Music Braille – Latest Developments

Music Braille – Latest Developments

Young blind woman reading Braille book with headphones round her neck

You’ll find all the news, progress updates, announcements, consultations and reports from the DAISY Music Braille Project shared on this page, with our most recent developments at the top.


2022

October 2022

  • Project news – Q3 update covering activities July-Sept 2022 (10.10.2022)
    Includes: work on tool development, a music braille production network, metadata for music braille, teaching and learning of music braille, publisher workflow and engraving guidelines, as well as sharing news from around the sector. With acknowledgements to our funders.

July 2022

  • Project news – Q2 update covering activities Apr-Jun 2022 (21.07.2022)
    Includes: work on tool development, a music braille production network, metadata for music braille, teaching and learning of music braille, publisher workflow and engraving guidelines, as well as sharing news from around the sector. With acknowledgements to our funders.
  • Guidance for Engravers (using Sibelius, Finale, MuseScore) – updated 08.07.2022
    Downloadable guidance: Helps music setters/engravers to make effective use of music notation tools to create ‘born accessible’ music scores containing good structure which leads to MusicXML files which are braille-conversion-friendly. Updated 01.04.2022 to include reference to other accessible formats which can be created from well marked-up Music XML files, including braille, modified stave notation, and screen-reader access with braille, speech and sound.

 

June 2022

  • Invitation to Round Table on ‘Accessible Music Publishing’ – 14 July 2022. The DAISY Consortium invites music publishers and music-setters/engravers to take part in our upcoming online Round Table on ‘Accessible Music Publishing’ (materials adapted for print-disabled musicians) to help to explore and understand various sector requirements, through presentations and discussions between: mainstream music publishers; braille producers; music braille users; music setters/engravers; and music notation software producers.We hope this will: Open a dialog between those involved in music publishing and accessible format production; discuss sector needs for well-structured MusicXML files for effective and efficient conversion into accessible formats, particularly music braille and modified stave notation; discuss publisher working practices to explore whether their needs and practices would accommodate the creation of structured MusicXML files as part of their music-setting processes; and establish a trial with a few publishers to create accessibility-friendly MusicXML scores for print-disabled patrons, ready for conversion into accessible formats. For full details see the MS Word Invitation, and PDF InvitationPlease register by emailing musicbraille@daisy.org by 13 July to receive joining instructions. If you can’t take part but would like to stay in touch/receive notes from the Round Table, please email the same address.

 

May 2022

  • New Tutorial Video: Screen reader accessibility in MuseScore 3: MuseScore has published a tutorial video titled Screen Reader Accessibility in MuseScore 3 on their YouTube channel MuseScore Development.  The video demonstrates use of core MuseScore features with NVDA, like score creation, navigation, and note input. It also mentions some exciting new features due to arrive in the upcoming release of MuseScore 4, including support for VoiceOver on macOS, and new capabilities for music braille that are being developed in partnership with the DAISY Consortium and Sao Mai Center for the Blind. The video description contains a list of topics explored as well as links to relevant timestamps in the video.

 

April 2022

  • Project news – Q1 update covering activities Jan-Mar 2022.
    Includes: updates on MakeBraille development and upcoming licence arrangements (the online automated professional converter tool); latest developments in the interactive music braille tool for end-users (MuseScore and SMB). A score trial with the Music Braille Production Network to try to identify ways to creation and use of international use of transcribed scores more effective. Working with online collections of music braille scores to try to harmonize metadata to improve the search and retrieval of scores. Ongoing collation of teaching and learning resources. Planning an approach to publishers about a trial of ‘born accessible’ music scores. Looking for Sibelius engravers/music-setters. News from around the sector includes updates from the International Council on English Braille about their music braille work and upcoming mid-term meeting; Bill McCann given ‘Innovator Award’ by the California Transcribers and Educators of the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI); showcasing a blind musician Olga Koeva; and condolences on the death of Antonio Quatraro of the Italian Library of the Blind.
  • UPDATED: Guidance for Engravers (using Sibelius, Finale, MuseScore) – updated 01 April 2022
    Downloadable guidance: Helps music setters/engravers to make effective use of music notation tools to create ‘born accessible’ music scores containing good structure which leads to MusicXML files which are braille-conversion-friendly. Updated 01.04.2022 to include reference to other accessible formats which can be created from well marked-up Music XML files, including braille, modified stave notation, and screen-reader access with braille, speech and sound.

 

March 2022

  • Webinar: “Introduction to music Braille transcription using the Sao Mai Braille software for blind musicians and transcribers” held on Thursday 17 March 2022, 10:00-11:30 UTC. Recording and transcript now available (21.03.2022), and you are free to promote the webinar and/or use it to present the tool in your own organisations/events. Participants will get a quick tour of the main Braille translation features of SMB, with a more detailed demonstration of how to transcribe music scores into Braille using SMB. In addition, in the Q&A session we will be able to answer your specific questions about the translation tool. The tool is designed for use by blind musicians as well as transcribers.

February 2022

January 2022

  • Project news – Q4 update covering activities July to September 2021.
    Includes: updates on the final development of the online automated professional converter tool (MakeBraille), and on the interactive music braille tool for end-users (MuseScore and SMB). A trial has started of a ‘Music Braille Production Network’ to improve the efficiency of sourcing music braille scores and production between agencies. We are also working on how we can harmonize metadata used for music braille files in online collections to make search and retrieval more effective. News from around the sector includes a new online collection of accessible materials from ONCE available under the Marrakesh Treaty, new freely available scores from BrailleOrch, and an update on the SMB Music Reader App. Thanks to recent funding contributions from the sector our final year of the project has been secured.

2021

 

October 2021

  • Project news – Q3 update covering activities July to September 2021.
    Includes: Updates on the development of the interactive music braille tool for end-users (MuseScore and SMB), and on the automated music braille converter tool (MakeBraille). A request for recommendations for teaching and learning resources, and for feedback on searching for music braille files in online collections/from libraries; news from around the sector; and thanks to our funders. A funding request for remaining project costs for 2022 will be circulated separately – thanks in advance for your support.
  • Video (with transcript): DAISY Music Braille – a presentation at the DAISY Information Sharing Day 14 October 2021
    Abstract: Dr Sarah Morley Wilkins is leading this project which focuses on securing the future of music braille production in the face of declining expertise, a lack of suitable conversion tools and file format standards. Activities include the development of a professional conversion tool for transcribers, an interactive end-user tool, influencing file format standards and inclusive publishing practices together with the maintenance of an international stakeholder group. Sarah shared with us information on the development of 2 important tools: Firstly, MakeBraille (dzb lesen), the online professional automatic conversion tool for transcribers which takes well marked up scanned music files and well structured music XML files and converts them into music braille. With prioritized feature request from the project’s stakeholder group, this tool will be available via a license agreement in 2022. Secondly SMB-MuseScore, a free interactive tool for end-users that offers a fully interactive, multi-media music notation editing tool for creating, reading and exploring music independently in speech, sound and braille. Other project activities include: work on music file standards, work on a music braille network, exploring the possibility of inclusive music publishing for the creation of born accessible music scores, access to online collections and the promotion of teaching and learning resources.

July 2021

  • Project news – Q2 update covering activities April to June 2021.
    Includes: Updates on the development of the interactive music braille tool for end-users (MuseScore and SMB), and on the automated music braille converter tool (MakeBraille); a request for recommendations for teaching and learning resources; links to recent video presentations at three international conferences; news from around the sector; and sincere thanks to our funders for 2020, and for 2021.

April 2021

  • Project news – Q1 update covering activities January to March 2021.
    Includes: an update on development progress for the interactive end-user tool (MuseScore and SMB); update on the automated professional converter tool (MakeBraille); upcoming work areas for the project (including updates on the proposal for a network of agencies wishing to source/provide music braille from/to other agencies; working with publisher workflows; and teaching and learning of music braille)); and news from around the sector. Thanks to our funders 2020 & 2021.

March 2021

January 2021

2020

November 2020

  • Announcement: Funding for an interactive music braille user tool awarded for development of MuseScore and Sao Mai Braille (16.11.2020)
    The Steering Group of the DAISY Music Braille Project was grateful to receive a variety of proposals for the development of an interactive user tool for music braille according to our prioritized sector requirements. After very careful consideration they have chosen to support related proposals for the development of MuseScore (submitted by Peter Jonas, UK), and of Sao Mai Braille (submitted by Phúc Dang Hoai, Vietnam) from the non-profit agency Sao Mai Centre for the Blind. These combined developments will be invaluable for blind musicians of any age learning to read, study or create music braille with multimedia input and output. Full details are in the attached announcement, and all the documents, video presentations and related links are below if you wish to read more about their proposals: We will keep you up to date, and the Steering Group wishes to thank all the developers who submitted proposals. It was a hard choice.

October 2020

July 2020

  • Project news – Q2 update covering activities April to June 2020
    Includes: grateful thanks for two new funding contributions; news of development progress with MakeBraille-Hodder (the professional automated conversion tool we’re supporting); status of the funding application process for the interactive user tool; and related music braille news, including an update from Dancing Dots on changes in GOODFEEL.

June 2020

  • Developers’ Pack – Funding invitation; User Requirements documents; Response form
    All the files in one place for developers of interactive user tools for music braille: the invitation to developers to apply for funding support; the two Requirements Documents needed; and a Response form to submit full responses.
    Deadlines:
    – 30 June 2020 – confirm intention to submit a full response.
    – 31 August 2020 – full responses due.
  • “Requirements for Interactive User Tools for Music Braille”
    A prioritized set of functional requirements for consideration by developers for inclusion in interactive user tools for music braille creation, exploration and conversion, based on our Requirements Survey, which closed in January 2020. This, and responses from developers, will hopefully be the basis for future development work in existing or new tools for blind musicians to create, explore and export music for education, private or professional use.

 

May 2020

 

February 2020

  • Announcement: Tactile Reading 2021 Conference
    Project members are glad to be involved in this event of relevance for music braille specialists. Visit the Upcoming Events page for the call for abstracts.

 

January 2020

  • Project news – Q4 update covering activities October to December 2019
    Includes: a round-up of last quarter’s work; how our funding has been secured for 2020; and the upcoming technical development planned for Hodder, dzb lesen’s music braille conversion tool.
  • CLOSED: User Tools Consultation Reminder: please tell us what features you’d like to see added to music braille user tools to explore, read, write and output music – complete the online survey by 31 January or simply email us with your views by the same date: musicbraille [at] daisy [dot] org.
  • Questionnaire on a virtual global competence centre
    A survey and presentation from SBS to identify interest in participating in a virtual global competence centre for Braille music production. Deadline for responses: 31 March 2020.

2019

December 2019

 

November 2019

 

October 2019

 

September 2019

  • Steering Group Announcement
    We are delighted to introduce our first Steering Group members selected for the project from nominations received – eight experts with a good mix of skills and requirements to support the project.

 

August 2019

 

May 2019

Geneva Meeting, May 28-29. A two-day meeting primarily to discuss the prioritized requirements for music braille conversion tools resulting from consultation responses, and to hear responses from tool developers.

 

April 2019

  • Findings from the DAISY Music Braille Conversion Tool Requirements Survey
    A prioritized set of functional requirements for consideration by developers for inclusion in music braille conversion tools, based on our Requirements Survey, which closed in March. This, and responses from developers, will form the basis of our Geneva Meeting, and will hopefully be the basis for future development work in existing tools.

 

March 2019

Our first response submitted to the W3C Music Notation Community Group on our requirements for future developments.

 

February 2019

  • MusicXML Markup Spec
    A draft specification document for experts, who may need to make manual edits to the MusicXML file ready for conversion into braille.
    CLOSED: Feedback to Sarah by 29 March.
  • SMuFL Glyphs Mapping to Braille Equivalent
    A draft specification document for software developers to display correct braille symbols for particular Glyphs.
    CLOSED: Feedback to Sarah by 29 March.

January 2019


2018

October 2018

Round Table, London, 31 October:

A second discussion and planning session on the future direction of standards and tools for the production and sharing of music braille files.

Description of the Browser Book:

  • Browser book is a simple playback solution developed by NLB for playing fulltext audio books.
  • The main objective is to ensure that everyone has access to a simple, installation-free and free method of playing audiobooks on PC, Mac or Chromebook.
  • Works on all browsers, except Safari for Mac and IE for Windows (due to security settings in these browsers.

User functionality in brief:

  • Easy screen reader adaptation via button.
  • You can navigate by scrolling in text and or moving through headers / pages.
  • You can adjust the playback speed.
  • Use browser settings to customize appearance such as color scheme, font, font size, etc.
  • You can search the text via the default search function in the selected browser.
  • Bookmarks are not supported but the player remembers the last position when you open the book next time.
  • Feedback on this early version welcome, to eivind [dot] haugen [at] nlb [dot] no

July 2018

  • Tools listed in the Phase 2 Research Report
    A spreadsheet listing the various tools referenced in the Phase 2 Research Report with links to their webpages. This may not be an exclusive list of all tools available in the sector, but lists those raised in the surveys.

 

June 2018

Round Table, Leipzig, 14 June:

A discussion and planning session on the future direction of standards and tools for the production and sharing of music braille files.

 

April 2018

  • Phase 2 survey (second survey)
    Based on findings from the Draft Research Outline, this second survey explored four specific areas in greater depth across the sector, including gathering some end-user experience.

 

January 2018

  • Draft Research Outline (first survey)
    This survey identified and explored relevant products, projects, people, issues, concerns and plans across the sector.

2017

October 2017