New International Manual
of Braille Music Notation



  • Preface
  • Compiler's Notes

  • Purpose and General Principles
  • Basic Signs
  • Clefs
  • Accidentals
  • Rhythmic Groups
  • Chords
  • Slurs and Ties
  • Tremelos
  • Fingering
  • Bar Lines and Repeats
  • Nuances
  • Ornaments
  • Theory
  • Modern Notation

  • General Organization
  • Key& Time Signatures
  • Rhythmic Groups
  • Chords
  • Slurs and Ties
  • Tremelos
  • Fingering
  • Bar Lines and Repeats
  • Nuances
  • Ornaments
  • Theory
  • Modern Notation

  • General Organization
  • Keyboard Music
  • Vocal Music
  • String Instruments
  • Wind and Percussion Instruments
  • Accordian
  • Instrumental Scores

  • Authorities for this work
  • National Signs of 16 Countries
  • Index of Signs in Standard Braille Order
  • Tables of Signs

    Other Resources
  • Contact instructor
  • Send mail to class
  • Main BRL page
  • Contractions Lookup
  • Contractions List
  • Intro Braille course
  • Transcribers course
  • Specialized Codes course


    20-1. A listing of instruments as shown in print is provided in braille along with the abbreviations that will be used in the braille score. These abbreviations are generally written in the language of the country of transcription, consist of 2 or 3 letters, and are followed by a dot 3.

    20-2. Usually, all parts are shown on the first page; on succeeding pages, if a part is silent, it is not shown.

    20-3. If clef signs are included, they need only appear on the first page or when a part appears for the first time.

    20-4. Unless all instruments play in the same key, key signatures follow the part name on every page of the score.

    20-5. Information about rehearsal letters, measure numbers, and/or page numbers appears on a free line above each parallel or section.

    20-6. When chords or in-accords appear, all parts should read in the same direction. The direction should be made clear at the beginning of the score, for example:

    20-7. Divisi parts may be written as chords or in-accords, but the following system helps identify the parts and also indicate the directions of intervals. The example is for trumpet in two parts (lower-cell numbers 2 1) to be read from the bottom up.

    20-8. Parallel motion may be used for parts immediately adjacent in the score. For very important, obvious lines doubled at some distance from another part on the page, it can be treated as follows:

    20-9. Example 20-9 (a) contains the list of instruments for Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 with English abbreviations for the parts. This is followed by (b) which contains the first six measures of the first movement. In this score all intervals read up. The identification before the score indicates that this section contains measures 1-6 from the first system on page 1 of the print score. [Double bars have not been added to the examples in this chapter.]

    Example 20-9.



    The next example contains the next four measures of the same symphony. The instruments that are silent do not appear in either the print or the braille score. In order to show an additional format possibility, this segment is written bar-over-bar.

    Example 20-10.

    20-11. Example 20-11 shows the beginning of Symphony No. 6 by Chaikowsky. The introductory information shows that intervals read down in this score. This excerpt contains measures 1-4. The print page and system numbers are both in the upper-cell position, and the meaning is clear. The print shows the full score, but the braille shows only the instruments that are active. When the other instruments enter for the first time, their clef signs appear. After that the clef signs are not repeated.

    Example 20-11.

    Developed by
    Shodor logoThe Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.

    Copyright © 1999 the
    North Carolina Central University
    and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind

    Copyright © 1999 The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.