Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Feature: Search API

We've just added support of an open Application Programming Interface (API for short) to Songsterr. The first supported method is Search. You can use it to write your own program to present public Songsterr data in new and different ways. Click here for usage examples and brief documentation.

One of Songsterr users is already working on an Songbird plug-in!

Have an idea of API usage? Need support of other API methods? Please let us know by email or via our support forum.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flash 10 Support

As you may know Adobe has released Flash Player 10 recently. What really distinguishes this version of Flash Player from all previous releases is the new audio subsystem. It allows developers to have total control over audio playback. While not digging deep into the details, we'll just say that the Flash Player 10 allowed us to solve several technical problems (tracks synchronization problem, for example) that were impossible to solve with Flash Player 9. That's why right now the tenth version is the preferred one for Songsterr.

We encourage you to upgrade your Flash Player - because we will support the ninth version for a limited time only.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Features: Swing (Triplet) Feel and Natural Harmonics support

Recently we've added two cool features to Songsterr. First one is the "swing feel" support. In songs that should be played with swing feel, each pair of 8th notes should be treated specially. The first note in the pair should be exactly twice the duration of the second note. This kind of playing gives the special groove feel to the music. More on this on wikipedia: Swung Note. To indicate that the song should be played with the swing feel, the special symbol is used in the beginning of the tablature.

The second feature is natural harmonics support. This technique is a bit advanced and it's used by a huge number of famous guitarists (Steve Vai is probably one of the most characteristic harmonic-lovers). You can find good tutorials on how to play natural harmonics on YouTube. Here is one of such tutorials: Natural Harmonics. In tablatures notes that should be played using natural harmonics are indicated by little diamond and the word "Harm." at the top of the staff.

We hope that you'll enjoy these new features. You can listen to the great example, where both of them are used: Pink Panther Theme.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Features: Repeats, Vibrato, Hammer Ons/Pull Offs and Up/Down Strokes

We're glad to announce that we've just finished updating our rendering engine. Now Songsterr has support for several new exciting features:

Repeats and Alternate Endings. This is a very helpful feature used in a lot of songs that are uploaded to Songsterr It helps both the author and the user of the tablature. The author doesn't have to copy/paste the same segment of the tab several times. And the user can explicitly see the repeating part.

Vibrato. This popular effect can be achieved both by specially using the player's left hand or by the electric guitar's tremolo bar. More on this on wikipedia: vibratofinger vibrato.

Hammer On/Pull Off is a ubiquitous technique - it's used by guitarists in almost every song. More information about it on wikipedia: hammer on, pull off. Songsterr now has both audio and visual support for this effect.

Up/Down strokes. Sometimes it can be really helpful to know the direction of the stroke. Tablatures' authors can specify this information in their tabs - now we can display it.

You can check out several songs that demonstrate these new features:

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Feature: Slides And Bends Support

We're proud to announce that we've added support for slides and bends.

Slides and bends are among the basic guitar techniques. If you didn't hear about them before, you can check out Wikipedia articles: slides, bends

Among well-known examples of using these techniques are: All Along The Watch Tower (Jimi Hendrix),  Wanted Dead Or Alive (Bon Jovi), My Favourite Game (The Cardigans) and much much more.

With slides and bends support most of the songs on Songsterr will sound more realistic, and everybody will be able to see, hear and try to repeat these effects by themselves. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Feature: All Songs Navigation

We are happy to announce a new feature requested by many of our users recently - All Songs Navigation.

Clicking "All" link to the left of the AZ Navigation panel will open up a list of all the Songsterr songs with 2 popups allowing to filter songs by complexity and sort them by artist name, addition date or popularity. Filters like Most Popular Beginner Songs or Recently Added Advanced Songs are now just a few clicks away from the homepage.

We are also excited to welcome you to our official feedback forum - a place to share, discuss, and vote for feature requests. We really want to hear from you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Major navigation improvements

We are getting ready to add more, much more songs to Songsterr and have just launched a major update with a bunch of new features that will hopefully streamline navigation of a large collection of songs.

What's new?
  • One simple field to search by both artist names and song titles.
  • A-Z navigation.
  • Classification of songs by complexity (beginner, intermediate, advanced).
  • Just Added block for quick overview of new songs.
  • Just a little bit of "Ads by Google". Sorry for this one but it will hopefully help us deliver more features and songs.
Bends, slides, and other articulations are almost there. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Songsterr Features: Mixer, Electric Guitar & Other Instruments, Print, Fullscreen, Bass Tabs

Last night we launched a bunch of new features a lot of people have been asking for.

Mixer lets you choose the tab being displayed, mute or solo specific tracks or sets of tracks, and adjust volumes of tracks. Put simply, mute silences the track, while solo makes the track audible, and silences all other tracks that aren't also soloed. Hit "solo" to learn your part. When you are ready, you can mute your instrument and experience playing along with the rest of the band.

We now support all the instruments including electric guitar, bass, and drums. Existing single track "electric" songs now use proper electric sound.

Currently only few songs have multiple tracks but we'll be adding new ones daily. Look for "(Multitrack)" in song's name to check out this new feature. Some examples:
Subscribe to our New Songs RSS Feed to stay tuned! New songs will all be multitrack.

Print allows you... well... to print your tab and practice it without a computer screen. By far the most popular feature request.

Fullscreen zooms selected tab to free up some tab space. More space - less scrolling!

Bass Tabs are now supported as well. To our surprise this was one of the most requested features to date!

Thanks again for all your feedback and feature requests. Hope you like the all new version! Even more new and exciting features will be added really soon. Along with more, many more songs.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TechCrunch and Mashable write about Songsterr

In "Songsterr: A Flash Guitar Tab Player That Might Rock, Someday" [Techcrunch] Jason Kincaid writes about Songsterr and some of it's missing (for now) features:
While the player will be a great help to many novices, it’s lacking support for a number of techniques found in more difficult songs, like slides, bends, and vibrato. There’s also no support for multiple instruments, which are found in most popular songs, and some of the tabs are incomplete (for example, the Johnny B. Goode tab omits the song’s signature intro riff). However, the company says that it will improve on these issues within the next month.

Stan Schroeder from Mashable compares Songsterr to Guitar Pro in his "Songsterr Makes Learning Guitar Tabs Easier"
Now, Guitar Pro has an online competitor called Songsterr. On the basic level, it’s the same thing, although Songsterr creators claim their engine is more sophisticated than the one in Guitar Pro. The application lacks many advanced features found in Guitar Pro, but it at least supports various tunings and playing at half at full speed, and overall it looks slick and works great. [...] Still, kudos to the developers for good execution and a good idea. It definitely made me dig up my dusty Ibanez (and realize that 5 years of not playing does things to your style)

Stan also speaks about social features that are now missing in Songsterr:
The problem with it is that, although it’s an online application, it doesn’t really offer any social features. It’s like a desktop app translated into an online app, and as such it doesn’t offer much additional value over Guitar Pro, except for the fact that it’s free

Thanks to both authors for writing about us. We've got a lot of new feedback from readers of these posts and now have a better picture of what features to add in the upcoming release. We would also like to know your opinion on the social features mentioned by Stan. Friends, recommendations, forums? What do you think is missing in Songsterr?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More new features: Chord Boxes, Guitar Tuning Hints, Comments on Tabs

Today we released quite a few major features you've been waiting for.

Chord Boxes and Guitar Tuning Hints

Not sure what does A7sus4 look like? Chord Boxes and Guitar Tuning Hints are here to help.

Comments on Tabs

Have something to say about a particular tab? Post a comment!

Enjoy! More exciting stuff is on the way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New in Songsterr: half-speed playback, just added songs rss and icon, new songs

We've released new version of Songsterr less than a week ago and it has already been visited by more than 50,000 people from all over the world. Thanks for all your feedback, feature requests and comments! We really appreciate that.

Today we introduce 3 new features:
  1. Half-speed playback:

  2. Just added songs RSS feed.
  3. Just added songs icons on home page:
Half-speed playback seemed to be the most frequently requested feature and we think it will be very helpful for novice players.

As promised, we continue to add new songs every day. Stay tuned and thanks again for your feedback!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Songsterr - Online Guitar Tab Player

Big thanks goes to all the users, who gave us valueable feedback on proof of concept version released 4 months ago. It really helped us choose the future of Songsterr.

New version of Songsterr is an online guitar tab player that solves the biggest problem of guitar tabs. Tabs do not have information on the rhythm or lengths of the notes – only on their pitch. It can be very difficult to get a feel of the music simply by studying the tab without playing it through. With Songsterr you can see and hear the song as it is being played with a realistic guitar engine, thus you can get an idea of what it should sound like and how fast it should be played.

Once you've found the song you want to learn, you just listen and follow along the music. No need to know staff notation or listen to the original song recording multiple times. We have over 50 popular songs in the first release and will add new songs every day.

Our plans for the nearest future:
  • chord boxes;
  • lyrics;
  • selection looping;
  • slowed-down playback;
  • support of more guitar effects (slides, bends, pull offs, hummer ons, etc);
  • electric guitar sound engine;
  • support for more instruments;
  • upload of tabs by user.
Thanks in advance for further feedback, feature requests, and critics.

Stay tuned!