New Features – February 2015

Amid the growing snow piles of February, in the dark midwinter mornings, the Noteflight team trudges into work. But it’s not all grimness and factory life. Our office is actually a cosy, glowing little respite from the weather outside.

And what have we been making here recently?

Playback of Rit./Accel. and Fermatas

The biggest change, and the most substantial one since our last new features announcement, is the playback of ritardandos and accelerandos. Oh, and of fermatas too, for good… measure (ouch! sorry). It’s also one of the longest-standing requests from our users.

Here’s how they work:

  • Lines for rit. and accel. now cause the tempo to smoothly slow down or speed up over the course of the line.
  • If there is no explicit tempo following the line, the line slows down or speeds up the tempo by a default amount. The speed change persists after the line until there are further tempo changes or instructions.
  • Put the text “a tempo” in a measure following a rit. or accel. to resume the tempo that was in effect at the start of the line. This can be any sort of text, but it’s best to use System text. That way, the instructions will appear in every part when you print them individually, not just the top part (we wouldn’t want just the flutes of the orchestra slowing down while everyone else plows full-speed ahead!)
  • Place an explicit tempo marking after the end of a line to control the extent of the slowdown/speedup. The tempo mark will determine the final tempo of the rit./accel. line. In our premium versions, you can use the Color feature to hide the tempo marking.
  • Fermatas will cause the tempo to temporarily slow down and pause on a note. (Make sure to place fermatas in every part and voice of a multi-part score, above and below the one you need, including all rests. Otherwise they will not be performed.)

Assignment Submission support for Learning Management Systems (Noteflight Classroom and Campus)

We’ve upgraded the way we work with Learning Management Systems (LMSs) that support LTI outcomes, such as Canvas, BlackBoard, MusicFirst and Moodle to name only a few.

Basically, outcomes are tech-speak for assignments or tasks, and they allow Noteflight to signal the student’s Learning Management System when the student submits an assignment as having been completed. This is great for both students and teachers because it makes it easy for teachers to tell when they should respond to a student’s coursework.

With many LMSs, we’ve also just made it a lot easier to grade student work by having Noteflight report the web address of each student’s score directly into the LMS’s gradebook. If you use Noteflight activity templates as assignments, you already know that students receive individual copies of these templates for their work. Now, you can jump straight from your online gradebook to each student’s score, view it, record the grade back in the LMS when you’re done, and move on to the next student.

More Control Over Swing 8ths and Tempo

For quite a while now, our control over swing 8th notes has presented some difficulties. In the HTML5 editor, we’ve recently reworked the Tempo panel to provide joint support for both tempo and swing, which makes it (we hope) much clearer when and where swing is applied.

The new panel design also makes it much easier to change a set of tempos throughout the score: something that you just might just find yourself wanting to do, given the new rit./accel. features mentioned above! Just leave the panel up, select different bits of the score, and change the tempo and/or swing settings.

Consistent and Adjustable Grace Notes

We’ve altered the way grace notes are performed, replacing the previous approach that was not as musically useful. Instead of always playing them at a consistent speed, as Noteflight did before, the Playback Options panel in the HTML5 editor now allows you to adjust this speed to fit your score.