suggestions


(David Harker) #1

Hello, me again!. It’s been a while since I last posted or have been in touch. I’ve been using power music for a few years now and i’m pleased to see how much it has advanced. I last provided a feedback list a couple of years ago. I have a few comments/suggestions that I hope will be useful to further enhance the program. My explanations might be unnecessarily verbose, but I want to make sure I communicate what I mean effectively providing the reasons behind the way I’m thinking :-).

CAPO CHORD DISPLAY

Although the use of a capo permits various different voicings of chords on the guitar, I think most people use it to make a song in an awkward key containing many sharps or flats into an easier key to allow the guitarist to play predominantly open chords. To this end, I was wondering if there could be radio buttons next to the drop down box to quickly stick the capo in the right place with a note on each button with the guitar key. Eg. If a song was in “Eb”, there’d be a radio button for capo 1 and it would say “D” and another for capo 3 that would say “C”. This would allow the guitarist to very quickly select appropriate capo chords without working out what to select from the list. Although you can do this manually from the list, you might end up choosing “A” from the list and having the capo somewhere ridiculous like 6 or 7. Particularly of use when you’re entering a time of unplanned worship and selecting songs from the master list. I’ve been caught out a couple of times trying to really quickly stick the correct capo chords up for the guitarist while maintaining steady flow of music. As there are only a few keys in which you can play predominantly open chords, it might be simpler just to have the buttons that say “A” “D” “G” “C” that give you the capo number for that particular song (ie. what number the capo would need to be on to play guitar in D). Obviously this relies on the song being set to the right key in the first place. This along side the existing drop down box will increase the speed someone can put capo markings up whilst maintaining the current flexibility.

Related to this idea would be the ability to save the selected key and capo markings into the main song record for that song. Maybe with a dialogue box on changing/closing lists (toggleable for people that might not want that) and/or a toolbar button “save to song record” or “set as default” or a context menu item. (or even better, when the song is next loaded from the master list a message saying “song last played in Xmajor with capo set to Y!, use this key and set as default?”)

PLAYLIST AND MAIN RECORD SONG INCONSISTENCY AFTER EDITS

When I have a playlist up with a song in it and I go down the list to edit that song to repaginate or put different chords/corrections in, the version in the playlist stays the old version. I have to delete and replace the song in the playlist. This problem also carries across the the ipad as well (old playlist, download an edit from pm box and ipad playlist holds old incorrect version of song). It’s like power-music is making a copy of each song in the playlists. I can see how both behaviours might be desirable in different situations and changing this might make another camp want the change reverted, so the best solution might be to have a “song record has changed” message, probably in one of those yellow bars at the top (like in IE) that you can either ignore if you’re in the middle of a set or you can click and update your playlist entry. Definitely not a pop up though. popup dialogues are bad.

DIFFERENT KEYS/LYRICS ONLY TO DIFFERENT MONITOR OUTPUTS

I appreciate this will need a multiheaded graphics card, but when powermusic was first released there was talk of a “professional” version that would allow for different displays for different musicians. I’m thinking if this could be implemented to allow people that play Eb or Bb instruments to have a different key on their screen. At the moment I get around this problem by sticking capo chords up for them to play in, but this tends to exclude the guitar player if the key is awkward. Outputting a chord free/lyrics only version to a projector as well would be handy, but I think other users have suggested this already. The most useful way for this would be to have a couple of output options or profiles for the whole program that transposes each song displayed on the fly based on the key of the master (rather than having to set it separately for each song), then the user can actually assign the “profile” to a physical monitor output depending on the hardware setup. So you can probably put in 3 profiles out the box, Eb instrument, Bb instrument and lyrics only, with the ability to add your own. I suppose different formatting can be assigned to each profile as well (making projector/singer screens bigger text for example)

TIGHTER INTEGRATION WITH PMBOX

I switch between my ipad and computer a lot. I tend to do the edits on computer and use that when i’m playing with other musicians, but then just use my ipad when i’m playing alone. Can there be an option for tighter integration, so if there’s an internet connection it automatically updates the song record in the cloud with any edits and makes the latest version available on all devices.

This highlights another slight problem in that if you change any performance notes on the ipad, you can’t get them back up in the cloud. the ability to change tempos and some of the other options on the ipad and save them back up to pmbox would be handy as well.

Another problem (rendered moot if the above is implemented) but if a song is updated on the computer, uploaded to PMBox, and the song is already on the ipad, there’s not a “download all new/updated” option like there is between computer and computer. You just have to scroll down the list of songs checking for the green text indicating it’s updated.

I appreciate this would probably need to be an option that can be switched off and on in the preferences as some people might not want this.

VARIOUS WARNING NOTICES

Can some of the warning notices be switched off? For example

The one that says “you haven’t saved any tags for your song, are you sure you want to continue”

The one on closing an edit window that says “are you sure you want to exit without saving?” I appreciate changing this now with so many users might confuse people, but much more sensible would be behaviour like other programs (word processors) where it offers a save/discard/cancel window. At the moment you have to click “no” go and save the record, then exit which is against the grain a little bit. The number of times I’ve clicked “Yes” expecting it to be a dialogue asking me to save changes and lost the edits. (because i’m not very bright). Having the dialogue as save/discard/cancel rather than the old fasioned word 5.0 yes/no/cancel should stop anyone getting confused at the change that are used to the existing dialogue.

The warning about number of lines when saving a record. Can there be an option in settings to turn this off? I know I can set it to 60 lines and make it go away most of the time, but I think it would just be tidy to be able to tick a box in the preferences to make that go away.

ADVANCING THROUGH SONGS ON PLAYLIST (PARTICULARLY GOING BACKWARDS)

When moving forwards through a playlist it’s very nice as it nicely goes through each page and then onto the next song. However, going backwards takes you back through the first pages of each song. Again, I can see that there’d be people who would want it to stay like it is, so could there be an option to explode the playlist into pages and for the back/forward function to move backwards and forwards through the playlist like a book (ie. from the first page of song 2 to the last page of song 1 on the list. (I’ve had the problem where I’ve accidentally flipped songs too quickly and I have to do a convoluted Back, forwards, forwards, forwards, oops too far!, back, forwards, forwards, ahh this is where i’m meant to be! to get to the last page of the song before.

MOVING THROUGH THE MASTER LIST MAKES SOFTWARE HANG

The copyright information is now displayed at the bottom of the song on the master screen. When moving through the song list powermusic appears to try and extract this copyright information and place it at the bottom of the screen as soon as the record is highlighted. Also, it appears to redraw the whole screen if the copyright information needs to take up two lines. It’s when this happens the whole thing hangs up. It does come back to life fairly quickly, but it’s enough of a problem when you’re quickly scrolling through the list intended to hit enter to get it quickly on the screen to play. I provide this one as just an observation. I’m not sure how this would be fixed apart from maybe a delay before it gets the copyright information from the record and just truncates it to one line.

AVAILABLE KEY SIGNATURES

can the unused enharmonics be removed from the key list and all the keys be on the same lis?. So, rather than the b/# option, can we have the list of chords available as below all on the same list? (for example to make it easier to transpose a song from F# down to Eb without having to first chose D# and then hit the b button. For example, you generally wouldn’t ever get a song in D# major. I’ve listed the keys below up to 7 accidentals so the ones not on the list can come off? (check it though, i might be wrong).

The major keys are generally: C G D A E B F# C# Cb Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F

The minor keys are generally: A E B F# C# G# Eb Bb F C G D

IPAD SONG DISPLAY

When the chord line is too long for the ipad display, it gives you two lines of chords with the lyrics underneath. However, when this happens for more than a couple of lines it pushes the bottom lines of the page off the bottom of the screen


(Power Music Guru) #2

Welcome back Dave! Your feedback is always welcome.
It will take a while to go through all your points but we will get back to you on them as soon as possible!


(Phil J) #3

Good suggestions

Capo Chord display, yes please show what the capo number would be next to the key it would be in. Also as stated let the default display be a capo’d key, show what capo number it is and hide the proper key chords (I think this was discussed a while ago about de-cluttering the screen but never progressed).

Playlist inconsistency, I’ve never had this problem though it would be handy to be able to right click the song in the playlist to edit it rather than find it in the master list.

Different monitor output, this would save me from having to print word sheets for our singers each week.

PMbox automatic sync and enough space to hold all your files has to be the only way to go with this. It works well on dropbox but that doesn’t get files to ipad.

The rest im not so bothered about but can see their uses. Id also like the option to right click and remove from library, the option to keep the right hand column wider after restart, and playlist notes for songs in the playlist rather than main song notes which appear whenever you use that song.


(Power Music Guru) #4

Hi Dave
Firstly, we are working on a new ‘Preferences’ section and some of the suggestions will applied there.

Capo Chord Display
Radio buttons are a good idea to select an appropriate fret for the capo.
The values would have to change with the transposed key if it was based on a limit to the fret number so your simpler solution of the four key option is attractive. However, it would be different for minor keys, and what about guitarists that love playing in E? Perhaps ‘Favourite keys’ could be set up in preferences for major and minor options.

Set key changes as default - yes, good idea.

Playlist inconsistencies.

We can’t replicate this. Is this in PM4? We will look at the iPad app.

Different outputs to different monitors
Lyrics has been discussed extensively - particularly with delegates at exhibitions. The main dificulty with this is synchronising the page turning.
If Power Music is only used by guitarists who are happy to view one verse or chorus at a time and control the page turning while displaying the same view as lyrics then that could be done. It could possibly be a setting in the new preferences section.
However, Power Music is far more powerful than this as a musician’s tool. It lets you see the whole song at once over two or three columns. This seems to be the preferred way of using it for most musicians. Many musicians use sheet music and this would be difficult to synchronise with page turning of lyrics, especially if the musician is concentrating on the music!

For different instruments - yes it is dependant on the graphics capabilities, especially if you want to output lyrics too. Meanwhile you can choose the ‘Display both’ option. This way you can have chords, capo chords and sheet music all in different keys.

PM Box
There are plans to add edit to the iPad app, although uploading whole songs is not likely to be an option in the near future. We could look at uploading the detail changes like tempo and notes.
There is a Download All button in the iPad app but including updates is a good idea.

Warning notices
The one about tags is necessary because copyright information should be attached to each song, and this is often overlooked, particularly for new users.
Good suggestion for using save/discard/cancel on exit edit.
Yes there can be a warning in settings to turn off the lines warning. Again, this is mainly for new users who wonder why their chord sheet is tiny in full screen.

Going backwards in song
We are working on a new ‘paging’ model where you will be able to jump to any page in a song and even ‘mark’ pages for rehearsal points. This will solve this issue.

Moving through list
I don’t think it is the copyright information, more the re-rendering of the entire song that causes the delay. We will try to correct this.

Available key signatures
The original Power Music was restricted to a list of ‘most used’ keys. However, this did not suit everyone as we had requests for D# (for example) to be added to the list (this key is not on either of your lists). Rather than have an extensive list of all available keys we arrived at the #/b switch which defaults to the current key. So if you mainly play sharps you will see the sharps listed by default.
It is true that most people generally use the keys you suggest, but this is too restrictive for many.

We will have a look at the iPad problem.

I hope that has covered all your points?
Thanks again for your feedback.


(Power Music Guru) #5

Hi Phil
Good feedback as always.

Capo numbers - see above answer.
Hiding main key
Most people we have spoken to who only use the capo’d version of a song will transpose the main key adding fret number details to the first line of the song. This seems to be a satisfactory solution rather than hiding the main key, which could be confusing. When playing with other instruments which use the original key then both will need to be displayed.

Playlist edit will come in a future version. You can edit the details tab now from the playlist.

PM Box auto sync
If automatic syncing with the Box was implemented the details would have to be set up in the new Preferences. Details such as ‘Always upload new song’, ‘Always overwite’. This may not be desirable if you have different users playing around with temporary changes to songs on their own PC. Many bands will download songs from the box and create their own version. This should not be an automatic syncing with the Box. Therefore there would have to be a warning - another unwanted popup?
Perhaps when Group accounts are implemented on the Box this would be a solution. Then only the administrator of the account would have permission to overwrite songs.

Unlimited space.
In PM Box the main storage space is taken up with the storage of sheet music pages. If you are only using chords then we effectively do provide unlimited space for all your songs with a free account. However, for sheet music users we have to charge for the space used so there has to be a restriction on it, it cannot be unlimited.

Right-click to remove from library - yes, that can be added to the menu.
Playlist notes are also on the to do list.

Thanks once again.


(Power Music Guru) #6

There is an update released today which addresses a couple of your points - option to save/not save or cancel when closing add/edit screen plus right-click to remove song from library.


(Power Music Guru) #7

Since Power Music Professional was released there have been some of the above suggestions included, others dealt with by new features.
You should find that typing for a song is much faster now, as is moving through songs.
Moving back to a song with lots of pages you can bring out a navigation bar and jump to the correct page, avoiding having to move through all the pages to get to the last one. Also, did you know that there was always a ‘Page turning’ setting which disables Spacebar and PageUp/PageDown (pedal presses) from moving to the next song? The disadvantage of this is that you have to use a touch screen, mouse or arrow key to move to the next song.

Playlist notes can now be saved separately from song notes.


(David Harker) #8

that’s good to see. I’ve downloaded the new version and it’s reasonably good. The ipad app needs some attention really. From a workflow/actually using it perspective it isn’t the best. There are just too many presses required now to perform the basic tasks. If you like, I can spend some time articulating it into a feedback document, but I think it just needs thinking about how it’s used and designed from the ground up that way. The ability to sync notes and keys back up to the mybox account and back onto the computer would be a valuable feature. Even page turns, swiping brings up those side menus instead of turning the pages. A very precise press in exactly the right place will turn the page, but it’s awkward when you’re in the flow.

I appreciate your attention to my feedback, it is appreciated. It’s a good product fundamentally. I’m a bit concerned that it might be being overtaken by some of the competition but hopefully you’ll be able to stay out the front. If there’s anything I can do to help please let me know. As you can see from my previous posts and emails over the years I can take a piece of software and rip it apart from a testing point of view so if you’d like me to test any releases for you please let me know. I’m keen to see this software succeed.


(Power Music Guru) #9

Thank you for your offer David. We may take you up on it for the next version of the app which is due for release in a few weeks.
The page turning issue has been addressed and other changes are under development.
One of the differences in our iPad app from others is that it is more of an add-on to the main PC/Mac versions, more of a ‘viewer’, whereas other apps are stand-alone and therefore have more features.
However we are working on many improvements and I think you will like the next version.