Modified Stave Notation (MSN)

I can transform your regular sheet music into a larger, clearer format to suit your needs and preferences.
I can also transcribe pieces you don’t have the sheet music for and write it up for you in an easy-to-read format.
This sheet music is created following guidelines set by the RNIB, and can be altered to suit each individual’s requirements.

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Drunken Sailor MSN

What is Modified Stave Notation (MSN)?

Modified Stave Notation is a set of guidelines specified by the RNIB with regards to the production of enlarged sheet music for people with visual impairments. To create MSN, your original sheet music needs to be typed out into music notation software (a little bit like typing out a page of writing from a book into a word processor), then the engraving rules in the programme are altered to meet the sizing requirements. I have experience of formatting music in this way for one of my piano students who is visually impaired, and she is now able to learn new pieces of music from the enlarged notation. Everybody’s requirements will be different, and once the music is typed up it can be easily altered until the perfect formatting is found for you.

Which features are altered with MSN?

  • The staves are enlarged. A typical page of sheet music will have staves that are around 7mm tall; for MSN, the stave size can be made significantly larger, up to around 20mm.

  • The notes themselves are also larger, and there is more space between each note.

  • The stave lines are made thicker for clearer reading. Other thin objects can also be thickened such as slurs and note stems.

  • Fonts are enlarged and changed to Ariel Rounded MT Bold for clarity. This includes the title, composer, performance directions, lyrics, any numbers, rehearsal marks, etc.

  • Musical symbols are enlarged and can be positioned in places that make them easier to notice.

  • The music is formatted in landscape orientation so that more music can fit on each page before you need to turn, and also to keep the top corner closer to you for easier reading and page turning.

  • The music is generally decluttered so that any unnecessary symbols or writing is removed.

More Details

If you have access to a printer at home, I will send the your modified sheet music via email as a PDF document. This means that you have control of how you print the music yourself, and also means that you can trial some different sizing options at no extra cost. If you have no access to a printer at all, I can print a copy of the modified music on white A4 paper and post to you. I am very happy to talk to you about different options we can try, so if you have any questions, please get in touch!


The cost of this service is dependent on the time it takes for me to type up the music and complete the modifications, and whether it needs to be posted to you. I can write up short pieces in my music software quite quickly (within an hour), but longer and more complex pieces will of course take more time.
Please contact me for a quote!