Step-wise playback

• Aug 14, 2019 - 18:46
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

See also

I suggest that there should be a facility for "step-wise play back". This would allow the user to step through a score forwards or backwards by pressing an appropriate arrow key. The tempo and rhythm would be set by the tempo and rhythm with which the user presses the keys. This facility would be useful for checking and analysing harmonic changes.

If step-wise play back is activated pressing the right arrow key would advance the cursor to the start of the next note and play all notes that start at that time using the duration set in the "play notes when editing" preferences. Pressing the left arrow key would back up the cursor to the start of the previous note and play all notes that start at that time. It will be up to the user to hit the cursor key in the desired rhythm.

There would be options for the scope of the step-wise playback, i.e options for specifying what the "next" note is and what gets played as follows:

a) whole score (the cursor is moved to the next note whichever stave it appears in, all notes in any stave starting at that time are played)
b) stave (the cursor is moved to the next note in the stave whichever voice it appears in and all notes in that stave starting at that time are played)
c) voice (the cursor is moved the next note in the selected voice and all notes starting at that time in that voice - i.e. the chord that the cursor is pointing to - are played)).

Current behaviour is limited to option c) above for voice 1.

It would also be useful to have the play duration available somewhere near the step-wise play back options so that for the purpose of step-wise playback it can be set to something other than the default duration currently set in the preferences for playing notes during editing.


my 2 cents

I think the idea is generally good, but has a couple of flaws.

When you select the note, it should always play a predetermined duration as when you enter a note into the score. The user may want to hear how a 32nd note sounds in the chord and you may need a longer note to be able to hear this. If you selected a whole note, you probably don't want (need) the whole note to play its full duration, but long enough to determine if the notes on that beat are correct or acceptable.

Another flaw is that if a note is sustained, but starts on an earlier beat than the selected note it will not be heard. Rather than playing every note that starts on that beat, it should play all notes that sound on that beat.

The idea of "scrubbing" playback (term used in the audio world) comes up from time to time - this usually implies something like playback as you drag the mouse. I like the idea in this issue better, I think - seems more straightforward to implement, and inherently more accessible.

Curious if stepwise playback ever came about. I agree it would be very helpful especially if trying to create a harmony line. Perhaps if one could highlight the voicing (or specific parts) and then arrow left and right to get the play back.

I think this would be helpful when putting together vocal harmonies, particularly in songs with faster tempos which makes it more difficult to just play it back and hear each note.

Workaround No Yes

As suggested elsewhere, a nice workaround is to temporarily pull the tempo way way down, like to 10% in the play panel. Then the cursor keys function as expected during playback.