s a hand icon that looks like this:

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This icon will only be visible for tracks that have fingerings within. See here for an example you can play with.

Why might you want to hide fingerings? A couple reasons:

  • You might want to make the music more compact and clearer to read.
  • You might disagree with them, having come up with your own (different) fingerings.

Note this fingerings toggle applies to both types of fingerings in our system — traditional fingerings (e.g., piano or violin) and right-hand fingerings for plucked instruments such as guitar.

If you’re creating slices with fingerings, you now have the ability to hide the fingerings by default. In our notation editor, edit your track and deselect the fingerings icon. Anybody viewing your slice will not see fingerings by default, but they’ll still be able to enable them on in the player’s settings menu.

A final detail: Fingerings will always be shown in our visual piano keyboard, regardless of whether you’ve toggled off their display in notation. Likewise, fingerings will always be shown in notation if you have the notation editor open.

Here’s a roundup of some small improvements we’ve made recently.

General improvements to our site:

  • Videos can now go down to 25 percent speed, instead of 50. Hooray!
  • As you browse the timeline of slices from people you follow, if you press play on one of the slices, we’ll now stop playback for any other slices that are playing on the page.
  • Our violin fingerboard visualization can now be active for tracks whose notation is hidden.
  • Tenuto markings are positioned better in our notation. They’re now rendered within staff lines if appropriate.

Improvements to our notation editor:

  • When you drag to select notes, we used to display a box with a dashed border. We’ve removed this, as it was unnecessary and kind of ugly.
  • When you drag to select notes, you’ll no longer occasionally run into a weird bug where multiple things are selected despite you not selecting them.
  • When you’re adding notes on a staff line that has a currently active accidental, we’ll now assume you want to continue that accidental. Previously a newly added note would always use a natural if the key signature didn’t affect the note.
  • Slices can end in double barlines. We’ll now detect that when importing MusicXML, and we’ve improved our notation editor to allow this. (Previously we disallowed it for no good reason.)

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.

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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 course creators: Promote a course you’re selling in our store
  • 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

Strum directions

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.

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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.

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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.

More info is here.

Loading indicator

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:

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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.

Today we’ve launched a new feature that better communicates the presence of audio before or after a slice’s notation.

It looks like this:

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The new thing here is those “0:14” and “2:06” sections. (Here’s a link so you can play with it yourself.)

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.

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Hope you find the new feature useful, and let us know what you think.

Lots of features and improvements to announce today! Here’s what’s new:

New metronome button

We’ve added a metronome button directly to our player. This lets you quickly toggle a metronome pulse during audio playback.

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We already had a metronome, of course, but it was a bit awkward to get to — as people had pointed out. You needed to go into the audio mixer and increase its volume from zero. Now, it’s a simple one-click thing.

And this new metronome button is now particularly useful, because...

Metronome during real recordings

This is another thing many people have asked for. Previously, the metronome was only possible if you switched a slice to “Synthetic” playback. Now, the metronome works over everything — YouTube videos, MP3s, other videos, everything!

When played over a real recording, the metronome will use the recording’s syncpoints for the timing. This means it will ebb and flow naturally with the tempo of the performance. If you create slices and find the metronome feels “off,” it’s a sign your syncpoints are likely not precise enough — an easy fix in our syncpoint editor.

New video resizer

For slices with video, we’ve changed the way video resizing looks. Previously, it used a thick gray bar — which some people didn’t realize you could drag. Now, we use a (we hope) much more obvious drag “handle.”

Improvements on touchscreen devices

We’ve changed/fixed the way our player works on touchscreen devices:

  • In horizontal mode, it’s now possible to resize a loop. This fixes a bug where it wasn’t possible to drag loop edges in horizontal mode.
  • In vertical mode, previously a single-finger swipe would do different things depending on whether you were swiping horizontally or vertically; horizontal would create a loop and vertical would pan. We’ve changed this so that single-finger swipes always pan — hence making the interface consistent across horizontal and vertical modes. To create a loop on a touchscreen device, use the dedicated “Loop” button at the bottom of the player.

Resizable loops in waveform view

When dragging across the waveform view to create a loop, previously it wasn’t possible to resize an existing loop. We’ve fixed that. You can now drag loop edges in the waveform to resize.

We’ve also tweaked the visual design of the waveform loops to have “drag handles,” matching our style of loops over notation.

Loops in notationless mode

Speaking of waveform loops, when you’re viewing a slice that has no notation (only a video), we’ve fixed the Loop button. Previously it did nothing if you clicked it in notationless view! Now, it will create a three-second loop from the playhead’s current location. You can then drag the loop edges to fine-tune.

Automatic panning during dragging

When you’re dragging across notation to create a loop, we’ll now automatically pan the notation forward/backward when you drag near the edge. This is a really nice usability improvement.

Extra ‘close’ buttons

We’ve added an explicit ‘close’ button at the upper right of the visual fretboard, keyboard, violinboard and audio mixer. You could always toggle them with their respective icons in the player’s controlbar, but this makes things a bit faster and easier, especially when on a small screen.

Audio mixer panel simplification

We’ve simplified the audio mixer, which is where you can tweak volume on a per-track basis. Given that per-track volume changing is only possible when you’ve selected synthetic playback, we’ve changed the mixer to hide the per-track controls if you’re not in synthetic mode. This should help clear up confusion.

Track name cleanup

We’ve tweaked the way the track names look, at the left edge of notation. They used to have a thick orange rectangle, and we’ve removed that, to make things less distracting.

We also now hide the track name entirely if there’s only one track. This helps reduce visual clutter.

Smarter search engine

We’ve improved our sitewide search engine to work properly with accented characters. That means you can search for João Oliveira and find what you’re looking for.

Goodbye, ‘track controls’

Today we’ve removed the “track controls” from our player. Previously, you could click on a track name, to the left of notation, to view information about the track and change some stuff:

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This no longer exists. We decided to remove it because our recent player redesign has made all of those features available in other places. Specifically:

To change the view options, use the “Track appearance” part in Settings.

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To change the track’s volume and instrument sound in synth playback, use the audio mixer.

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Here are some improvements we’ve made recently:

Better rendering of half notes in stemmed tab

Previously, our stemmed tab view treated quarter notes and half notes in exactly the same way, which made it impossible to tell them apart:

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Now, half notes use shorter stems, while quarter note stems continue to extend all the way through the strings. This should clear up any ambiguity.

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New “About Soundslice” page

We’ve revamped our About section. Have a look!

Nicer design of “Add recording” screen

We’ve added some icons and removed the cheap-looking radio buttons. Here’s how it used to look:

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And here’s the new look:

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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=0 URL 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.

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