"Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology, L.P., was founded in 1992 to develop and adapt music technology for the blind. In 1997 Dancing Dots released its first product, the GOODFEEL® Braille Music Translator. Bill McCann, Dancing Dots president and founder, sees GOODFEEL® as the first in a series of high-tech tools to harness the power of the personal computer for creative people with disabilities. McCann himself is a blind musician and programmer who has successfully competed for federal and state contracts to advance this work. In addition to selling GOODFEEL®, the company is an authorized distributor for a wide range of assistive technology and music products. Now Dancing Dots has customers throughout the U.S. and thirteen foreign countries.
With GOODFEEL® combined with a few mainstream products described below, any sighted musician can prepare a Braille score without needing to be a Braille music specialist. Blind users can make sound recordings and print and Braille editions of their compositions and arrangements. Music scanning software can be used to speed data entry.
What is GOODFEEL®?
Dancing Dots' GOODFEEL® Braille Music Translator software automates transcription of Braille music. GOODFEEL® promotes Braille literacy for students and professionals all over the world. Braille scores are produced from the same computer music files used to print staff notation. GOODFEEL® converts MIDI, Lime and other Notation file formats into music Braille
Until GOODFEEL®'s release, Braille music could only be produced manually by a small number of specialists. For example, a blind flutist wishing to participate in the school band would need to send all his parts off to one of these overworked transcribers. Braille transcriptions were not returned for weeks or even months. With GOODFEEL®, transcriptions are produced locally in a few hours by sighted copyists with no special training in music Braille!
What is Lime?
The Lime music editor software converts your PC into a blank piece of music staff paper. Sighted customers use Lime to prepare staff notation for GOODFEEL® to transcribe. GOODFEEL® applies the rules for Braille transcription and automatically embosses the equivalent music Braille on a Braille printer or Braille display.
What is Cakewalk?
Cakewalk, by Cakewalk Music Software, converts your PC into a multi-track recording studio. With Cakewalk a blind musician can independently prepare MIDI files to be transcribed by GOODFEEL®. Cakewalk offers the option to make sound recordings or print the compositions for sighted players.
What is MIDISCAN?
Musiteks MIDISCAN music scanning software may be used to speed data entry. Any TWAIN-compatible, desktop scanner can be used to scan sheet music. MIDISCAN analyzes logical score structure and passes it to Lime or Cakewalk for further editing.".
Haus, Goffredo; Sametti, Alberto in: IEEE Computer, Vol. 24, No. 7, pages 56-60. July 1991.
"Scoresynth is a flexible program that uses Petri nets (PNs) and algorithms for describing, processing and synthesizing music scores in a manner closer to `music thinking and perception' than can be achieved with conventional music notation. The system employs music objects, which are any simple, complex or abstract musical entity, at PN nodes to describe information, with transformation rules and causal relationships between entities assigned to PN parameters and structures. Scoresynth algorithms enable the transformation of various parameters of sound and firing of notes during transitions of the PN."
"(The current version is designed for sighted people, but fully compatible companion products are being developed that will be dedicated to use by Blind people and vision-impaired people. For practical advice on how Toccata can currently be accessed by blind people using screen readers, refer to our tips).
Toccata is a fully-featured, but simple to use, Windows program that greatly reduces transcription time. Using the mouse or keyboard, notes can be placed into Toccata's Notation Editor to create music of any complexity. As notes are placed, they are heard through the computer speakers at the same pitch and duration as the note selected. The music can be played back in real time. A separate window shows the translated and formatted Braille, which can be directly embossed to a suitable embosser.
Alternatively, an entire music score can be loaded as a MIDI file or scanned into your computer via a flatbed scanner, displayed on the screen and then edited using the mouse. The SharpEye Music Reader program, which is included with Toccata, is used to scan music, but other programs can also be used, eg SmartScore from Musitek."
"Screen-shot of Toccata, showing translated Braille Music in lower window and original score in upper window.
The Braille can be instantly reformatted in common formats eg Bar-over-Bar, Section-by-Section, and a wide range of optional styles can be incorporated eg Show Hand Signs, Lyrics in Grade II contracted Braille, and so on. It is also possible to edit the Braille directly with six key input, and at all times the Braille and Music Notation Windows are synchronised to assist with proof-reading."
A video demo is available at http://members.optusnet.com.au/~terryk/topicframe.htm
Last updated: 8 March 2002