I have created two shakuhachi notation font files. The first contains characters derived from the Fingering Chart of Zensabou Honkyoku. The second contains Tozan characters derived from John Kaizan Neptune's fingering chart. A link to John Neptune's chart can be found on the European Shakuhachi Society forum here. There are already a few shakuhachi notation font files on the web, the most popular being Darren Stone's and Bruno Deschnes. I used Darren's for the first piece on my sheet music page, however to be consistent with the fingering chart app I derived from the Zensabou fingering chart, I decided I should create one of my own. I created the Tozan font file because there appeared to be some demand for one.

Instructions for installling and using the font files:

Click the links below to expand the text for instructions on how to install and use the fonts. I've also included links for the font keyboard maps and instructions on how to create shakuhachi notation fonts.

Installing the font file:

The steps for downloading and installing the font file can vary for whatever computer and operating system you are using, but I'll detail the steps for XP, Vista and Windows 7. Installing fonts is simpler for Vista and Windows 7, so I'll start with that:

  1. Right-click this download Zensabou Shakuhachi Notation font file or this download Tozan Shakuhachi Notation font file link depending on which font you want.
  2. Choose "Save Link as..." and download the Zensabo.ttf or tozanshak.ttf file to a location on your hard drive (I like to use the desktop).
  3. Right-click the ttf file you just downloaded and choose the option to install the font file.

For Windows XP the process is slightly more complicated. The first two steps are the same, but replace step #3 with the steps listed here:

  • Click "Start" (lower left of screen), then click "Control Panel"
  • In the control panel, look for the "Fonts" icon and double-click it.
  • Click "File" and then choose "Install New Font..."
  • Use the "Add Font" dialogue to navigate to where the file was downloaded. For my system, and having downloaded to the desktop, that would be the C drive > documents and settings > Owner > Desktop. The Zensabo file showed up as "font3952" in the "list of fonts" window in the dialogue on my XP system, the Tozan file showed up as "font2997".
  • Select the font and click "OK"

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Creating notation using the font file in MSPaint:

After installing the font, you need to use a program to generate the notation. Since Microsoft "Paint" is included free with Microsoft XP, Vista, and Windows 7, I'll detail the steps I used to create notation with Microsoft "Paint":
  1. Click "Start". On XP you should be able to find the "Paint" program by choosing "All Programs" > "Accessories". If you can not find it, try "Start" > "Run..." and typing and entering "mspaint". On Vista or Windows 7 typing "paint" into the "Search files and programs" field should find the program.
  2. In the Paint program, click the "text" icon, it looks like a bold letter "A". This will change your cursor to a crosshairs used to click and drag along the white space on the screen to create space to type into. Since shakuhachi notation is typically read top to bottom and right to left, you'll probably want to use the crosshairs cursor to create a column on the right side of your "virtual canvas".
  3. When you release the left-click button a "Fonts" dialogue will appear near the top of the window. This is where you'll use the dropdown list to select the shakuhachi font. For the Zensabo font, I find it listed near the bottom of the list both on XP and Windows 7, however on Windows 7 the word "Zensabo" is spelled with the "Zensabo font" and looks like unreadable Japanese characters. The same is true for the Tozan font, however it is up higher within the list of fonts where the word "Tozan" would be if was spelled with English characters. Select the font.
  4. Start typing. You'll need to use one of the keyboard maps below to know what characters to type. At this point you'll also need to adjust the font size and possibly the column width so that the characters are large enough to read.
  5. When you are finished with the first column, click on some white space and you are ready to start with the next column.

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View Zensabou and Tozan Font Keyboard Maps:

To make transposing Western notation to shakuhachi noataion easier I arranged the characters in the font file so that the computer keyboard keys a, b, c, d, e, f and g will produce the shakuhachi notation symbols that correspond to those note names. The capitol characters A, B, D, E, G will produce the shakuhachi symbols that correspond to notes names Ab, Bb, Db, Eb, and Gb. Click either of the links below to view the full keyboard mappings.

To download a PDF file of the Zensabo Map click here: ZensaboFont.pdf

To download a PDF file of the above image click here: TozanFont.pdf

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Creating font files with MSPaint and Inkscape:

For a PDF file with the instructions for creating font files click here: Creating Shakuhachi TTF Font Files.pdf

For a Youtube video describing the process click here.

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