User Manual

Updated 2020-09-20
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Table of Contents

Create or Load a Song

To start with a blank slate, use the Start New Song button on the home page.

Woodshedin' is based on the MusicXML standard, so if you happen to have a MusicXML version of your song, you can upload it using the Upload Song button.

Once you're a registered user, you will see a list of your songs on the home page, stored songs in shades of gray, and open songs in shades of green. Click one of the songs to load it.

Edit a Song

Once you have a song, you will be presented with the song editor, the main view for Woodshedin', which displays an editable leadsheet for the song.

Song Information

At the top of the leadsheet, you can edit the title, subtitle, composer, and lyricist of the song (For new songs, a whimsical title will be generated for you at random).


If you hover with the mouse over a measure, you will see a pattern of vertical grid lines, representing triplets for swing styles, or eighths for non-swung styles. Your initial tool is the note cursor: . Clicking in the measure using this tool will place a note extending from the selected grid line to the next existing note/rest, or to the end of the measure if you're past the last note/rest in the measure.


By default, the pitch of the note will match the key signature. Pressing the alt/option key while clicking will add a flat. Pressing the windows/command key will add a sharp. Pressing both keys will add a natural (cancelling a previous accidental, or the key signature). Alternatively (e.g. if you're working on a touch screen device), you can click the , , or buttons to set an accidental for your next note.


To place a rest, click the button or press r. By default, after the rest is placed, editing will resume in note mode. To place multiple rests, double click the button or press R.


The button or the DEL key will let you delete a note (and extend the duration of their predecessor). To delete multiple notes, double click the button or press Shift-DEL

Ties and Slurs

Sometimes you need to connect two notes. Use the tool to edit ties—connections between identical pitches. A single click, or the t key, will let you extend a note to the next note, or into the next measure. A double click, or the T key, will let you place multiple ties: Clicking a note will extend it. Clicking again will break the tie. As an additional convenience, the ALT-t (Or Option-t on Mac) key will tie the last note placed.

Use the (rather similar looking) tool to edit slurs—connections between different pitches. A single click, or the s key, will place a slur from a note to the next not. A double click, or the S key, will toggle a slur between the notes you click and their successors. The ALT-s (Or Option-s on Mac) key will place a slur between the last two notes placed.


By default, Woodshedin' assumes that each quarter note beat is subdivided into identical pieces (eighth triplets for swing, eights for non-swung). But sometimes, you need a different division of a region (e.g. to place triplets in a bossa nova song). To do so, use the tool or press u, and click the beginning note of that region. The dialog will let you choose:

i.e. selecting a quarter note and a 3:2 modification will replace the next half note by three quarter triplets.

The same mechanism is also available to subdivide notes in straight ratios. Selecting an eighth note and a 2:1 modification will split the note into two sixteenths, a 4:1 modification will split into 4 thirty-second notes.

A double click on the tool, or the U key, will let you edit multiple tuplets.

Some common transformations have special keys: 2 will split any note into two equal halves. 3 will turn a quarter beat into triplets, and 4 will turn it into sixteenths.


To enter chords, click in the shaded zone above the measures, and enter the chord in ASCII form (A#13, Gmaj9, Dm7b5, etc), or "N.C." for silencing the harmony. To quickly enter several chords in a row, you can press TAB to advance by a quarter beat, and Shift-TAB to retreat.


To enter lyrics, click in the shaded zone below the measures, aligned with a note, and enter your lyrics.


Select a range of measures with a mouse drag, or by clicking before the first measure, then shift-clicking after the last.

When a range is selected, an additional palette will be shown. Use to add repeat instructions to a range of measures. Select the end of a repeat (or just beyond it) and use to add endings to the repeat.

Select a point between two measures by clicking on the barline. An additional palette will be shown. Use to start a new line in the score. Use to start a new page.

Some songs have a coda, a separate ending section. Use to mark the beginning of the coda, and to mark the point at which the song should jump to the coda the last time through. Use the segno, to mark the location at which repeats of the song should start.

To help communication in complex charts, you can use to place a rehearsal mark


Use the standard editing commands in the Edit menu to cut, copy, and paste measures. You can delete the melody or just the lyrics in the selection. The Insert Measure command will insert a new, blank measure at the selection point.

To correct a mistake, you can Undo/Redo as many actions as you like.


The music in each measure is controlled by numerous parameters, which can be edited in the Properties window. You can bring up the properties window by clicking on a clef, or by double clicking on a bar line. In either case, the changes you make to the properties will apply to all measures from the point you clicked to the next property change in the song.

Play Back a Song

To rehearse a song or listen whether you've accurately entered it, click the button to enter playback mode. This will generate a MIDI version of the song using MMA (Musical MIDI Accompaniment). In playback mode, you will see standard audio controls to play back the song in the style you've selected in the properties editor, to fast forward and rewind it, and to adjust the playback rate.

Work as a Guest User

When you first start using Woodshedin', you are considered a Guest user. This allows you to use most functionality without having to give us any personal details.

For the functionality that's not available, there are workarounds:

Connect a Cloud Storage Account

Eventually, you might find it more convenient to identify yourself to Woodshedin'. This works by logging into one of the supported cloud storage sites and giving Woodshedin' permission to access files in your account on your behalf. Click the Sign In button on the home page (or in the upper right hand corner of the song editor), and you will be presented with the login page. Go through one of the connection options described below.

By default, once you log in, you remain logged in on that computer until you click the Sign Out button on the home page, or select the corresponding menu item in the top right menu of the song editor. If you're sharing your computer with other users, click the Public terminal, don't stay logged in button at the bottom of your page and quit your browser when you're done working with Woodshedin'.

In order to keep you logged in, we store a cookie on your computer. See our privacy policy for details, and for your rights.

Connect to Dropbox

You may already be familiar with Dropbox, a popular cloud storage site which will mirror to a local folder on your computer. To connect Woodshedin' to your Dropbox account, click the Connect to Dropbox button, which will take you through a Dropbox login procedure. If you accept the login, Woodshedin' will be able to read and write the Apps/Woodshedin' folder in your Dropbox, but will have absolutely no access to any of your other files.

Connect to Box

Box is a fairly similar alternative to Dropbox. To connect Woodshedin' to your Box account, click the Connect to Box button, which will take you through a Box login procedure. If you accept the login, Woodshedin' will read and write the contents of the Woodshedin' folder in your Box (creating one if needed), although it technically will have access to your entire Box account.

Connect to Nextcloud/ownCloud

Nextcloud and ownCloud are two closely related open source cloud storage platforms (While this manual will mainly mention Nextcloud, everything related to it also applies to ownCloud). While there are shared hosting options for them, the major appeal of these platforms is that you can self-host your own storage servers instead of trusting your data to a shared cloud.

To connect to a Nextcloud or ownCloud server:

Woodshedin' will read and write the contents of the Woodshedin' folder in your account, although it technically will have access to your entire account.

Selecting Songs

Once you've connected to a cloud storage account, the homepage will display a list of songs available in the current account (monochrome background), preceded by a list of songs currently open on your behalf (green background).

Save a Song

Saving a song requires signing in to Woodshedin' (but you can download the song if you're a Guest). Select the SongSave menu item, and your song will be written in a new folder on your storage site. In the folder, you will find some of the following representations:

MusicXML is a published standard, and in principle this representation is interoperable with a range of other music software (though some details may not translate perfectly). Notably, we occasionally test interoperability with Finale and MuseScore.

By default, Woodshedin' saves the MusicXML, PDF, and WAV representations. In the Settings dialog, you can configure the representations to be stored (MusicXML is mandatory, as that's the only format that can be loaded back in).

Print a Song

If you save a song or select the SongGeneratePDF menu item, Woodshedin' will employ the LilyPond music typesetting software to produce a much nicer looking version of the song as a PDF file that you can then print. SongPrint generates the PDF file and offers to print it immediately.

I would not recommend using your browser's Print command directly, as the output produced will be vastly inferior to what LilyPond generates.

The SongPrint Format... dialogs controls the look of the generated PDF. The most important choices are the Paper Size (feel free to request additional choices if warranted) and the Style. The following styles are supported at the moment:

A style with a handwritten look based on a set of fonts designed by Abraham Lee.
Another handwritten look designed by Abraham Lee, with somewhat lighter and simpler music symbols.
An informal, light style based on music fonts designed by Abraham Lee and text fonts designed by Donald Rice.
A traditional style based on the standard LilyPond fonts.

In addition, you can tune a variety of options related to font sizes and spacing.

Share Song Image or Audio

You may find it useful to share a visual or audio representation of your song with others. Woodshedin' offers a range of sharing options through popular hosting sites (Please do not share links to songs on this site directly with others—it can put a strain on our server, and will eventually cease to work). You can connect to these sites on the Settings page, reachable from the home page or the top right popup menu on a song page.

Share an Image

To share a PNG image of your song, connect to one of: For multi-page songs, Woodshedin' generates APNG files, which are downwards compatible with PNG. Some sites will represent the result as a multi-page image, others will rotate between the pages.

Share Audio

To share an MP3 of your song, connect to one of:

The Share Menu

Once you've connected to one or several sharing sites, the SongShare submenu will be populated with the available choices. Selecting one of them will generate the appropriate representation of the song, upload it to the sharing site, and take you to the shared representation for further disposition.


Woodshedin' is built on top of a sizable stack of technologies: