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Methods for exporting music21 data as braille.

This module was made in consultation with the manual “Introduction to Braille Music Transcription, Second Edition” by Mary Turner De Garmo, 2005. It is available from the Library of Congress here, and will henceforth be referred to as BMTM.

The most important method, and the only one that is needed to translate music into braille, is objectToBraille(). This method, as well as the others, accept keyword arguments that serve to modify the output. If no keyword arguments are needed, then using the method is equivalent to calling show() on the music.


  • inPlace (False): If False, then makeNotation() is called on all Measure, Part, and PartStaff instances. Copies of those objects are then used to transcribe the music. If True, the transcription is done “as is.” This is useful for strict transcription because sometimes makeNotation() introduces some unwanted artifacts in the music. However, the music needs to be organized into measures for transcription to work.
  • debug (False): If True, a braille-english representation of the music is returned. Useful for knowing how the music was interpreted by the braille transcriber.

The rest of the keywords are segment keywords. A segment is “a group of measures occupying more than one braille line.” Music is divided into segments so as to “present the music to the reader in a meaningful manner and to give him convenient reference points to use in memorization” (BMTM, 71). Some of these keywords are changed automatically in context.

  • cancelOutgoingKeySig (True): If True, whenever a key signature change is encountered, the new signature should be preceded by the old one.
  • descendingChords (True): If True, then chords are spelled around the highest note. If False, then chords are spelled around the lowest note. This keyword is overriden by any valid clefs present in the music.
  • dummyRestLength (None) For a given positive integer n, adds n “dummy rests” near the beginning of a segment. Designed for test purposes, as the rests are used to demonstrate measure division at the end of braille lines.
  • maxLineLength (40): The maximum amount of braille characters that should be present in a line of braille.
  • segmentBreaks ([]): A list consisting of (measure number, offset start) tuples indicating where the music should be broken into segments.
  • showClefSigns (False): If True, then clef signs are displayed. Since braille does not use clefs and staves to represent music, they would instead be shown for referential or historical purposes.
  • showFirstMeasureNumber (True): If True, then a measure number is shown following the heading (if applicable) and preceding the music.
  • showHand (None): If set to “right” or “left”, the corresponding hand sign is shown before the music. In keyboard music, the hand signs are shown automatically.
  • showHeading (True): If True, then a braille heading is created above the initial segment. A heading consists of an initial KeySignature, TimeSignature, TempoText, and MetronomeMark, or any subset thereof. The heading is centered above the music automatically.
  • showLongSlursAndTiesTogether (False), showShortSlursAndTiesTogether (False): If False, then the slur on either side of the phrase is reduced by the amount that ties are present. If True, then slurs and ties are shown together (i.e. the note can have both a slur and a tie).
  • slurLongPhraseWithBrackets (True): If True, then the slur of a long phrase (4+ consecutive notes) is brailled using the bracket slur. If False, the double slur is used instead.
  • suppressOctaveMarks (True): If True, then all octave marks are suppressed. Designed for test purposes, as octave marks were not presented in BMTM until Chapter 7.
  • upperFirstInNoteFingering (True): If True, then whenever there is a choice fingering (i.e. 5|4), the upper number is transcribed before the lower number. If False, the reverse is the case.


music21.braille.translate.objectToBraille(music21Obj, **keywords)

Translates an arbitrary object to braille.

>>> from music21.braille import translate
>>> from music21 import tinyNotation
>>> samplePart = tinyNotation.TinyNotationStream("3/4 C4 D16 E F G# r4 e2.")
>>> print(translate.objectToBraille(samplePart))

For normal users, you’ll just call this, which starts a text editor:


Other examples:

>>> from music21 import note
>>> sampleNote = note.Note("C3")
>>> print(translate.objectToBraille(sampleNote))
>>> from music21 import dynamics
>>> sampleDynamic = dynamics.Dynamic("fff")
>>> print(translate.objectToBraille(sampleDynamic))
music21.braille.translate.keyboardPartsToBraille(music21PartStaffUpper, music21PartStaffLower, **keywords)

Translates two Part instances to braille, an upper part and a lower part. Assumes that the two parts are aligned and well constructed. Bar over bar format is used.

music21.braille.translate.measureToBraille(music21Measure, **keywords)

Translates a Measure to braille.

>>> p = stream.Part()
>>> p.append(note.Note('C4', type='whole'))
>>> p.makeMeasures(inPlace=True)
{0.0} < 1 offset=0.0>
    {0.0} <music21.clef.TrebleClef>
    {0.0} <music21.meter.TimeSignature 4/4>
    {0.0} <music21.note.Note C>
    {4.0} < style=final>    
>>> print(braille.translate.objectToBraille(p))
>>> print(braille.translate.measureToBraille(p.measure(1)))
>>> from music21.braille import translate
>>> from music21 import corpus
>>> corelli = corpus.parse("corelli")
>>> corelli.getElementsByClass('Metadata')[0].__class__
<class 'music21.metadata.Metadata'>
>>> print(translate.metadataToString(corelli.getElementsByClass('Metadata')[0]))
Movement Name: [Movement 1]
Movement Number: 1
Number: 3
Title: Church Sonatas, Op. 3: Sonata I
music21.braille.translate.opusToBraille(music21Opus, **keywords)

Translates an Opus to braille.

music21.braille.translate.partToBraille(music21Part, **keywords)

Translates a Part to braille.

music21.braille.translate.scoreToBraille(music21Score, **keywords)

Translates a Score to braille.

music21.braille.translate.streamToBraille(music21Stream, **keywords)

Translates a Stream to braille.