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Notes from ‘Inclusive Design in Harmony’. Part 2: Recommendations

Introduction

Many items of accessible software, hardware, instruments, ensembles and opportunities were mentioned during the ‘Inclusive Design in Harmony’ event. We have collated these below, including links to external sites to learn more. You can read more from the event in the other articles in this series.

Software

  • Ableton Live – digital audio workstation, for which accessibility testing is now beginning.
  • Ableton Note – a new iOS music-making app that has voice over accessibility built in.
Andre Louis presents an introduction to Ableton Note from the perspective of a blind iOS user.
  • Some Arturia software has been designed with screen reader accessibility in mind (Analog Lab V, Augmented Strings, Augmented Voices, etc.).
Jason Dasent presents an introduction to Arturia Analog Lab V from the perspective of a blind user.
Avid ‘Community Plugin’ Webinar, focusing on screen-reader accessibility in Pro Tools.
  • Avid Sibelius – music notation software. See also the SibAccess tutorials for screen reader users.
  • Capella – music notation software, with options for AI-assisted conversion from printed scores and audio recordings.
  • Decent Sampler – mostly accessible sampler plugin written in JUCE, by Dave Hilowitz.
  • Dubler 2 – voice to MIDI convertor software. Can calibrate to any microphone or use the specially-designed Dubler microphone. Note: the software is not currently accessible using a screen reader.
  • Finale – music notation software.
  • Jamulus – real-time jamming and collaboration software. See also Chi Kim’s accessible build for Mac users.
  • JUCE – audio development framework used for writing software. Tom Poole from the JUCE development team noted that this is as accessible as it can be for visually impaired programmers, though this is ultimately limited by the design of the IDE that the developer is using to write code.
  • Logic Pro – widely used digital audio workstation for Mac and iPad. See also the Logic-Band resources for screen reader users. Logic’s built-in sampler was cited as being accessible for screen reader users.
Tutorial video from Logic.Band, explaining the first steps for getting Logic Pro set up with VoiceOver.
  • MuseScore – music notation software with much improved accessibility features, including live braille.
Video demonstrating the live braille accessibility features of MuseScore 4.1.
  • MusicLM – Google’s text-to-music AI tool.
  • MusicXML – interchange format for digital music scores, which also allows for simpler transcription to accessible formats.
  • Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol software – browse all NKS-ready virtual instruments, effects, loops, and samples in one accessible piece of software.
Video guide demonstrating the accessibility features of Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol.
Introductions to the REAPER tutorials posted to the Audio Access YouTube channel.
  • Sao Mai Music Braille Converter Tool – convert MusicXML scores to digital braille files. Available as part of the standalone software and a separate online tool.
  • Sonobus – real-time audio streaming and collaboration software.
  • VOCR – useful software for scanning the screen for text in inaccessible apps (Mac only).

Hardware and instruments

  • Ableton Push – standalone digital audio workstation and instrument.
  • Arcana Strum – accessible guitar emulator that offers opportunity for progression.
  • Artiphon Orba 2 – handheld synthesiser and sampler. Easy to create a tune. Note: may be too small for some musicians to control.
  • Arturia hardware – for example, the KeyLab mkII range of MIDI controller keyboards.
  • Audient iD and EVO interface ranges, which have screen reader friendly control software.
Video demonstrating the Audient control software for EVO and iD interfaces using a screen reader. Created by Toni Barth and featuring Scott Chesworth.
  • Bluetooth MIDI adaptors – wirelessly connect your MIDI keyboard or controller to your mobile device. Popular models by Yamaha, Roland, and CME.
  • Clarion – a software instrument that has been developed over past decade working alongside tech companies and young people, which can be configured around the needs of an individual.
  • Clarion Lite – a browser based, simplified version of the Clarion, built in collaboration with Google.
  • Digit Music Cmpsr (pronounced Composer) – a MIDI input device based on a joystick. Very accessible interface, designed with the mantra “one finger one click” in mind.
  • DynaMount robotic microphone stand.
  • FocusriteVocaster and Scarlett 3rd-generation audio interface ranges have screen reader friendly control software.
  • iPad.
  • Kellycaster.
  • Korg minilogue range (contributed by Maja Sobiech).
  • Korg Electribe 2 and Electribe Sampler 2 (contributed by Maja Sobiech).
  • Linnstrument – an expressive MIDI controller for musical performance.
  • Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol MIDI controller keyboards, which automatically map controls when used with NKS-ready virtual instruments and effects.
  • Native Instruments Maschine – a standalone digital audio workstation and instrument.
  • Novation Launchpad allows tactile control of Ableton Live.
  • Moog Subsequent 25 has quite an easy layout to learn, and the software editor is accessible. Note: software presets are only accessible by using VOCR (contributed by Maja Sobiech).
  • Roland TR-8 and TR-8S (contributed by Maja Sobiech).
  • Softube Console 1 – hardware control for the Console 1 Mixing System plugin, allowing quick operation of all mixing-related tasks.  
Jason Dasent talks about his experience of helping to develop the Softube Console 1 as a blind user.

Organisations

Ensembles

Other resources

What have we missed?

New accessible music technology and instruments are being developed all the time. If you have other recommendations, please comment below, or email us at: content@soundwithoutsight.org

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