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In Performance: Musicians Take the Stage

While most people associate Louis Braille with the system of reading and writing for the blind, many are not aware he was also an accomplished organist and musician.  There is good evidence he created the Braille code for music first and language second.  But whichever came first, the literary or the music code, we’re just grateful […]

Soul Music? Let’s talk about Ray Charles!

Summer and jazz seem to go hand-in-hand. I am noticing weekend jazz festivals and evenings of “jazz in the park” all over the D.C. area. I am sure some of you have enjoyed some of these events where you live. Now I am thinking about jazz! This thought lends itself to a discussion of related genres like […]

Friday Afternoons; Continuing a Grand Tradition

The NLS Music Section recently acquired a braille transcription of Benjamin Britten’s Friday Afternoons. The songs in this collection are available both in hard copy and for download from BARD, for anyone who is performing them or otherwise interested in this music.  The music is scored for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass choral parts.  A […]

Band, Orchestra, and More: When Young Musicians Use Our Music

Children and youth comprise an important part of the patronage at a public library, and this is certainly true here at the Music Section of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped as well.  Young musicians use NLS music materials in a variety of ways as they learn to play instruments.  Here […]

Braille, and Haüy, and Howe, Oh My!

The Music Section at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has the largest collection of braille music in the world, with music from numerous national and international braille producers. One of the best represented publishers in the music collection is Howe Press, a braille publisher that was the in-house braille […]

Authors of Audio Courses in the NLS Music Collection — Where Do They Come From?

Don Hoffer was a dentist. Bill Irwin was a salesman. He peddled organs.  The kind you play. Barbara Kolb is an internationally renowned composer These are just some of the people who are behind the instructional audio recordings in the NLS Music collection.  They didn’t merely create and write the narrative, their voices are the […]

Opera Fans Know What’s Happening, but the Devil is in the Details or…Libretti for Everybody!

Some of the Music Section’s most ardent patrons are operagoers.  This comes as no surprise to other opera aficionados, but blind/low vision operagoers are usually not able to pick up a program in braille or large print and read a synopsis when they arrive at the theater; that is, until they (or the opera companies) […]