Musical Notation

Kievan Square Notation

Kievan (Square or Synodal) notation is a type of five-line musical notation used in the chantbooks of the Russian Orthodox Church. Variants of Kievan notation are also used in Prostopinje chantbooks of the Carpatho-Russians.

Entering Kievan notation symbols

Kievan Notation symbols have been encoded in Unicode (beginning with version 8.0) in the Musical Symbols block at U+1D1DE and following. To enter Kievan Notation symbols in a text, you will need a font that supports these codepoints. We suggest:

Metasuprasl Regular is a font for typesetting Kievan notation inline. In the SIL Graphite version, the half note with the long stem up and short stem down may be accessed by setting the salt feature to 1 (true). In the OpenType version, the same variant is available as stylistic alternative (salt) 1.

Typesetting Scores in LilyPond

Kievan Square Notation is fully supported in LilyPond, which is a free music engraving program, devoted to producing the highest-quality sheet music possible. To familiarize yourself with LilyPond, please see:

Some examples of scores in square notation produced using LilyPond:

Here are some utilities offered on other websites to help convert your scores to LilyPond:

Typesetting Scores in other Software

You can typeset Kievan Square Notation in other software products, such as NoteWorthy Composer and Finale, by overriding the default font for musical symbols. We offer for this purpose the Metasuprasl Notational font. You will need to modify the font metrics in the METAFONT file to suit your notational program. Then compile into a Type1 font using mf2pt1.


Znamenny Notation

The repertoire of Znamenny, Demestvenny, and other notational systems has not yet been added to Unicode and adequate support for working with these notations on the computer is not yet available. We are working on a proposal to add the symbols for these notational systems.

While the proposal is being tested and approval is sought, the characters have been temporarily encoded in the Private Use Area of Unicode. To test the proposed methodology for working with Znamenny Notation, please see:

All of this material is ALPHA-PHASE SOFTWARE, comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, and is intended for SOFTWARE TESTING PURPOSES ONLY.