RFC: Show Notes Autoscrolling Requirements

Hey All,

I’ve been in a discussion with @dave_dore via email about some work he’s doing trying to build a rack that auto scrolls the show notes. It got me wondering whether this is something that would be universally useful as a built in feature and how much work it would be.

So I’m curious… who would find this useful and what would be your requirements for what it should be able to do.




I would like for it to follow the Master Transport, maybe by adding a couple of time or bar/beat references in the Notes and the scroll interpolating between them?

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Think most C3 Users work with apps on Ipad or anything else because C3 support’s no scrolling of Text.

so the most important would be a flicker free prompter…
(all other funktions people can do with midi-timeline or state-bindings)

My wishes for 2019 :slight_smile:
I think the easyest way would be:

  • Only one Textpage per Song (better overviewing)
  • Scroll-Markers to place in a timeline (so that C3 can calculate the scroll tempo)
  • also Jump-Marks that link specific Text to specific states (so if I want to play a refrain of a party song 5 times :slight_smile: )
  • and a network connection possibility to transfer on Ipad screen or multiple screens

It wouldn’t have to be much more :rofl: :joy::joy:

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Hi All, :grinning:

As stated above I have been fooling with making the show notes function work better for me. I agree that many folks already have solutions for this that are very nice but I don’t love small tablets for viewing text so I go with my big screen, and I like having just one app that manages my show notes and VST settings (C3). My rack ideas were basically using what’s available to scroll the show notes pane (media players, bindings and state switching) but I found that the existing model is geared to VST technology standard and as a result there are a fixed number of scroll positions available. (100 to be exact). This led to a bit of a jump instead of a smooth scroll so I asked @brad about some feature improvements to smooth this out but also to provide a means to pause for determined amounts of time between scrollings. I also would really love to be able to port it to multiple places but knew I could do dual monitor for sure, but had no network display with scrolling. It, AFAIK, has to be in the browser programming for the browser scrolling and is separate from any C3 scrolling speeds or commands. Anyway it sounds like part of it is tied to the Media player timeline upgrades that are planned and part of it is a programmable and variable speed scroll generator that’s speed is independent of the Metronome clock. I already use a rack that I made that has 2 states (playback and record) and the way it works is that it synchro starts the midi recorder and the backing track together and then records the cursor key entries on the PC to a MIDI track that you load into the player in the rack. So, as you listen to the track you scroll manually and the events are recorded. When you switch to playback it plays back the file to the scroll position object and reproduces your entries the same as you entered them. This works fine once it’s set up but is time consuming as most folks can just drop the chordpro file in their program, set the speed and and the chordpro scripting takes care of the pauses and the scrolling is very smooth. I don’t use chordpro (and don’t care if Cantabile can read them FWIW) so I convert them to txt files and just paste them into the notes pane at about 30 to 35 on the font size and they look great and very easy to read.

Now if I could only make my post as direct and succinct as @The_Elf!!


I’ve been successfully using Transport Triggers and States to display lyrics on an iPad via the built-in web server. Putting headers that say Intro, Verse, Bridge, Chorus, Outro, etc… makes it easy to know where you’re at in the song, and the Note pages (that are part of the states) change in real-time on the web browser you’re using to view the lyrics. It works perfectly for me.

I used to use Band Helper (which did auto-scrolling) but the transport triggers and states did away with the need for it (Thanks again Brad!).

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Thanks for that Robb,

I wondered if someone had worked that into their html and java mods on the web UI. Now I know it’s already done! Unfortunately my particular iPad doesn’t like the web UI. It’s an iPad 4 FWIW.


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Hi Dave.

Can you load Chrome on your iPad? Safari on my iPad Mini 2 didn’t care for it much either, but Chrome works perfectly.

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Yes, Robb, I tried Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. I think it’s tied to the processor change in the iPad line that orphaned the pre IPad 5 units (no OS updates). I might be mistaken on iPad 3 and earlier as I don’t have that. Thanks for the heads up though! :slight_smile: I believe your mini is from the new types of iPads with the new processor and OS support. Brad told me it’s tied to the java capability of Ipad used.


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Sorry, just for the sake of clarity, I didn’t change the html/java for the web UI at all. Brad made it work that way out of the box; including the Split view that shows the setlist/states on the left and notes on the right.

I don’t think auto-scrolling would be useful for me, as I tend not to be playing along to media. I also have sections of notes that I read multiple times, for repeated sections (it’s all notes and chords for me, no lyrics), so it would be bad if it were linearly scrolling up.

I tend to have different Show Notes text for each song state, so the whole page switches when I step through.

However, this means you can’t “look ahead” and see what’s coming up in the Show Notes for the next song state. I end up writing a bit of text at the bottom of each note, as a hint at what is coming next, but maintaining that is tedious and error-prone.

One solution to this, possibly related to the auto-scrolling thing, is to have one long Show Note for a whole song, and allow song states to scroll that note to different marker positions (one marker per song state). That would provide me with the stepping through functionality I currently use, but would also allow me to see what’s coming up in the Show Notes for the next state.

Being able to highlight the Show Notes region between the current and next song state marker, perhaps using a slightly lighter background colour, would make it especially nice!


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This is also how I do my lyrics or song maps. I also change colors of background or lyrics for each state so I instantly know the page change was successful. I used Setlist Helper for several years before going to this method. It would be scrolled at whatever rate I set, but rarely was it perfect, either falling behind or rushing ahead. For those working with backing tracks or click tracks, I can see where this would work. But, in a world without those perfectly timed restrictions, tempos change, and improvisation lengthens.
Unless there is something like color change, or separation lines between song parts, it would be very easy to lose your place as you look at you keys or audience, just as it was with Setlist Helper. A stable page, for me, works much better.
I certainly can see where some would find it beneficial, and I am always on board for anything that embellishes the performance experience. I would surely try anything that is added to C3. I am extremely busy in many of my performances…switching instruments, adding effects, singing lead or harmonies, eyes on audience and working in sync with bandmates(not to mention playing an instrument). If I lose my place, all that suffers as I frantically struggle to get back in line.
So, for me, a color change, a font change, or anything that visually shows a change in song parts would be a must in scrolling for my particular situation.




I can say @brad, I would find it very useful. I have been somewhat assisting Dave with the rack, acting as a guinea pig and it works very well. The only real down side as Dave mentioned is the time it requires recording the song to an accompanying midi file. The good part though is once you have done that, you are good to go. You get to set your text size to whatever works for you. The recording process is the only real downside. Being able to input the song length or somehow use the timeline to avoid that part would be great.

Dave’s done some fine work on this rack and of the songs I have converted, they scroll at the speed I need them. I have Songbook running on my iPad via wireless router and will continue to run it because if it ever hits the fan (and it will), I will still have my material even if I have to hit the play button every song. I have made backup notes at the beginning of the Songbook files for keyboard settings outside of C3. I am adding a second 17" monitor to run off the iPad because it’s kind of hard to read the print on the smaller screen and I’m not always in front of that monitor.

I don’t have many state changes for my songs, rather I have multi-keys and use a combo of VST’s and different workstations. We use tracks we have created, so our tempo never varies, so a scroll feature for me, would be a welcome addition.

Thanks everyone - lots of food for thought.

Auto-scroll user here.

One great thing about Cantabile is there’s always a way to accomplish something. I believe i’ve seen this idea mentioned by others in this forum, but what i do is use a Media player to run a MIDI file which just spits out an NRPN every 2 measures (after a delay), and bind that to Show Notes Scroll Down. Then tweak the playback speed percentage to get the scroll time right.

But if there were a built-in capability to autoscroll that’d make things a lot easier. One thing i’d ask for is to be able to set the time for scrolling to start and end. The program i run on my backup iPad doesn’t implement this, with the result that the first few lines of the song have already scrolled off the screen by the time i’m done with the intro, and the last line doesn’t appear until i’m done with the instrumental bit at the end.

Thanks again everyone for the feedback. I’ve been giving this some thought and I think I’ve come up with a couple of interesting ideas, but want to run it by everyone…

It seems there are two types of users for this:

  1. Those who link the show notes directly to states and hide/show notes in different states. This currently works, but has two problems - a) as described by @Neil_Durant the need to duplicate the start of the next note in the current note so you can see what’s up coming and b) the long standing issue of wanting to have different notes shown for linked states. eg: having a shared state for verse sounds, but wanting to show two different sets of lyrics for each verse.

  2. Those who link the show notes to media/transport position. Currently this can be made to work, but is super clumsy to setup, might require adding stuff your MIDI files, etc…

Here’s what I’m thinking…

  1. Disconnecting Show Notes from the existing state management mechanism so linked states can have different show notes settings, but everything else shared

  2. Removing the Hidden/Visible option on each show note. All show notes would now be visible always.

  3. Adding to each show note new settings: “Always keep this note on-screen”. When selected, no matter how the show notes are scrolled, these notes will be snapped to the top/bottom of the show notes view and notes without this setting will scroll under these fixed notes. This will be useful for the type 1 and type 2 users.

  4. Adding another new setting to each show note: “Keep this note on screen in these states” (with a check list of states). When in a particular state, the show notes will automatically scroll to show that show note just under the fixed show notes at the top of the window. If multiple notes have this option selected for the same state, only the first show note will be positioned. This will be useful for type 1 users and allows the following show note to still be seen. For emphasis show notes positioned like this could be colored differently.

  5. Adding show note cue points. This is for the type 2 users. Basically you position the show notes where you want them, position the media player/transport where you want it and click a button to create a cue point that links those positions together. Each cue point could have a setting to determine whether it’s an immediate jump, or auto-scrolling - where the scroll position would move with the transport. That would allow creating both auto scrolling and delay points.

  6. A global auto scroll “delay” setting. This would affect each auto scroll operation so that it doesn’t start scrolling for N seconds.

  7. A global auto scroll “arrive early” setting. This would speed up the auto scroll so the end is reached N seconds early and then stops for N seconds.

Not promising anything yet, just thinking out loud… thoughts?

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I would definitely find this useful because I just cannot remember the lyrics of any songs from around 1995 onwards! In fact it would sway my decision whether or not to renew my subscription purely for that reason because I can remember chords and melodies. So as far as what it should be able to do for others as well, I’d suggest being able to read ChordPro style lyrics and chords would be helpful to many, as well as PDFs and Word/text files. Maybe image files too and either Post-It type sticky notes or the ability to scrawl notes as reminders at certain places. I know Show Notes has a certain amount of this functionality but it would be better to have it all in one place although Show Notes could work for lyrics if they could appear at the appropriate moment on the timeline.
Others may have a requirement for scores as well but “set and forget” scrolling lyrics with some degree of editing capability would be my Holy Grail!


Yes - huge thumbs up from me!

@Brad, would the cue points you’re referring to automatically scroll the web interface as well? If yes, that’d be a huge thumbs up from me as well.

Take a look here: www.liveprompter.com - this is a specialized teleprompter for musicians that does most of what you want (ChordPro lyrics & chords, set&forget fine-timed auto-scrolling, even embeds pictures for some limited score display) - just no PDFs. And LivePrompter plays well with Cantabile - you can sync them via (virtual or physical) MIDI and even set the LivePrompter window to overlay Cantabile’s main window.

No need to have any media player driving the scrolling: you can set the scroll speed by placing tags inside the ChordPro files that define where the song position should be at what time. Plus all kinds of interactive features (pause, jump up/down, etc.) to help with controlling the lyric flow.

Best of all: it’s free!

Give it a whirl!




I would suggest making these settings song-specific, not global. Some songs have a slow instrumental intro, others a long outro vamp, etc, so being able to set these per song is essential to not having the relevant part of the song scroll off-screen too soon or appear too early.

Another thought:

When auto-scrolling, it would be ideal to have the option to vary scroll speeds over the course of the song - maybe a “scroll duration” per song state or a tag embedded in the show notes? Typical scenario: a long and wordy verse followed by a 32 bar guitar solo over a simple blues scheme. Scrolling this with an average speed would probably mean that important pieces of your lyrics/chords are off-screen when you need them.

This ability to fine-tune scroll speeds over the course of the song was an important consideration for me when building LivePrompter - would be great to have some aspect of this in Cantabile as well.