Help for Carnatic Notation Editor using Swaram font

There are many editors with sophisticated features for typesetting Carnatic Music notation. This Editor is a simple one with less features but gives you choice two different types of lay out and 2 systems of notation - all Upper case notes or mixed cases with Upper case implying double duration. It also enables auto-calculation of duration of notes for fitting into Thaalam sub units. The SWARAM.TTF font developed by Mr. Mohan Ayyar of Sydney ( has been used. He has kindly permitted the use of the font. It incorporates dots above and below the notes to indicate upper and lower octaves. The font need not be installed in your computer.

The editor is still under development and some improvements will be added in due course.

The final output lay out can be either in the more common box type for showing the Angams (sub units) of the Thaalam or use of | and ║ for separating the Angams and Aavarthams and could be more useful where the notation is detailed with lots of higher Kaalam notes.

Screen Shot of the Editor (Box mode):

In the Separators mode the Edit, Sample and Print windows will show the notation separated by | and ║, the program automatically calculating the number of notes for each division based on the Thaalam and number of notes per Aksharam chosen. Screen shot of print window in Separators mode:

Use: Windows - Firefox, Chrome or Microsoft Edge, Linux-Ubuntu - Firefox, Mac - Safari

1. Choose Thaalam information. Choose the Thaalam from the drop down list 'Select Thaalam'. Aadi, Rupakam,2 Chapus and Ata are given. The suffix Av1, Av2 etc. means that in one line you can have one Aavartham or 2 Aavarthams etc. Choose Notes Per Aksharam and Style (Box or Separators).

1a. Choose type of lay out (Box or Separators) by clicking required Radio button top right.

1b. Choose type of notation (Top Right) All Upper Case notes like S R G M where each note has one unit duration OR mixed cases like S r g M where Lower Case notes have one unit duration and Upper Case notes have double duration. If you choose 'All Upper Case' option any lower case notes in the notation line will be ignored in calculating duration.

2. Enter Notation. Enter the notation in the Notation Entry Window - either by using keyboard or clicking the red coloured notes on the Tool Bar. Middle octave notes (upper and lower case) are entered by typing normally. For notes of lower or upper octave the tool bar shows which keys are to be pressed (for instance for Thaara Shadjam Upper Case it is Shift 1 i.e.!). There are no keys for notes of upper and lower octaves in Lower Case. Click the required note in the tool bar. Higher speeds (Kaalams) are indicated by enclosing the notes in brackets (which will be converted to lines over notes in the sample and print windows). Lyrics and other comments like 'Pallavi' are to be entered enclosed in square brackets '[' and ']'. To start press 'Enter' to create a blank line. Enter notation in one line and lyric in the next line without leaving a blank line. Leave a blank line before entering next line of notation.

If you have copied and pasted notation from somewhere, ensure that square brackets are added covering lyrics and comments. Sometimes the copied notation has too many spaces. Click 'ReduceSpaces' button. It will remove multiple spaces (leaving single spaces) both in notation and lyrics and also empty lines. Empty lines have to be introduced between pairs of lines containing notation and lyric. This function should be used before aligning notation to Thaalam Angams and/or copying to print area

As soon as you start entering notation the note count box will show the number of notes (taking into account higher Kaalams indicated by brackets). Red line message show whether brackets are matched. The note count is shown even if brackets are not matched presuming the unmatched brackets will be closed.

If 'Box' style is chosen the 'Sample line' window will show the Thaalam divisions as well as the notation of the current line. If this does not happen write the lyric line below or introduce a blank line (by pressing Enter key) after the current line and click on the required line. Brackets in the Entry window (for higher Kaalam) will be shown as line(s) above the notes. When you complete the lyric line 2 lines - notation and lyric will be shown in the 'Sample line' window. Clicking a lyrc line willl show the notation above it and the lyric.

3. Symbols: A semicolon ';' indicates 2 notes duration- either to prolong a note or for silence. A comma ',' indicates one note duration. The hyphen '-' may be used to show separation of notes into phrases. Notes of higher Kaalam are indicated by enclosing within brackets "(" and ")". A maximum of 2 sets of brackets may be used ex. (S R(G M P D)) where S R will be at double speed and G M P D at 4 times speed. The red colored message below the Tool Bar shows whether brackets are matched. Enter lyrics or comments enclosed in square brackets '[' and ']' in separate line(s)

4. Sample line: When you click a line with notation on the edit window, the sample line window shows the line clicked and the lyric line (which should be the next line without a blank line in between). If you click the lyric line also the notation line and the lyric line will be shown. This enables alignment of notation and lyric which has to be done manually in Box mode and sometimes in Separators mode also.

5. Note count. Proper notation has to ensure correctness of note counts for each Angam(sub unit like Laghu,Dhrutham and Anudhrutham) of the Thaalam. Clicking on any line in the Entry window will show the note count of the line in the 'Notecount' text box. It takes into account the upper Kaalams, semicolons and commas. Thus "S R; (G M)" will be 5 notes duration in 'All Caps style'. "S r g (m p) D" will be 6 notes duration in the 'Upper and Lower Case' style of notation. Clicking 'Notecount' button-if some part is selected will show the count of that part and if there is no selection it will show the count of the all the notations in the Entry window. Clicking a lyric line or an empty line will show the note count as 0.

6. Split and Align notation to Thaalam. Once notation for a line is complete, note count is correct for the chosen Thaalam and lyric for the line has been entered, click 'AlignToTal' button. This button will work only for the current line, will check whether the note counnt corresponds to the Thaalam chosen and the notation for the line will be split into parts representing the notation for each thaalam sub division. In the case of 'Separators' mode the separators will be inserted. In the case of 'Box' mode click on the line in the edit window again and the notation will be fitted in the sample line and box lines will be shown. Spaces would have been added if required. The lyric line will also be correspondingly split, but there could be some misalignment which has to be corrected manually and checked in the sample line. If you use symbols ',' ';' and '-' in the lyric line at the same position as the notation line alignment would be better preserved after insertion of separators.

Buttons A+ and A- may be used to change character sizes. When these are used in the 'Box' mode the Notation Entry window has to be manually resized (using the resize tool at bottom right of the Notation Entry window) to bring the notations within the Angam boxes. Change in Notation Entry window size would automatically change the sizes of the other 2 windows

7. Titles: Use this window to enter Song title, Raagam, Thaalam, Composer's name and any other information. The entry is restricted to 3 lines only. This will come on the top of final print/pdf file.

8. Printing/Saving: Once entry of notation is complete (or if you want to see how it looks after entry of a few lines), click 'Copy to print area'. The notation will be copied to the Final Print Window (shown as 'toPrint' before the copying in the window). The window will expand downwards to contain all the notation. Check the notation for alignment. Now click 'Print' button. The usual print dialog of your computer will open (tested in Windows 10/11, Linux Ubuntu 20.4 and Mac) with choice of sending to your printer (if one is installed) or 'Microsoft Print to pdf' or 'Save to pdf' (Windows) or 'Save to pdf' (Ubuntu). In Mac you will see 'pdf' and an arrow at the left bottom for saving as .pdf. See that the preview shows the entire print widow. If not check whether the option 'Fit to Page' is selected (in Firefox). You can either print it directly or save the notation as a .pdf file, check it and then print from the .pdf file. In Windows if you get both 'Microsoft Print to pdf'and 'Save to pdf' options choose 'Save to pdf'

9. Saving .pdf file created in Windows OS can only be used for reading and printing but the data does not copy correctly as text. However, .pdf files saved in Ubuntu allow copying the data. It is best to select all the data in the Notation Entry window, copy it and save as a .txt file using non formatting text editor like Notepad(Windows) or TextEditor(Ubuntu). If required it can be opened, contents copied and pasted in the Entry window of the Notation Editor. ('File Save' button to save this will be added soon)

10. Choice of number of Avarthams in a line. This depends on many things such as number of notes used per Aksharam (most common for Aadhi or Rupakam is 4 and for Chaapus 1, 2 or 4 per half Aksharam). If your notation has lot of details by including higher Kaalam notes you may have to reduce the number of Aavarthams per line. For Aadhi thaalam with 4 notes per Aksharam a single Aavartham is OK. You have to try and decide the number.

11. Samples: Samples of 2 files generated with this editor: samayamide.pdf with swaram font and box type lay out using all upper case notation and chinthayil.pdf with separators type lay out using notation in both upper and lower cases. (These are compositions of Thanjavoor Sankara Iyer).

It is not necessary to use only S R G M type notation. You can use any other type of notation also but the note count will not work and fitting correct number of notes in each Angam has to be done manually

Bugs and suggestions to manianms at