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Microtonal scales, Arabic script, and the future of Tech

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 21:50
I'll answer several questions in one post.

First, go here for a great website on non-12-tone stuff:

It's the Huygens-Fokker Foundation. I also know of another ample web
resource run by someone named Joe Monzo and I'll find it somewhere.

Now on to Arabic script. It's not that complicated, if you use the basic
type. There are 28 consonantal letters, and most of them have four forms:
isolated, initial, medial and final. The difference between each is only
that of a connecting line or a finishing swash (the lone exception being the
letter <h>). Several letters do not connect to a following letter, so they
only have two forms. And of course short vowels aren't written, but long
vowels are indicated by a corresponding related consonant.

It's not as complicated as Devanagari, not indeed. But I'm talking about
simple, basic Arabic; this is what you get if you use the Simplified Arabic
or Arabic Transparent fonts. More formal writing makes use of ligatures that
place preceding letters above others and invert others. This is found in the
Traditional Arabic font.

But the most complex forms are found in the highest calligraphies: Naskh,
Ruq'a, Thuluth, and the distinctively geometric Kufi. The scripts found in
the Qur'an and Islam's holy writings. You get all sorts of alternate forms,
swashes, ligatures, and other decorations there. This is an art form in
itself with parallels in the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt or the logograms
of China.

Which finally leads me to my conlang-in-process, which again is a mix of
Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, Turkish, Greek and, later on, Armenian and Georgian.
Tech will probably resurrect from this somewhere, and I'll probably just go
ahead and call my project that. But there's no conculture or alternate
reality involved here. Just a personal language designed to emulate a
classical language (or better yet, several at once). I'm thinking more along
the lines of a mystical language for talking to God.

Or the curious musings of a madman.


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Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>Arabic script