White-Note Help

Version 2.6

http://www.white-note.com

برای راهنمای فارسی اینجا کلیک کنید

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to WhiteNote
1.1. The goal of WhiteNote
1.2. Why does WhiteNote uses XML file format?
1.3. What is XML format?
1.4. What is MXL format?
1.5. Changes in this release
2. Overview of WhiteNote
2.1. Components of WhiteNote window
2.2. Screen Reader settings suitable for WhiteNote
3. Notes presentation in WhiteNote
3.1. Definition of a note in non visual presentation of musical notes
3.2. Octaves' numbering method
3.3. Specific symbols used in WhiteNote
3.4. Signature text's Presentation
4. Features for Teaching
4.1. Visual representation with LilyPond
4.2. Adding Comments
5. Shortcut Keys
5.1. General keys to move in text
5.2. Musical navigation keys
5.3. Staff change keys
5.4. Voice change keys in polyphonic music
5.5. Musical review keys
6. Description text box
7. Notes text box
8. Menus
8.1. File Menu
8.2. Navigate Menu
8.3. Images Menu
8.4. Comments Menu
8.5. Option Menu
8.6. View Menu
8.7. Menu Help
9. Contact info to help in WhiteNote development or bug report
9.1. How can you create XML file
10. Some XML file libraries

1. Introduction to WhiteNote

WhiteNote is an application that presents musical note files (in XML form), suitable for visually impaired people.

The name of this application is driven from Persian name for half note, which is called white note as it is like an empty circle. The name also has a reference to white cane which is the symbol of visually impaired.

1.1. The goal of WhiteNote

Visually impaired musicians always had to use braille musical notes. As production and reading of these notes is very hard, very few people use them, producers of these notes are very few, and at least in Iran, this is rarely done. As these notes are very hard to acquire and they can easily be ruined as they are made of heavy paper or cardboard, people usually do not share them. In recent years, they can also be generated by personal braille printers, but this is also not an easy solution because the printers are very expensive and have costly maintenance. Therefore, visually impaired musicians always needed to either copy a braille music manually, or ask sighted people to speak all musical notations and record for them. WhiteNote is developed to solve these problems and using that, people can easily copy and share music sheets as computer files, email them, or download them, and be independent in finding music and reading the notes.

1.2. Why does WhiteNote use XML file format?

There are several applications that convert the images of scanned music sheets to computer files (OCR). These applications usually convert to music sheet into their own formats, but almost all of them also have the export to XML command. There are also several XML music libraries on the internet in which volunteers share music sheets that they have converted to XML format.

1.3. What is XML Format?

A simple description of XML format helps in better understanding of how WhiteNote works. The XML file format is an standardized approach to record musical notes. XML format is quite hard to read for people and is usually used when two different applications want to share some data. In this case, as none of the applications know how the other applications keeps its data, they both use XML in which every data item has a description saying what it is. WhiteNote converts XML format to a text that is understandable for people and easy to use for visually impaired.

1.4. What is MXL Format?

MXL (or Music XML) is the compressed form of an XML music file. WhiteNote is compatible with MXL as well.

1.5. Changes in this version

2. Overview of WhiteNote

In WhiteNote, the user can use shortcut keys to study and memorize music sheet and play it on his/her own instrument. By the help of sound alerts, events like change of voices in polyphonic music or availability or unavailability of other music items can be found. Therefore it's good that the users gradually learn the reasons behind all sound alerts.

WhiteNote uses specific methods to describe some notes or combinations which are different from braille format. Therefore we strongly recommend users to read section 3 on 3. notes presentation in WhiteNote .

2.1. Components of WhiteNote window

WhiteNote is currently composed of three main parts

  1. Menus Bar: This bar contains normal software menus and WhiteNote specific items.
  2. Descriptions Text Box: This text box gives you some general info about the movement.
  3. Notes Text Box: This is the main part of WhiteNote. In this text box, all music notes are presented in WhiteNote format which is measure by measure and staff by staff (For 2 handed instruments like piano separated by hands, for polyphonic music separated by voice).

2.2. Screen Reader settings suitable for WhiteNote

3. Notes presentation in WhiteNote

We have tried to present music notes in a non graphical format (which should be definitely fully text based) as most compatible with braille music presentation, so that the users familiar with braille would use WhiteNote easily and also we use the decades of experience in braille music development, and not to reinvent the wheel!

But there are minor differences between WhiteNote's method and braille music method, because our goal was not to produce a printable output, but to provide a way that notes would be readable on the same machine that the user is using, without the need to a braille printer. Therefore we needed to make some minor changes in notes presentation, like in presentation of polyphonic music or chords.

We have also tried to present the normal page/system/line syntax in presentation of measures in lines, in systems, and in pages, to keep the connection between visually impaired user and the one who uses the graphical form, because in some cases, the musicians refer to pages and systems and lines instead of measure numbers.

Also, to make WhiteNote usable at the same time for visually impaired and sighted users, it can present graphical and text presentation of notes at the same time. To do so, you need to install LilyPond software.

3.1. Definition of a note in non visual presentation of musical notes

Similar to braille music notation, we first show the Note name (C,D,...), then it's duration, and finally it's accent if there is any. All parts are separated by an underline.

3.2. Octaves' numbering method

Note that in WhiteNote, the 3 most bass keys of piano are considered octave 0 and then the most bass C of piano is octave 1. Therefore the middle C of piano will be octave 4.

3.3. Specific symbols used in WhiteNote

Symbol or Expression Meaning or Presentation
Time Signature The graphical view of the time signature is composed of two numbers, one on top and one on bottom. The top number tells the number of notes in each measure and the bottom number tells the base note. In WhiteNote, Time signature is followed by top number and then bottom number.
[ Chord, Triplet, and Arpeggio notes are always surrounded by "[ ]" signs, and before an opening "[", we always have either "Chord:", or "Arpeggio:", or "Triplet:".
] Chord, Triplet, and Arpeggio notes are always surrounded by "[ ]" signs, and before an opening "[", we always have either "Chord:", or "Arpeggio:", or "Triplet:".
Voices with rest in several measures If a voice has silence in several consecutive measures, you can move to that voice, but besides silence, you will hear the number of measures that silence is continued.
Expression and Articulation signs like Legato and Volume The beginning and end of these signs are specified in WhiteNote. The starting sign comes before the first note that should be affected by it and the ending sign comes after the last note that should be affected.
Shifting the lines in polyphonic music If the lines in a polyphonic music shift while you navigate it (like one voice would be rest for some measures or a voice starts after some measures) you will hear a voice alert that tells you to check the voices.

3.4. Signatures text's Presentation

In WhiteNote, clef, key signature, and time signature are presented by their names.

As default, on any change of current voice or staff, all signature texts are repeated, even though you would not be at the beginning of the movement or when a change has happened. To disable this feature, you can go to 7.3. Option menu and disable them. You can always bring them back temporarily by pressing “CTRL + H”.

4. Features for Teaching

4.1. Graphical presentation using LilyPond

WhiteNote can show graphical presentation of music sheets along with the text based presentation, so that when a visually impaired and a sighted users are using the application at the same time, they both receive their appropriate presentation.

In this mode, when you navigate between different measures and voices in text presentation, graphical presentation updates automatically. You can choose to do this update manually and when needed to increase speed.

To use this feature, you need to install LilyPond software. To install it you can go to http:\\www.lilypond.org/windows and download the latest available version and install it with all default options.

It should be noted that graphical view is not yet completed and has some minor issues.

4.2. Adding Comments Features

You can add comments for your students for any measure/voice and give the comments file along with xml file to them.

If there would be a text file with similar name besides the xml file (and extension of comments.txt), it will be automatically read with the xml file and whenever you reach a measure/voice that has comments, user is notified with a different sound alert and s/he can see them with hitting required keys.

5. Shortcut Keys

Shortcut keys are presented in this section, grouped by their functionality

5.1. General text navigation keys

Action Key Description
Focus Change Tab Focus moves to the next element in current window.
Navigation to next note or sign CTRL + Right Arrow Cursor goes to the beginning of the next note or symbol and it is read.
Navigation to previous note or sign CTRL + Left Arrow Cursor goes to the beginning of previous note or symbol and it is read.
Navigation to next letter Right Arrow Cursor goes to next letter and it is read.
Navigation to previous letter Left Arrow Cursor goes to previous letter and it is read.

5.2. Musical Navigation Keys

Action Key Description
Navigation to next measure Alt + Right Arrow Moves the cursor to the beginning of the next measure.
Navigation to previous measure Alt + Left Arrow Moves the cursor to the beginning of previous measure.
Jump to a another measure CTRL + G A dialog box opens where you can enter your destination measure number and hit enter to jump to the beginning of it.
Jump to another movement CTRL + P A dialog box opens where you can enter your movement number and hit enter to jump to it.
Navigation to next page Page Down Cursor goes to the beginning of next page.
Navigation previous page Page Up Cursor goes to the beginning of previous page.
Jump to the end of movement CTRL + End Cursor goes to the end of current movement.
Jump to the beginning of movement CTRL + Home Cursor goes to the end of current movement.

5.3. Staff Change Keys

Action Key Description
Going to next staff Down Arrow Preserving current measure, cursor moves to next staff. Note that in two handed instruments like piano, first staff is right hand and second staff is left hand.
Going to previous staff Up Arrow Preserving current measure, cursor moves to previous staff. Note that in two handed instruments like piano, first staff is right hand and second staff is left hand.

5.4. Voice Change in Polyphonic Music

Action Key Description
Going to next voice Alt + Down Arrow Preserving current staff and measure, cursor moves to the next voice.
Going to previous voice Alt + Up Arrow Preserving current staff and measure, cursor moves to the previous voice.

5.5. Musical Review Keys

Action Key Description
Checking Key Signature, Time Signature, and Clef in current measure CTRL + H Key signature, Time signature, and clef are temporarily added to current measure's text.

6. Descriptions Text Box

This text box presents everything that is written on top of the music sheet, like composer and movement name. There are also some simple stats like the number of movements, measures, voices, etc.

When you open a new file, focus goes to this text box and you can always move back to it by pressing tab.

7. Notes Text box

You will see the notes in this text box as a non ending line containing all measures of one staff/voice.

To navigate between notes, staffs, and voices, please read sections 7.2. Navigate Menu and 4. shortcut keys.

To get a description of how notes are presented here, please see section 3. Notes presentation in WhiteNote .

8. Menus

Menu bar is on top of the WhiteNote window, focus moves to it by pressing ALT key.

This bar contains 5 menus, File, Navigate, Options, View, and Help, and you can jump to each by pressing the first letter of its name.

8.1. File Menu

This menu does all file management tasks like opening a new file and exiting the program.

8.2. Navigate

This menu presents navigation commands between notes, measures, voices, staffs, and movements.

8.3. Images

This menu presents commands related to graphical view of the music sheets. Almost all these commands work only when LilyPond is installed.

8.4. Comments

This menu presents commands related to adding comments.

8.5. Options Menu

You can select program settings in this menu.

8.6. View Menu

This menu contains all view choices.

8.8. Help Menu

9. Contact Us

To contact WhiteNote project see our website at http://www.white-note.com

To cooperate in WhiteNote project contact us please. The major help for this project at this stage is production of XML files. You can send us your XML files so that we add them to our online library for public use.

XML Files of most of famous classical music sheets can be found on internet, but XML files of learning books or Persian and pop music is rarely found online and are strongly needed. We are very much hopeful that volunteers help us in production of these files.

Besides WhiteNote website ( http://www.white-note.com ) you can access Persian ESpeak programing group website ( http://www.espeak.ir ) to get the latest news on other software developed for visually impaired in Iran. You can also join this website's newsletter to receive news and updates about these software.

9.1. How to produce an XML File?

You can create XML files by two methods:

10. Introduction of some XML libraries

Music XML files are mostly not indexed by search engines like Google, so you'd better to go directly to XML Music libraries including the following ones taken from http://www.musicxml.com/music-in-musicxml