GOODFEEL™ Braille Music Translator and lime Notation Editor
What is GOODFEEL?
GOODFEEL is software that automates production of braille
music scores. GOODFEEL has been created to greatly increase the amount and
variety of braille scores available while vastly decreasing the amount of
time needed to produce them. It is not primarily a teaching tool for
braille music notation. One excellent teaching tool for music braille
which we list in our catalog is TACK-TILES® for Music.
GOODFEEL will give musicians the ability to braille
compositions stored as standard MIDI or Lime files. It will allow users of
the Lime notation editor to prepare braille scores without necessarily
knowing anything about the rules and syntax of music braille. Braille
output can be sent to a standard braille printer or saved as an ASCII text
file. All notation is in bar-over-bar format.
GOODFEEL runs on IBM-compatible personal computers using
Windows 95 or 98. Version 2.0 converts standard MIDI and Lime's file
formats into music braille.
Who Will GOODFEEL Help?
GOODFEEL shortens the time musicians have to wait to
receive their braille transcriptions from 3 to 8 weeks to 3 to 8 hours or
even minutes! Students and professionals who read braille music notation
will appreciate GOODFEEL's conformance to the standards of braille music
notation set by the Music Committee of the Braille Authority of North
America. Throughout GOODFEEL's development, Dancing Dots has received
guidance and support from Mrs. Bettye Krolick, BANA Music Committee member
and internationally-recognized authority on braille music.
Who Will Use GOODFEEL?
Anyone who wants to use a personal computer to prepare a
braille score will benefit from GOODFEEL. Some examples are blind students
and professionals, and teachers of the visually impaired who need not
necessarily be well-versed in the rules and syntax of music braille.
What is MIDI?
Since the early 1980's, Musical Instrument Digital
Interface (MIDI) files have become a widely-accepted standard method for
storing and recreating musical performances. MIDI is also the name for a
communications protocol that allows one MIDI device (a keyboard or a
computer with a MIDI interface) to control or play another. As a sequencer
(defined below) records a performance, each note is tagged with a MIDI
time stamp. In playback mode the sequencer uses these timing references to
replay the notes in the correct order with proper volume and duration. An
oversimplified definition of a MIDI file is: a list of start times, note
names and end times. MIDI files store conventional time signatures and a
constant value relating the MIDI timing reference to a quarter note.
Accordingly, MIDI files can be analyzed and interpreted as notation.
GOODFEEL does so.
What is a sequencer?
Sequencers can record and play back sequences of notes
played on an electronic, MIDI-compatible, musical keyboard. Most blind
musicians use software sequencers although some use "on-board" sequencers
on their MIDI synthesizer keyboard. With software-based sequencers, the
MIDI keyboard is attached to your computer by MIDI cables that run from
the back panel of the MIDI keyboard to a MIDI interface card installed in
your PC. The sequencer helps you to use your computer as though it were a
multi-track tape recorder. These programs are primarily concerned with
accurately recreating musical performances. However, some recent versions
of sequencers offer some basic notation output. Two examples of sequencers
accessible to blind users are Cakewalk from Twelve Tone Systems and
Sequencer Plus from Voyetra Technologies.
Why transcribe MIDI files?
MIDI files can be independently created by blind users of
sequencers developed for the mainstream market. On the other hand,
mainstream music notation programs are not accessible to the blind.
Secondly, since MIDI is an accepted standard, many compositions are
already available in this format. For example, a number of MIDI libraries
may be accessed via the internet. Files can be downloaded at little or no
charge. With GOODFEEL, these files can be transcribed into braille music.
Limitations of MIDI
One significant drawback of deriving notation from MIDI
files is that the MIDI standard does not provide for certain notational
conventions such as articulation and dynamic markings. The published
standard does permit storage of lyrics but as a matter of practice this
facility is seldom used. Consequently, GOODFEEL offers the option of
transcribing from a notation editor: Lime.
What is Lime?
Lime is music editor software developed at the
University of Illinois. It is being used in many college-level music
curriculums in the U.S. and abroad. Users of Lime can build a score by
manipulating graphical musical symbols such as note heads and clef signs.
The score appears on the screen in conventional notation. The work can be
saved as a file which can be passed to GOODFEEL. GOODFEEL reads the file
and determines the braille music equivalents. Presently, Lime cannot be
used independently by a blind person. However, sighted teachers,
colleagues and assistants could certainly use Lime to prepare scores to be
brailled by GOODFEEL.
You can use Lime to create Lime's TILIA files for GOODFEEL
to braille. Lime runs under Windows and is not accessible to the blind
user. However, with Lime coupled with GOODFEEL, any sighted person can
prepare a braille score without needing to know anything about braille
IBM-compatible personal computers with Windows 95 or 98
GOODFEEL requires a PC running Windows 95 or 98.
If you are blind you will need some type of screen access
method if you want to use GOODFEEL independently. GOODFEEL has been
deliberately developed to accommodate the needs of the blind user while
keeping it easy to use for the sighted.
Braille Printers and Braille Displays
If you require a hard-copy of your music, you will need a
braille printer. GOODFEEL allows you to control the line length and
numbers of lines per braille page. If your system does not include a
braille printer, you can review GOODFEEL's output which is always saved
automatically in a standard text file with extension of .gf. Bring the
file to a system that does have a braille printer and braille it there. If
your system includes a paperless braille display, you can use it to review
the braille score contained in this file.
If you want to create your own MIDI files you will need a
sequencer program. Some sequencers are compatible with screen readers. Two
examples are Cakewalk and Sequencer Plus from Voyetra Technologies. DOS
versions of these programs are still available. Some vendors will provide
documentation on disk for blind customers.
You can use Lime to create Lime files for GOODFEEL to
braille. Lime runs under Windows 95, 98 and the Macintosh OS and is not
accessible to the blind user. However, with Lime coupled with GOODFEEL,
any sighted musician can prepare a braille score without needing to know
anything about braille music!
Notation software that exports to MIDI
If your system already has a notation editor that can
export to MIDI such as Score or Finale, you have another option to produce
music braille. However, keep in mind that by exporting to MIDI, you will
lose such things as dynamics and articulation marks due to the limitations
of MIDI to store annotations and text information.