Neumatic is a suite of online software based around a musical notation format called Neumat. Neumat has been designed as a powerful, flexible and easy-to-learn file format and input method for Early Music notated in neumes.

Development of the notation and the software began only in November 2011, and everything is still very much at the prototype stage. This page will tell you all about current progress and plans for the future.


Application suite

There are three main components to the Neumatic software.

Neumatic NeumePad
A visual editor for inputting Neumat notation, designed to make the transcription of musical manuscripts written in neumes as fast and simple as possible.
Neumatic Engraver
A generator of high-quality scores from Neumat notation in a variety of file formats (expected to include PDF, SVG and PostScript). Note that NeumePad, however pretty it may look on screen, is purely an input tool: it is not, and never will be, intended for final output. Neumatic Engraver does much more, the most important thing being to combine the musical notation with the lyrics as seen in the sample below. It also handles line breaks intelligently, justifies staves, adds titles, and does all of the other good stuff that is important for presentation but doesn't matter at all when you’re transcribing the manuscript to begin with.
The Engraver is not yet ready to try out, sorry, but I hope to make it available here soon.
Neumatic Converter
A set of tools for conversion of Neumat scores to modern notation, including the assignment of mensural values to neumes. I haven’t even begun development of this yet, but watch this space!

Read on below for more details of the Neumat notation format. If you'd like to know more about current progress with the development of the software, feel free to drop me a line at info@cantigasdesantamaria.com.


Example score

Here’s a score rendered by the prototype Neumatic Engraver, combining the music for Cantiga de Santa Maria 383 taken directly from the Escorial j.b.2 codex, with the edited lyric text from my Cantigas de Santa Maria for Singers website:

Neumatic score for CSM 383

Neumat notation basics

In Neumat notation, the music above looks like this:

* 0c 1o 2owo 1on 0o > 0c 1raa 0o > 0c 1on 1o | 1o -2on -1o 0ra 0eyeye -3o -4on -4o | 0c -3o -2owo 0on 0o -2o -1owo 1on 1o | 0c 1o -2on -1o 0ra -2oron -4o > 0c -3on -3o |
* 1o 2owo 4on 3o 1bod 3on 1on > 0c 1o | 1bod 3on 1on 0o 1raa > 0c 0o 1on 1o | 1o 2owo 4on 3o 1bod 3on > 0c 1on 0o | 1bod 3on 1on 0o > 0c 1raa 0o 1on 1o | 1o 2owo 1on 0o 1raa > 0c 0o 1on 1o | 1o -2on -1o 0ra 0eyeye > 0c -3o -4on -4o | -3o -2owo 0on 0o -2o -1owo > 0c 1on 1o | 1o -2on -1o 0ra -2oron -4o > 0c -3on -3o |

Although this might look like gibberish at first sight, it’s actually a very simple format which quickly becomes familiar. Here are a few of the most important features:


Neume examples

In the image below you can see a selection of more than 70 different neume shapes sampled from the first 70 or so Cantigas de Santa Maria from the Escorial j.b.2 codex, all with their Neumat codes. Hopefully this will demonstrate at a glance the simple power of Neumat. You can also see that all the combinations are just about pronounceable, or at least they are if you’ll admit w as a vowel once in a while, as in onwba (no problem if you’re Welsh).

As a challenge, once you've digested the summary above, have a go at covering up the codes below and see if you can work out what they should be. It's easier that you might think!

Neumatic score for CSM 383

Admittedly, at this early stage of development of Neumatic I’ve concentrated very much on the mensural neumes in the Cantiga manuscripts with which I am most familiar, and there are certainly whole load of other manuscripts in neume notation that the system cannot yet reproduce fully. Rest assured I’ll be working on it though!