What is Lime Aloud?
Lime Aloud marries access technology with the tried and true Lime notation editor software. For decades, musicians all over the world have prepared high quality editions of their musical ideas with Lime. Now blind music students, composers and arrangers can too!
Lime Aloud works together with the JAWS for Windows screen reader software. When you order Lime Aloud, you also receive two mainstream software titles: the Lime notation editor and the SharpEye Music Reader for music OCR.
You can create and print editions of your own musical ideas or use Lime and Lime Aloud to study pieces from others. New material can be created using the Lime editor, imported from NIFF files made with SharpEye or via Lime's MusicXML import function. MusicXML files can now be exported from a growing number of music notation programs including Finale and Sibelius.
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Preparing Accessible Scores
When you order Lime Aloud, you receive it together with the Lime notation editor and the SharpEye Music Reader music OCR software. Before you can study new material using Lime with Lime Aloud, it must be entered into Lime in one of three possible ways: scan print score using SharpEye, import the piece in the form of MusicXML exported from another notation editor such as Sibelius or Finale, or entered directly into Lime by typing and/or playing on a musical keyboard such as the Yamaha PSR-E433 below.
SharpEye is an excellent music-scanning software but sooner or later it will make scanning errors. At that point, we need the help of a sighted assistant since we blind musicians cannot see the original print score to determine how to correct the errors. Of course, if we could do that, we probably would not be scanning the music in the first place! That being said, I have often successfully scanned and learned previously unfamiliar pieces using SharpEye independently. That is, it made no errors so I could pass the results to Lime and study the piece by listening and transcribing it to braille music.
Importing MusicXML, which is an emerging standard for notation interchange, promises to be the alternative which will afford blind musicians the maximum level of independence. However, programs that export MusicXML and programs that import it (including Lime itself) still do occasionally make omissions or errors. That being said, I have successfully learned pieces by importing the MusicXML into Lime. But, if you want to be certain that every detail of the print score has been imported, you will need to have a sighted assistant compare the original to what Lime shows on screen and make any necessary corrections. These days, it is extremely rare that notes or rhythms will be incorrectly imported from MusicXML. However, certain other details such as rehearsal markers or finger numbers may still be literally lost in the translation.
Lime does allow you to enter notes, rhythms and all necessary related annotations by typing on your PC keyboard. Adding an electronic, musical keyboard to your workstation vastly improves the ease of entering notes and even allows you to use Lime's Record Dialog to enter notes in tempo to a metronomic pulse.
Lime Aloud System Requirements
Minimum system requirements for Lime with Lime Aloud are effectively the minimum requirements for running your version of Windows and of the JAWS for Windows screen reader. Additional memory and a faster system processor will improve performance but Lime and Lime Aloud will run on any Windows machine from Windows98 through Windows7. Support for Windows8 pending. To use Lime with Lime Aloud you need the following:
- A computer with a processor speed of at least 500 MHz running Windows 98 or later. both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems are supported
- JAWS for Windows Standard or Professional, version 6.2 or later
- At least 128 MB of memory
- 6 MB of hard disk space for Lime Aloud's program files. More hard drive space will be needed for the music files that you create, however, Lime files are typically less than 100 KB each.
- MIDI playback device such as the Microsoft Wavetable synthesizer included with most soundcards
- Optional but recommended: Yamaha PSR-E433 61-key portable keyboard. electronic musical keyboard with general MIDI sounds attached directly via USB or to a MIDI interface such as the MIDISPORT.