Frequently Asked Questions

Hello! If your questions aren’t answered here, please feel free to contact us any time.

The basics

What is Soundslice?

Soundslice is a platform for learning music via interactive music notation. Our goal is to be the best way to learn any piece of music.

If you’re new here, a nice place to start is our community page. And our “About Soundslice” page has the backstory on why we created this site.

Why is Soundslice good?

With Soundslice, you’ll learn faster and more effectively, because everything is synced together — audio/video recordings, music notation, tablature (if applicable) and intuitive practice tools.

Gone are the days of cross-referencing a YouTube video, in one browser window, with a guitar tab in another window — or using transcription software alongside separate notation software.

With Soundslice, everything is integrated. It’s the learning and practice environment you’ve always dreamed of.

What is a “slice”?

That’s our term for a piece of interactive music notation/tablature. Every piece of music on Soundslice is a slice.

You can use our tools to create slices, or you can sit back and learn from the many slices other people have created. You can also buy high-quality lessons and transcriptions from our store (or put together a course package yourself!).

What kind of music does Soundslice support?

Anything from guitar tabs to band/choral arrangements to orchestral scores. More precisely, we support any genre or instrumentation in common Western musical notation. There’s no limit to number of instruments/parts or length of music.

Learning with Soundslice

What’s the best way to learn with Soundslice?

It really depends on your preferred learning style and the particular piece of music. But you should be aware you can do the following:

  • Click on music notation to navigate to that moment in the audio/video.
  • Drag across music notation to loop that section of audio/video.
  • With a loop already created, click/drag one of its edges to resize it.
  • Use the speed controls at lower left to slow down audio without changing pitch. The plus and minus buttons are shortcuts; you can also click on the speed number and enter a number.
  • Use the Visualizations menu to activate a visual fretboard, keyboard, violin fingerboard or waveform view. Some of these might not be available, depending on the specific music in the slice and what the slice owner has disabled.
  • Hide bits of notation you don’t care about using the Mixer.
  • Make notation bigger or smaller using the zoom controls in the player’s Settings menu.
  • Transpose the music on the fly in the player’s Settings menu.
  • Toggle between different recordings, including synthetic playback, using the Recordings menu.

What is a “recording”?

That’s our term for the audio or video that’s been synced with notation. A slice can have many recordings.

At the bottom of a slice, you’ll see a “Recording” section with the name of the currently selected recording. Click that to switch between recordings. Here’s an example, in which there are multiple audio recordings (lead vs. rhythm vs. full mix) you can toggle.

People use recordings in all sorts of ways: for different audio mixes, backing tracks or even completely separate performances of the same piece.

You can switch between recordings any time — even during playback. Our player will start the new recording where the old one left off.

Why wouldn’t a particular slice have a “Recording” section?

That must be because the slice’s creator didn’t add any recordings. In this case, our player will fall back to synthetic playback with MIDI-ish sounds.

How do I play a slice’s audio/video?

Simply press the Play button, or use your spacebar.

How do I navigate to a particular moment in the audio/video?

The simplest way is to click on the music notation. Because the audio/video and notation are synced, we’ll immediately take you to the appropriate part of the audio/video.

If you want to go to a particular timecode or measure number, click and drag the horizontal line at the bottom of the player (to the right of the Play button). You’ll see a little popup with the timecode and measure number for easy navigation.

What is the “Synthetic” recording?

All slices have a “Synthetic” recording, which is computer-generated playback of the music. While this doesn’t sound particularly beautiful, it can be useful during practice to hear a “perfect” computer performance, especially at a slow tempo.

How can I change the instrument sound of the Synthetic recording?

Click the track name to the left of notation — it’s vertically aligned (sideways) text. That will open the “track controls.”

In that menu, you’ll see a “Synth” section. (If you don’t, make sure to switch the active recording to “Synthetic.”) Next to “Sound,” you’ll see the currently active synth sound for that track. Click the instrument name and you’ll get a menu of many instrument sounds to choose from.

How can I solo/mute an instrument in the Synthetic recording?

For slices with more than one track, it can be useful to mute the ones you don’t care about. To do this, open the Mixer.

The Mixer is one of the available “visualizations” for each slice. The visualizations menu is at the bottom of the player, toward the right. The default visualization depends on the slice you’re looking at, but you’ll always see a double-arrow icon next to it; click that to open the Visualizations menu, then select Mixer.

When the Mixer is open, you’ll see all the tracks in the slice’s notation. You can change each track’s synth sound volume, or quickly mute/solo a track. Changes take effect immediately in playback.

How can I hide a particular track/part I don’t care about?

Open the Mixer as explained above, then click the icons in the “Notation” column. You can show/hide notation, tablature, lyrics and chords all separately. All changes take effect instantly.

Why won’t Soundslice accept the playback speed I’m entering?

Different types of recordings support different speeds. YouTube videos, for example, only support certain speed values (this is a YouTube limitation that we unfortunately can’t do anything about).

If you enter a playback speed that the current recording doesn’t support, we’ll round it to the nearest speed that the recording does support.

How can I transpose music to a different key?

Open the player’s Settings menu at lower right, then use the transposition section. It transposes the music notation on the fly, including tablature (if applicable).

Any tips on making large slices (with many parts) easier to follow?

Horizontal view is great for that — it’s much easier to follow along in case of many parts.

To activate horizontal view, open the player Settings menu, then click “Advanced…” There, check the box next to “Use horizontal view.” You can change it back at any time.

We also recommend using the Mixer to hide notation for any parts you don’t need to see.

Which devices support Soundslice?

Soundslice works in any modern web browser across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

“Modern web browser” means a web browser that was updated within the last few years.

When in doubt, try Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple’s Safari browser.

Any interesting features on touchscreen devices?

Yes! If you’re looking at a slice on a touchscreen device, you can:

  • Tap on the notation to go to that moment in the audio.
  • Drag horizontally across notation to loop that section.
  • Use a two-finger “pinch” to quickly zoom in/out of the notation. It’s especially useful to make notation smaller on phones with smaller screens, so that you can view more in a single screen.

How can I print music from Soundslice?

If the slice’s owner has enabled printing, you’ll see a “Print” button in the Settings menu (accessible at lower right).

Creating with Soundslice

Who can create slices?

Anybody! Even you. Just create a free account.

How/where do I create slices?

In the “slice manager.” If you’re logged in, you’ll see a “Manage” link atop each page. Click that to go to the slice manager.

What’s the process of slice creation like?

It’s a three-step process: provide the music notation, provide recordings and sync them. Each of these is explained in a subsequent FAQ question.

How do I get music notation into Soundslice?

You can either upload notation or use our built-in notation editor to create from scratch. You can also do a hybrid approach: upload a notation file, then continue editing it in our editor.

Which music notation formats does Soundslice support?

We support several formats:

  • MusicXML (exportable from Sibelius, Finale, MuseScore and many other programs)
  • Guitar Pro (.gp3, .gp4, .gp5, .gpx or .gp — that’s versions 3 to 7)
  • PowerTab (.ptb)
  • TuxGuitar (.tg)

If you have a file in Guitar Pro, PowerTab or TuxGuitar, upload that file as opposed to a MusicXML export from those programs. The notation will import with much higher fidelity.

Which notation-editing programs do you recommend for creating MusicXML?

Sibelius and Finale are the two industry standards, and both have a native MusicXML export feature. Note MusicXML.com has some Sibelius/Finale plugins that offer an improved MusicXML export over both applications’ defaults; we recommend those plugins.

Sibelius and Finale are quite pricey, so if you don’t already have them, we recommend checking out MuseScore, a free and open-source notation editor that works on Windows, Mac or Linux. It has good MusicXML export capability.

How does the built-in Soundslice notation editor work?

Here’s a link to the documentation.

I use Sibelius. How do I import music into Soundslice?

Export your notation as MusicXML, then upload that MusicXML file to Soundslice using the slice manager.

I use Finale. How do I import music into Soundslice?

Export your notation as MusicXML, then upload that MusicXML file to Soundslice using the slice manager.

I use Guitar Pro. How do I use Soundslice?

Upload your GP (or GP3, GP4, GP5 or GPX) file to Soundslice using the slice manager.

Note that Guitar Pro offers a MusicXML export. Don’t use that, because Guitar Pro MusicXML files exclude some of the guitar-specific notation. Upload the native Guitar Pro file instead.

We support files created by any version of Guitar Pro starting with version 3, up until the current version.

I haven’t yet decided on a notation program. Any pointers on what works best with Soundslice?

Give our own notation editor a shot! You might like it, and (obviously) it integrates nicely with the whole Soundslice platform.

Otherwise:

  • If you’re using Soundslice for instruments with tablature (e.g., guitar), we recommend Guitar Pro because our importer has 100% support for importing its advanced notation such as bends, slides and harmonics. Sibelius and Finale don’t necessarily export those notations correctly in MusicXML.
  • If you’re using Soundslice for other instruments, ensembles or voices, try Sibelius, Finale or MuseScore (which is free!). Each of those programs can export MusicXML. One bit of advice: for Sibelius and Finale, install the latest MusicXML exporter plugin from musicxml.com — it does a richer export than the native export.

Soundslice displays notation differently than how it appears in my notation editor (Sibelius/Finale/whatever). What do I do?

We ignore all positional information in your MusicXML file — including line breaks, space between systems and slur positioning. That’s because our notation automatically wraps to fit whatever device you’re on. Our software might, for example, decide to put two bars in each system on a small screen, vs. five bars in each system on a larger desktop monitor.

If there’s a different (non-positional) aspect of notation that Soundslice isn’t displaying properly, please tell us about it! We are keenly interested in improving our software to deal with the thousands of corner cases of music notation. Please email your notation file to feedback@soundslice.com and let us know the specific problem.

How do I sync my notation with audio/video?

When editing your slice, open the syncpoint editor. This is a simple interface that lets you specify syncpoints.

The easiest way to use it is: play your audio/video, then tap the T key on your keyboard on each downbeat.

For finely grained syncing, you can also sync individual notes or make small tweaks to your syncpoints after you’ve tapped them out.

Who can see my slices by default?

By default, all slices are private. That is, they’re visible and accessible only to you.

How can I share my slices with other people?

You have a few options here:

  • Post the slice to your public Soundslice channel. Anybody will be able to see it, and it’ll show up in our search engine’s results. Anybody with a free Soundslice account can do this.
  • Make the slice’s link shareable but without publishing it on your channel. This is available to people with a paid plan.
  • Add the slice to a private course. You can then control which Soundslice users access the course.
  • Add the slice to a for-sale course. You can then make the course available for sale.

How can I enable printing on one of my slices?

Enabling printing is a pay-for feature. If you’re a paying customer (see our plans), here’s how to enable printing:

  • View the slice and enter edit mode by clicking “Edit” at upper right.
  • Click “Settings” at the top of the page, then “Edit slice details…”
  • Make sure “Allow printing” is checked, then click “OK.”
  • Save your changes by clicking the “Save” button at upper right.

How can I limit my slice to use only a part of a video or audio file?

In the syncpoint editor, click “Crop.” You’ll get an interface that lets you specify the start and end points of your video or audio.

Other

Can Soundslice create sheet music/tabs automatically, given audio/video?

Alas, no — everything’s manual. Nobody in the world has figured out this particular problem with an acceptable degree of accuracy!

How can I embed Soundslice on my own website?

Visit our Licensing section to learn all about embedding.

What’s the Soundslice store?

It’s where people sell music lessons and transcriptions in our interactive format. The store has its own FAQ.

What’s the difference between a paid Soundslice account and a free account?

See our Plans section for full details.

Who makes Soundslice?

Soundslice is run independently by a small full-time team of musicians and web developers. You can learn about us on our “About Soundslice” page.