Here’s how to work with lyrics using the Soundslice editor.
Lyrics are entered one syllable at a time, though we’ve streamlined the interface to make entry quick. Here’s how to enter lyrics:
1. Select the note at which the lyrics begin.
2. In the editor sidebar’s “Text” panel , click the “Lyrics” button . Or search the editor for “lyrics” or use a keyboard shortcut.
3. At the left of your screen, replacing the editor’s sidebar, you’ll see a place for you to enter the lyrics:
Each line here represents a separate vertical line of lyrics. Generally you’ll just want to use the top line, unless you’re adding multiple stanzas.
Note: In some cases, this lyric-editing interface will appear in a “popover” menu that takes over the whole screen, rather than just using the sidebar. We use this popover approach if your web browser window’s width or height are too small to fit our normal lyrics interface.
4. Type a lyric syllable into the top line. You’ll see it immediately reflected in your notation.
5. Whenever you hit the spacebar, we’ll automatically move to the next note. For a multi-syllable word, hit the hyphen character (-) at the end of the syllable; we’ll insert a hyphen and automatically move to the next note. Hold Shift and press the spacebar to go to the previous note.
6. When you’re done, click “Done” at the bottom of the lyric entry interface.
Editing existing lyrics
To edit a given lyric syllable, just click it. The lyric-entry interface will appear at left, and you can make changes.
To delete a given lyric syllable, click on it in your notation to make the lyric-entry interface appear at left. Then just delete the text and click “Done.”
If you enter a syllable that ends with a hyphen, Soundslice will automatically center that hyphen between the syllable and the next one.
In this example, we’ve entered the syllable “Ly-” (with hyphen) in the first note, entered nothing in the second/third notes, and entered “rics” in the fourth note:
Extenders are the horizontal lines that specify a syllable should be held over multiple notes:
Soundslice will automatically add an extender for a syllable if all of the following are true:
- The note after the syllable has no lyrics set for that particular lyric line/stanza.
- The syllable’s note and the next note are in a slur together.
Entering spaces or hyphens into a lyric syllable
As we noted above, if you enter a space (via the spacebar) or a hyphen while entering lyrics, then we’ll automatically move to the next syllable. But what if you want to add a literal space or hyphen into your syllable without going to the next syllable?
The solution is to type the syllable somewhere else on your computer, then copy and paste it into the Soundslice interface. Crude, but it gets the job done.
Lyrics and multiple voices
Our system doesn’t care which voice you enter a lyric syllable into. In fact, some musical situations require you to add lyrics in more than one voice to achieve the ideal layout.
Here, we have two lyric lines that use multiple voices in the second bar. In the second bar, the top voice (whose first note is a quarter note) uses lyric line 1, while the bottom voice (whose first note is an eighth note) uses lyric line 2. Note the hyphens are centered correctly.
Adding line breaks for lyrics-only view
Our player’s lyrics-only view displays lyrics in a compact way, without the accompanying music notes. Read more about it here.
By default, lyrics-only view puts a line break at the end of each bar. For example, for this music...
...the default lyrics-only view will look like this:
With those default line breaks, it’s a bit awkward to read. But we can solve that by manually specifying where the line breaks should be.
Here’s how to specify a line break for lyrics-only mode using the Soundslice editor:
- Select the note after which there should be a line break.
- Use the keyboard shortcut Shift + R. Or search the editor for “Toggle line break after this beat (lyrics-only mode).”
Once you’ve added a line break after a note, we’ll display a ↩︎ mark after the lyric. This mark will only visible while you’re editing. (Nobody viewing your slice will see it.)
To finish our example, we’ll enter line breaks like so:
And that results in the following display when the slice uses lyrics-only view:
Adding stanza breaks for lyrics-only view
We also support stanza breaks — essentially a way to add extra space between lines in lyrics-only view. For example, say we’ve expanded our previous example to have a second verse:
(Note we’ve added an end-repeat barline to tell Soundslice that the music is played twice. Otherwise lyrics-only view would only show the first line of lyrics.)
Here’s what this looks like in lyrics-only view:
It’s decent, but it would be more polished if there were some space between the two verses/stanzas. We can do that by adding a stanza break:
- Select the note just before the stanza break (i.e., the last note of the stanza).
- Use the keyboard shortcut Control + Shift + R. Or search the editor for “Toggle stanza break after this beat (lyrics-only mode).”
Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a double mark ↩︎↩︎ instead of the single one, to communicate this is a stanza break:
And if you switch to lyrics-only view, the stanzas will be separated by a space:
Is it possible to change lyric positioning?
No, there’s no way to make fine-grained adjustments to lyric positioning. Our system tries to do the best it can automatically: centering the lyric below its note(s), increasing note spacing to compensate for long lyrics, making sure syllables don’t smash into one another, and positioning staves farther apart to account for lyrics. It’s generally very good.
If you find any issues, please send us a screenshot so we can improve our engine.
Is it possible to change the lyric font?
It is indeed possible, but there’s no interface for this yet. If you’re interested, get in touch.
Is it possible to use italics in lyrics?
That’s not possible, but we may add it in the future.