New Features – August 2014

We should be sweating because of the weather… but Boston is letting us down this year! We’ve had comfortable temperatures and humidity for weeks, instead of the usual steamy, soupy atmosphere that drives us indoors to code away in the cool A/C. Notwithstanding, we do have a crop of new things to share with you, so we’ve been sweating (metaphorically) to produce them.

Guitar Tab Improvements

First, we’ve overhauled the entry of tablature to make it far easier and more efficient: just like typing numbers into a table or spreadsheet. The up and down arrow keys now move the cursor vertically between different strings on the same note; you can type a fret number at any time to enter a note for that string. The left and right arrows move the cursor to the previous or next note, but they keep the cursor on the same string since melodies often stay on the same string for a while. These changes make it wicked easy to enter tab. (As of the time of writing this feature hadn’t been released yet, but it probably will be either when you read this or shortly thereafter!)


The other big change to tablature is the ability to customize the tuning of any guitar instrument. You can now pick from a list of stock tunings or create your own, plus place an imaginary capo on any fret. We’ve been listening to the many guitarists who’ve asked for this feature, and hope you all like it.


(Thanks to our intern Zack Uhlenhuth who worked hard all summer on both of these features!)

New Instruments and Instrument Feature

In case you missed it, Noteflight Crescendo (and any premium version of Noteflight) now has a full set of marching band percussion instruments: bass drums, cymbals, snare lines and tenor lines! This has been one of the longest-standing requests in Noteflight history, and we’re glad to finally have these sounds in our audio stable. We recorded them ourselves in a single marathon recording session in Roxbury, MA earlier in the year.

We’ve also collaborated with Latin composer Israel Tanenbaum to bring you a set of the most commonly used Latin percussion instruments including bongos, congas, cowbells, guira, guiro and timbales.

Please read this accompanying article for more information about how these new sounds work!

Along with adding all these instruments, we’ve made an important change to the instrument chooser panel in our Score Editor. Instruments are now organized into categories, to make them easier to find and manage. As we add more and more, these categories will become more and more useful.

New Noteheads and Stem Decorations

As part of adding the instruments noted above, we’ve added a couple of new goodies to the Score Editor: a circled cross notehead, and a “buzz roll” symbol that can be added to the stem of every note. When used with the appropriate percussion instruments, they change the sound in the way you’d expect, but you can use them anywhere you like.

Miscellaneous Improvements

We have changed the way that autosaving works for HTML5 so that it occurs less frequently and stays out of your way while the score is playing.

We’ve also made it easy to drag any dialog around the screen by its title bar, in case you want to move things out of the way.

Let’s end with a small but significant thing: all new scores now sport measure numbers at the start of anything but the first system. This has been an option for some time, but in response to consistent prodding from some of our users we’ve made it the default. Existing scores won’t change, though: you’ll have to turn on measure numbering in the View menu, just as before.