UI: Design for a pop-up edit bar for the selected note

edited August 2014 in Symphony Pro
Currently, in note entry mode, SP marks the most recently entered note as selected, until the next note is entered. I'm guessing this is done so that users can change the pitch of the entered note by immediately dragging it up and down, in case they misplaced it on the staff.

This behavior is certainly a convenience for users, because entering and properly positioning notes is an error-prone process for a variety of reasons (fat fingers, limited visibility of the placement site, moving notes when lifting fingers off the screen, etc.) I have made errors placing notes many, many times.

However, the current note adjustment options are not optimal because they are (1) currently limited to only up/down pitch changes, and (2) they require the user to "pick up" the selected note with their finger to drag the note up and down. As many users have probably experienced, picking up the selected note without generating a new note is also a tricky, error-prone process.

A better approach would be to provide a pop up "edit bar" (modelled after the familiar cut/copy/paste bar) to give users more options for editing and correcting the selected note. This idea first appeared in a previous posting, but I thought the idea was not specific enough to implement easily. So I am making this posting to be more specific to make it easier for the programmers to implement.

Typical edit operations on the selected note include note type (note or rest), note length (+ / - to add or subtract size), note dotted-ness, position up/down (pitch), position left/right (join selected note with previous note to make a chord), and sharp / flat / natural symbols. The note edit bar should contain buttons for all of these operations.

A good layout for the note edit bar might look like this, based on the ideas of grouping related operations, and putting frequently used operations close to the center of the bar (where your finger is).


chord left  (spc) flat natural sharp  (space) down up tie (space) + - dot (space) type right X

chord - Icon is a 3-note chord, an action button, each tap applies the action another time. This button shifts the note left to make a chord. It's way out on the left because left is where you want the note to go, and leftmost is easiest to remember. Each time you tap this button, the selected note is moved left to join the previous note. Moving left pays no attention to the note length required to go left. Moving left is defined as "find where the next opportunity for a chord is, and join the selected note into that chord."

left - Icon is a left arrow, an action button, each tap applies the action another time. This button means "move the selected note PAST its first left neighbor, and insert this note into the space between the first and second left neighbors. This allows users to push a missed note leftwards into a crowd of neighbors, and to move the selected note into the desired timeline slot in a controlled way.

space - to separate groups

flat / natural / sharp - Icons are the usual symbols, a set of interconnected toggle buttons. Turning on any one of them turns off all the others. Flat on the left because (at least to me) flat reminds me of going down (or left), and sharp means "go up" (or right).

space - to separate groups


chord left  (spc) flat natural sharp  (space) down up tie (space) + - dot (space) type right X

down - Icon is a down arrow, an action button, each tap applies the action another time. Move the selected note down a semitone.

up - Icon is an up arrow, an action button, each tap applies the action another time. Move the selected note up a semitone.

tie - Icon is the usual tie symbol, toggle button, turn the tie on or off.

space - to separate groups

plus / minus / dot - Icons + - ., plus / minus action buttons, dot is a toggle button. Each tap of plus or minus changes note (rest) length to the next length (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, etc). The dot button toggles the state of the dotted note (rest).

space - to separate groups

type - Icon is a quarter note or quarter rest (whatever the selected note is NOT), a toggle button with side effects. Tapping this button changes the note to a rest, or vice versa. If you change to a rest, remove all flat/sharp symbols. If the selected note is part of a chord, remove the note from the chord, and remove it from the score.

right - Icon a right arrow, an action button, each tap applies the action another time. Move the selected note PAST its first right neighbor into the gap between the 1st and 2nd right neighbors.

X - delete the selected note entirely.

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As you can see, there is a lot of editing/correcting power built into this little toolbar. Probably it could help make the note entry process much faster and more convenient for users.

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Implementation note: If a note is selected and you tap a left toolbar button, how can SP tell if you mean to change the selected note, or prepare for entering the next note? For this reason, if you add a note edit bar, the left toolbar buttons cannot modify the selected note. Maybe think "left toolbar is for the next note, edit bar is for the selected note."

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