2005 Conference Proceedings

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William R. McCann
Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology, L.P.
PO Box 927
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0927
Tel: 610-783-6692 FAX: 610-783-6732
Email: info@dancingdots.com
Web: www.dancingdots.com


This presentation will acquaint the audience with two significant advances in the transcription of music into braille: first with respect to transcription of textbooks and secondly regarding free interchange of data to facilitate rapid transcription of music of all kinds into the equivalent braille music. Recent cooperation between Dancing Dots, makers of the GOODFEEL® Braille Music translator, and Duxbury Systems, manufacturers of the Duxbury Braille Translator for Windows, has led to an innovation that will vastly improve the productivity of transcribers who need to convert books with both text and music into braille. The presenters will also demonstrate a new MusicXML importation feature of GOODFEEL that will greatly speed transcription of all kinds of music. Increasingly, MusicXML source files are becoming the standard choice for publishers, composers and other musicians to exchange data without significant loss between various commercial music editing software.

New Tool for Transcription of Music Textbooks

Since 1997 customers of Dancing Dots have been using their GOODFEEL® Braille Music Translator to automatically transcribe band and orchestra parts, keyboard works and vocal pieces into the equivalent braille music notation. However, customers have often asked how to use GOODFEEL in the transcription of such material as music theory and method books. Until now the only choice was to cut and paste the formatted braille text which GOODFEEL produces into the document containing the formatted braille of the literary text. This approach is tedious and fraught with all kinds of difficulties with respect to placement of sensible page breaks, page numbering, etc.

Duxbury Systems and Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology have joined forces to create a new level of integration between their braille translation softwares. Licensed users of both products can now apply the respective strengths of the Duxbury Braille Translator for Windows (DBT) and the GOODFEEL® Braille Music Translator to the task of transcribing material containing expository text and musical examples.

Dancing Dots now packages all the functionality of GOODFEEL in a new .dll form. With release of their version 10.5, Duxbury takes advantage of this new dll. Duxbury users can now embed references to music source files in their Duxbury print document. At translation time, DBT passes a request to GOODFEEL for music translation when it encounters references to such music notation files in the Duxbury print document. Users must purchase licenses for both products and both products continue to function as stand-alone software.

The MusicXML Interchange File Format

MusicXML facilitates the interchange of notational information between various notation-editing software programs. GOODFEEL 3.0 has a new, MusicXML import feature that makes it possible to easily transcribe numerous commercial source files into the equivalent music braille virtually automatically!

This innovation opens the way for vast improvements in efficiency in the transcription process since one can now import and transcribe directly from such commercial file formats as Finale, Sibelius and a growing number of others. Many music publishers now use these products to produce the sheet music they sell. Music educators often use such software to create supplementary class materials. The adoption of this new MusicXML import feature will put braille music into the hands of blind musicians more quickly than ever before.

The presenters will demonstrate these new features using excerpts from typical source material. Questions and comments will be welcome.

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