Arun’s (mostly carnatic) World

August 11, 2011

Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter – Release v1.5 Beta

Filed under: CM Notation Typesetter,Release Notes — arunk @ 7:00 pm

The 1.5 release of the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter is now released in beta mode. Click on the following links to launch application, view the manual and view the sample notation files.

This release contains the following enhancements:

  • A Smart Lyric mode, which allows you to specify lyrics more easily. See the SmartLyricMode directive section of the manual.
  • Enhancements to manual mode in tala. There are now two manual modes, one of which places tala anga markers above  the notation line which can allow for closer grouping of swaras that are part of a single musical phrase. This allows for the underlying melody to be more easily discerned from the notation. See the Tala directive section of the manual.
  • Support for rendering language using Roman diacritics – see the Language directive section.
  • Better control over the width and height of margins around the content can be controlled. See the Orientation directive section of the manual.
  • A new Title directive to specify the title of the web-page. This can be useful in printing as the browser can be directed to put this information in the header/footer sections.

The release also has some bug fixes with respect to layout and pagination.

Pagination behavior change: Due to lack of reliable pagination control (as well as browser incompatiblities), starting with v1.5 Beta, the typesetter does not automatically paginate contents like in earlier versions (since that has proven to be very unreliable). The typesetter now instead relies on the browser’s printing capabilities itself. This may however result in browser inserting a page break at inappropriate places (e.g. between the swara line and the corresponding lyric line). To fix these, you can insert the Pagebreak directive to introduce a manual pagebreak.

February 21, 2009

Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter – Release v1.4

Filed under: CM Notation Typesetter,Release Notes — arunk @ 9:35 am

Version 1.4 of the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter is now released. This release contains the following improvements:

  • Support for new talas: All 35 talas are now supported in catuSra gati. You can use the Assist button to select these talas.
    • To use other gatis with these talas, you can use the Gati directive. Note however that the typesetter may not layout the notations appropriately for more more complex gatis with longer talas. In such cases, you now have an alternative with the Manual tala as explained below.
  • Manual Tala and SongBreak directive: There is also support fora new tala called Manual. With this tala, you take control over the notations – particularly the tala markers as well as line breaks. Tala markers are put out only if you explicitly specify them (as | or || ) in the swara directive lines.
    • In order to make the typesetter to go to the next line of notations, you must explicitly specify a break via the SongBreak directive (also new to v1.4)
    • Note also that with Manual mode, the notation typesetter would be unable to align successive lines at the tala anga markers.
    • The Manual tala is useful for capturing snippets of a raga alapana, or for typesetting notations for a song whose tala layout is too complex to be automatically handled by the typesetter.
  • Bug Fixes: This version also includes some bug fixes, especially to fix Krithi,FullWidth layout mode.

PS: Special thanks to Shubhashree Venkatesh for feedback that led to hastening of support for new talas.

November 27, 2008

Patch release to v1.3 of Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter

Filed under: CM Notation Typesetter,Release Notes — arunk @ 2:17 pm

It turns out that in the v1.3 of Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter, which introduced a “splitter” that allows you to make more room for the command area or the notation content as needed, the capability for printing notations is broken – obviously a major regression.

This has now been fixed in this patch release, and in addition printing is now easier with the new Print button in the toolbar. When you click on the Print button, the typesetter switches to print mode and also automatically instructs your browser to print your song. To get back to the editor, click on the Back to Editor link in the print view.

Thanks to the users who pointed this out and apologies for the inconvenience this caused.

August 18, 2008

Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter – Release v1.3

Filed under: CM Notation Typesetter,Release Notes — arunk @ 10:27 am

Version 1.3 of the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter is now released. This release contains the following improvements

The input area and notation area panes can now be resized: The spacing between the notation area on the top, and the input area in the bottom can now be resized by using a splitter

Click on the splitter and while holding the mouse button down, drag the mouse up or down to resize the panes.

Better support for gati switches: On encountering a gati switch (Gati directive), the notation typesetter sometimes may switch the default speed of swaras. For example,

  • If the default speed is 2, and the gati switches from catusra gati to any other gati, the typesetter changes the default speed to 1. What this happens, four swaras per akshara (i.e. catusra gati for speed 2), switches to three, five, seven or nine i.e. tisra, khanda, miSra, sankIRna gatis at speed of 1. This is done to match what typically happens in practice, where on a gati switch for the same speed, tiSra packs the least # of swaras per akshara (3), followed by catusra (4), then khaNDa (5), then miSra (7), and then sankIrNa (9). The automatic implicit change of default speed thus allows the gati switches in the typesetter to be more inline with their natural usage in practice.
  • Conversely when switching from non-catusra gati at a speed of 1, to catusra gati, the default speed is increased to 2.

It should also be noted when the gati switches back to the default gati of the song, the default speed of the swaras is restored to the original default speed.

The above speed change is done only for specific cases. If a gati switch is specified for a song in catusra gati with a default speed of 1 (rather than 2), then no speed change is done. This can result in tiSram packing more swaras than catusram. Please see the Gati directive in the manual for information on how to get around this problem.

April 4, 2008

Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter – Release v1.2

Filed under: CM Notation Typesetter,Release Notes — arunk @ 7:44 am

Version 1.2 of the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter is now released. This release contains some new features, and a few bug fixes

New Features:
The following new features were added for version v1.2:

  • Improved Look and Feel: This version includes an improved look and feel with the buttons in the notation input area being now part of a graphical toolbar.
  • Open and Save support: Now, you can save your notation input locally as a file on your computer. Correspondingly after you open the typesetter, you can ask it load the open file. To save your input, click on the save button button. To load input from a file, click on the open button. Please note the following that both open and save operations require the notation input to be sent to the server and back (Note: This is the recommended way a web-application should implement open/save, and it also is the most portable in terms of usability with different browsers).
  • Support for khaNDa tripuTa tala has been added. Please refer to this example page.
  • English notation output prunes out some script specific idiosyncrasies: In Tamil notations, sometimes you may be required to explicitly specify the n2 or ^n to force the typesetter to use the correct Tamil character for the na phoneme (tamil na #1 instead of tamil na #2) . Also, based on your preference, you may explicitly specify s2 to direct the typesetter to use the alternate Tamil sa phoneme character (Sa - no qualifiers) rather than the standard sa/ca phoneme character (tamil sa/ca). While such inputs will display as intended when rendered in Tamil, if there is a need to also see them in English, then the n2s, ^ns, and s2s are not meaningful, and can make the text less readable. Hence, the typesetter output prunes these out when displaying in English..

Please refer to the manual for more information on these new features.

Bug Fixes/Other

  • A bug in handling of Tisra Eka Tala has been fixed. Previously the typesetter was laying out Tisra Eka Tala incorrectly as catuSra laghu, tiSra gati. It now correctly lays it out as tisra laghu, catusra gati.
    • Also Varnam layout for Eka Tala (all supported variants) was not working correctly. This has been fixed
  • A bug in handling Tisra Triputa Tala has been fixed. Previously the Tisra Triputa Tala specification was being rejected with an internal error “no incoming layout”.

February 26, 2008

A new feature – Gati switch

Filed under: Articles, How-Tos,CM Notation Typesetter — arunk @ 9:11 pm

Introduced in version 1.1, the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter allows you to notate songs that switch their gati or naDai (gait) in the middle. The directive for this is Gati.

Note: This feature actually has been in the typesetter for quite a while now, and so it was sort of an “undocumented” feature until now.

A brief explanation about the role of gati
The gati is one of the factors that determines how many swaras or notes would fit within an akshara, the other factor being “speed” i.e. whether the swara is in first speed or second speed or third speed. You may recall that in the typesetter, the speed is indicated as a number i.e 0, 1, 2 etc. In the Typesetter lingo, irrespective of the gati, for speed = 0, you have exactly one swara per akshara. In other words, a swara with a speed setting of 0 is as long as an akshara’s duration. For higher speeds, you will have gati come into play. For speed = 1, you can have 2 swaras per akshara for catusra gati; 3 swaras per akshara for tisra gati; 5 for khaNDa gati; 7 for miSra gati and 9 for sankIrNa gati. For speed = 2, the # of swaras per akshara simply double – thus 4 catusra, 6 for tisra, 10 for khaNDa, 14 for miSra and 18 for sankIrNa. For the next speed, the # of swaras again double.

The Gati Directive
Thus there five different gatis in carnatic music: the ubiquitous catusra, tiSra, khaNDa, miSra, sankIrNa. The default gati in the typesetter is catusra unless you are using a tala like Tisra Gati Adi.

To switch the gati of a song, you use the Gati directive. For example:

Gati: tisra

switches the subsequent notation to tisra gati. The valid values for the gati are tisra, catusra, khanda, misra and sankirna (case insensitive).

Gati switches can at the start of an akshara and thus can be at the following:

  • start of a tala cycle i.e. avarthanam.
  • start of a tala anga within a tala cycle.
  • start of an akshara within a tala anga.

Here is a contrived example demonstrating gati switches. The input is as follows:

Gati switch example input

Here is the screen shot of output manually annotated with gati indicators. Note that the Varnam layout allows us to see the # of swaras per akshara clearly for the speed setting of 1.

Gati switches

For the same default speed (i.e. 0 1 2 ), tisram here packs more swaras than catusra, which is unexpected and does not match with the natural usage. For example, in the above example, we have s r in catusram but s r g in tisram. Similarly if our current speed were 2 i.e. four swaras per akshara in catusram, then when we switch to tisram, we get 6 swaras (i.e. goes to tisram mel kalam). Typically in songs, when we switch from catusra to tisra in the same singing/playing speed, we switch from 4 swaras per akshara to 3 swaras per akshara This is mainly because the typesetter usage of the speed does not map map as-is to how speed is used in practice.One way to get around this and achieve a switch of four swaras per akshara in catusra gati to three swaras per akshara in tisra gati (speed = 2 here) is by using the special __ (two underscores) indicator to “blank out” half the swaras. This is illustrated in the following example:

Gatis Switch Caveat fix

The usage of __ (two underscores) to blank out swaras is admittedly less than an ideal solution, but it works.

February 25, 2008

Sa in Tamil – Grantha Sa character support

Both the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter and the Carnatic Music Transliterator now provide a way to make Tamil text use the grantha Sa character i.e. Grantha Sa. This character, while not as widely accepted in Tamil, is nevertheless common in Tamil books (e.g. music books, religious books) that need to represent non-Tamil sources. It is a fairer representation of the Sa phoneme (as in Siva, Sakti) compared to suffixed Sa/Sa - no qualifiers, since the Sa - no qualifiers really represents the sa sound (as in samam).

Both applications now do support this character. However for reasons explained below, it is not enabled by default.

System support for Grantha Sa character – not ubiquitous
The Grantha Sa character was added to Unicode fairly recently(in 2006) and hence it is supported only in a few systems at this time. So the control for requesting the use of this character is left to the end-user (see below). You should request it only if your system supports this character. The current known configurations in which this character are as follows:

  • On Microsoft Vista, there is support at the system level for this character. The Latha font that is part of the OS supports this font. The system support is by the Unicode rendering engine called Uniscribe, which is in the dll usp10.dll. The version of the dll that ships with Vista has this support
  • On Microsoft XP, if Office 2007 is installed then the Unicode rendering engine that is part of the Office 2007 at this time. However, the rendering engine that is in use for the rest of the system is an older version and does not support it. To make e.g. the FireFox or the Opera browser to use the Office 2007’s rendering engine, find the usp10.dll under the Office 2007 installation directory tree, and copy the it into into the FireFox, Opera installation directory.
    • You would still need a Unicode font that supports the character. One such font is Code2000, which is a shareware font available for download at

Enabling support for Grantha Sa

  • Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter: Support can be enabled by specifying the new granthasa attribute in the Language directive. You can specify this by checking the Use Grantha Sa checkbox in the Assist dialog for the Language directive.
  • Carnatic Music Transliterator: Under the Tamil tab, there is now a checkbox for enabling use of Grantha sa

Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter – Release v1.1

Filed under: CM Notation Typesetter,Release Notes — arunk @ 8:23 pm

Version 1.1 of the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter is now released. This release contains some new features, and a few bug fixes.

New Features:
The following new features were added for version v1.1:

  • A new directive Gati, which allows you to switch the gati/naDai/gait of the song being notated. Please refer to this page for more information
  • Enhancements to the PhraseEnds directive
    • Allow for the phrase endings to be shown in various styles. In addition to the already supported hyphens, they can be shown as “handles”.
    • You can now make the typesetter introduce trailing space after the phrase endings so that the individual phrases are prominently separated from each other for clarity. The amount of space to be given is also controllable.
  • Notations in Tamil can (optionally) use the Grantha Sa character for Sa (as in Siva, Sakthi), which allows for a fairer representation of the sound compared to the earlier suffixed Sa (with qualifiers) or Sa - no qualifiers (no qualifiers). Note however that your system must meet certain requirements in order to make use of this. Please refer to this page for more information.
    • The transliteration scheme now also supports an explicit specifier for using the Sa - no qualifiers character for the sa sound. It is S2
  • Enhancements to the Language Directive and also language specifier in Heading attributes
    • Control over how to display the Sa sound in Tamil.
    • Control over the size of the qualifier

Please refer to the manual for more information on these new features.

Bug Fixes/Other

  • The PDF Manual now has bookmarks for easy access to various sections.
    • Each chapter about a directive also includes a Revision history section outlining the changes/enhancements across various releases.
  • Fixed phrase endings display in IE. Previously the swara at the phrase end used to be shifted down.
  • Phrase endings can be specified for a swara with a label of “-” (i.e. alternate representation of continuation). Previously — was rejected – now it is accepted as a phrase-end at a continuation swara.
  • Notations that “run off” beyond the width of the display area are no longer forcibly clipped by the typesetter. Instead the control is left to the browser’s page setup and printing. Since the typesetter being a web-app never really can have absolute control over page setup, it was felt that forcible clipping was undesirable.

February 9, 2008

About the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter

Filed under: About,CM Notation Typesetter — arunk @ 1:01 pm

(Note: A new release Release v1.4 of the Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter released on Feb 21, 2008 with support for all 35 talas in catusra gati)

The Carnatic Music Notation Typesetter is a web-based application that allows you to typeset high quality notation sheets for carnatic music. It can generate notations in English, and if appropriate fonts are installed on your computer, it can even generate notation sheets in the following Indic languages: Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada.

The typesetter requires you to specify the notation for the song to be notated in a specific input format that is simple, and easy to use. The application converts the input into a graphical layout similar to those you see in carnatic music books .

The typesetter application currently is in Beta Release, which means it has some rough edges, and may not always be stable.

  • To know more about using the typesetter, please read the manual, and also look at the Examples.
  • To use this program effectively, you need to learn about how to specify the notation input. The Manual explains this in detail, and the examples are also a great way of learning how to specify Carnatic Music notations.
  • Launch! the application.

Browser Support: Firefox is currently the preferred browser to run the typsetter. However, typesetter should work on Internet Explorer and Opera. As indicated above, due to the typesetter being in Beta release, you may still run into problems on these browsers. It is the intention of the author(s) to support the typesetter on Firefox, Opera, IE and Safari (on Mac).

Powered by WordPress