[blindkid] .brf file & Music braille

Bill billlist1 at verizon.net
Wed Jan 13 13:29:21 UTC 2016

Hi, Traci,

If the band teacher has studied music, he or she will surely have heard of
the solfege system for assigning syllables to each degree of the musical
scale.  Solfege, or solfeggio as it is said in Italian, is a mainstream
system going back centuries that is a global standard not just used by
visually impaired musicians but by all musicians who study music in the
academic tradition.

Right, I started out to answer your initial post with a brief response but
it quickly turned into a short article.  As you may have sensed, I can get a
bit passionate on this topic.  I have been reading braille music since age

Feel free to contact me off-list using my info at DancingDots.com address or
call 610-783-6692.


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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: .brf file & Music braille (Traci W)


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:33:01 -0500
From: Traci W <traci.mwd at gmail.com>
To: "Blind Kid Mailing List,	(for parents of blind children)"
	<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [blindkid] .brf file & Music braille
	<CACWKtUekp8O_mHyzhCUkyXzrNHhdfYZN7Cv_fsNJUxm_aipL-Q at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

Thank you , I will try to digest this information when I have more time.
I'm not sure if the band teacher is will to make these modifications with
the doh as C, etc.....


On Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 10:40 AM, Bill via blindkid <blindkid at nfbnet.org>

> 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
> situation:
> 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 And An Introduction to 
> Piano for the Blind Student
> The NLS page is:
> http://www.loc.gov/nls/music/index.html
> If you want to order your own copies of these publications, just go to:
> http://www.dancingdots.com/main/braillemusicinstruction.htm
> Bill
> ------------------------------
> 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
> Chris Nusbaum
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Jan 8, 2016, at 12:36 PM, Traci W via blindkid 
> > <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
> wrote:
> >
> > 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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