Music Braille Transcribing

Course Information

About the course
Eligibility requirements
Prerequisites
Equipment required
How the course works
How to enroll
Instructional Manuals
Contact for more information 

About the course

Under contract with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), the National Federation of the Blind offers a course in music braille transcribing to teach students to transcribe print music materials into braille. Upon completion, a student receives a Library of Congress certificate in music braille transcribing.

There is no tuition charge. Necessary instructional materials are provided free of charge by the NFB Jernigan Institute.

Eligibility requirements

  • United States citizenship or residency
  • High school diploma or equivalent

Prerequisites

  • Background in music
  • Ability to read standard music notation fluently in both treble and bass clefs
  • Familiarity with common musical terms of mood and expression
  • Knowledge of music theory
  • Library of Congress certification in literary braille transcribing for a minimum of six months

Equipment required

A 40-cell slate, a braillewriter, or a computer using a direct input or software program.  Some sources of slates and braillewriters include:

National Federation of the Blind, Independence Market 
200 East Wells Street
      at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Howe Press
Watertown, MA 02472

Braille paper (11 x 11'  inches). Some sources are:

National Federation of the Blind, Independence Market 
200 East Wells Street
     at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Howe Press
Watertown, MA 02472

Star Continuous Cards
32 Bacton Hill Road
Frazer, PA 19355-1026

How the course works

Instructional materials are provided by the NFB Jernigan Institute. Students are encouraged to study with a local Library of Congress-certified music braille transcriber through Part One. For information about local groups that sponsor braille classes, consult the Library of Congress directory Sources of Custom-Produced Books or call NLS at 800-424-8567.

Beginning with Part Two, all students work through correspondence. Upon successful completion of work from the text, students are required to submit a partial score chosen by the instructor as a final project in the course. If the completed transcription is acceptable, the Library of Congress certificate in music braille transcribing will be awarded. Students have three chances to submit an acceptable trial manuscript.

Computer programs utilizing a literary braille translator or a music braille translator may be used in this course. Assignments must be submitted in hard-copy braille. Thermoform copies are not acceptable. A line length of 40 cells must be utilized according to braille music rules.

How to enroll

Applicants can enroll in the course in two ways.

  • Mail a complete print application to:
            The National Federation of the Blind
            Braille Certification Training Program
            200 East Wells Street
                  at Jernigan Place
            Baltimore, MD 21230

Whether intending to take the course with a local teacher or through correspondence, prospective students must submit this application form before the course begins.

Instructional manuals

Music Braille Code, 1997

Braille versions:

Introduction to Braille Music Transcription

Braille versions:

PDF print versions:

For more information 

Contact Jennifer Dunnam, Manager of Braille Programs
National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
Phone: (612) 767-5658
E-mail: transcribers@nfb.org

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