Writing Byzantine Music
This webpage presents our free "EZ" Byzantine Music Font Package and other aids for writing Byzantine music developed by St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery. Our font package is an improved version of the "ED Psaltica" fonts created by Elie Daoun that are available at cmkon.org (Click here to see a comparison of these two fonts). It has also been expanded to include the ancient symbols that Simon Karas recommended reintroducing, such as the oxeia, tsakisma, etc., as well as the special "n's" for the kratema and the necessary markings for "syneptygmenos" rhythm. But the technology that makes this music package the easiest to use and most precisely aligned set of Byzantine music fonts currently available is the macros it has. These macros automatically adjust the relative note positions for a professional look, and can also instantly make all the appropriate symbols red. As of Dec. 1, 2006 an auxilliary program has also been added to the package that allows the user to enter symbols with the mouse instead of the keyboard. The font package is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh computers, but the macros only work with Microsoft Word.
As of Feb. 18, 2008 an additional version of the font package has been added that has composite neumes that are used for reading right-to-left. These neumes are essential for those who wish to write Byzantine music in Arabic without inverting the Arabic texts.
About the Macros
There are several macros included in the "EZ" font package. One of the macros automatically fine tunes the relative note positions for a more elegant look. For example, it instantly aligns the klasma and the gorgon with the notes they modify. A separate macro (which is optional) automatically makes all the appropriate notes red. There are also four other macros included (one for each direction) that allow the user to adjust the position of a single note manually, without affecting the position of the notes around it. Also included in the package are instructions and a Microsoft Word template with a toolbar so that fine-tuning can be done at the touch of a button. (Click here to see what the macros do).
Music Samples Written with this Package
Simple Music Sample (in Greek and English) (60 Kb)
Fancy Music Sample (in English) (95 Kb)
Music Sample using Karas' Symbols (in Greek) (40 Kb) (a low-dpi version of this file is displayed at the bottom of this page)
- "EZ" Byzantine Music Fonts Package (with instructions) (720 Kb)
- Instructions in Greek for EZ Fonts Package (180 Kb)
- Byzantine Drop Caps (3.2 Mb)
- 106 Rules of Byzantine Music Orthography (in English) (550 Kb)
- 106 Rules of Byzantine Music Orthography (in Greek) (520 Kb)
- List of Byzantine music books (400 Kb)
- "BZ Byzantina" font package, by Stefanos Souldatos
- "EZ" Byzantine Music Fonts Package with right-to-left neumes for Arabic (800 Kb)
- Automatic Lyrics Hyphenator (450 Kb)
- Simple Headers (28 MB)
- Fancy Headers (44 MB)
The "Byzantine Drop Caps" are a collection of calligraphic capital letters that can be placed at the beginning of a hymn. An example of these drop caps is displayed in the hymn at the bottom of this page. These drop caps can be used independently of our music fonts and are compatible with all programs in both Macintosh and Windows platforms.
The orthography rules are a thorough compilation of rules collected from several Byzantine music theory books and personal observations. Knowing these rules is crucial for anyone who desires to write Byzantine music in a traditional and respectable way.
The list of Byzantine music books contains more than 500 entries with comments in English and information where each book can be ordered.
The "BZ Byzantina" font package is nearly identical to our "EZ" font package. The primary differences are that it has a different keyboard layout and the instructions are only in Greek. It also has more macros which make the fine-tuning process more foolproof, but its macros are considerably slower than the macros in our "EZ" package.
The "Automatic Lyrics Hyphenator" is a Microsoft Word template with a macro that automatically divides English words into syllables by inserting hyphens. This tool will help typesetters of music (regardless of the musical notation they use) to save time.
The "Decorative Headers" are a collection of 19 color graphics in TIF format that may be used with any application. They are appropriate for decorating religious documents. An example of one of these graphics is displayed at the top of the music sample below.
Sample of music written with this versatile font package:
Below is a screenshot of the new EZ Psaltica Editor included in this font package for those who prefer to write music with the mouse instead of the keyboard: