Software Launch: Visualizing Rhythm in Hindi Verse

We can sense the rhythm in verse while we read it. Poets and song writers can sense it while they write. Those writers clued-in into the technicalities of meter in verse, know how to check their meter by counting the beats on their fingers, in their heads or by jotting down on paper.

Many techniques have been created to visualize the rhythm in music. How can we tangibly see the rhythm in written verse?

The software “Geet Gatiroop” is a visualization technique which shows the rhythmic patterns in Hindi poems and songs.

These lines of the famous poem Satpura Ke Ghane Jungle by Bhawaniprasad Misra are visualized as:
Satpura Ke Ghane Jungle - Viz

Without the text:
Satpura Ke Ghane Jungle - Viz without text

You can obtain the visualizations by putting in the lines of Hindi text in Devanagari Unicode in the software interface. At a basic minimum, it gives the maatraa count of each line of the poem/song. This is the first and most basic aspect of rhythm in Hindi verse. Maatraas are the units that determine meter in Hindi verse, just as syllables do in English verse.

However, the software also shows many other significant patterns, such as the maatraa alignment, rhymes and other patterns and embellishments (alankaar). The visual mapping of the shapes and colors bring out the phonetic patterns.

The software can be used by:

  • Poets and Song Writers: For refining the structure of a poem or song while writing. Song writers can also use it to write verse as per a rhythmic structure given by the music composer.
  • Music Composers: For what-if analysis to see how they can fit a verse into the rhythm of their music. They can make modifications such as line breaks, adjustment of maatraa allocation and pronunciation, combining of letters to obtain the structure they need.
  • Literature and Linguistic Experts/Enthusiasts: For structural analysis of existing works of Hindi verse.

To get you started, three videos are available which introduce the concepts of maatraa counting using the software.

Part 1: Short Long Vowels / Laghu Deergh Swar (2:32)

Part 2: Flexibility in Urdu (6:56)

Part 3: Half Letters / Aadhaa Akshar (10:27)

More content will come your way in the following weeks.

I invite you to come, try out the software here – with your own writings or those that you love.