preliminary proposal: New Unicode characters for Arabic music half-flat and half-sharp symbols

Garth Wallace via Unicode unicode at
Sun May 27 20:39:52 CDT 2018

On Sun, May 27, 2018 at 3:36 PM, Hans Åberg <haberg-1 at> wrote:

> The flats and sharps of Arabic music are semantically the same as in
> Western music, departing from Pythagorean tuning, then, but the microtonal
> accidentals are different: they simply reused some that were available.

But they aren't different! They are the same symbols. They are, as you
yourself say, reused. The fact that they do not denote the same width in
cents in Arabic music as they do in Western modern classical does not
matter. That sort of precision is not inherent to the written symbols.

> By contrast, Persian music notation invented new microtonal accidentals,
> called the koron and sori, and my impression is that their average value,
> as measured by Hormoz Farhat in his thesis, is also usable in Arabic music.
> For comparison, I have posted the Arabic maqam in Helmholtz-Ellis notation
> [1] using this value; note that one actually needs two extra microtonal
> accidentals—Arabic microtonal notation is in fact not complete.
> The E24 exact quarter-tones are suitable for making a piano sound badly
> out of tune. Compare that with the accordion in [2], Farid El Atrache -
> "Noura-Noura".
> 1.
> 2.
> >
I don't really see how this is relevant. Nobody is claiming that the koron
and sori accidentals are the same symbols as the Arabic half-sharp and flat
with crossbar. They look entirely different.
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