Quick Intro to Noteflight 3.0

About the New Noteflight Site

This post is a brief guide to the preview release of Noteflight’s new site.

Switching between the New and Old Sites

Noteflight now has a brand-new site design that incorporates many new features, and is designed to be responsive and easy to use on desktops, laptops and mobile devices. It’s still a “preview release”, meaning that we’re continuing to work on it and some areas remain incomplete.

You can access the new site from the old one at any time, by clicking a link that can be seen at the top of most Noteflight pages. Not every feature in the old site is available in the new one yet, but you can always switch back any time you want with the “Switch to Noteflight Classic” command in your Personal menu.

If you’re using a mobile device, the new site design is the default choice. It gives mobile users access to Noteflight’s new HTML5-based Score Editor, which supports users of iPad 2+ and iPhone 5+ with iOS Version 6 or greater. If you are using a mobile device that is not supported, you can still switch back to Noteflight Classic and use the previously released view-only mode for mobile.

Quick Tour of the New Site Design

Most features will be familiar to users of the current site, but we have rearranged much of the user interface while offering some brand new things. (Perhaps best of all is that this work makes it much easier for us to add new things in the future!) Here are some of the key differences and features:

Many operations are now faster and take place without reloading the page you are looking at.

When looking at score listings, additional scores will be added as you scroll, instead of having to page through the listing.

The look and layout of pages adjusts automatically according to your window size and your device.

“My Scores” is now “Your Scores” under a new menu called “You”, but it’s still your home page when you log in. “Browse” is now “Latest Scores”, under a new menu called simply “Scores”. Many of the other pages are now organized under a a new menu called “Info”.

Your avatar always appears at the upper right of the page. Click or tap it to sign out, or to switch back to Noteflight Classic.

When you delete a score, it now goes into a special area called “Your Deleted Scores”. You will be able to restore deleted scores for up to 24 hours before they are permanently deleted.

You can now search your own scores by title; just type in the search box while looking at Your Scores. The search box will also search public scores (if you’re looking at them) and forums (if you’re looking at them).

Using the HTML5 Score Editor

The new Score Editor is based on a technology called HTML5, which covers a number of separate web browser features that are used by Noteflight. Adobe Flash Player is not required and is not used by the new version of the Score Editor.

In order to work fully with the new Score Editor, a browser must have both HTML5 graphics and audio support of the correct kind. Browsers known to fulfill both requirements include:
Mobile Safari 6 or greater (iOS 6; requires iPad 2/iPhone 4 or later)
Google Chrome 24 or greater (on Windows, Mac OS, Linux)
Safari 6 or greater (Mac OS)

Some browsers still do not have sufficient audio support, but will still let you view and edit scores in HTML5 without sound. These include Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 10 and some Android devices.

Quick Tour of the HTML5 Score Editor

If you have used the Flash Score editor, many features will be familiar. The appearance of scores and audio playback is for the most part identical to the Flash version of Noteflight. As with other aspects of the new site, some features may be incomplete or missing while work continues on our migration to HTML5.

Screen Layout

On mobile devices, you can use the Score Editor in either landscape or portrait mode. Noteflight is designed to make score editing most convenient in landscape orientation, while score reading/performing is optimized for use in portrait orientation.

In particular, on the iPhone we recommend using full screen mode for score editing in Landscape mode; tap the full screen icon at the lower right to make use of this option.

On larger desktop and laptop screens, simply make the window any size you want. Experiment with the new “Flow Music to Fit” option on the View menu to get more music on the screen.

Using the Touch Keyboard

A touch-sensitive piano keyboard at the bottom of the screen lets you enter notes by playing them. On mobile devices, you can use the touch keyboard to enter notes directly into the score. It also works in reverse: whenever you select a note or chord in the score, the corresponding keys light up on the keyboard. (On desktops and laptops, a mouse can be used to operate the keyboard instead.)

To enter a chord on the piano keyboard, just play the notes simultaneously like on a real piano, or hold down the first note in the chord while you play the other notes. If you don’t get the right note spelling — for example if you get a Db when you wanted a C# — use the b/# switcher tool on the toolbar to select a different spelling. (When using a mouse, hold down the Shift key to enter chords.)

On most mobile devices the keyboard cannot display more than about 2 octaves. It will shift automatically to show selected notes, or to include the range associated with the clef of a blank measure. To move the keyboard from side to side, tap the arrows shown at the left or right edge of the keyboard.

On non-touch-sensitive devices the keyboard is hidden by default. You can switch it on using the Show Piano Keyboard command on the View menu (this also switches it off on touch devices, if you don’t want it.)

On phones, a Pencil icon at the top of the screen toggles the keyboard and also all the editing controls on and off.

New: Perform Mode for Reading and Performing Scores

A new command at the top of the screen is labeled Perform. This command switches Noteflight into a page-at-a-time view suitable for reading and performing music. Tapping the left or right margin will switch pages. On mobile devices, you can also move between pages with a horizontal swipe gesture.

Within Perform mode, you can only read music and optionally play it back. All controls disappear from the screen if you tap or click the page; doing that again brings the controls back. On mobile devices, Perform mode works best in a Portrait orientation.

The Parts menu lets you pick which part you want to view if the score has multiple parts. When viewing a part, it will always be displayed in transposed score. The Parts menu also allows you to control which parts are heard during Perform mode playback. You can hear all the parts, or only the one you are reading, or (very nice for practicing) all the parts except the one you are reading.

Fast Backup to Local Device

The new editor performs frequent backups of your score to the local device, whether desktop or mobile. The message “Backing up changes” appears briefly when this happens. However, scores will not be saved to the cloud unless you use the Save command.

If you forget to save to the cloud, or you aren’t able to save because of a loss of connectivity, it’s not a problem. Any score with a local backup will later appear in on the Your Scores page with a small red asterisk to show that there are pending changes. Opening the score again will give you the option to either resume editing with these changes, or throw them away.

Touch gestures to select note, measure and score ranges

To select a range of notes, staff measures or score measures on a touch device, first tap an object at one end of the range. Then use a two-finger tap on an object at the other end of the range. (The first touch in this two-finger tap should be on the object defining the range.)

To select an entire staff, do a three-finger tap on any measure. To select the entire score, do a three-finger tap on the numbered header that appears above a measure when it is touched.

Known Issues

Overall speed of editing will be improved in the near future as we continue to work on the HTML5 editor.

The File menu is not yet implemented (including printing).

Some playback features such as vibrato or guitar bends are not implemented yet.

There is no general ability to transpose by an interval yet.