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The Neume Font

I created a font to display the neumes. I didn't use the full Latin name to identify each character, partly because I'm too lazy to type that much, and partly because I'd never remember how to spell all of the names. (quilli-, quelis-, you know, the one that looks like a `w'.) So I chose to use single alphabetic characters to identify each neume.

But the neumes' names don't abbreviate to single characters very well. (Let's see, a `p' must be a porrectus, no, a pressus, maybe a pes.) So I ended up using characters whose shapes reminded me of the neumes they were to represent. Hence `w' ended up as the key for a quilisma. (And thus, as you've no doubt already noted, I came up with a mnemonic scheme for remembering neumes.)

The keys for the simple neumes are as follows:

Name NeumeKey
Virga l
Pes /
Clivis n
Porrectus u
Torculus a
Pressus :
Pressus subpunctus ;
Pressus liquescens m
Quilisma w
Punctum .
Stropha ,
Oriscus s
Epiphonus d
Cephalicus p

I defined this font so that the neumes would join if you stuck two of them together. So, theoretically, that's all you have to do to create a compound neume. But in practice, I found that I had to modify some of the neumes to get forms that would combine smoothly. I used (mostly) capital letters for these compound variants:

The keys for the compound variants are as follows:

Name NeumeKey
Pes -
Porrectus U
Quilisma W
Epiphonus D
Cephalicus P
Liquescens J
(The liquescens is almost never used as a simple neume. It's always tacked on to the end of another neume.)

And so, the compound neumes from the previous page can be represented like this:

Name NeumeKey
Pes-porrectus -u
Pes-pressus subpunctis -;
Porrectus-clivis Un
Quilisma-cephalicus WP
Quilisma-porrectus Wu

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