Dancing Dots

Dancing Dots

Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology, L.P., is an American company based in Philadelphia that was founded in 1992 to develop and adapt music technology for the blind. Its founder, Bill McCann, is himself a blind musician. Among the products it offers are several programs that produce a musical version of Braille by converting conventional musical notation, allowing blind musicians access to the same musical scores used by their sighted counterparts.[1] The company also offers programs that aid blind musicians in transcribing their own compositions in Braille.[2] Dancing Dots created the latter product to help speed the process of Braille transcription for blind composers, who might otherwise have to wait between two weeks and six months to have their compositions transcribed by one of the less than one hundred certified Braille music transcribers in the United States.[3] Dancing Dots has developed more products to help blind musicians in the areas of MIDI and digital audio production and musician instruction.



The company was founded in 1992 by Bill McCann, a blind trumpet player. It struggled financially in its early years, in the long lead between developing technology and releasing its first product in 1997, a difficult period assisted by federal contracts beginning in 1994.[4] In 1997, the company released its GOODFEEL Braille Music Translator to positive reviews.[5] The product was well received, and its company was a success.[6] In 1999, the company, which was a recipient of a Small Business Innovation Research Grant, was part of a display of assistive technology at the White House.[7] In 2000, Dancing Dots released CakeTalking for SONAR, JAWS scripts and tutorials that provide access to Cakewalk Sonar, a digital audio workstation, for blind or visually impaired users.[2]

Products and services

Dancing Dots maintains a website at which it markets its own products, as well as related and complementary products by other companies. Dancing Dots has customers throughout the U.S. and twenty-six other countries.

With GOODFEEL combined with a few mainstream products, sighted musicians can prepare a Braille score with no knowledge of braille. Music scanning software can be used to speed data entry. Blind users can make sound recordings and print and Braille editions of their compositions and arrangements. The company provides customers who may not need to purchase their own copy of GOODFEEL a transcription service for individual scores.

Dancing Dots is also the publisher of several music courses to assist blind musicians, including An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student: A Course in Braille Music Reading and An Introduction to the Piano for the Blind Student.


  1. ^ Rudolph, Thomas E. (2004). Teaching Music With Technology. GIA Publications. p. 188. ISBN 1579993133. http://books.google.com/books?id=OnPnMsWOkVAC&pg=PA188&dq=%22Dancing+Dots%22&client=firefox-a. 
  2. ^ a b Williams, John M. (2000-11-19). "Blind musicians get a techno boost". Business Week. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/nov2000/nf20001129_316.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  3. ^ Solomon, Karen (2000-02-24). "You gotta feel the music". Wired. http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2000/02/34495. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  4. ^ Byrd, Jerry W. (1994-09-21). "U.S. says customer is king". Philadelphia Inquirer. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=PI&s_site=philly&p_multi=PI&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB2A64F8AAB5388&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  5. ^ Brown, Jennifer (1997-06-15). "Software Hits Right Note for Blind Musicians; Technology: GOODFEEL program translates music into Braille. It greatly reduces amount of time needed for conversion.". Los Angeles Times: p. 14. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/12540625.html?dids=12540625:12540625&FMT=CITE&FMTS=CITE:FT&date=Jun+15%2C+1997&author=JENNIFER+BROWN&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&desc=Software+Hits+Right+Note+for+Blind+Musicians%3B+Technology%3A+GOODFEEL+program+translates+music+into+Braille.+It+greatly+reduces+amount+of+time+needed+for+conversion.&pqatl=google. 
  6. ^ Blakinger, Mary (1999-01-18). "Musician makes Braille his business". Philadelphia Inquirer: p. B02. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=PI&s_site=philly&p_multi=PI&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB5CDB209A02D48&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2008-10-26. "The only problem with the success of Dancing Dots is that he now has little time to play his trumpet." 
  7. ^ Steun, Cynthia S. (2000). Vision Rehabilitation: Assessment, Intervention, and Outcomes. Taylor & Francis. p. 848. ISBN 902651631. http://books.google.com/books?id=mve0LPp6_pUC&pg=PA848&dq=%22Dancing+Dots%22&client=firefox-a. 

External links

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