[blindkid] .brf file & Music braille

Bill billlist1 at verizon.net
Sat Jan 9 15:40:44 UTC 2016

Hello, Traci,

If you did obtain that .brf file from the NLS Music Section, I think it is
safe to presume that it has been proofed and is correct.  You should only
need to run Duxbury and open it as a braille file.

If the braille appears wrong, and your machine is running a screen reader
such as JAWS, make sure that the screen reader is not translating the text
of the .brf file.  That is, turn any automatic braille translation function
of the screen reader off.  I am a subscriber to their service too so I could
download a copy and check it out for you if need be.

As Chris Nusbaum notes, we do make accessible music software but it creates
formatted braille scores.  That is, it does not read formatted braille files
such as .brf files but rather writes formatted braille output.  Our GoodFeel
translator creates formatted braille files with the .gf extension.  Recent
versions of Duxbury will recognize .gf files as formatted braille and open
them.  For older versions of Duxbury, you can simply rename the .gf files to
.brf and then open them. 

The NLS Music Section has some helpful online resources to get you up and
running with music braille including a free download of a book I wrote with
Richard Taesch entitled
"Who's Afraid of Braille Music?"  available in both braille and print.  This
book explains the differences between the braille and print systems for
notating music and why Louis Braille invented his ingenious system.  

Our book also debunks certain myths about the braille music system such as
that it is just impossibly difficult to learn, etc., etc.  The book explains
that Braille himself was French and called the note we call Middle C "DO"
(pronounced doe).  Only certain Germanic languages like English give
alphabetic names to the 7 degrees of the scale.  When Braille devised his
system, he was definitely not thinking of C, D, E, F, G, A and B as the
names of the notes but rather, Do, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA and TI (or some
systems call it SI).  He decided to use the 7 dot patterns we know and love
in literary braille as the letters D through J to represent the 7 notes of
the scale.  He probably chose these patterns because each character has at
least 1 dot in the top to rows of the cell.

When teaching braille music, we always introduce the notes using their
solfege names and not their letter names.  This approach helps students to
train their brains to perform the required "code switching" needed to
distinguish between music braille and literary braille.  The same kind of
code switching is needed to know the difference between literary braille and
math braille.

Otherwise, teachers risk creating the following unfortunate but all-to-often

Teacher: "Today Joey, I am going to teach you music braille.

Joey: Yay! Sound fun!

Teacher: OK, Joey.  Here's a line of music notes for the note C, the first
note of the scale.  C is dots 1, 4, 5.

Joey: Wait a minute.  No it isn't!  The dots for C are 1, 4.  This system
doesn't make any sense!

Teacher: Hmm, you're right, Joey.  Let's move on to something else.

Again, I am sure that Monsieur le Professeur Braille was thinking about
geometric patterns to form the seven degrees of the scale and not letter
names.  He uses the top 4 dots of the braille cell in combinations to form
the scale degrees.  He uses the bottom two dots, dots 3 and 6, to indicate
the duration of the note.  Consequently, under the tip of a finger, we can
learn both the pitch and the duration of a note instantaneously.  For
example, if I feel dots 1-2-3-4-6, I immediately know that it is a
whole-note MI (pronounced me) or, in the English letter name system, the
note E.

NLS also has copies of Richard Taesch's series of courses for learning
braille music which you can borrow for up to six months in both print and
braille editions.  Look for:
An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student
An Introduction to Piano for the Blind Student

The NLS page is:

If you want to order your own copies of these publications, just go to:



Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 13:10:25 -0500
From: Chris Nusbaum <cnusbaumnfb at gmail.com>
To: "Blind Kid Mailing List,	(for parents of blind children)"
	<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [blindkid] .brf file & Music braille
Message-ID: <E795648E-90BC-4FD0-8FB1-D3BDEBB3E365 at gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain;	charset=utf-8

If you have the Dancing Dots suite, you may need to run it through Lime in
order to format it correctly. You could then export it to Duxbury directly
from Lime and emboss it. Just a thought?sorry I don't know many details. I
read Braille music often, but don't know much about transcription.

Chris Nusbaum

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 8, 2016, at 12:36 PM, Traci W via blindkid <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
> Hello!  I'm just at the very beginning of figuring out music braille.  
> My child will start band next year in middle and I can find the book I 
> need on NLS in braille - but I have no idea what to do with it now that I
have it.
> I am a braillist (in the middle she will attend), and we use Duxbury, 
> I haven't figured out how to open it to make the braille correct.  It 
> isn't capitalizing anything, names, etc. so that seems odd.
> Does anyone have any experience opening a .brf file and getting it 
> open in Duxbury correctly?
> Thank you!
> Traci
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Message: 4
Date: Fri, 08 Jan 2016 15:56:31 -0600
From: David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>
To: david.andrews at nfbnet.org
Subject: [blindkid] Fwd: Re: Get 3 FREE braille books from Seedlings!
Message-ID: <auto-000046784055 at mailfront2.g2host.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

>Great news! Every blind or visually impaired child (ages 0-21) in the 
>U.S. and Canada may now get 3 FREE books from Seedlings Braille Books 
>for Children!  Seedlings has expanded its Book Angel Program for 2016! 
>The program was originally called "Anna's Book Angel Project" in memory 
>of our Director's 19-year-old daughter who was killed by a drunk driver 
>in 2001. Each year, every blind child registered received 1 free book 
>in Anna's name, but thanks to Seedlings' generous donors, that number 
>is now 3! Just register your child or student by going to 
>Karen S. Smith
>Community Outreach Manager
>Seedlings Braille Books for Children
>734-427-8552 x 301
>Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SeedlingsBrlBks)!
>"Placing a book in a child's hands is like planting a seed."
>From: David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>
>To: seedlink7 at ameritech.net
>Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 12:48 AM
>Subject: Message
>You sent me a message about getting 3 free books from Seedlings.  I 
>accidently deleted it, can you send again.
>         David Andrews and long white cane Harry.
>E-Mail:  <mailto:dandrews at visi.com>dandrews at visi.com or 
><mailto:david.andrews at nfbnet.org>david.andrews at nfbnet.org


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