I'm not really sure if "visual disability" is correctly said since english is not my native language and had to use Google Translator.

My worries are about reading sheet music. I'm trying to learn playing trumpet, and only a few days into it, not even a month, but have played guitar for years and I think I have some musical sensitivity developed and I understand what musical scores' symbols and notation mean.

Though I learn by ear with more ease than if I haven't played any instrument before, I want to be able to read sheet music, mainly for learning more and using some exercise book, either digital or physical books, so I can try to do it like professional musicians do when learning songs, and even try to learn to fluently read while playing (if possible).

My problem is that I've been losing sight over the years due to a visual disease and I have very little sight. I can't read properly, and scores are written normally with a small font size. I have to use high contrast and bigger font size in order to be able to not have that many problems.

I tried software like "Guitar Pro", "Musescore" etc but would not find anything that puts scores at least in high contrast, since most of these software lets you make some kind of zooming.

Do you know of any app, software or anything that lets me read sheet music more confortably at least for learning purposes with my instrument?

I edit:
I managed to change page's background color in Musescore 3, I know how to change fonts and different symbols and notations size, text color and style and font type, but I don't know how to change lines and notes and symbols' color to white since they are black and can't be seen on a black background.

  • unfortunately you don't tell us what device you have: phone? tablet? pc? If you are looking for sheet music and search for images you can choose those with the highest resolution. Apr 7, 2019 at 12:24
  • Have you tried your computer's accessibility features? There might be an option to make everything high-contrast or negative, white on black instead of black on white. Apr 8, 2019 at 15:52
  • @piiperi I use high contrast on windows but since most software nowadays use third party libraries to create their interfaces, since those libraries are not native, they are not affected by Windows Accessibility, at least high contrast. Apr 8, 2019 at 19:08
  • I am also looking for a software solution - my cataracts are getting worse (and they're in no hurry to surgically correct them!), but I need to be able to read lyrics as well. Learning choral music by ear is rather time-consuming and I often have to pick up and sing church music within a day or two. It is fairly easy to enlarge a pdf of sheet music from 8.5 x 11 to 11 x 17, which helps, but I also have a serious problem with glare; white paper is painful to read. I can use the Accessibility preference setting for pdfs of digital scores, but not for scanned (image) scores. A tablet is also too Sep 26, 2019 at 17:42
  • @SusanHouston Just an FYI, I've added a new answer that discusses two commercial and two non-commercial, software-based, music-reading solutions for the blind and visually impaired, plus links to additional resources.
    – Aaron
    Oct 11, 2020 at 5:54

4 Answers 4


you can save a screen print or an image copy img,pgn etc, a pdf and zoom it or enlarge it 200% or 400% with any foto programm or picture app as paint etc.

I just did download a sheet with very small resolution:

enter image description here

I tried to enlarge it: The result was very bad!

enter image description here

Than I clicked into the same picture on the webside, made a full screen image and copied it with a snipping tool:

enter image description here

I opened it with a foto app and enlarged it again and copied it with a snipping tool: enter image description here

latest edit:

I have found now a much simpler solution: Save the sheet music as image file and open it with the foto viewer of windows 10. There is a magnifier and you can follow the lines by the arrows (left-right and up-down. So you hold in one hand your trumpet and with the other you can guide through the sheet.

If you can't read this solution I you must train your ear that you'll be able to play any music just by listening.

enter image description here

  • This can be a decent solution. I wish there was a solution like a web app, or tablet or pc program that displayed scores in a reversed colors and maybe auto scroll lines of a entire song or exercise. Apr 7, 2019 at 16:47
  • so can't you just download the pdf and zoom it and let it scroll down? or use a pdf invert reader: Open a PDF file (any file) in Adobe Reader. Go to Edit>Preferences. In the Preferences window, click the 'Accessibility' tab and enable the 'Replace Document Colors' option. Next, select 'Use High-Contrast Colors' and select a color scheme from the presets available. addictivetips.com/windows-tips/… Apr 7, 2019 at 16:59
  • Yes, I know that, but sometimes it doesn't work. Text keeps being invisible or nothing appears sometimes. PDF that is made with images normally doesn't work well. Apr 7, 2019 at 17:39
  • 1
    you still didn't tell what device you are using. I have found now a much simpler solutione: save as image and open with the foto viewer of windows. There is a magnifier and you can follow the lines by the arrows (left-right and up-down. So you hold in one hand your trumpet and with the other you can guide through the sheet. look the latest edit of my answer. Apr 8, 2019 at 15:47
  • PC. Training the ear is a solution I like and see the most confortable for me, since I already have some ease to learn by ear. However, If I am learning trumpet, my worries are to learn to do some things wrong, play fast notes without knowing if I have to slur or legatto instead of articulating them, and I guess in sheet music all those details are specified so I know when to articulate and how and that's a big question I have right know. I'm trying to learn articulating and learning by ear maybe I can't tell when a sequence of notes are articulated, when to use single tonguing... Apr 8, 2019 at 22:21

I recommend you take two steps. One is to find a "Sheet music viewer" application, of which there are many. Grab one which supports a page-turn pedal.

Next, either
1) use a PDF editor that can convert to the "negative" of the source file, or
2) use the native operating system of your tablet to specify "white on black" display.


It will obviously be very limiting to require music that is specifically formatted to your requirements. You need a way to take ANY piece of printed music and make it readable. Which suggests a camera, some computer processing and a screen.

The tablet I'm typing this on has a rear camera and a zoom function. Various processes, including contrast control, are available. Could this be a way forward for you?

  • may be a bit complicated. I was thinking more on a software solution. Apr 7, 2019 at 16:42

Three software solutions plus additional resources

1. Lime Lighter

LimeLighter software by Dancing Dots allows for the scanning of print music or importing MusicXML scores, which it then can magnify up to 10x with configurable color contrast options. It also allows for user score marking. Dancing Dots offers a free, time-limited evaluation download, and they also offer pre-configured packages which include a computer pre-loaded with the software.

Both the Dancing Dots website and several articles mentioning the software give the number 610-783-6692 to get more information.

2. Power Music

The Royal National Institute of Blind People, in collaboration with Cambron Software Limited, has created Power Music Accessible Format, which, as described on the RNIB Modified Stave Notation page (see also #3 below), is similar, and possibly superior, to LimeLighter. Power Music's various offerings can be viewed at their online store.

3. Notation systems

The Royal National Institute of Blind People describes music notation standard called Modified Stave Notation which can be implemented via MuseScore. It involves modifying existing scores by, for example, thickening stems and widening staff line vertical spacing without increasing the spacing from note to note.

There is an entirely different alternative music notation developed by Dodeka. Their notation uses vertical positioning, color, and bars of varying length to depict pitch and duration.1 They have a page discussing applications of their system for the blind and visually impaired, and, since their notation requires existing music to the re-notated, they are also developing a music library.

4. Additional resources

1 In a sense, not a new notation at all, but rather a reinvention of the ancient system of neumes that eventually developed into our current notation system.

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