Here’s the documentation for Soundslice’s online notation/tab editor. The editor lets you make additions and changes to your slices directly within Soundslice. You can also use it to notate from scratch.
The Soundslice notation editor is entirely web-based. There’s nothing to download or install.
To edit the notation/tablature for a slice, first make sure you’re logged in as the owner of the slice. View the slice and click “Edit” in the upper right, then open the notation editor using the “Notation editor” button at the top of the page.
When you open the editor, two things will change:
To make edits, first select the beat(s) or note(s) you want to edit, then click the appropriate icon in the edit pane or use a keyboard shortcut.
Click the Save button at upper right to save your changes, or hit control+S. That’s it!
Selecting notes is easy. Here’s what you can do:
To select multiple notes, hold Control (or Command on a Mac) as you click them. This is an efficient way to make changes to lots of notes at the same time.
To quickly select entire beats, do either of the following:
To add a track (you might also call this adding a part or adding an instrument):
The process for entering notes is different for tablature vs. non-tablature staves.
If your cursor is in standard notation (i.e., not in tablature):
If your cursor is in tablature:
To change a note’s rhythmic value — e.g., change it from a quarter note to an eighth note — select it and do one of the following:
To add or remove an augmentation dot, select the beat and hit the dot (aka “period” or “full stop”) key on your keyboard.
To change a pitch in a standard notation track:
To change a pitch in a tablature track, simply select the fret number in the tablature and type a new number.
Our philosophy for the Soundslice notation editor is: we’re all consenting adults. We’ve been frustrated by how other notation editors are rhythmically brittle and unforgiving, requiring lots of hoop-jumping for relatively simple notation changes.
In contrast to other editors, we let you break the rules of music notation, gently pointing out any problems in a subtle way. This gives you “room to move,” so to speak. The best example of this philosophy is our approach to rhythmically stable bars.
For example, if your time signature is 4/4 and you need to temporarily fill a bar with five quarter notes before you reduce their rhythmic values, our editor will happily let you do that.
For any bar in your slice that doesn’t have a stable rhythmic width — e.g., a 4/4 bar with only three quarter notes — we color the staff lines red to indicate the rhythm isn’t stable. This coloring only happens during editing, not during viewing.
If your slice has a pick-up bar, in which the rhythmic width is less than the time signature, you can mark it as such with the “Mark as pickup bar” command (see the Command reference). This will tell Soundslice not to color the staff lines red in that bar, because the note rhythms deliberately don’t fill the allotted width.
As you enter notation, the beaming is automatically adjusted based on the time signature.
To manually toggle beaming for a given beat, select it and click the “Beam to next note” icon in the edit panel — or just hit Command+B.
Unpitched percussion tracks are a bit special. Certain editor features — such as accidentals and key signatures — are disabled for percussion, and other editor features become available.
To create a drum kit track (a percussion track with a five-line staff), add a track and select “Drum kit” as the type. On the subsequent screen, you can choose whether to enable drum tab for the track.
To enter notes in the staff, follow the same process described above.
In our synth playback, the percussion sound for a note depends on the note’s staff position and articulation(s). Our default sound mapping is the following:
|B above staff||China cymbal|
|A above staff||Crash cymbal|
|G above staff||Hi-hat closed|
|G above staff||Open circle||Hi-hat open|
|F line||Ride cymbal|
|F line||Diamond notehead||Ride bell|
|E space||High tom|
|D line||High-mid tom|
|C space||Electric snare drum|
|C space||X notehead||Snare cross stick|
|C space||Diamond notehead||Snare drum|
|B line||Low-mid tom|
|A space||Low tom|
|G line||Floor tom 1|
|F space||Kick drum|
|E line||Bass drum|
|D below staff||Hi-hat foot|
Given the diversity of percussion notation standards, different notation software interprets staff positions differently. For example, should the A line above the staff be a crash or splash cymbal?
If you create a percussion track from scratch in our editor, we’ll use the sound mapping described above on this page. (We’re planning to eventually give you the ability to create your own mappings.)
If you created a slice by importing from an existing notation file, then that file might have its own custom mapping. You can change this to the Soundslice default mapping as follows:
If you use drum tab, your track will have six lines of tablature below the standard notation. To notate, click on a tablature line and enter a number representing your the drum sound you want. These are General MIDI percussion sounds; if you’ve used drum tab before, you’ll be right at home. The numbers are:
|37||Snare cross stick|
|40||Electric snare drum|
|41||Floor tom 2|
|43||Floor tom 1|
|62||Conga dead stroke|
|86||Surdu dead stroke|
|91||Snare drum rod|
|93||Snare drum brush|
It doesn’t matter which line you enter the drum tab on. This is purely up to you, so you can optimize for readability.
In this section, we explain every button in every menu of the edit pane.
Adds a bar (measure) to the left of the currently selected bar.
Adds a bar (measure) to the right of the currently selected bar.
Deletes the currently selected bar.
Changes the clef for all bars from the current selection until the next clef change or end of the slice (whichever comes first). To make a clef change in the middle of a bar, just select the first note of the new clef.
Changes the time signature for the current bar. You’ll be asked whether to change it for all subsequent bars or only the current bar.
Changes the key signature for the current bar. You’ll be asked whether to change it for all subsequent bars or only the current bar.
Toggles a “Begin repeat” barline at the start of the current bar.
Toggles an “End repeat” barline at the end of the current bar. You’ll be asked how many times it should repeat; use “2” for a standard repeat.
Lets you specify the current bar is within an alternate ending.
Toggles the “pickup bar” designation for the selected bar. See Rhythmically stable bars for more.
Toggles a double barline at the end of the current bar.
Toggles a dashed barline at the start of the selected beat(s). This is typically used to clarify rhythmic groupings within a bar, for ease of reading.
Toggles a simile mark in the current bar. This symbol means the bar should simply repeat the music in the previous bar.
Lets you specify the start of a multi-bar rest symbol. First make sure the bars have been created and are empty; then select the first bar and click this button.
Sets a tempo marking, aka a metronome marking, including an optional text label (e.g., Andante).
Sets triplet feel, aka swing feel. There are several options, including swung eighths, swung sixteenths, and Scottish eighth notes.
Lets you specify directions such as Da Capo and D.C. al Fine in the current bar.
Inserts a beat to the left of the currently selected beat.
Inserts a beat to the right of the currently selected beat.
Changes the selected beat(s) to whole notes/rests.
Changes the selected beat(s) to half notes/rests.
Changes the selected beat(s) to quarter notes/rests.
Changes the selected beat(s) to eighth notes/rests.
Changes the selected beat(s) to 16th notes/rests.
Changes the selected beat(s) to 32nd notes/rests. (Hint: for smaller note durations, use the plus key on your keyboard to continuing halving the duration.)
Toggles a single augmentation dot on the selected beat(s).
Toggles two augmentation dots on the selected beat(s).
Ties the selected note to the next beat. The next beat must have a note with this pitch (or, in case of tablature, it must have a note with the same string and fret).
Turns the selected beat(s) into a grace note, or vice versa.
Creates a triplet. This will “consume” all beats, starting with the currently selected beat, until it makes a valid triplet. If the selected beat is already in a tuplet, the tuplet will be removed.
Creates a tuplet with a rhythmic ratio of your choosing (e.g., “3 beats equals 2” is a triplet). As with the Triplet function, this will “consume” all beats, starting with the currently selected beat, until it makes a valid tuplet. If the selected beat is already in a tuplet, the tuplet will be removed.
Changes the selected note’s accidental to a sharp. (This is only available for non-tab tracks. For tab tracks, use “Toggle enharmonics.”)
Changes the selected note’s accidental to a flag. (This is only available for non-tab tracks. For tab tracks, use “Toggle enharmonics.”)
Changes the selected note’s accidental to a natural. (This is only available for non-tab tracks. For tab tracks, use “Toggle enharmonics.”)
Toggles the selected note’s enharmonics, through all possibilities that make musical sense — double-flat, flat, natural, sharp and double-sharp.
Toggles whether the selected note’s accidental should be considered a cautionary accidental, aka a courtesy accidental or reminder accidental. This essentially forces the accidental to be shown, even if it’s stricly unnecessary. The accidental will be displayed in parentheses to emphasize its role as a reminder.
Toggles a staccato mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a staccatissimo mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles an accent mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a heavy accent mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a tenuto mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a ghost note mark (parentheses) on the selected note(s).
Toggles an X notehead on the selected note(s).
Toggles a slash notehead on the selected note(s). If you’re toggling a slash notehead on, we also automatically change the notation as follows:
Toggles a tremolo mark on the selected beat(s). Several options are available.
Toggles a tremolo on the selected note. You can optionally enter the number of semitones to trill, or use 0 to specify an indefinite trill.
Toggles cue (smaller) noteheads on the selected note(s). For example, you can use this to specify cue notes or optionally played harmonies.
Hides the note’s stem. This is useful along with the “Slash notehead” feature if you’d like to have slash noteheads without stems.
Toggles an open circle mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a plus mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a plop on the selected note(s).
Toggles a scoop on the selected note(s).
Toggles a doit on the selected note(s).
Toggles a fall on the selected note(s).
Toggles a breath mark on the selected beat(s).
Toggles the presence or absence of a beam, from the selected beat to the next beat in the bar. Both beats must be eighth notes or smaller.
Flips the stem direction of the currently selected beat(s).
Toggles a dynamics mark on the selected beat(s). Several options are available.
Toggles an octave mark on the selected beat(s). Four options are available: 8va, 8vb, 15ma and 15ma.
Toggles a slur on the selected beats. Behavior differs based on your current selection:
Toggles a fermata mark on the selected beat(s). Several options are available.
Sets the fingering for the selected note. This is the standard fingering option to use for piano.
Sets the right-hand fingering for the selected note. This is used for guitar (e.g., p, m or a).
Toggles an upward arpeggio mark on the selected beat(s).
Toggles a downward arpeggio mark on the selected beat(s).
Toggles a downward bow/pick mark on the selected beat(s).
Toggles an upward bow/pick mark on the selected beat(s).
Adds another voice in the current bar.
Deletes the currently selected voice in the current bar.
Switches the currently selected voice.
Toggles “Let ring” on the selected beat(s).
Toggles palm muting (“P.M.”) on the selected beat(s).
Toggles a hammer-on/pull-off starting with the currently selected note(s). The next beat must contain a note on the selected note’s string.
Toggles a slide to the next note, starting with the currently selected note(s). The next beat must contain a note on the selected note’s string.
Toggles a “slide down into note” mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a “slide up into note” mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a “slide down from note” mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a “slide up from note” mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a “left-hand tap” mark on the selected note(s).
Toggles a “pull-off to nowhere” mark on the selected note(s).
Sets a bend for the selected note. You specify the type of bend — bend, bend/release, prebend, prebend/bend, prebend/release or hold — and the amount of the bend. To make complex bends, use multiple beats, tied together, and give each beat its own bend information.
Toggles a vibrato mark on the selected beat(s).
Toggles a right-hand tap mark (“T”) on the selected beat(s).
Toggles a pop mark (“P”) on the selected beat(s).
Toggles a slap mark (“S”) on the selected beat(s).
Toggles natural harmonics on the selected note(s).
Toggles a “brush upward” arrow on the selected beat(s). This is useful to explicitly mark strumming patterns.
Toggles a “brush downward” arrow on the selected beat(s). This is useful to explicitly mark strumming patterns.
Lets you enter text to be displayed above the selected beat.
Lets you enter text to be displayed below the selected beat.
Lets you enter a section label, displayed above the selected beat.
Lets you enter a section letter, aka a rehearsal mark, displayed with a rectangular border above the selected beat.
Lets you enter a chord name and/or fretboard diagram at the selected beat.
Lets you enter lyrics at the selected beat. We support an unlimited number of lines of lyrics; simply use your Enter key to put each lyric on a new line as needed.
Lets you enter the commentary bar label for the selected bar. See this blog post for more information on commentary bars.
Sets a Roman numeral position mark on the selected beat. You specify the number; this indicates which position the music should be played in, for instruments such as violin or guitar.
This menu lists all the tracks in your current slice. Click a track name to access a menu where you can do the following:
Click-and-drag the dotted icon to the right of a track name to reorder tracks.
At the bottom of the track list, click “Add track” to add a new track.
This menu shows you all the versions of your slice. We create a new version each time you hit the Save button in the editor or upload/replace a notation file (e.g., MusicXML).
Simply click a version to view the notation at that point in time. Then you can immediately begin editing it — if you want to use it as a new starting point — or return to the latest version.
This can be useful if you want to revert a mistake, restore some older ideas or simply want to see how your slice’s notation has evolved over time.
Version history is available for all Soundslice users with the Plus plan or higher. If you’re on the free plan, you can see the version history but can’t select a previous version.
Lets you upload a notation file, hence replacing the notation in your slice. We support MusicXML, Guitar Pro, PowerTab and TuxGuitar formats.
Many editor commands have associated keyboard shortcuts. There are two ways to see the available shortcuts:
Lots of musicians invest time in memorizing shortcuts for their preferred software, and it can be hard to switch software once you’ve developed muscle memory. For those of you coming to Soundslice from other notation software, we want you to get productive quickly, so we’ve added several presets based on other apps.
To see the available presets, click the “Shortcuts” icon at the top of the page. You’ll see the shortcuts panel appear on the right.
This will show you all of the currently available keyboard shortcuts in one convenient place. At the top, you’ll see a drop-down menu with all the available presets (including any that you’ve created yourself). The following presets are currently available:
Choose a preset, and the editor will immediately begin to use those shortcuts. We’ll save your preference automatically.
For power users who want more control, click “Edit” next to the currently selected shortcut set. You’ll get a window that shows you all available Soundslice editing commands and lets you assign a keyboard shortcut to any of them.
You can then give your shortcut set a name and save it. It’s only accessible to your account; it’s not public. (But if you’re particularly proud of it, drop us a line and we’ll consider adding it to the list of defaults.)
Creating your own keyboard shortcut set is available to anybody with a paid Soundslice plan.
Questions? Problems? Feedback? Get in touch any time! We’d love to hear from you.