Staff notation support

Mar 13, 2014  

One of the benefits of having a machine parseable representation is that it can be automatically re-presented in many forms. We’ve so far seen such re-presentation of lyrics and svara text in the South Indian languages. I now present an initial take on showing the documents using western staff notation.

When you pick any document in the patantara catalog, it will first be shown as “carnatic notation”. Select “Show as staff notation” to view it as staff notation.

The currently live staff notation feature is a very early release intended for early feedback from knowledgeable folks. This will definitely be improved over time. Indeed, when you select “staff notation”, an alert box will pop up to tell you that this is in its early stages.

The following issues with the notation are known and are being worked on -

  1. Only the treble clef is used everywhere. Need to support clef change depending on register.

  2. Need to add slurs and ties for “notes with gamakas”.

  3. The carnatic descriptive notation uses spaces wherever the description is the same as the prescription. This results in inappropriate rests in the descriptive staff notation, which need to be filled in from the prescriptive notation.

  4. Using a key signature near the clef sign would result in a cleaner notation with not so many flat/sharp signs.

  5. Need to show tala divisions. The general solution isn’t obvious. Should, for example, ata tala be shown using 5/4-5/4-2/4-2/4 time signatures?

  6. The beaming algorithm (part of VexFlow) is not great at many places for Carnatic material. A custom beaming algorithm that follows the tala pattern might be more suitable and lend to better readability.

  7. Tisram/khandam (3s/5s) and such nadais are not supported and you’ll currently see rendering errors where they occur.

  8. Each tala “akshara” is currently mapped to a quarter note. Duration-wise, a half note is better suited for an akshara musically. This is still undecided.

Please do share your thoughts as comments.