Topic: Plan Overview with a brief history
In 1988, before I left India for grad school, I had, using Microsoft C, written a PC software package called "The Composer's Apprentice" and "The Digital Musician". Together, the programs allowed users to write music in standard carnatic notation copied from text books such as the classics "Ganamrtha Bodhini" and "Varna Manjari" directly into a PC text file, that the software would compile and play using a series of beeps on the PC speaker.
I gradually adapted the package to visually depict the note being played using a piano, and added various control structures to the specification grammar such as looping and calls, similar to that in a programming language. I guess the program must have had some value, because Madras Doordarshan's Ilanthendral program picked up on it and decided to interview me on air. I received a number of enquiries from interested users soon after my 15 minutes of fame on television. But alas, in my total naivette, I built various copy-protection techniques into the software to the point at which it became practically unusable by anyone except myself and as a consequence it died a swift death soon thereafter.
But I had always wanted to revive some form of the software. Although it was quite difficult to get the system to play Gamakas or embellish notes in other ways, I had hoped that it would someday become possible to do it. But Grad school intervened, and a day-job soon after, and I had forgotten all about this program while I did exciting CS work at Stanford Research. A few weeks ago, just before the holidays, the prospect of such a program came up in casual conversations with my friends over dinner and this brought back old memories.
I searched the net for some such program that would be available for free, but found none (I did find some packages you could buy...) I wanted a pure WebApp, I wanted it to be free, I wanted it to be open-source so the community could contribute, both to develop the software as well as compose melodies, and most of all, I wanted it to be simple and cross-browser compatible.
I'm therefore making the Carnatic Composer system available in open-source to the community (with the usual disclaimers, of course) so that those of you who are better at each of the aspects of the system and the music than I, can take over and give us something useful and cool to play with.
I hope this project is as fun as it is interesting and useful.