10-Minute Quick Start

This is a learn-by-doing kind of quick start into Cavatina to get the feel of writing with the font. If you haven’t at least quickly checked the documentation, we recommend doing so, specially the Notes chapter.

You will only use your computer keyboard to type in the musical symbols. These symbols are distributed in an intuitive fashion over the keyboard. Don’t invest too much time memorizing the layout – the skill will come naturally after you start experimenting with the font itself. Always concentrate in what you see rather than in what you type.

Choose your keyboard layout:

You can always hover over a single highlighted character (like this one ) to reveal its name if you are unsure what to type.

Let’s write some notes:

  1. Start by hitting space twice to draw some staff lines.
  2. Now write a C-chord: write adg. Wait, wait, don’t get confused – I’ll explain. Take a moment to look at where that keys are on your computer keyboard. Did you notice it? These are the first, third and fifth keys on one row, just like C, E and G are the first, third and fifth notes in the diatonic scale on C4: C-D-E-F-G-A-B.
  3. Well, with that in mind, why don’t we write that same chord one octave higher? Write a space to open a new chord block and then write qet. Get it? If not, take a look at the computer keyboard once again. It happens to be that q, e and t are the first, third and fifth keys on the row above the row where a, d and g are. Coincidence?

Next level: note length.

  1. Hit the spacebar to end the last chord. Write a note, say, h.
  2. Hit the spacebar again and write the uppercase of that letter, H.
  3. Don’t hit spacebar.
  4. Now write ~, that character you have probably never used. Ta-da! The A-note you wrote has now twice its former length. ~ is called the time character and is a modifier: it is used together with other characters rather than by itself.

Let’s move on to note accidentals.

  1. Make a new chord block, or start from scratch, and write any note, like W.
  2. Without hitting space after the note, write -.
  3. Hit space. Do the same for a new note, the same note if you wish, but write = instead of -.
  4. If everything went well, you should now have a note with a flat symbol and another with a sharp symbol.
  5. Wonder how you write a natural? Write both a flat and a sharp symbol next to each other. The order doesn’t matter.

OK. It’s time to learn how to write key signatures and time signatures. Delete what you have written so far; you won’t need it.

  1. Write a +; a G-clef.
  2. To specify the key signature, just add flats or sharps right after the clef. Write -----.
  3. Write a space. Now we will write a time signature. Time signatures can be written directly after key signatures or after barlines... Barlines! Barlines are written by typing ,. Now it’s perfect time to write a barline.
  4. To start a key signature, you first write the time character ~.
  5. After the time character you simply write the time signature sequentially. Write 34.

That’s it! – Now you have an impression of how Cavatina works. There are many more features like dynamics, articulations and staff systems that you can learn from the documentation. Check it out.

Try it yourself! Write the first measures of Beethoven’s 5th: ...Pssst! You can cheat and copy the measures below into the text box.

+---~24 ] g|| g.. g.., D~"", ] f|| f.. f.., S~L, S~"",