Sibelius helps blind children to make music

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The latest issue of Zone Magazine contains an article written by Lydia Machell of Prima Vista Braille Music about how her Sibelius plug-in to export Braille music notation from Sibelius is helping young children to make music. I’ve met Lydia a couple of times (she wrote the Export Lyrics plug-in that’s included with Sibelius) and she’s passionate about this work.

Braille music notation is pretty fascinating, in fact. Louis Braille, who invented the 6-dot raised code that enables blind people to read by touch, also invented the Braille music code, since he happened to be an accomplished organist.

Lydia has set out to make the creation of Braille music notation as simple as possible, closing the accessibility gap that exists between sighted and blind music students:

What started as a casual what-if became something of a monomania. I eventually put all other work aside in order to concentrate on creating a piece of software that could, in one step, translate a Sibelius file into Braille. I also tackled the other half of the equation and began to develop software that would enable a blind musician to create scores in both Braille and print.  Another innovation of the Prima Vista system is the ‘Interface Score’ format, which adds printed Braille symbols above the notes of a standard score to help sighted people, such as school music teachers, to learn to read Braille music alongside a blind pupil.

To read the whole article, you’ll need to join the MusicLearningZone community at MusicEducationZone (too many run-together words!), but it’s worth a read.

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