Today we released a big update to Hookpad that we’re really excited about! Hookpad is better in three big ways:
Instruments now get permanently cached so you never download the same file twice.
Hookpad now works offline! Visit the web app without a connection and it works!
Hookpad can now be installed on Mac and Windows as a Chrome App (requires Google Chrome browser).
Smart Instrument Caching
Once you download an instrument it will be cached, and when you visit the site in the future it won’t need to be re-downloaded. This saves on bandwidth and load times and makes Hookpad feel generally more snappy.
Hookpad Now Works Offline!
Open (https://hookpad.hooktheory.com) in your browser even when you don’t have an internet connection. Assuming you’ve been to the page before, it will work (instruments you’ve used in the past will be available for use, etc.). How does this work? It’s based on a new web technology called Progressive Web Apps that allow your browser to store a robust cache of opt-in web pages for offline use.
Hookpad Can Now be Installed on Mac and Windows
To install Hookpad on macOS or Windows, open Hookpad in Google Chrome (this does require Chrome), click on the options icon in the top right of the browser window (three vertical dots) and you will see “Install Hookpad”. After it is installed it will appear as an app on your computer (you can put it in your dock/task bar, and it will open in its own window).
Band Editor Improved With Progress Indicators and Offline Cache Indicators
The band editor now shows the download progress of each instrument and the overall download progress at the bottom.
When using Hookpad without a network connection, sounds that have not been cached for offline use have a lighter color.
The band editor now shows if any sound patches fail to load. Below “Bright Pad” and “Dark Bass” failed to load. Clicking the yellow warning icon attempts to load all failed sound patches.
The Band Editor toggle now has a progress bar whenever instruments are being loaded or decoded
Preferences and MIDI Preferences are first-class menu bar items again. They are still also accessible from the Hookpad menu.
A new delete/backspace button has been added to the row of circle buttons (far right). The delete button can be used to delete any selection or delete the note / chord immediately to the left of the cursor.
Removed the entry mode toggle circle button. Changing from the default Hookpad 2.x entry mode to the Hookpad 1.x text-based mode is still possible in the preferences menu as well as with the keyboard shortcut ‘m’.
We are so pumped for this release. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to use Hookpad offline and now I can! I’ve already got Hookpad installed as a native app on macOS and don’t know if I’ll ever use Hookpad in the browser again!
Hookpad makes it easy to jot down new ideas, but sometimes you just want to experiment without cluttering up your song. Newly added Preview Mode is a long requested feature that allows you to turn off note input and play music using Hookpad engine using the band you’ve set up. When Preview is on, you’ll hear the notes and chords you play but they won’t be added to the staff.
Record With Improved Latency and More Intuitive Experience
The previous incarnation of recording in Hookpad wasn’t great. We fixed it. Here is what’s better:
The Duration of Recorded Notes/Chords is Now Controlled By How Long You Hold Down The Key
Previously the duration of each recorded note was controlled by duration tool – every note would get the same duration – terrible. Now the duration is controlled by how long you hold down the key, just like playing an instrument. Much better.
Recording Now Starts Immediately After Hitting The Record Button
Record Mode was previously a toggle; you had to first click the Record button and then click play. While playing if you entered notes they would be added at the location of the scrubber playback. Now hitting the Record button starts the playback (with pickup) immediately so you can start recording immediately, as you expect!
Keyboard Shortcut ‘r’ Lets You Access Recording Quicker
Record now has it’s own keyboard shortcut. Hit ‘r’ to start recording.
Improved Latency Helps You Stay In Time
We’ve taken care to improve the latency especially when using a midi instrument (midi entry is much lower latency than keyboard entry) so its easier for you to stay in time.
Pro Tip: Use Wired Headphones or Speakers When Recording
Most bluetooth headphones and speakers have several hundred milliseconds of latency. This can really screw you up during recording. When recording, bust out a pair of wired headphones or speakers. You won’t regret it.
The Record Button Now Turns Red
Duh! It was blue before to be consistent with other UI controls in the “on” state. But that felt so wrong – the universal standard of red for record is back.
Quick Preview For Magic Chord and Bass Collections
Magic Chord is one of Hookpad’s most beloved features – ask Hookpad for the best chord to use in any context and Hookpad shows you what other other famous songs have done. Now magic chord has a “quick preview” option which plays the suggested chord and neighboring chords in quick succession. The original full preview option with melody is still available.
2.5x More Responsive
Hookpad 2.6 includes many under-the-hood optimizations that make Hookpad more responsive. Our benchmarks show:
3.1x faster drag-selection
4.5x faster note adding
2.6x faster note editing
You will still see small (< 500 ms) delays with operations that require full reflows of a complex score, but overall, we are quite happy with performance. Details of benchmarking are included at the end of this article.
20% Faster App Launch
With Hookpad 2.6, we shaved 20% from the gzipped app bundle, (765 KB now vs 945 KB before) so you get 20% faster app launches.
Menus Now Consistent With Native Apps
We changed a few menus to be more consistent with native apps.
Settings top-level menu moved to Hookpad → Settings
MIDI top-level menu moved to Hookpad → Midi Settings
Hookpad → About Hookpad now shows version info and has a link to the release notes.
Hookpad Player Now Correctly Lays Out Scores with Pickup Measures
We updated the Hookpad player to correctly layout scores with pickup measures
15 New Electronic Instruments and Effects
We have been working hard on a new electronic instrument pack for Hookpad and are excited to release the following new instruments.
New Lead Instruments
Electric Piano (smart and legato)
Electric Piano Dark (smart and legato)
Dark Lead (smart and legato)
New Lead Synth FX
New Harmony Instruments / Rhythms
Brassopad Offbeaat 1/8s
Supersaw Pumping Pad
Metal guitar Rock 1/8s 2
Metal guitar Rock 1/8s 3
Metal guitar Backbeat 1/8s
Metal Guitar Gallops
Metal Guitar Gallops 2
Metal Guitar Open 1/16s
Metal Guitar Muted 1/16s
New Bass Instruments
Bowed String Bass Deep
Alternating Thumb Bass
Hardware and Software Configuration For Performance Benchmarks
MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013)
2.6 GHz Intel Core i5
16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
macOS 10.14.6 (Mojave)
Browser: Chrome 76
Hookpad is loaded with Arcade Madness (a demo song) at global zoom of 50% and horizontal zoom of 58% to provide a challenging use case.
All comparisons use Chrome performance profiler for benchmarking. Hookpad 2.6 is compared to Hookpad 2.5
Absolute performance data is likely better than shown below because of overhead with the profiler in Chrome.
3.1x Faster Drag-Selection (12.5 FPS vs. 4 FPS)
To perform this test, I drag-selected a melody and chord region in Arcade Madness and recorded frames per second (FPS) in chrome profiler
4.5x Faster Note Adding (29 notes per second vs. 6.7 notes per second)
To perform this test I held down the “1” key for five seconds to enter notes in rapid succession. macOS has a “Key Repeat” setting in System Preferences that I set to “Fast” to push Hookpad as much as possible.
In Hookpad 2.6, 158 notes are processed in real time over five seconds while holding down the “1” key.
In Hookpad 2.5, 152 notes are entered, but it takes 22.6 seconds to process the 5-second key-press event: 5 seconds while holding the “1” key plus 17.6 seconds of processing / painting after releasing the “1” key
2.6x Faster Note Editing (100 ms vs. 260 ms)
To perform this test I selected a note and then shifted it by a scale degree with the up key.
Summary of Hookpad 2.6 Benefits
New quick preview option for magic chord suggestions