RNIB National Library Service holds one of the largest collections of accessible format music outside of the USA.

About the music library

The music library is free to members of the RNIB National Library Service. Find out how to join the library.

You can choose from a wide range of vocal and instrumental scores, from classical pieces and opera to popular music and jazz.

Our music library is enjoyed by amateur and professional musicians as well as music teachers and students.

Whether you are an established musician, have been inspired to learn a new skill or are wanting to revive an old hobby we will have something for you.

We offer:

  • Over 11,000 braille music scores ranging from Beethoven to Robbie Williams
  • The only known lending collection of Modified Stave Notation (MSN, giant print music) in the UK
  • Over 1000 audio tuition courses for piano, guitar, voice and more
  • Help and advice from our Music Librarian and Reader Services team
  • You can choose six books at a time, books are delivered free to your door
  • An online library catalogue - read our tips for searching the music library
  • New books magazine which tells you all about the latest pieces available from RNIB for loan and for sale.

For more information or help about any of our music services contact our Music Librarian on 0161 429 1973 or musiclibrarian@rnib.org.uk

Braille music

Braille music is based on the same six dots as traditional braille letters but in addition there are separate symbols for each note, key, tempo and duration.

Once mastered, the braille music code opens up a world of pleasure and fulfilment and keeps the magic of playing an instrument alive.

We offer:

  • More than 11,000 braille music scores
  • Music for piano, organ and voice as well as a variety of other instruments including strings, woodwind and brass
  • Music for all tastes and abilities
  • Tutor books for beginners in braille music
  • Books about music including the history and theory of music.

Giant print music

Our giant print music scores are in a format called Modified Stave Notation (MSN). The books are in 16mm MSN, which means the stave measures just over a centimetre and a half and the notation is sized to fit. Any text is in 24 point bold text and the books are A4-sized.

We can send you a sample MSN 16mm if you would like to try out the type size and format before you join the Library. Contact our Music Librarian on 0161 429 1973 or musiclibrarian@rnib.org.uk

We offer:

  • Over 200 titles in 16mm MSN.
  • An extensive collection of well known choral works, in individual voice parts.
  • Music for piano, recorder, drums and more.

Audio tuition

Audio tuition courses are ideal if you are unable to access a score. All audio tuition courses are only available for loan on standard audio CD and are part of the free music services.

Learning to play music by ear can be challenging if you are used to sight reading your music, but it can be very rewarding and once mastered means the joy of playing an instrument can continue.

Bill Brown music by ear courses

  • Designed specifically for visually impaired musicians by American musician and artist Bill Brown.
  • Choose from introductory courses teaching you how to play an instrument, or individual lessons teaching you to play specific pieces. All individual lessons are available in different ability levels.
  • Listen to a sample from Bill Brown's course (MP3 file, 3.7MB)

Saffron Choral PROMPT

  • A unique series of sung recordings to help singers learn their parts created by Quintus Benziger.
  • Choose your voice part to learn. Sung, with helpful cues from other voice parts included.
  • Listen to a sample from Saffron Choral PROMPT (MP3 file, 3.3MB)

Choraline

  • A series of recordings designed to help choral singers of all abilities to learn a part quickly and efficiently.
  • Choose your voice part to learn. Best used in conjunction with a score or words in braille or print.

More tuition courses

  • In touch with the guitar by Dan Jones, written with visually-impaired learners in mind but suitable for all. Learn to play Classical or Spanish guitar up to the equivalent level of grades 4-5.
    Listen to a sample from In touch with the guitar (MP3 file, 7.5MB)
  • Keyboard at your fingertips by Penny Weedon. The course takes you from the basics of picking out a melody by ear to how to put chords in the left hand. Helping you get the most out of your keyboard.
  • Masterclass media foundation tutorials, for various instruments. Masterclass Media Foundation films and records some of the world's great musicians teaching and giving masterclasses. This course includes 32 of their tutorials as audio files.

Useful contacts

Music Advisory Service (MAS)

The Music Advisory Service team are always happy to help if you need advice on playing, performing, teaching or even just listening to music. Visit the music pages or email them at mas@rnib.org.uk

Transcription Services

Accessing personal transcription is quick and easy. Call your regional centre in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow or Ivybridge or RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.

  • Ivybridge - Telephone: 01752 690 092.
  • RNIB Scotland Transcription Centre - Telephone: 0141 337 2955.
  • Reading and Transcription RNIB NI Accessible Media -Telephone: 028 9050 1888.
  • RNIB Cymru Accessible Information Centre - RNIB Cymru is also a producer of Welsh braille and audio. Telephone: 029 2044 9575.

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