The FAQ is in very rudimentary form right now. Suggestions are welcomed. If you write them in a form similar to what's already here, I'll just cut and paste your suggestions into place (saves a lot of work!).
The FAQ is deliberately maintained in a form such that it can be copied and pasted into an email or text message and still retain reasonable formatting and usable WWW links.
The FAQ is posted occasionally to BrailleM and you can always find it at its web site: http://www.brenthugh.com/braillem/braimfaq.html
If you don't have access to the World-wide Web, you can request a copy of the FAQ via email, by writing me: brent @ brenthugh.com
Last updated 2/2004.
_How to Read Braille Music_ by Bettye Krolick (available in print and braille from NLS) is brief but very helpful. It is written at about a 5th grade level.
_How to Read Braille Music_ can be ordered from http://www.opustec.com/ in braille, print, and interactive CDRom editions. The CD-ROM lets the reader use a PC to access the complete text of the book, including all the examples in music and braille notation. Audio playback is available for each example, along with detailed listings which explain the meaning of every braille sign used in the example. Clicking a music notation symbol displays its corresponding braille sign, and clicking a braille sign displays what it means.
_The Dictionary of Braille Music Signs_ (available in print and braille from NLS) has a good bit of information on the various formats, how they developed, and how to tell them apart. The Dictionary also lists every possible braille music sign and every possible meaning for each sign, in encyclopedic fashion (a rather thick book--but indispensible for braille music users!).
Braille Music courses by Richard Taesch are published by Dancing Dots. Go to http://www.dancingdots.com/braillemusicinstruction.htm or contact Dancing Dots, 1754 Quarry Lane, P.O. Box 927, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0927, Voice: 610 783-6692, Fax: 610 783-6732.
"They Shall Have Music: A Manual for Instruction of Visually Handicapped Children in Playing Keyboard," self-published by Dorothy Dykema, 604 N. Allyn, Carbondale, Illinois 62901. This 90-page book costs only $6.00 including shipping. Send your checks directly to Dorothy. She said her book is aimed at teachers of the blind music student rather than at the blind themselves. She said it covers many of the different tools and methods that can be used to teach, mentions the limitations of ear training (she says it can't really be taught in a student who doesn't have the innate ability), and places high value on the braille music code. Though she originally published it in the mid-1980s, it sounds like it is still relevant. [Note: This book may be out of print now--2/2004.]
Dykema's book and a number of other resources mentioned above are available for order at http://www.opustec.com/products/guide.html.
The instruction manual for learning braille music transcription is _Introduction to Braille Music Transcription_ by Mary DeGarmo. A person certified in literary braille may write or call the Braille Codes Section at NLS (see contact info below) and ask to enter the music course (no charge). NLS will send an application. NLS also provide the course materials: the DeGarmo and the official code book. The book is laid out in specific chapters that are used as lessons. After registering for the course, a person may do the first 16 lessons with another certified music transcriber, and this is usually faster than sending lessons in to NLS. Beyond lesson 17, lessons must be sent in to NLS.
Head of the music braille course is Sandra Kelly. If you call (1-800-424-8567) and talk to her, she can give advice and may have suggestions about whom to do the early lessons with - depending on where you live, perhaps.
People who are not certified can purchase the DeGarmo from APH and study on their own. The course is not difficult at the beginning stages. An interested vision teacher or vision aide in a school situation can quickly learn the notes, note values, etc. and be of great help to a beginning student in a school band, orchestra or chorus.
IMPORTANT NOTE! To work with the music code you should be able to read music easily, and you should have some knowledge of melodic and harmonic intervals. The more you know about music, the more successful you will be in that code.
Hadley School for the Blind
700 Elm Street
Winnetka, IL 60093
Toll Free: 1-800-323-4238
A Braille Music course over the WWW, Braille through Remote Learning: http://www.brl.org/
For many instruments (especially popular ones, like piano), some of the standard printed teaching methods are available in brailled versions. These methods can be ordered from the NLS or other regular sources for braille music (see Question 4, below).
National Library Service:National Braille Association has a collection (United States):
TTY: (202) 707-0744
Fact Sheet about NLS Music Services for Blind: http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/factsheets/music.html
Notes about NLS's Web-BLND: The NLS's Web-BLND catalogue contains the holdings for many institutions. Some of these will be audio, and you can filter these out by selecting "Braille" from the list marked "Format".
i) If you select "Music" from the list marked "Music", you'll probably end up filtering out a lot of music that would be useful for you.
ii) Most of the American Printing House for the Blind music listed in Web-BLND is no longer available for purchase, but is available on loan to clients of the NLS. Check the Louis site (see below) to find out if a given title from the APH is available for purchase.
Call (716) 427-8260 to request a free catalog in print or on tape. Address is 3 Townline Circle, Rochester, NY 14623. FAX (716) 427-0263.
The Louis database of accessible materials (United States, for purchase) is available at:
http://www.aph.org/louis.htmThe Canadian National Institute for the Blind is on the World-wide Web:
Louis includes the American Printing House for the Blind and other braille music producing agencies.
Overall web site: http://www.cnib.ca/
Library catalog: http://visucat.cnib.ca:8000/
The MIRACLE catalogue is a unified catalog of braille music holdings in several major libraries in Europe:
Royal National Institute for the Blind, United Kingdom:
National Library for the Blind in the United Kingdom:
National Library for the Blind (NLB) in the United Kingdom has the world's largest collection of braille music (14,500 items) and is available free to anyone, worldwide. Further details and links to the online catalogue are on the NLB website at: http://www.nlb-online.org/mod.php?mod=userpage&menu=130002&page_id=50.
Resource for Germany:
Verein zur Förderung der Blindenbildung
26, blekstrasse, hannover (germany)
tel. +49-511-954650 fax +49-511-9546580
Resource for Netherlands:
SVB Studie- en vakbibliotheek voor visueel en andrszins gehandicapten
Molenpad 2 1016 Gm Amsterdam Netherlands, tel. +31-206266465
Resource for Brazil:
For braille music in Brazil, contact Zoilo Lara de Toledo atMost other countries have a similar service; it may take some searching to find it.
Fundacao Dorina Nowill Para Cegos
Rua Dr. Dlogo de Faria, 558 - V. Clementina
04037 Sao Paulo
[Geoff Sinclair (sinclag @ CNIB.CA) contributed much of the information in this section.]
Dancing Dots has an "automated transcription service". Turnaround time is about three weeks. Visit http://www.dancingdots.com/transcription.htm to see the details.
There is a loose network of people who do braille music transcription work. You might be able to find a transcriber by word of mouth--ask friends who have used braille or braille music transcribers, or perhaps ask on the BrailleM email list (see http://brenthugh.com/braillem.html). Or contact the National Library Service (800-424-8567; other contact info above) and request their list of "Transcribers Willing to Braille For Others". People on that list are all NLS certified music transcribers.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 1754 Quarry Lane, PO Box 927, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0927, Tel: 610-783-6692,Fax: 610-783-6732
Toccata provides braille transcription from MIDI and NIF files. It incorporates a notation editor and sequencer and displays the translated braille indexed to the original score. For more info visit http://members.optusnet.com.au/~terryk/toccata.htm
The Braille Music KIT is a plug-in for Finale for Windows that allows the
creation of braille music scores from Finale. It also does a
number of other useful things. For more info see
http://brl.org/ has an online braille music course.
An outline of the history of braille and and explanation of the basic symbols for braille text is at http://www.duxburysystems.com/braille.asp
http://www.nfb.org/books/books1/ifblnd03.htm has a short history of braille and a list of basic braille symbols.
The American Foundation for the Blind has a variety of useful, general, resources at http://www.afb.org/
A master list of blindness related email lists is at
This list is also available as a plain ASCII text file from http://www.njin.net/caldwell/blist.txt
Theoretically TrueType fonts will work in either Windows or Macintosh. There are some issues of file format, however, although the underlying data is the same. If you know what you're doing, you should be able to get the Windows versions working in Macintosh and the reverse as well.
TrueType (Windows) http://www.rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public/documents/publicwebsite/public_rnibbrl.zip
A catalog of online sources of braille (and other specialized) fonts: http://www.tsbvi.edu/Education/fonts.html
Opus Technologies has a packet of 7 True Type braille fonts (some with print and braille together).
13333 Thunderhead St.
San Diego, CA 92129-2329
Phone/Fax: (619) 538-9401
------------------------ As I have mentioned before on this list, I recommend the Tack-tiles for Music as one teaching option which helps a sighted teacher (or a blind one for that matter!) introduce music braille to students. Another good resource has been developed by Opus Technologies of San Diego. They sell a CD-ROM version of the international manual of braille music. Contact Sam Flores, president, at: email@example.com. For more information on GOODFEEL or Tack-tiles see our web site (address below). Cheers, Bill McCann President Dancing Dots Please visit our recently updated web site: www.DancingDots.com See January 2002 @Freedom Scientific Newsletter for more about our technology and the people who use it: www.freedomscientific.com/fs_news/jan2002.asp#story5 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 1754 Quarry Lane PO Box 927 Valley Forge, PA 19482-0927 Tel: 610-783-6692 Fax: 610-783-6732 -------------- Music Education Network for The Visually Impaired (MENVI) is headquartered at SCCM, and is a coalition of parents, educators, and students. Our Advisory Committee is comprised of blind musicians, educators, students, and administrators. There are over 60 members worldwide. MENVI exists for the benefit of blind students and musicians, and its profile and direction is essentially guided by them. There is no cost to join, but you must register officially. Once registered, a membership roster will be provided, and quarterly newsletters sent to you in print, braille, or e-mail. Advice and educational guidance in braille music skills are a free service of MENVI. Southern California Conservatory of Music has been located in California since 1972, and specializes in traditional conservatory music training and procedures. SCCM is one of few schools of music in the world offering on-site braille music production, training, and curriculum for blind students from early levels through college. Vocal, instrumental, composition, jazz and classic guitar studies, are among the academia. SCCM is the Los Angeles Headquarters for the Royal Conservatory of Music (Torronto) Examination Center. Richard Taesch, Director of the SCCM Braille Music Division, and associate Grant Horrocks, will present workshops on structuring of early braille music curriculum and music in education at the 1998 State conference of California Transcribers and Educators of The Visually Handicapped in March. Richard Taesch is Music Specialist for CTEVH. For information re. SCCM, joining MENVI, or questions, contact: SCCM Braille Music Division 8711 Sunland Blvd. Sun Valley, CA 91321 Phone: 818-767-6554; Fax: 818-768-6242; e-mail: email@example.com ------------------------ 1. David Goldstein, of the Music and Arts Center for the Handicapped, 600 University Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06601 [Phone: (203) 366-3300] says that this institution has a braille music camp for young people grade 10 and up.