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Tocatta Braille Music Translation Software.   



Braille Music Software - TOCCATA is the best tool for parents teachers and Braille transcribers to quickly produce accurate Braille music in a variety of formats, either from scanned sheet music, or from scratch, using Toccata's Notation Editor.

An image of the Toccata logo, and the word Toccata, with Braille symbols beneath it

The Worlds Best Braille Music Transcription Program

Manually transcribing music score to Braille music is a costly, complex and lengthy process, which makes formal study of music by Blind people exceptionally difficult.

Now, however, professional Braille Music Transcribers, and also non-specialists (eg parents of blind children and mainstream teachers), can use a computer program called Toccata to quickly and easily produce accurate Braille music, whether it be simple nursery rhymes or complex symphonic pieces.

The current version although initially designed for sighted people (Braille Music Transcribers), being a standard Windows software program is also being used by a number of Blind people using speech synthesizers, and/or refreshable Braille displays, and they report that they are finding Toccata very easy to use, particularly when print music is scanned with SharpEye2, and converted to a .Niff file. The .Niff format gives far greater information to Toccata than the .midi format, (lyrics dynamics etc are automatically recognised and placed into Toccata) resulting in little or no editing being required.

The introduction of Magni-CCata supplied free with Toccata, enables people with Low Vision to easily use Toccata with its Magnification Window. When used in this format Magni-CCata’s Magnification Window can magnify all of Toccata’s controls assisting with editing or creating the music score, and examining the translated Braille in the Braille Edit window.

Toccata is a fully-featured, but very simple to use, Windows program that greatly reduces transcription time. Using the mouse or keyboard, notes can be placed into Toccata's Notation Editor to create music of any complexity. As notes are placed, they are heard through the computer speakers at the same pitch and duration as the note selected. The music can be played back in real time. A separate window shows the translated and formatted Braille, which can be directly embossed to a suitable embosser.

Translation from music to Braille is very quick and various predefined Braille music formats can be selected.

A useful feature is the ability to select single instrument parts from larger scores, eg band music, and playback just those instruments, or just the left or right hand of a keyboard part.

Alternatively, an entire music score can be loaded as a MIDI or .NIFF file or scanned into your computer via a flatbed scanner, displayed on the screen and then edited using the mouse. The SharpEye2 Music Reader program, a fully functional Registered Copy  is included with Toccata, is used to scan and recognise print music, but other programs can also be used, eg SmartScore from Musitek.  



Screen Shot of a computer running Toccata showing an example of music translated to braille. The notation screen is at the top of the screen, and the Braille screen is at the bottom.














Screen-shot of Toccata, showing translated Braille Music in lower window and original score in upper window.


The Braille can be instantly reformatted in common formats eg Bar-over-Bar, Section-by-Section, and a wide range of optional styles can be incorporated eg Show Hand Signs, Lyrics in Grade II contracted Braille, and so on. It is also possible to edit the Braille directly with six key input, and at all times the Braille and Music Notation Windows are synchronised to assist with proof-reading.


Magni-CCata is a program designed for musicians and music students with low vision who cannot read ordinary printed music score or who have difficulty maintaining focus on the notes to be played.   Although Magni-CCata is a stand-alone program, we are including it free of charge as a bonus to purchasers of Toccata.


Magni-CCata functions just like Toccata but without the Braille screens or Braille translation.  Magni-CCata plays and scrolls any music that is entered either by mouse or from a scan, in a magnified window with a highlighted marker to assist the musician focus on the notes being played.  The marker is stationary on the screen to assist with focusing on the notes to be played; the notes scroll from right to left continuously.  The marker can be selected in a range of colours and as a note scrolls onto the marker the note changes colour (eg marker yellow – the black note turns to blue as it scrolls past the marker).


The magnification is selectable and the image can be inverted (black screen, white notes etc).  The magnified window, which can be moved or re-sized, can be left open to work with other programs, like SharpEye, or Toccata, to assist partially sighted users or music transcribers.   The window has a crosshair in the centre and this corresponds to the cursor position in the actual notation windows, so notes can be clicked in place, moved, deleted and so on.


An image of the Magni-CCata working computer screen, the music notation screen is at the top of the screen, and the playing music and highlight is at the bottom of the screen.


The above illustration is a screen shot of a working Magni-CCata screen during playback of music. The highlighted Yellow bar indicates the note that is currently being played.


The playback of the music can be with or without sound, and the tempo can be simply changed (played faster or slowed down) and also stopped and started at particular bars, all with simple keystrokes.


One of the most useful features, which is also available in Toccata, is the ability to select single instrument parts from larger scores, eg band music, and playback just those instruments, or just the left or right hand of a keyboard part.


Click here for the Magni-Catta Manual


UPGRADE : Existing Toccata users may download the latest files (2.5 Mb) which will upgrade their existing installation, without having to download a complete Toccata installation, by clicking on the link below.  This includes a demo of the much improved SharpEye 2.

DEMO : You may download a free demo version (7 Mb) of Toccata. This is fully operational except that only small amounts of Braille can be embossed and files cannot be saved.

Click TOCCATA demo download to proceed.

MANUAL : A zipped copy of the latest version of the Toccata manual is available in MS-WORD format. If you are running NT, the WORD document may omit arrows from some of the illustrations, but clicking on the illustrations may bring them into focus.

Click here for the Toccata Manual

The following QUOTES are from professionals in the field of Braille Music Transcription, and give an idea of the practical uses of the software :

"....it saves so much time. The accuracy of the Braille translation is good and the whole process about ten times as fast as manual transcription. Time is so important in education; teachers can't wait for ever for materials to be translated, especially in integrated schools."

"....I agree with the philosophy behind Toccata of keeping things as simple as possible. The important thing is that the Braille music is clear and unambiguous."

"....When I set up the program to learn how to use it on my home computer, everything worked like a dream. It's fabulous!"

"....It is much quicker than doing it by hand. Using the toolbars to add and edit notes is easy, and you can move notes around with the mouse very easily. Being able to play back the music helps non-musicians , but the main thing is the speed and accuracy with which the formatted Braille music is produced."

        Phone 02 96 800 600      Mobile 0409 228 941         email opteksystems@bigpond.com

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