I am (amongst many other things)
- a blind hobby musician,
- a computer programming and software freedom enthusiast.
In 2007, these two interests of mine merged into one vision.
While learning to play the traverse flute,
I realized that I am not very good at playing complicated
pieces by ear, and need some way of reading music notation
to be able to learn and come back to musical pieces.
So I also started to learn braille music code.
And immediately realized that availability of music scores
is sometimes difficult.
When looking for software to help me transcribe
from other digital formats, I found GOODFEEL from
- Only available for Microsoft Windows
- Expensive (900 EUR when I checked)
Just too much for a hobby.
But a good reason for yet another one.
From MusicXML to Braille
So I decided to keep the money,
and start writing Free Software
to deal with Braille music code.
First I started to explore the problem
domain by prototyping a MusicXML to Braille
transcription in the programming language Python.
After roughly 4000 lines of code,
I had learnt some things about
the problem domain, and started
a cross-platform portable project in Java.
A web service
Around 2009, I made contact with some people
around the MuseScore project. They implemented
the Wikifonia project (no longer available).
A big collection of MusicXML scores for pop songs.
They helped, and FreeDots was intergrated
into wikifonia.org. You could download
every score of that site in Braille!
We still have
A Google AppEngine hosted version
of FreeDots. Send your MusicXML, receive
transcribed version as download.
Similar to what BrailleMUSE does.