New version of Shamisen Composer! (+ more awesomeness)


First off, I’d like to thank Karl for creating a tool as useful as this. I’ve been using Guitar Pro for 6-string and bass, but was wondering how it could be adapted to shamisen.

I am very new to shamisen, just on my fourth lesson now here in Tokyo. I’m also new to the Bachido forums, and this is my introductory post.

One question, Karl. This may be my lack of knowledge about writing tabs for shamisen in general, but in your web app, how do you denote an 1/8 note?


Hey Jeff, and thanks.

In the current version you can’t denote the notes at all. The idea is that you use the snap setting to position the numbers according to the beat and then you would get a sense of beat from that. In shamisen music you use the rest symbol (filled black circle) to indicate that you mute the strings, meaning you will let the strings sound until the string is played again otherwise.

Now Kyle uses 1/8 and 1/16 marks in his book and that is something that will probably be added in the future. However, I think there is room for improvement on how that would be visualized on paper. The two lines under the number takes too much space imo.

I’d also like to add that I haven’t added that function yet because I wanted to see how many people would embrace this new way of writing music.


Hi Karl, I finally got some time to try out your program and here are my first observations or comments::

first of all, in my previous handwritten notation ,I have been using, use simple sign for flat and sharp , rather than 10flat and 3sharp…the numbers are not nessesary there i recon, its obvious which position stands for sharp and which for flat. it is much clearer that way…I cant even find a button for the sharp sign on my keyboard …What is the short cut for it anyway?

another thing is : I started to notate a piece in ¾ time but each beat would give me only 3notes rather than 4 now … its like 9/8 now 123 123 1 23 rather than 1234 1234 1234

another thing, the circle sign is for what? a break? silence? or a dotted prolonged note? I think I would also introduce - sign

for example 3 -3 3 means dotted crotchet, quaver, crochet…

oh and the last ting …how to upload the final tab on bachido???



oh and the last ting …how to upload the final tab on bachido???

Oh snap, I forgot about that! Yes, hopefully that will be the next project Luke will develop, before the skype/hangout thing. (Holy moly, some major Bachido web projects in the works!)


Thanks for the input Sid! Been kinda quiet about the composer so far.

. Regarding the sharps, can you show me how you make your notation? I’m not sure I follow you. Since we’ve got more than 2 octaves for each string we still need to have the numbers or you can’t denote which of the positions we’re talking about. As for typing those notes with the keyboard - it isn’t possible right now. Any ideas which buttons you would want to use for them?

. Hmm, perhaps it isn’t clear enough how you use the tool. Maybe I should collect some common use cases and make a tutorial video for everyone. Basically:

If you choose to have a time signature of 3/4 that means you have 3 beats where each one is a quarter note.

You then want to select what Visual Grid you want. This will show you the light grey vertical lines. If you want to work with quarter notes you select 1/4. Since the time signature is 3 beats where each one is 1/4 of a note, you will get 3 positions. If you instead select to work with 1/8 notes, you will get 6 positions.

Generally you would set the snap value to the same as the visual grid, meaning your red boxes will snap to the visible light grey lines. However, the best way to work might be to have Visual Grid set to 1/4 so it shows you 3 positions, while your snap setting is set to 1/8 so that you get to work with 6 positions instead.

The visual grid is just there to help you see where a note is positioned.

. The circle is where you mute the string.

. Regarding the “-” sign - again, please show me your notation. I’m totally down with adding stuff if it’s useful.

. Uploading to bachido, me and Kyle will talk about this.


Hi Karl,
I have just selected 3/4 time signature and 1/8 grid and I get 8 positions instead of 6. thats why it doesnt count up properly…

regarding the signs I would use simple #/♭ signs for the first octave and 1# for the second…thus:
0 1 2 3 # 4 5 6 7 8 9♭10 11 12 13 1# 14 …
I find it much clearer than
0 1 2 3 3# 4 5 6 7 8 9 10♭ 10

the - sign i have it from indian notation, its kinda hard to explain I will make a photo of one of my hand written notation so u can see it and understand it better, perhaps u’d like it…it is simple and it just make the notation more precise and readable…



I would use the lines under the numbers for shorter notes, I know u said it is a bit difficult to do, but perhaps there is some other way…well it can always be added simply by hand afterwards, couldn’t it???


In shamisen music you use the rest symbol (filled black circle) to indicate that you mute the strings, meaning you will let the strings sound until the string is played again otherwise.

do you let it sound or you mute it??


ohh and for the #/♭ keyboard shortcut, anything would do, no preference at all, it is kinda awkward to scroll up and down for each symbol at the moment. I had a line: # # # # #4 #2 0 0 0… I was going up and down the screen, could not do copy and paste, which could actually be another useful thing to add since loads of music is based on similar, repetitive patterns that could just be copied and pasted and than slightly adjusted…


Sure if you have a PDF program you can add any stuff yourself to the file. I do not lock the file.

Copy/Paste and more keyboard movement is something that I think is the most wanted feature. The buttons that you scroll to are there right now just so you can do anything at all.

I don’t agree with you that 0 1 2 3 # 4 5 6 7 8 9♭10 11 12 13 1# 14 … is better, but I could still add such a function for those who do think so. I see the point though!

The black circle means you mute the string.


I cannot thank you enough for this. I got a copy of Fuji Musume from my teacher that is so full of extra writing that it’s hard to see the music when we’re playing fast in class. I just copied the whole thing into your program and now it’s clean and large enough to see. GREAT! Look forward to new features being added. Color me impressed.


Thanks Lorraine! Was there something that you felt was missing that you couldn’t add in the program?


Hi Karl, hope you’re still here - is the “load” function working? I had made a few mistakes, and wanted to start it again, but I couldn’t load the PDF file that I had saved. It didn’t seem to do anything when I hit the 'load" button. I was just going to start all over, but now that you’re here, I can tell you.

By the way, seriously, this notation program is the Bomb Diggity! :wink:



oh by the way, just to let you know - I’m using Windows 8 - which is extremely unfriendly to almost, well EVERYONE!


The PDF is only an output format. The site does not read PDF files. Save and load should work, although it is very basic right now. You type in a name and click Save. It will then be saved locally in your web browser’s local storage. As long as you don’t clear this storage, you will be able to type in the same name and click Load.

Did you click save?

Your song might still exist in the cache of my site, in which case I could send it to you. You would then manually have to insert it into your local storage. Not very user friendly unfortunately.


Ahh, okay! I’ll try that right now - I haven’t cleared my cache …


That totally worked, thank you!


Again - just to be clear- the bomb diggity :wink:


Perfect for beginners, thank you so much!


Cool that it is being used! Thanks