Posts tagged with “The player”
We’re excited to announce two new instrument visualizations in our player: trombone and trumpet.
As with our existing visual piano keyboard, fretboard and violin, these visualizations show you how to play each note in a graphical fashion. While our player plays music, you’ll see the visualizations animate according to the currently playing notes.
Here’s what the trombone visualization looks like:
And here’s the trumpet visualization:
For trombone, since certain notes can be played in multiple positions, we’ve added a “Set trombone slide position” feature to our editor. This lets you specify exactly which position the visualization should use for a particular note. Read more about it here.
For more on the visualizations, including how to enable them as a slice creator, see our new help pages:
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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?
The differences are:
- The music now goes “flush” against the left edge — removing that inelegant horizontal space we had previously.
- 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.
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:
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:
This lets you quickly switch between three layouts:
- Fluid — music wraps to fit your screen (our “classic” approach)
- Horizontal — music never wraps, it just continues rightward forever
- 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:
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
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.
You can access this tour via the editor’s Help menu:
We’ll also display this automatically for anybody creating their first slice.
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:
And here’s the new version:
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 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.
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.
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:
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:
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.)
Here’s a nice new feature for those of you using Soundslice to teach beginner musicians. You can now enable automatic display of pitch names directly above notation.
If you enable automatic pitch names, anybody viewing your slice will be able to toggle them via the “Show pitch names” checkbox in our player’s settings menu. Here’s what it looks like:
And here’s an example you can play with directly:
To enable automatic pitch names, edit your slice, open the slice details menu, go to the Teacher tab and set your preference:
You can specify whether the pitch names should be visible by default or whether the student can opt into them manually. By default, pitch names aren’t visible or toggleable.
Of course, if you make any changes to your music within our editor, the pitch names will instantly update. Everything’s automatic and in sync.
We’d been surprised to hear from teachers who had been adding pitch names to their music manually — a tedious and error-prone process. Sit back and let the computer do the work for you!
This feature is now available for anybody in the Teacher or Licensing plan. Enjoy!
Using Soundslice on a touch device, such as a smartphone or tablet? You’re going to love the improvements we’ve just made to scrolling and zooming.
This is best explained by showing. Here’s a quick before-and-after video:
Previously, using a single-finger swipe would stop scrolling the music as soon as you lifted your finger — which felt icky and unrefined. Now, the music will continue scrolling for a bit even after you lift your finger — just like a news article or social media feed. (The technical term for this is “momentum scrolling.”) It feels so much better.
Previously, using a two-finger “pinch zoom” would temporarily hide all the notes except for bar lines and staff lines. Now, we keep everything visible, to give you clearer, more immediate feedback.
These changes make a huge difference in how responsive Soundslice feels on your mobile device. Enjoy!
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.