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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.