David Pacun, Reflections on and Some Recommendations for Visually Impaired Students
Figure 2. Super Quick Braille Primer
Six-dot cells: top four for pitch, bottom two for rhythm. Key signature and meter are shown at top of score.
Note equivalencies for rhythms: 1=1/16; 1/2=32nd, 1/4=64th, 1/8=128th. Gap=barline.
Additional cells necessary for (# of cells in parentheses):
|Accidentals (2), Ties (2), Dynamics (2-4), Articulation (1–3),
Slurs (2–3), Ornaments (1–2+)
Repeat signs (cells) used whenever possible (measure level);
signs also available for diatonic transposition of motives and
|Two or more separate lines: in rough alignment, or unaligned.
Keyboard-style chords: shown by diatonic intervals
above the bass (i.e. piano left hand), but below the melody (i.e piano right hand)—all from given pitch.
“In-accord” format for soprano/alto and tenor/bass format
(SA/TB): here the A follows the S; the student must assemble the
measure in their head or at the keyboard.
Specialized symbols available for all manner of keyboard (stemming) and string
|Music is best parsed into small segments (8–16 measures for single lines, 4–8 measures for multiple parts—all depending upon the skill and ability of the reader/musician).
|Braille notation is distinct from Braille writing: “A” ≠ “A” [tree ...].
Older scores may contain different cells and use unconventional formats.
A linear and additive system
Braille Literacy: owing to recent computer technology, as few as 20% of young blind music students now read Braille notation with any degree of fluency.