Create a sheet and manage it

Updated on May 28th, 2020

In here, we'll cover all that Sheet Composer has to offer, which includes:
  • The Editor: inside which you create a sheet.
  • How to manage your sheets like a pro.

By the end of this post, you will be able to fully utilize features the application offers.

This is written specifically for desktop, for mobile version, please check back later.

The Editor

The Editor consists of the following components:
  • Toolbar: holds many actions packed in one single toolbar.
  • Editor area: where you arrange/compose your kalimba sheet. It includes all the tines, measures, notes, and a hint note that helps you make a sheet quickly as possible!
  • Playable tines: to test out how a tine sounds like.

Let's dive more deeply into it~


Each long and vertical rectangle represents a tine, below them are their respective pitches in letter/number notation (playable, try clicking on them!).

Change number of tines

You can change how many tines displayed in Toolbar EDIT Tine Layout... and make changes in Number of tines section. Don't forget to click apply!

Modifying a tine's pitch

You can switch a tine's pitch to any pitches between C3 and B8. Here's a step-by-step guide to change the pitches.
  • Go to Toolbar EDIT Tine Layout...
  • Click on a tine representative (one that looks like this )
  • An editable box will then appear, type in the pitch you want, or select it from a list that shows up when hovering your mouse on this editable box.
  • Apply and it's changed!


A measure can hold many musical notations including notes, key signatures, time signatures, articulations, barlines,... etc.

Due to kalimba's simplicity, measures in our editor only contain a time signature, measure number, and notes.

Working with measures

When the Composer boots up, 4 measures are created by default.

You can add or insert more measures, update or delete an existing one. All these actions benefit from Undo and Redo feature, which means you can always revert what you did in case of a mistake.

Create a measure

To create a measure, simply hit the area having this line: Click here to add a measure. Newly created measures will have Time signature of the last measure.

Insert a measure

  1. Click on an existing measure number to select the measure where you want to insert.
  2. When the edit window shows up, click Insert Measure.
  3. Click ABOVE to insert above the selected measure, or BELOW to insert below the selected measure.

Newly inserted measures will have Time signature of the selected measure

Change a measure's Time signature

  1. Click on an existing measure number to select the measure you want to change its key signature.
  2. When the edit window shows up, click Time Signature.
  3. Update its Numerator and/or Denominator.
  4. Click DONE when you're happy with the changes.

Delete a measure

  1. Click on an existing measure number to select the measure you want to delete.
  2. Click the DELETE button.


Unlike traditional sheets, Notes in the Editor are represented by rectangles of different colors (denoting which part they belong to) and height (how long they last - notes duration).

With that design in mind, Rests become unrelevant, so they are not available for creation. You can just leave it blank for Rests to be automatically generated by the Editor (when exporting the sheet as PDF, MID, or MXL).

Currently the Editor supports up to 2 parts. The first one is named Treble and the second one is named Bass .
Part naming is entirely conventional, sheets created by the editor will have their clefs adjusted accordingly (most of the time, it would be treble clefs for both parts).

Working with notes

Notes - essence of all music are made easy for creation, update, and deletion within the Editor.

The Editor proudly presents its powerful components to help you create sheets faster: Hint Note, Editor Bar, and Editor Bubble.

  • Hint Note: helps you know what kind of note you're creating.
  • Editor Bar: shows the current selections for notes being created including Part, Type of note (up to Sixteenth), and number of dots (up to 2).
  • Editor Bubble: shows up when selecting notes. This helps you Copy, Cut, Paste, Deselect, or Delete selected notes.

Note creation

Hover your mouse on the Editor and the Hint Note will show up, indicating the to-be-created note and its location (which tine and measure it belongs to). Then simply left-click on the desired location to create a note.

You can use the Editor Bar to control what kind of note to create, our Hint Note will represent it as a rectangle of correct height (duration).

Here's a quick list of hotkeys for faster control:
  • ` - toggles between Part 1 (Treble) and Part 2 (Bass).
  • 1 2 3 4 5 - changes note type to Whole Half Quarter Eighth and Sixteenth respectively.
  • Q W E - changes how many dots the note has, to 0 1 and 2 respectively.

Note selection

Selected notes (notes already created) have a small white border around them.

There are a number of behaviors for note selection:
  • Select: Click on a note to select it, and deselect all other selected notes (if any).
  • Additional Select: Hold CTRL / and click on a note to select it, other selected notes (if any) remain selected.
  • Bulk Select: Hold SHIFT, then left-click and drag to select notes inside the selection box. Deselect all other notes.
  • Additional Bulk Select: Hold SHIFT and CTRL / , then left-click and drag to select notes inside the selection box. Other selected notes remain selected.

After selecting notes, you can proceed to modify them.

Note modification

This section will guide you through the process of using Copy/Cut/Paste and editing selected notes.

  • Copy: press CTRL / + C or click on in the Editor Bubble to copy selected notes.
  • Cut: press CTRL / + X or click on in the Editor Bubble to cut selected notes.
  • Paste: you will need to find where to paste the notes, then do paste the copied/cut notes.
    There are two ways to getting paste destination:
    1. Use Hint Note's location. Make sure Hint Note shows up, then do paste by pressing CTRL / + V.
    2. Select note(s) and use the first one's location. Make sure Hint Note does not show up, then do paste by pressing CTRL / + V or click on in the Editor Bubble. All selected notes are removed after paste.
  1. Select notes you want to change.
  2. Use Editor Bar or its hotkeys to change the selected notes duration to which of the current note type shown in Editor Bar.
  1. Select notes you want to change.
  2. Left-click and drag on any selected notes to change their pitches.
    • Dragging to the left: decreases pitch.
    • Dragging to the right: increases pitch.

Tie is a musical symbol that...ties two notes of the same pitch together, creating a pitch with duration of these two notes.

This is especially useful when you want a note to exceed the maximum duration of a measure, or you just want to use ties instead of dots.

How to create/delete ties:
  1. Select exactly 2 notes you want to change. These notes must be on the same tine, and one stacks on the other.
  2. Press SHIFT + T or click on in the Editor Bubble to make Tie.
  3. To remove a tie, press SHIFT + T or click on in the Editor Bubble.

Arpeggio is a type of broken chord, each note is played after another with a tiny amount of delay. This term can be seen in music sheets for harps. However, a Kalimba player can achieve this effect by swiping their thumbs on two or more tines, or plucking with rapid succession.

Arpeggio for kalimba is often ascending - lower notes are played first. With that in mind, Sheet Composer works just the same. All you have to do is specify which notes to add the arpeggio effect, the app will then play them correctly for you.

How to make/delete arpeggio:
  1. Select notes you want to change. You can select any notes, but notes having a continue or stop tie won't be able to have arpeggio effect.
  2. Press SHIFT + R or click on in the Editor Bubble to make Arpeggio.
  3. To remove an Arpeggio, press SHIFT + R or click on in the Editor Bubble.

To change arpeggio direction, go to Toolbar NOTE Arpeggio choose either Ascending or Descending.

  1. Select notes you want to change.
  2. Press DELETE or click on in the Editor Bubble.

The sheet itself

We talked much about how to create a sheet by creating measures and notes. Now let's dive in how to change sheet-wide elements: Tempo (BPM), Key signature, and Tine list.

Changing Tempo

To change your sheet Tempo, go to Toolbar INFO Tempo... and there are 2 updateable fields:
  • Current BPM. BPM stands for Beats Per Minute, denoting how many beats are hit each minute when the sheet plays. More BPM results in a faster play speed, and vice versa. Minimum/Maximum amount of beats allowed are 40 and 200 respectively.
  • Beat type. Select from the list for what type of beat it is, going from to ; Beat type of Whole note speed the sheet up, then slow down when moved further to the right.

Changing Tempo in Sheet Composer will store tempo information within the sheet, so when someone views your sheet, this information will take priority over their customized settings.

Changing Key signature

We take advantage of the Transpose feature to change the sheet's Key signature.

Go to Toolbar INFO Transpose... and select your desired Key signature. A detailed instruction for transposition can be found here.

Changing Key Signature in Sheet Composer will store Key Signature information within the sheet, so when someone views your sheet, this information will take priority over their customized settings.

Other useful features

Zoom in/out

The Editor area can be very long when more and more measures are added. To help better navigate in the editor, you can hold CTRL / , place your mouse inside the editor, and scroll up to zoom in, or scroll down to zoom out.
You can also go to Toolbar VIEW Zoom and select preferred zoom percentage.

Grid View

Grid View enable grid lines to show up in Editor area, these lines divide a measure into smaller portions to help you put notes in intended places.

Depending on Zoom percentage, grid lines can divide a measure to fragments with duration equal to that of a sixty-fourth note.

To toggle Grid View, go to Toolbar VIEW and click on Show Grid so a check shows up.

Sheet Management

Sheet Information

Before being able to save your sheet, it's necessary to fill in some extra information so that we can display your creation in a comprehensive way.
  • REQUIRED: Sheet name, Composer(s) (the original creator(s) of this song/score), and Difficulty.
    • These information will show up in the sheet listing, and at top of the sheet detail page. So please take extra care when filling these in!
    • Get a very big attention when we try to approve your sheet.
  • OPTIONAL: Categories, Feels, Cover Image, and Description.
    • Filling these in will be more likely to get your sheet approved faster.
    • Users can filter sheets by these Categories and Feels, a way to get more exposure for your sheet~
    • Description is where you can put arbitrary texts along with your sheet, please go all out on this.

Saving Sheet

When you're ready to save your work, first press CTRL / + S or go to Toolbar FILE Save sheet .

If you see the Sheet Information window popping up, it means that you haven't fully filled all the required information. Please complete it and click on Save Information button to save your work.

When saving is complete, a notification message will show up, indicating that the sheet has successfully been saved to your account.

Sheet Status

A sheet has its own status that can only be changed by our staff. It allows us to have time verifying the sheet information. Worry not, by default you are able to publish your sheets and share with others!

There are 3 types of status for a sheet:
  • Pending: Default status when you first created the sheet.
    • Pending sheets are shown in the sheet listing when published.
    • You can publish pending sheets. In fact, published state is one of the key factors we get to approve a sheet.
  • Approved: When you publish your sheet, we'll try to get it Approved as soon as we could, so your sheet can benefit from the following:
    • Stays in the first pages of the sheet listing, sorted descending by approval date.
    • More likely to appear when searching/filtering the sheet listing.
  • Denied: It seems your sheet didn't meet our standard Sheet Posting Guideline (detail coming soon).
    • Such a sheet will NOT be shown in the sheet listing, unless being filtered explicitly by Denied status.
    • You can still update or delete it at will.
    • If you want to talk this out with us, please send a ticket about Sheet Denial, and don't forget to include your sheet's link in the description.

Publishing Sheet

Sharing is caring. What's more, seeing someone playing your arrangement is such a wonderful experience! OK let's get back to the topic and see how you can publish your creation so everyone can see it.
  • Click on a sheet you want to publish, then go to Composer mode (by clicking the Edit button).
  • Go to Toolbar FILE and click on Publish sheet
  • Your sheet is now published! You'll also receive a notification message showing that your sheet has successfully been published.

Unpublishing Sheet

Problems occurred in the sheet? Or you just don't feel like sharing and it is all for yourself... with that in mind you can unpublish your published sheets.
  • Click on a published sheet you want to unpublish, then go to Composer mode (by clicking the Edit button).
  • Go to Toolbar FILE and click on Unpublish sheet
  • Your sheet is now hidden from everyone. Only you can see and play around with it now.

Deleting Sheet

You can always delete your creation with just simple clicks, but to be honest, think twice before you do this, there's no going back!

You can consider hiding your sheet so only you can see it.

To delete:
  • Click on a sheet you want to delete, then go to Composer mode (by clicking the Edit button).
  • Go to Toolbar FILE Delete sheet
  • When a confirmation message appears, click DELETE.
  • Your sheet is now deleted.

Importing Sheet

There is countless number of digital music/songs/sheets available with just a simple search. *.mid (MIDI), *.mxl (MusicXML), and *.abc (ABCNotation) are the most common files for music. Knowing that, we strive to support these 3 extensions, so that you can just load them into Sheet Composer and get all those falling notes.

We currently support MXL files for imports, later two are still in development, expecting to be available soon.

Support in details for MXL files:

  • Compressed/Uncompressed MusicXML files are supported.
  • One Tempo indicator is supported.
  • One key signature per part because a kalimba is often diatonic. We'll review this when chromatic kalimba layout is available.
  • Time signatures are supported per measure.
  • Notes with tie are also supported. Arpeggio not supported yet.

How to import a file into the Composer:

  • First, you'll need a *.mxl, or *.musicxml file, recommended source to get: MuseScore.
  • Then go to Toolbar FILE Import sheet Import from file
  • A warning about notes and measures data erase will show up, click CONTINUE to proceed.
  • A dialog will show up prompting you to select the file from your device.
  • Select it and wait for the server to parse your file into falling notes, and that's it!
Due to the fact that there is limited number of songs playable on kalimba, we provide an option to reload imported sheet in case you need to tune the tines (to make unavailable notes show up) and import again. Using Reload imported sheet is much faster than re-importing it!
  • Location: Toolbar FILE Import sheet Reload import

Exporting Sheet

Kalimbist continuously works on this feature to allow the best printable sheets possible, tailored just for kalimba.

By the time you save your sheet, we will put it in a queue, waiting to be exporting in many formats.

Formats we support:
  • Now available
    • MXL - MusicXML - the de-facto open source standard format for exchanging digital sheet music.
    • PDF - Perfect for printing. It includes number notation as lyrics.
    • MID - MIDI sound.

To export a sheet, you must have it saved and wait for the system to make the files for you. After that, go to Toolbar FILE Export... and click on the file type you want to export/download.

For PDF, you also have some options to modify the file in real time before downloading it. Try zooming in/out, showing or hiding number notation and/or letter notation. Switching number notation is also at your disposal!

Known issue: PDF does not have name of arranger engraved into it. If you have a MXL file reader like MuseScore, we recommend you download MXL file to take advantage of such softwares. We are trying to fix this as soon as possible!

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