Re: Byzantine Musical Symbols Questions

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 13:48:25 EST

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    At 09:56 AM 1/4/2004, Tom Gewecke wrote:

    >Does it make any difference that in the case of Indic scripts the Standard
    >provides elaborate rules for the way this should be done in response to the
    >input of virama and various other combining and joiner characters, while
    >there is nothing like this for Byzantine music?

    The difference it makes is that you will need to define your own rules.
    Unicode encodes musical symbols so that they can be referred to in
    documents, and makes no claims to being able to provide a complete
    notational system based on this encoding. The identity of a musical symbol
    *in use* is of type, duration, pitch and relationship. [In modern notation,
    the relationship between notes is defined independently of the type,
    duration and pitch; in Gregorian plainchant (and I suspect Byzantine
    notation, although I'm not an expert on the latter), some relationships may
    be defined at the character level, e.g. by encoding a podatus or other
    neum. However, it is not necessary to encode complete neums in an
    notational system: neums could be built dynamically from single puncta.]
    Unicode encodes only the type of symbol: all the other aspects of its
    identity -- duration, pitch and relationship -- must be defined above the
    character level. Personally, I'm not sure that the Unicode encoding for
    Byzantine (and Gregorian) symbols is even useful in a notational system: it
    is handy for referring to symbols in text, but in a notational system you
    ideally want to encode more of the identity of a symbol than just its type.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

    What was venerated as style was nothing more than
    an imperfection or flaw that revealed the guilty hand.
                    - Orhan Pamuk, _My name is red_

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