by Daniel Favela
I'm finding the input scheme a little awkward -- every note I drop involves holding down a pitch key while pressing a note-type key. I find myself wanting to set the note-type with a single keypress, and then drop notes with single pitch-key keypresses. This could even work in conjunction with the current scheme, allowing you to either press a pitch-key to drop a note, or hold a pitch-key while pressing a note-type key to drop a note of a specific length.
It would also be awesome to have some immediate feedback to mode-changing keys. If holding a key sets the pitch of future keypresses, it would be awesome to see some kind of different-colored key previewed on the staff. Or if pressing a key sets the note type, it would be nice to have the current note type displayed someplace in the UI.
That said, I am perhaps not your target audience. I can barely read sheet music, but I have music in my head and I've always wanted a way to write it down and play it. I just haven't found a composition program that I can understand. :)
Don't regret it; a part of me is excited that you dug into the software itself before caring about how it was going to be made. Ultimately, I think you've illustrated why this seemingly simple system requires the support from amazing visionaries understanding its potential.
Thank you very much for the discussion from everyone! Can't wait to put out the next iteration.
Sorry - just found the backlog on the front page - you are already way ahead of me.
Another thought. Kind of like what you were doing with typing the pitches. There wasn't a way to do half-steps (A sharp, C flat, etc.) at least not that I saw. (With brings up putting the song in a key other than C or a timing other than 4/4 also.)
Then I remembered Garageband. Now, I am not suggesting you steal from Apple. Goodness knows that does not end well. But they did have a way to include over an octave of pitches - including sharps and flats - by mimicing a piano keyboard on the um, QWERTY keyboard. Perhaps something like that maybe?
I would link you to a screenshot, but I sure that would put the scent of blood in the water to the already frenzied iLawyers.
I see now that the arrows actually already do move from one note to the next. and the up and down change the timing of the note.
Hmm... I'll have to think about it. I've really never considered how complicated it would be to write music on a computer before.
One other thought.... Might I suggest defaulting to a rest instead of a B? I realize the B is the middle of the staff, but I can't think of any other reason that it would be "Default pinch" if you aren't selecting one any other way. Unless I am missing some musical significance to that particular note.
About the "Backlog of features" I'm sure that's pretty big. I mean you've got a whole other staff to deal with, plus things like Guitar Chords, multiple instruments / harmonies, adding words, etc.... Could be daunting.
Music is HUGE. You're basically trying to get a machine built for one language to speak a completely different one. And one it doesn't even have keys for.
Another thought would be USB keyboard (as in piano style) support. Then you wouldn't have to worry about translating the input - you would just accept it as it was played.
This could be the style to input notes on a touchscreen - just put a one-octave keyboard on the screen and they could play away.
I realize I'm throwing a lot of ideas out. I am not demanding them or even expecting any of them to get used. Just sharing my thoughts.
I know it is still in the early stages. For saving the data, please consider MusicXML.
Rather than looking at key presses I think an approach that supports tablets is probably better. I'd like to see controls on the side of the score, select a note (or group of notes) then use the controls to alter options such as pitch and length.
It is getting more and more likely that a site like this will be accessed via an IPad or Android tablet.
If you use the Shift key and Ctrl key with the arrow keys you can have a lot of functionality to navigate the score. Shift and Ctrl are both on Windows and Mac keyboards. Alt and Option are only on one or the other.
Left arrow move cursor left to select the previous note
Right arrow move cursor right to select the next note
Up arrow increase the pitch of the selected note
Down arrow decrease the pitch of the selected note
Shift + Left arrow decrease the length of the note
Shift + Right arrow increase the length of the note
Shift + Up arrow increase the pitch of the note by an octave
Shift + Down arrow decrease the pitch of the note by an octave
Ctrl + Left arrow move the cursor left by a bar
Ctrl + Right arrow move the cursor right by a bar
Ctrl + Up arrow move the cursor up one staff
Ctrl + Dowm arrow move the cursor down one staff
I agree that it's a bit difficult to get used to the numpad as the primary method of input, especially on laptops and tablets. I kind of expected it to work as if you were typing out the actual letters for the notes. To change octaves, you could hold shift or ctrl or use [ and ] or something.
I could totally see using the entire keyboard (excluding keys that would cause the computer to do certain things, like Alt+Tab or F5, etc.) for input and eventually releasing keyboard covers ala nonlinear editing software (like AVID Media Composer) for reference and use in teaching and production environments.
Tapping/clicking would also be awesome. Dragging and dropping would be an interesting way of doing it as well, albeit much more difficult to develop.
Keep it up, Danny!!
Thanks for the heads up! The build is now be up and you can use pitches as described!
You're definitely on the right track for input with touchscreens, and thanks for the input about up/down arrows to edit a pitch. As this continues to grow, I'm agreeing with that input more and more. How would you want to edit the duration of a note to go from quarter to dotted quarter, though?
In case you don't have a numpad, we've also implemented the same number input with the number keys above the QWERTY line. 2,3,4,5, and 6 should all work the same way within and outside of your numpad.
Mouseclicks sound like a great candidate for the next features after the currently funded three. I'll go ahead and add chords to the backlog of features.
I'm trying it, and it's not working.
I will also say that it's not the easiest way to do things, especially on a notebook with no dedicated number pad.
Have you considered maybe letting us click on the staff? This would be crazy useful for touchscreens.
Or maybe after we pick the type of note, use the arrow keys to move it up or down. This would help if we are trying something out and not happy with how a given note sounds. The up and down would change the pitch of a note, and the left and right could move the cursor from one note to the last or next.
And what about stretch goals of adding chords?