New version of Shamisen Composer! (+ more awesomeness)


I just uploaded a new version of the composer. It adds the following:

Keyboard navigation. Currently only works when you have a snap setting other than “None”. I’m not sure if a “go to next added note” feature would be useful if the setting is “None”. What do you think?

New buttons:

Arrows: Navigate the selection box. My tip is to use Page Down and Page Up in combination with this when you want to go beyond what you see. One improvement I can think of is that the site starts scrolling automatically when your box reaches the edge of the window. What do you think? Should it in that case be scrolling a page or just a bar?

R: Pressing R will now set a Rest symbol.

Shift: Holding down Shift and then pressing one of the numbers 0-9 will now increase an octave. This means you can now add up to the position 19 using only the keyboard.

Press 3 and 0 twice: If you press the button 3 twice in a row you will change it between 3 and 3#. If you combine this with Shift you can switch between 13 and 13#. If you use Shift and 0 you get 10, so if you press the 0 again you will change from 10 to 10b.

I also added a faded extension of the grid and the measures so that it is easier to click correctly when you want to extend your song. I’m wondering if you feel it is too visible? I could tone it down even more if that is the case.

Tell me if you find any problems. Enjoy!


After many months, I finally had time to really plunge into this. Though I picked a rather tricky song (timing wise), it’s such a pleasure to use! Previously having to line up the numbers and such trifles, making notation with this was at least 5X faster, if not more. As one who dreads making shamisen notation, this really is a joy to use.

Here’s a couple things I thought of:

  1. When I reach the end of the bar, I have to manually move the selector to the beginning of next bar. Right, big whoop. :wink: Not a big deal at all, but I thought it might be cool that once you reach the end of the bar, the selector would automatically start a new bar and more to the left?

  2. As we talked about on Facebizzle (thanks gizoogle!), having a way to be able to proofread by listening to the work in midi would be supremely useful. I know I’ve read and reread notation, but still miss many errors.

  3. Kind of a d-d-double question. Why can’t spaces be made in the song/composer title? Also, could the font size of the title be lowered? “The Lowest Trees Have Tops” was a wee bit long.

Ah, speaking of which, here’s the notation I made for The Lowest Trees Have Tops! :slight_smile: The timing might be a bit wrong, so let me know what y’all think! (Man, it’ll be great when Luke can make a page specifically for user-created notation!)

  1. I thought of that, but was a bit unsure what people like the most. I think it will be better the way you describe it though.

  2. Will check out a possible playback solution in the coming days.

  3. That is a bug that must have appeared in the latest version, I’ll fix that.


Fixed the Space bug.

Added the navigation moving on to the next bar. I did not add that you change page. Want to hear some opinions on that first.

Also changed Title size from 30 to 20 and Composer size from 16 to 14.


Inspired by the new course on World Scales by Kevin Kmetz, I decided to improve the Scale Viewer!

So what’s new? Well, I’ve added A LOT of scales that you can select from. That means you can easily get the most common scales in the scale viewer very quickly. You can use this to easily know how to play on your shamisen when your friends tell you what scale to play.

Next, I’ve added most of the songs in Kyle’s book and the scales and tuning they are using. This means you can easily select a song you want to play to or improvising to and you’ll get the correct scale on what notes you can play.

Remember, you can change the KEY and TUNING as well. This means you’ve got a TREMENDOUS tool to see how you should tune your shamisen together with different scales so that you can make sure you can take the chords with 3 strings for example!

As always, tell me if you find any problems!


I was just messin around with the scale viewer! It’s really cool!


Thanks! Hope it helps you as well! I think that for instructors this is a great tool to illustrate music theory for students.


Scale viewer is amazing, nicely done and very useful




Just a heads up that I’ve been doing a overhaul of the site.

There are tons of stuff that will need to be added and fixed, especially for mobile devices which have a higher resolution making everything small.

The site will be slow to load right now because I’ve added playback of songs and it takes some time to load the files. This will be improved so that it is loaded in the background.

It is still very rough, so expect problems.

That said, feel free to test it out. I’ll be updating it from time to time in the coming weeks.

A quick note. The properties of a song is now accessed by clicking on the title, composer, time signature or tuning texts. This will open up a dialog where you can edit everything, including the tempo (BPM) of the playback.



Holy guacamole! This is an immense update! The ability to listen to how your notation sounds with a real shamisen playback gives it another huge level of accessibility. I wish I had that when making all the notation for Shamisen of Japan. Sooo many mistakes could’ve been avoided if I could hear a playback of my work (I missed the mistakes even when playing it slowly on shamisen)

Being able to listen to your piece, I’m sure it will minimize a majority (if not all) of wrong notes/timing issues.

Plus, I like how everything’s cleaner and can all be done on the keyboard. :slight_smile:

Excellent work, Karl!!!


oh wow! :smiley: its fun to play with…
It would be awesome in a future update if you could incorporate/ enable arrowkey controlls to move along to different sections etc~ but this is amazing!
just made a little song ^.^


The site has some keyboard support already. What part do you want improved?

If you select a snap setting you will be able to move between the snap slots with the arrow keys. You can use the numbers to add notes. If you press for example 3 twice it will change between 3 and 3#. You can also hold down SHIFT to raise the numbers one octave but this only works with the numbers above the letters and not the numpad.


oh! I didnt know that :slight_smile: I will give it a try now.
I probably just need to play around with it to get the hang of everything. Could you tell me how to get the play button to play all the notes? For some reason when I click play after having put the notes on the bars it only plays one note… I think i’m doing something wrong xD

Thanks! :smiley:


And you Karl made my dream come true… Excelent work!!


Thanks Fabian!



Just got to messing around with your program. Fuckin amazing son! The play back makes it so much easier to use than before. I’m gonna use it to transcribe a song and then give some feed back afterward. anyway すごい!



Just got to messing around with your program. Fuckin amazing son! The play back makes it so much easier to use than before. I’m gonna use it to transcribe a song and then give some feed back afterward. anyway すごい!

Cool, you do that!


Ok so I was using your program today to transcribe an awesome song
and I wrote some notes as I used it to give feed back. So here are some things I think would make this kick even more ass.

Muti shamisen support. It would be nice to because to have two lines on the score for pieces that require more than one Shamisen such as Ninjari ban ban. Its like it might be hard to match up the sounds with the play back but that would be really useful.

Chunk editing.This is probably the biggest thing I noticed that could be amazing for editing your score. I don’t know if this is possible yet but it seems like you cannot move chunks of notes to a desired location in the score. Say for example the first measure of the song repeats 10 times it would be nice to just copy that chunk and then paste it ten times in the following measures. Or even slide that copied measure into an area that already has notes typed out.

The inserting of chunks into already typed out areas would be great because if you forget to insert a part of a song into the score then you could do it quickly without having to delete everything after that point and do it over.

Getting play back from a specific point. The playback feature is incredibly useful so one thing that could make it better would be to choose where it starts the playback. Maybe have a little moving line that marks where you are in the piece and from where it will begin playback

A repeat sign. Also just adding the little repeat symbol that shows a certain part repeats.

That’s all I have for now. And maybe you can do some of that already and I just don’t know. Anyway let me know what you think.


Multi shamisen: Yes, I have been wanting this myself. I’m not sure how good the playback will be. The playback of the MIDI player I use is pretty bad, but it might be possible to play the two shamisens with different volume as a way of distinguishing the two from each other.

Chunk Editing: Yes I think this should be then next thing to add to the composer as in the current state if you make a mistake you have to move everything note by note. As you say you often want to add parts in between too.

Playback: Yeah this should be added too.

Repeat sign: This is interesting. I am wondering what the best solution would be for playback. The notation that have used repeat signs that I have seen differ a bit on how many bars they want you to repeat. I guess the best solution would be to introduce the concept of “selecting” a bar and set it to repeat X bars from before.

Even if one should be able to select a arbitrary chunk, I think that selecting bars would help a lot because that is what you usually do.