Long before we even started developing MuseScore, we were driven by a personal quest to make it easier for ourselves to learn to play our instrument. As sheet music is the cornerstone of music education, having access to the right scores at the right time is very crucial to step through the barriers of mastering your instrument. If we solve this problem for ourselves, we solve this for everyone. At least, so we thought.
Over the past 5 years, we were fully dedicated to make easy to use notation software, which creates beautiful sheet music and is freely available to everyone. And clearly we were doing something right. At times we were getting overwhelmed by the many positive testimonials from MuseScore users, which was very rewarding. But we also learned that we missed out on some musicians among you. Actually, we missed out on those who need most help of all: blind and visually impaired musicians.
Today we would like to announce a campaign to make MuseScore scores accessible in Braille. Our research shows that it is possible to apply open source technology to the scores already shared by the community on MuseScore.com and create Braille scores from them. It is a very ambitious goal but we have a plan and we would like to present to you.
We are currently 5% away from our Kickstarter goal to set free Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Anything beyond the original Kickstarter goal will be used to fund the development to turn MuseScore scores into Braille. First, we want to release the Open Well-Tempered Clavier as a Braille score. With some extra resources we can also release a Braille version of the Open Goldberg Variations score. Then, we want to build a free service for converting any MusicXML file into Braille. Finally, we want to convert all available scores on MuseScore.com into Braille music, and thereby radically increase the number of Braille scores available.
We need substantial financial resources to accomplish this important mission. We will invest in high-level software engineering, accessibility testing, and regulation of the quality of the Braille scores. You can directly support this cause by selecting one of several backer rewards on our Kickstarter fundraiser page.
A special reward to dedicate this campaign will be a new work of art, something that both sighted and blind people can see, consisting of a limited edition print of a newly commissioned painting that is also embossed with the Braille rendition of the beginning of the Well-Tempered Clavier. This reward is available at the new $175 level, and is now included in all of the reward levels above that.
The first measures of the Goldberg Variations Aria. From top to bottom: excerpt of the manuscript, the score and conversion to Braille.