Konnakkol is the vocal percussion art of South Indian classical music (Carnatic Music). This tool will turn written Konnakkol into audio.

It was developed as part of my internship at the Flex Group at HARC. After learning more about their Ohm project, I quickly realised that combined with the WebAudio API I could quickly build a web based Konnakkol player, to turn written Konnakkol into audio.

This work actually lead on from my undergraduate dissertation, a generative music system for Carnatic rhythms. After which I spent six months studying in Chennai, India with Vina player Dr. Karaikudi S. Subramanian and Mrudangam Artiste Erode Nagaraj.

Saketh Kasibatla helped out a lot to get me up to speed with writing an Ohm Grammar, and Alex Warth was on hand to answer any tricky questions.

As a means of transmitting Konnakkol it provides both an unambiguous notation, and real audio, both of which have real, differing benefits when learning. It is also much lower bandwidth than full video, which is an important consideration with the cost of phone data plans in India.

The Future

Browser integration

With a browser extension, it would be possible to select Konnakkol on any web page (forums, your email, Facebook…) and play it as audio. It’s in the works….

Multiple outputs

The most exciting feature (for me) of Ohm, that I have yet to take advantage of, is the complete separation of front end (grammar) and back end (semantics), this means that you can have one front end with multiple backends! This means you could write Konnakkol and as well as outputting audio, also generate MIDI, and western score (probably via LilyPond). If anyone wants to take a crack at it let me know!


Below you can try it out, it will guide you through the various features of the Konnakkol grammar.