Braille Music Notator

version 0.9.0b ยท 18 February 2016

Toby W. Rush
Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Technology
University of Dayton

Quick Start for Screen Reader Users

While Braille Music Notator is designed to help sighted users create elegant braille scores, the utility is fully accessible using screen reader software such as VoiceOver or JAWS. This document describes how to get started with the utility using the screen reader and keyboard interface. For more detailed information, consult the Braille Music Notator User Guide.

The utility exists as a two-dimensional grid, where each cell in the grid represents a braille character position. When the utility is opened, the cursor is in the upper left hand corner of the grid, which corresponds to the upper left hand corner of the first page of the braille score. The cursor can be moved using the arrow keys on the keyboard. As the cursor is moved, the screen reader announces the current position of the cursor, as well as the contents of that position.

Key presses will add characters to the score. Braille Music Notator has multiple virtual keyboards; pressing the spacebar advances through these keyboards. The characters which are inserted into the score for each key are described in the Keyboard Entry Chart, which is available in three formats: a text file suitable for screen readers, a BRF file suitable for embossing, and a Braille Music Notator file which can be edited if desired.

When a character is added to the score by pressing a key, the cursor advances one or more positions (depending on the number of braille characters comprised by the musical symbol selected) to the right. The screen reader interface will also announce the symbol which has been added to the score, the new position of the cursor, and the contents of the cell the cursor has moved to.

If you use a refreshable braille display, Braille Music Notator can be set to output the line of braille under the current cursor instead of descriptive text. To toggle between these two settings, use the Command/Control-U keyboard shortcut.

Multiple cells can be selected by placing the cursor in a position, then holding the shift key while navigating to a new position with the arrow keys.

Commands such as cut, copy, paste, undo and redo are available using keyboard shortcuts. The necessary modifier key varies depending on the browser being used but is generally the Command key on Mac OS and the Control key on Windows. A complete list of keyboard shortcuts is available in the User Guide.

Documents created in Braille Music Notator can be saved for future editing in the program (Command/Control-S) or exported as a BRF file to be embossed (Command/Control-E). Due to browser limitations, these saved or exported files will often open in a separate browser window, where they can be saved to disk with the proper extension (".txt" or ".brf" for exported files, ".brm" for saved files) using the browser's "Save As" command.