[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Slightly OT: Braille music code to print transcription as a web service


While this is not really related to Debian yet, I'd still like to use this list
to annouce the functionality, since it might become a package at some
(probably not too distant) point in the future.

I am working on software to handle braille music code.
I've already produced a sort-of finished application which can
transcribe certain MusicXML files to braille music code (FreeDots).
Since I went stuck in the complexity of the problem at some point, I
took a few steps backward and started to write software to support the
other way round: transcribing from pure braille music code to visual
music notation.
Braille music code is extremely compact and a very appealing way of
entering music for blind people.  You can either use a braille keyboard,
but you can also type the letters which produce the desired dot patterns
on a normal computer keyboard.

I am now at a point where BMC, which is the name for the new project, is
already useful for certain braille music code styles.  The code for the
porject resides on GitHub: https://github.com/mlang/bmc/
A wiki has been created on https://bmc.branchable.com/
This wiki also includes a braille music code tutorial which uses BMC to
transcribe all provided braille music code examples to visual notation
and a MIDI rendition.  You can, for the first time ever, learn braille
music code interactively: If you are reading an example, you can also
*listen* to how it is supposed to sound, which should make learning
braille music code tremendously easier.  Additionally, sighted people
can also attempt to learn a bit about braille music code, since they
also have a visual rendition of the presented music.

While bmc.branchable.com is a Wiki, this is still quite static.  While
BMC can already be compiled and run on Linux, and probably on Mac OS X,
there is no port for other platforms (help appreciated) yet.  Luckily,
entering braille music code is as simple as filling in a multiline text
field, so automated braille music code transcription can actually be
made into a web service quite easily.  And that is, what I did just
recently.  If you go to http://bmc.delysid.org/ you can experiment with
the capabilities of BMC directly on the web.  Braille input can
be unicode braille.  You can also choose a braille table which will be
used to backtranslate the characters you enter to 6-dot braille.

If you enter music which is considered valid by BMC, it is automatically
transcribed to visual notation and MIDI using LilyPond in the
background.  If you want to give music you write to sighted people, you
can download a PDF version and print it.

To close the loop, all the examples on
https://bmc.branchable.com/tutorial/ do also feature an "Edit" link
which will place you right into the interactive music service on
bmc.delysid.org.  So in addition to the ability to listen to or look
at visual renditions of the braille music examples, you can also use
them as a starting point for your own experiments.  If you are learning
braille music code and wondering to yourself what would happen if you
changed a certain note in the example given, you can simply invoke
"Edit" and do the changes yourself, immediately seeing or hearing the

Obviously I am posting this to announce the functionality to interested
I am also looking for feedback and input of any kind.  Braille is
already something that just a fraction of world population can read.
And braille music is a sub-culture inside a sub-culture.  This limits
the number of potential users quite a lot.  So if you are playing with
the services mentioned above, please make sure to drop me a mail with
your impressions.  Good or bad, no matter what, I *need* your feedback
to ensure my work is going in a proper direction.

BMC is developed on Debian of course.  So if you'd like to play with
bmc2ly, a braille music to lilypond compiler, you should clone the git
repository and build a local version of BMC yourself.  I will at some
point create a Debian package, but the timing of that event largely
depends on demand.  If enough people are actually interested in the
functionality provided by BMC, I will try to do a proper release +
debian package earlier.

So, if you are reading braille and always wanted to learn about braille
music code, a very fascinating 6-dot braille coding, now is probably a
good time.  Go to https://bmc.branchable.com/tutorial/ and learn about
braille music!

If you are an experienced braille music reader, please consider
contributing to the tutorial.  It is certainly not finished yet.  There
are other aspects of braille music that are already handled by BMC but
not covered by the tutorial.  Also, if you have ideas for different
wordings on the wiki, remember, its a wiki, you can edit it right away.

Thanks for your time.


Attachment: pgpq7OILSVLsz.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: