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Braille music international manual

The function of this edition of Music Braille Code, 1997 is to bring the BANA code in line with the international agreements of 1992 and 1994. The work of fifteen countries, as outlined in The New International Manual of Braille Music Notation, is a reference manual for all cooperating countries, regardless of the many different formats in use. This book presents the international signs in the formats and with the rules used in North America.

All of the international signs are now accepted by the Music Technical Committee of BANA. This includes some  signs that will be used only by other countries in their "section-by-section" formats. Having them listed here will help readers recognize them in music from all parts of the world.

Very few rules were set forth by the international body. The following three rules received very strong international agreement, however, and are respected by BANA.

  1. All text in music should be written with no contractions. (See items 1 and 2 of the Summary of Rule Changes.)
  2. Regarding literary text such as "a tempo": When parentheses do not appear in print, parentheses should not appear in braille.
  3. Dot 5 should appear before all transcriber-added signs. The international committee favors facsimile transcription. (See General Table, Note 9.)

The main objectives of the international work were clarity, simplicity and faithfulness to the print text. Many complex signs, such as a "soft pedal" sign, were defeated because the print uses text rather than a symbol. The agreement to follow the print text enabled countries to accept the American system of Chord Symbols in ShortForm Scoring. In some cases compromises were made, including a return to the former method of writing clef signs in braille.

It is with great pride that the Music Technical Committee of BANA presents this edition of the Music Braille Code, representing the results of international cooperation that will enable musicians to use music from international sources and that will enable transcriptions prepared in North America to be used hroughout the world.

Bettye Krolick
November, 1998

The official website where you can find resources about the new international manual of Braille music notation is linked below.

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