With the objectives of introducing more people to NAF playing and encouraging people to play more, I figured free web publishing could reach a greater audience. For the first year, www.flutetree.org has shared some melodies in piano roll notation, which is basically finger guides with a simple melody line illustrated above. The format appeals to individuals that don't like classic sheet music. Which is understandable, many of us have had bad experiences with music lessons and such. After a year of feedback on www.flutetree.org, I felt it was time to expand support for the more serious flute enthusiast. The new system will also support the piano roll notation, but I now refer to this format as the melody graph.

There many ways of sharing sheet music via the web. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The use of Nakai TABlature for transcribing the native american flute has grown in popularity from recording ones personal music to sharing your music within a growing community. TAB borrows heavily from the notation of classic sheet music. Where the piano roll appeals to individuals that don't like classic sheet music, TAB appeals to those how have some basic musical training. Several books of sheet music have been published in TAB. But one thing that these paper publishers learned early was the inclusion of finger guides increased sales over TAB only books. Unfortunately when one works with melodies outside the basic scales, the fingering varies greatly with flute makers. This can lead to generating different copies of the melody, one for each fingering style. The solution this web site adopted was too automate this process. A visitor of this site could select a flute maker, and all the music would then be displayed with that fingering. This led to the development of a simple graphics engine that could render a simplified version of TAB which also includes finger guides, such as the following:

Another objective was to make adding melodies to the songbook very simple. I accomplished this by writing some software that converts a musical shorthand into a number of different formats. All this is done automatically within your web browser.

To even accomplish this, a number of compromises had to be worked out. The web pages are all static HTML, so the musical score is dynamically created on the fly within your web browser via about a couple of thousand lines of javascript. Images were kept small and simple. Only a subset of classic music notation is supported. Basically the minimum required for simple woodwinds. No need for polyphonics, guitar chords, multiple key signatures... Connecting eighth notes with beams would have greatly increased the complexity and the number of handcrafted images. So they are not supported. The melody graph notation is also supported as an alternative to Nakai TAB. This format is popular with those who dislike traditional music notation.

Another compromise was screen width which is limited to 640 pixels, because this is all that can safely be printed on most web browsers, when images are involved. Since the images are sized for the screen, their quality is inferior to what most printers are capable, but adequate for free sheet music. Rhythm guide is included because many flute players struggle with standard music notation, and helps in the understanding of TAB, just like finger guides.

Could additional items be supported in the future? Sure. Art is never finish, only abandoned. And I'm not ready to abandon this project. This is only the beginning.