JianPu Notation

JianPu Notation

JianPu Notation (sometimes called Cipher Notation) is a method use by Chinese musicians to represent music using numbers and other symbols. NoteAbilityPro allows you to enter music using this system or to convert between JianPu and western notation.

Since JianPu notation does not use staff lines, you should create a staff type with no lines. If you create a new score with Chinese instruments such as Erhu or Pipa, these no-line staves (with a faint blue background) will be created for you. If you want to change an existing staff to one suited for JianPu notation you can use the Staff Attributes pane from the Operations Menu to change to JianPu staff (the last one one the slider) and use the Clefs pane from the Operations Menu to change the clef to No Clef. Either way, your staff should look like this:

First, a brief introduction to JianPu notation. This is a notation system that uses numbers to represent scale degrees (in a set key), uses horizontal lines and dots to represent note durations and uses dots above and below the number to represent octaves. Accidentals and tuplets are also available although these are rarely found in the traditional music normally notated using this system. In the example below we can see western music and its representation in Jianpu notatation:

you can see that diatonic pitches are represented by their scale number (1 - 7) and the dot above the number indicates that it is in a higher octave. The lines under the notes indicate the duration (similar to beam lines) and if there is no line under the note it is a quarter note. The dash line at the end of the excerpt indicates that the previous note is held for another beat. It is possible to notation more complex music with jianPu notation, but it is not suited for complex rhythms or chromatic music.

To bring up the JianPu panel, select the JianPu Notation item in the Operations menu. The JianPu Panel appears above the Main Toolbar and is similar to the Keyboard in that you can enter notes and edit while the panel is visible. To close the panel, touch the Close button in the bottom-right corner of the panel.

This panel 7 sub-panes which are accessed using the table on the left side of the panel. Most of the time, you wil only need to use the Main pane, but if you are entering ornaments or adding symbols to the notation, you will need to bring up different panes.

The Main pane of the panel is divided into 5 different segments.

  1. The large white area with a grid is the Notation Display and shows a large version of the image that will be added,
  2. the area below the Notation display is for setting accidentals (or bracketed accidentals) next to the number,
  3. the area to the right of the notation display is for setting the rhythm of the note.
  4. the area in the lower middle of the panel is for setting registers
  5. the area in the bottom right corner of the panel is for selecting the diatonic pitch to be entered.

Once all these settings have been made, click on the Enter button to add the notation to the score at the Entry Cursor position. The Entry Cursor will automatically increments its position and you will be ready to add the next note.

The series of buttons 1 - 6 on the right side of the panel are voice numbers so that you can have chords if you need to place 2 notes above one another. Chords of up to 6 notes can be built although these are rare for most instruments. If you are using more than one voice, you might also want to select the small number size from the buttons on the bottom-left corner of the panel - the shorter numbers will fit more easily in the staff. In the example below two notes are played at the same time and are drawn in the 1 and 2 note positions with shorter numbers.

While basic jianPu notation can be entered using the Main pane, ornaments, gift notes and symbols will require you to access the other panes.

You can have up to 3 ornaments in front of a note, and to enter the ornaments you need to choose Orn 1 for the first ornament to the left of a note, Orn 2 for the second ornament to the left of a note and Orn 3 for the third ornament to the left of a note. The three pane look almost the same except that Orn 1 has some buttons that allow you to choose the "hook" type that will appear with the ornament.

In the example below, an ornament 1 (note 5) and an ornament 2 (note 6) have been added to the main note (note 6) with the second "hook" type:

As well as ornaments in front of a note, a Gift ornament can be added after a note. As with the Orn 1 pane, there is an option of having 2 different "hooks" connecting the main note to the ornamemt. The example below has a main note 5 with a gift note 4"

Finally, a variety of specialized symbols can be added around the numbers that provide information for certain instruments. If you select the Symbol pane, you will see a large number of symbol buttons that you can choose from. Once you have selected a symbol by clicking on the button, it will appear in the small window where you can alter its size with the up and down arrow buttons.

Once you have chosen the symbol and size you want to add, touch the Notation Display and drag the symbol into position. Once you have added the symbol to the Notation Display you can click on the Enter button to add the number and the symbol. You can add more than one symbol to a number. Below is a short example with multiple symbols added:

The Key/Edit pane provides you with some editing buttons and slider to set the key for playback or for editing operations.

The key should be set before you start entering notes since playback will be linked to the key that is set during note entry. The current key is displace on the Main pane.

The Load Note From Score button allows you to select a jianpu note in the score and load it in for editing or alteration. This can be used to add symbols to a note or to change its pitch. To return the altered note to the score, touch the Return Note To Score button and the previous note will be replaced with the altered one.

The Tie Notes button is used to tie together two or more selected jianpu notes.

The Convert to JianpPu and Convert to Western are used to convert selected areas of your score from one notation system to the other. Ornaments and symbols will not be converted, but all the notes will be converted using the current key as a guide. In the example below two lines of jianpu notation are converted to western notation, then the staff types are changed to 5 line staves, and western clefs are added:

The reverse of this can be done when converting from western notation to jianpu notation. Select the notes you want to convert, touch the Convert to JianPu button, the change the staff type to the JianPu staff type (the last one on the slider) and change the clefs so there are no clefs.

See also

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