Shakuhachi Notation Font

This is a TrueType font, created from material at the Shakuhachi Society of BC site, with the permission of Alcvin Takegawa Ramos (original calligraphy is from the hand of Teruo Furuya).

I might put some more time into expanding the selection of characters but maybe even with what's there now (over two octaves of pitches) you'll find it useful for something. The characters have been converted to vector art, so even if you zoom in very close, you won't see pixels.

  1. Download (link near bottom) and save the font file to your computer. (See TTF file link, above.) In your browser, and depending on your computer (Windows/Mac/Linux), you may need to right-click on that link or otherwise "Save link as...".
  2. Once that file is saved, find it on your computer and then click or right-click on it (again, depending on your computer). You'll be prompted to "Install the font" or some variation of that message.
  3. Accept your computer's offer to install the font and in a few seconds, it should be done.
  4. Fire up your word processor or spreadsheet or drawing program and in the drop-down list of fonts available, you should now see a new "ShakuhachiNotation" font.
  5. Select the "ShakuhachiNotation" font. Start typing!

Here is the character map for the latest version. After you install the font, you can use it in any application that allows you to set the style of characters you type. For example, if you want a ro dai meri character, type a lowercase "a", if you want a hi character, type a capital "D", etc.

Notation is typically written in columns, top to bottom, right to left. So you might use this font in columns of a spreadsheet or word processing document with a table. Make sure you center-align the text of your columns. For music with regular measures, this might be sufficient. For honkyoku, you'll have to invent your own solution for the long vertical lines that represent sustain.

Time permitting, I plan to create a notation program that uses this font and makes layout easy, including other special notation, lines, and textual notes. There seems to be a void in this area. If this interests you and you have some ideas for how it might function, let's get in touch.

    If you're curious, here's the basic method used to make the font:
  • scan printed material to bitmap (PNM)
  • convert to greyscale and crop out individual characters
  • vectorize bitmaps (to SVG)
  • convert to B&W, trim, retouch, and normalize the size of the vector characters
  • import vector characters into font (TTF), setting baselines and widths

History and Download:

2006-04-18V001.001dstoneFirst draft, 33 characters.