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Queen, Aretha Franklin, and Philip Glass Now in Braille

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We at the NLS Music Section are very excited to offer our patrons a wide variety of braille music, ranging from classical to popular titles. We are especially thrilled to have recently added music by Queen, Aretha Franklin, and Philip Glass.

Freddie Mercury was the songwriter and lead singer of the rock band Queen. Our new braille transcriptions are from the recent movie Bohemian Rhapsody. The film portrays Mercury (1946-1991) as a highly talented, extravagant, expressive, daring and crowd-captivating super star. Bohemian Rhapsody won four Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing. The soundtrack uses Queen songs to bring to life Mercury’s biographical contexts. The hits include “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” “Somebody to Love,” “I Want to Break Free,” “We Will Rock You,” “Who Wants to Live Forever,” “Radio Gaga” and others. Braille music readers can now download the score from BARD or check out embossed copies.

Aretha Franklin’s 20 Greatest Hits are now available from the NLS braille music collection. Among the songs are “I Say a Little Prayer,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Respect,” “A Rose Is Still a Rose,” “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)” and others.  The much awarded Queen of Soul started singing gospel as a child in the church where her father, C. L. Franklin was a minister. Aretha Franklin’s (1942-2018) music left an unsurpassed mark on gospel and soul music. The documentary movie Amazing Grace is one of the more recent tributes to her.

Philip Glass (b. 1937) is probably the best known minimalist composer today. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he studied at Peabody Institute, the University of Chicago, The Juilliard School in New York, and in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. He has composed works for piano, orchestra, stage (opera) and various chamber music formations. To me, his music has some philosophical, meditative or religious qualities; it manages to evoke phases of introspection by skillfully repeating most basic music elements using minimal chord progressions. Glass was a nominee for the Academy Awards and Grammy Award several times, as was his music for The Hours, which won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award.  The Piano Collection available in braille includes: “Why does someone have to die?” from the film The Hours, “Metamorphosis I-V,” the opening piece from “Glassworks,” and others.


Bohemian Rhapsody. Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack. Line by line and bar over bar formats. Piano, vocal and chords (v.1, v.2). (BRM36784)

Aretha Franklin. 20 Greatest Hits. For piano, vocal, guitar. Voice, melody and chords. Line by line format. (BRM36681)

Philip Glass. Piano Collection. Bar over Bar format. (BRM36688)

If you want to find out how to download the braille music scores from BARD check out these websites: Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) and BARD Access. To learn more about the NLS Music Section, and more accessible music materials available from us, call us at 1-800-424-8567, e-mail us at [email protected], or visit our webpage.


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