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It’s All -Gci1g (Grieg) to Me: American Braille, Part I

“I can’t read this braille at all,” a coworker says to me one morning; “What does it say?”

Moving my hand over the dots, I am reminded of an incident from childhood.
My piano teacher had just handed me Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 14. I had never heard of this piece (by Mendelssohn), so I checked the first line of braille, and read:

-ce+de -ja%cijjieke’ -e%- #ad-braille 2

If I couldn’t read the words, I thought, how could I ever read the music? I went down to the music; fortunately, it was readable. But the text portions remained a mystery for some time.

“This is American Braille,” I now tell my coworker, “a system that was used in the early years of the 20th century. When I started working here in 2009, I received a list of the American Braille signs to help me when material like this comes along.”

Using that chart, I figure out that

-humec1kr1′ <> -1dvacd -gci1g-braille 3

is Humoreske, by Edvard Grieg.

The name Grieg


Braille 1

also appears in the title of this blog.

Since that morning, other American Braille scores have been found in the Music Section. This means that, if you are a braille music reader, you could have a shock like I did when you open a package from us, but can’t tell what we sent you. This is why I decided to write a blog about American Braille. If your curiosity has been aroused, then you will want to read more in Part II.

Never Too Late!

Forty-three years ago patron Dianne Phelps earned her Music Education degree at Eastern New Mexico University. She faced difficult challenges with her partial vision at the time and struggled with some of the faculty, reluctant to award her a degree. Thankfully, she prevailed. Afterwards, she had a keyboard and was frustrated as she was not […]