- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. 6/8 time
  2. A (note)
  3. Abc notation
  4. Accidental
  5. Articulation
  6. B (note)
  7. Bar
  8. Beam
  9. Braille Music
  10. Breath mark
  11. Canntaireachd
  12. Chord
  13. Cinquillo
  14. Clef
  15. Coda
  16. Copyist
  17. Da capo
  18. Dal segno
  19. Dotted note
  20. Double whole note
  21. Drum tablature
  22. Dynamics
  23. Eight note
  24. Ekphonetic notation
  25. Fermata
  26. Figured bass
  27. Fingering
  28. Flat
  29. Ghost note
  30. Glissando
  31. Gongche notation
  32. Grace note
  33. Grand staff
  34. Graphic notation
  35. GUIDO music notation
  36. Guido of Arezzo
  37. Halfnote
  38. Harmony
  39. Hundred twenty-eighth note
  40. Italian musical terms used in English
  41. Kepatihan
  42. Key
  43. Keyboard tablature
  44. Key signature
  45. Klavarskribo
  46. Leadsheet
  47. Ledger line
  48. Legato
  49. Letter notation
  50. Ligature
  51. Marcato
  52. Mensural notation
  53. Mensurstriche
  54. Metre
  55. Modern musical symbols
  56. Musical notation
  57. Musical scale
  58. Musical terminology
  59. Music engraving
  60. Music theory
  61. Nashville notation
  62. Natural sign
  63. Neume
  64. Note
  65. Note value
  66. Numbered musical notation
  67. Numerical sight-singing
  68. Octave
  69. Ornament
  70. Parsonscode
  71. Partbook
  72. Pizzicato
  73. Portamento
  74. Prolation
  75. Qinpu
  76. Quarter note
  77. Rastrum
  78. Rehearsal letter
  79. Repeat
  80. Rest
  81. Rhythm
  82. Rythmic mode
  83. Rhythmic notation
  84. Saptak
  85. Scientific pitch notation
  86. Shape note
  87. Sharp
  88. Sheet music
  89. Sixteenth note
  90. Sixty-fourth note
  91. Slash notation
  92. Slur
  93. Sound painting
  94. Staccatissimo
  95. Staccato
  96. Staff
  97. Swung note
  98. Tablature
  99. Tacet
  100. Tempo
  101. Tenuto
  102. Thirty-second note
  103. Tie
  104. Time signature
  105. Time unit box system (TUBS)
  106. Tongan music notation
  107. Triple metre
  108. Tuplet
  109. Unfigured bass
  110. Virtual music score
  111. Vocal score
  112. Whole note
  113. Znamennoe singing

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 

Braille music

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Braille music is a Braille code that allows music to be notated using Braille cells so that music can be read by visually impaired musicians. The Braille music system was originally developed by Louis Braille.

Braille music uses the same six-position Braille cell as literary braille:

1/4 2/5 3/6

However braille music assigns an entirely separate meaning to each braille symbol or group of symbols, different from literary braille, and has its own syntax and abbreviations.

Most anything that can be written in standard print music notation can be written in braille music notation as well. However, braille music notation is a completely independent and well-developed notation system with its own conventions and syntax.

The world's largest collection of braille music is located at the National Library for the Blind, in Stockport, UK.

Learning Braille music

Braille music, although different from print music, is in general neither easier nor more difficult to learn. Visually impaired musicians gain the same benefits by becoming musically literate learning to read braille music as do sighted musicians who learn to read print music.

Visually impaired musicians who become highly proficient performers without ever learning to read music have the same difficulties and disadvantages as sighted musicians in the same situation. In either case, the illiterate musician is completely dependent upon others for learning new music or new parts. And it is very difficult for the advanced musician to have the patience to spend months or years re-visiting the rudiments of music in order to learn to read and write what can already be performed with ease.

Visually impaired musicians can begin learning to read braille music about the time they have reasonable competence reading Grade 2 literary braille.

Teaching Braille music

Braille music for beginners, like print music for beginners, is quite simple. Sighted or visually impaired music teachers with no previous knowledge of braille music can easily learn the rudiments of braille music notation and keep a step or two ahead of the beginning student who is learning braille music. Some common print method books are available in music braille, so that the sighted teacher can use a print version and the visually impaired student the brailled version (or the other way around).

Information about courses and materials for learning braille music can be found in the Braille Music FAQ.

Transcribing music into Braille

Much commonly-used music has been transcribed into braille. In the U.S. this is available from the National Library Service (NLS) of the Library of Congress (free for qualified individuals) and through other sources. Most countries have a national library similar to the NLS. See the Braille Music FAQ for details.

However, many visually impaired musicians require a good deal of music that has never before been transcribed to braille music. In the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and many other countries, there is a network of braille music transcribers who can transcribe such music.

Another option is to use a computer-music system. Such systems typically allow a sighted or visually impaired user to enter music into a computerized music notation program. The software then automatically converts the print notation that has been entered into braille music notation. Two such software programs are Dancing Dots and Toccata.

The Braille Music KIT works in both directions: musicians can create a braille music score that can then be converted to print music, or a sighted musician can use Finale to create a print score which is then be converted to braille music.

Introduction to Braille music symbols and syntax

Some of the most common braille music symbols and combinations are summarized in the chart below: Braille Music Summary Graphic

Visually impaired users can download the Braille Music Summary Table in either of these formats:

1. Braille Music Summary as a Duxbury Direct file

2. Braille Music Summary as a Braille Text File

Pitch and rhythm

As the "Notes" section of the music braille chart above indicates, a single symbol shows both the pitch and the rhythmic length of a note. For instance, dots 1,4,5 indicate an eighth note (or 128th note) C.

As the "Notes" section of the chart indicates, every rhythm symbol in braille music does double duty--8th notes and 128th notes use the same symbols, as do quarter notes and 64th notes, half notes and 32nd notes, and whole notes and 16th notes.

In practice beginners first learn the most common rhythmic value (8th, quarter, half, and whole notes) and ignore the other possibility.

For advanced students there is never rhythmic ambiguity between the two values because the musical context, including meter signature and bar lines, makes the intended rhythmic value clear. For instance, in a measure of 4/4 time that includes only the symbol with dots 1,3,4 (whole or 16th rest), musical context says that the symbol must indicate a whole rest.

Octave marks

An Octave Mark is included before a note symbol to specify the octave of the note. For instance, the 4th Octave is the octave starting with middle C and going up to the B above middle C.

Octave symbols are only specified when needed. For instance, a melody proceeding upward from the first octave can, if moving by step, proceed to the second, third, and fourth octaves without requiring additional octave signs.

The rule is that, in the absence of an octave mark specifying otherwise, notes always move by a unison, 2nd, or 3rd rather than a 6th, 7th, or octave. For instance, the following moves upward continuously, ending in octave 5:

 Octave 2 C C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B B C C

The rule for 4ths and 5ths is different, however: in the absence of an octave sign specifying otherwise, a melodic leap of a 4th or a 5th will always stay within the same octave as the previous note. For instance, the following always stays within Octave 2:

 Octave 2 C G D A E B F C G D A E

Because of the use of octave marks, clef symbols are technically not required in braille music. On occasion when transcribing print music into braille, clef symbols (bass clef, treble clef, or other) will be indicated simply so that the visually impaired musician will be aware of every detail of the original print score.

Musical markings

Musical indications like "dim", "cresc", or "rit" are inserted inline with the note and rhythm notation and, to differentiate them from note, octave, and other musical signs, are always preceded by the "word sign" (dots 3,4,5).

Slurs may be indicated by a slur sign between two notes or a bracket slur surrounding a group of notes to be slurred.

Musical signs such as staccato or tenuto are generally placed before the note or chord they affect. The musical signs shown on the chart are shown modifying a quarter note C (dots 1,4,5,6).

"Music hyphen" is used to indicate that a measure of music will be continued on the following line (this happens somewhat more often in braille music than in print music).

A "word apostrophe" indicates that the word will be continued on the following line.

Repetition symbols

Like literary braille, braille music tends to be rather bulky. Because of this, a system of repetition symbols--much more extensive than that used in print music--is employed to reduce page turns, size of scores, and expense of printing.

The repetition symbol (dots 2,3,5,6) is used similarly to the musical repetition symbol Image:repetitionsymbol.jpg to indicate that a beat, a half measure, or a full measure is to be repeated.

In addition, braille music often includes instructions such as "repeat measure 2 here" or "repeat measures 5-7 here". Such indications are in addition to the commonly used repeat marks and first and second endings employed in print music, which are also used in braille music.

Contrapuntal lines and chords within a staff

Unlike print music notation, braille music is an entirely linear format. Therefore certain conventions must be used to indicate contrapuntal lines and chords, situations where more than one note is played simultaneously within a single staff.


Independent contrapuntal lines within a single staff are indicated via whole-measure or part-measure "in-accords". First one of the contrapuntal lines is given, then the second contrapuntal line, enclosed by the in-accord symbols. The in-accord symbols indicate that the two lines are to be played simultaneously.

Interval notation

Homophonic chordal sections are written using interval notation. For instance, the notation "quarter-note-C, 3rd, 5th" would indicate playing a C along with the notes a 3rd and 5th higher than C, altogether making a chord C-E-G a quarter note in length.

There is also a limited ability within the interval notation to allow, for instance, an inner voice to move briefly with rhythmic independence from the other voices. Such movement is common in four-part chorale style and it is convenient to be able to handle this situation without resorting to in-accords.

Reading the interval notation is somewhat complicated by the fact that some staves use bottom up notation (the bottom note of each chord is specified and intervals are read upwards from the given note) and some staves use top down notation (the top note of each chord is specified and intervals are read downwards from the given note).

The modern convention regarding the choice between bottom-up or top-down interval notation is to specify the main note (either the bass line or the melody line) and let the intervals go up or down from there, as appropriate. For instance, in most piano music the left hand specifies the bottom note and intervals go bottom-up while the right hand specifies the top note and intervals go top-down.

Many older scores use a different method, however, with all staves reading bottom up or all staves reading top down.

Most scores have a note indicating the direction of the intervalic notation. However in some older scores the direction of the interval notation must be established from the musical context.

By convention, in-accords are given in the same direction as the direction used by the interval notation. For instance, if interval notation is bottom-up then the in-accords for that staff will be given with the lowest contrapuntal line first, then the next higher contrapuntal line second, and so on.

Thus, examining the in-accords is one way to establish whether the interval notation on a particular staff is bottom-up or top-down.

Dealing with different staves

Much print music is written on several different staves. For instance, piano music is typically written on two different staves (one for right hand and one for left hand) while choral music often has four different staves (one each for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass). In print music, the notes in different staves that play simultaneously are aligned vertically.

Because of the nature of braille music, and the fact that the braille musician can typically read only one staff at a time, multiple staves are handled in several different ways depending on the complexity of the music and other considerations.

Bar over bar format is most similar to print music. Simple piano music in bar over bar format is quite similar to print music, with right hand notation on the top line and left hand notation on the bottom line. Some degree of vertical alignment between the right hand and the left hand is maintained.

Other ways of dealing with multiple staff music are line over line format, section by section format, paragraph style, and bar by bar format. As a rule these formats take up less space on the page but require more of the musician in working out how to fit the staves together.

For instance, in a piano score notated in section by section format, the right hand part may be written out for the first 8 measures, followed by the left-hand part for the same 8 measures. No attempt is made by the transcriber to align or synchronize the right hand and left hand parts for these measures.

The same procedure is followed for measures 9-16 (first music for the right hand, then for left hand), and so on, section by section, throughout the score.

On a practical level, the musician learning a score notated in section by section format learns and memorizes one section right hand alone, then the same section left hand alone, then works out the two hands together by memory and by referencing various spots in the braille music score to work out mentally how the sections fit together.

A note from the transcriber in the score often clarifies the format used. However, with many older and more complex scores the format must be determined by examination of the music and context.

Variations in Braille music

Over the years and in the many different countries of the world, a variety of minor differences in braille music practice have arisen. Some countries have preferred a different standard for interval or staff notation, or have used different codes for various less common musical notations.

An international effort to standardize the braille music code has continued to make progress, culminating in the updates summarized in Braille Music Code 1997 and detailed in the New International Manual of Braille Music Notation (1997). However, braille music users should be aware that they will continue to encounter divergent usages when ordering scores from printing houses and libraries, because these scores are often older and come from various countries.

See also

  • Blind musicians

External links

  • NLB Braille Music Library
  • A brief introduction to Braille Music
  • The Braille Music FAQ
  • BrailleM—the Braille Music email list
  • The Braille Music Code 1997—a complete description of the Braille Music Code.
  • Music Braille
Retrieved from ""