This is a proposal for a nabc input syntax. It should enable users to type the neumes of all types of manuscripts, including:
The idea is to have a syntax that will enable the description of all possible glyphs in all possible notations. As you will see, the syntax is quite complete and not all “fields” are mandatory, this does not mean that the logic of glyph presentation will be poor: the font can contain already assembled glyphs (for subpuncta for example).
All types of neume writings will have their table of correspondance to make the different variants explicit, and users will have to refer to them when typing neumes of a certain type.
The proposal is to have the following syntax for each neume:
With type being two letters, from the following:
un(uncinus, Laon only)
pv(pes volubilis, Benevento only)
ql(quilisma, with 3 loops)
qi(quilisma, with 2 loops)
Alteration has the following possible values:
S(alteration of shape, in Dom Cardine's table)
G(alteration of grouping, idem)
M(alteration of melody, idem)
The previous two switches don't take into consideration all possible neumes, some are variations of the same neume, so we must take into account severa variants. Variant can thus be nothing (for the default glyph) or a number between
9, to take into account the variations.
For semi-diastematic notation (typically Beneventan notation), the ambitus is important. It can be indicated with
amX, with X being 1 to 3 numbers between 1 and 5. For example a podatus with an ambitus of 3 will have
am3 in its description, and an (hypothetical) climacus with ambitus 1 then ambitus 3 then ambitus 2 will have
am132 in its description.
For neumes where the place of the height of the neume relative to the others, is important 1), it is necessary to be able to describe it.
When necessary, the user can add
N is the letter of the first note of the glyph, the same as in gabc (between
As there is no reference, the height is of course very approximative. We shall consider that the default is the height
When multiple base neume glyphs are combined together, drawn as one glyph, the neumes are joined together with
! character. E.g. a torculus combined with clivis and porrectus with episema is written as
If height needs to be specified, it should be specified for all the base neumes, like
Subpuncta, prepuncta and significative letters go after the whole group in that case.
For adiastematic notation, the subpuncta can be added at the end, with
su followed by the number of subpuncta (between
For semi-diastematic notation, this is more difficult, as the relative height of the puncta can change. So a list of puncta can be give, with the following syntax:
Z being the height of the puncta. No more than 10 puncta can be given.
If a shape of the particular puncta needs to be specified, it can be specified by a modifier after the optional hight letter.
tgives the shape of tractulus
ugives the shape of tractulus with episema
vgives the shape of tractulus with double episema
wgives the shape of gravis
xgives the shape of (liquescens) stropha
ygives the shape of gravis with episema
pp is used instead of
su, it describes prepuncta of the neume instead of subpuncta.
+sign of repetition
cwceleriter (wide form)
ewequaliter (wide form)
sjcmsubjice celeriter quam mox
twtenere (wide form)
To indicate the letter, one should write
lsXP where X is one of the possibilities above. Y stands for a digit specifying the relative position of the significant letter against the neume:
1letter is at the top left corner of the neume
2letter is above the neume
3letter is at the top right corner of the neume
4letter is to the left of the neume
6letter is to the right of the neume
7letter is at the bottom left corner of the neume
8letter is below the neume
9letter is at the boottom right corner of the neume
To insert a smaller space between nabc neumes, use
/ character, to insert larger space use
/ then stands for a larger space followed by smaller space. To add negative space, use
`` instead of
This is generally useful for the first nabc neume above some square note neume group, if there is plenty of space before that, but not enough space for the nabc neumes.
This proposal leads to a syntax that is simple by default, but can be very precise. For example:
vigives the default virga
pf-gives porrectus flexus with an episemus
po-2gives the second variant of the porrectus with episemus (see Dom Cardine's table)
pesu2lsc2gives a pes subbipunctis with the c letter above it
vihgsuf1sue1gives virga at height
g, with two subpuncta, at height