Soundslice is all about syncing audio/video with music notation — but in some cases your audio/video might feature talking and explaining, instead of music. How are you supposed to represent non-musical content in your synced music notation?
That’s what commentary bars are for. This is a notation feature, unique to Soundslice, that lets you label a section of non-musical activity such as talking.
It’s best explained by example. The following slice is an excerpt from a guitar masterclass, in which the teacher switches between talking and playing:
During the talking moments, the notation uses gray boxes with short text labels. During the music, it uses normal music notation. Those gray boxes are commentary bars.
Commentary bars serve a dual purpose:
- They help people navigate through a slice, perhaps skipping sections they don’t care about or easily returning to sections they want to watch again.
- They help underscore what’s being said.
Creating commentary bars
To create a commentary bar:
- Add a new bar normally.
- Making sure the bar is selected, click the “Bar commentary” icon in the editor sidebar’s “Text” panel .
- At the left of your screen, replacing the editor’s sidebar, you’ll see a place for you to enter the commentary bar’s text:
(Note: If you’re on a narrow screen, you’ll see a slightly different interface. Instead of a section overlaying the editor’s sidebar, you’ll see a full-screen interface.)
As you enter text here, you’ll see your notation update immediately.
Changing or removing commentary bars
To change or remove a commentary bar:
- Click its text.
- At the left of your screen, replacing the editor’s sidebar, you’ll an interface that lets you change the text.
- To remove the commentary bar, just delete all the text and click “Done.”
Tips on organizing commentary bars
It’s often useful to use multiple commentary bars in a row — especially if the audio/video is discussing multiple topics. We encourage you to use granular commentary bars, to make slice navigation more useful.
There’s no limit to how short or long a commentary bar can be, but a rule of thumb is to keep each commentary bar to under a minute’s worth of talking. Anything longer than that should probably be split into multiple commentary bars.
Commentary bars during synthetic playback
Commentary bars are intended to be used in slices that have a real recording. If synthetic playback is active and you play the “music” in a commentary bar, you’ll hear silence, glorious silence.
Creating commentary bars in imported files
Not hip enough to use our own notation editor yet? We have a hacky way to create commentary bars in other notation programs. To do so:
- In your notation software (Sibelius, Finale, Guitar Pro, etc.), create an empty bar wherever the commentary happens.
- Use your notation software to add text above the bar. This is how you specify the commentary bar’s label.
- Make sure the text starts with “sstext:” (without the quotes) and is followed by whatever the label should be. You can put a space after that colon, or not — it works either way.
- Import your notation file. Whenever our importer sees “sstext:”, it’ll strip out that prefix and create a commentary bar with your given label. Note that we ignore whatever music notation (if any) is in commentary bars.