QWS – A MIDI Sequencer For The Visually Impaired

Quick Windows Sequencer (QWS) is a MIDI sequencer for visually impaired people. It runs on 32-bit versions of Microsoft Windows.

QWS was written by James Bowden, a visually impaired computer programmer.

Bowden explains:

It all started when I bought a new soundcard which sadly wouldn’t work with my existing DOS sequencer. It was then that I had to switch to a Windows sequencer, but which one?

Being visually impaired, it is vital that programs I use are “accessible”, that is, programs must be usable entirely from the keyboard and must work well with special software which “reads” the screen and turns it into synthetic speech … yes, my computer talks to me!

I tried a commercial package – which shall remain nameless – and to cut a long story short, I just didn’t get on with it. In my old DOS sequencer I was used to doing lots of fine editing, using lots of tools and above all, operating quickly. With this commercial Windows sequencer, none of this was possible … unless you could use a mouse. In case anyone is wondering, yes, I did read the manual so I knew where the functions were.

Things came to a head when I had to use it to produce a backing track for a song. It took me ten hours! In that time I lost work twice, crashed the computer, recorded at the wrong positions and fretted many times about how slow the whole thing was (particularly for editing).

So that was it. I decided the way forward for me was to write a sequencer myself, from scratch.

It’s a free download.

If you’re visually impaired, leave a comment with your thoughts on QWS, and if you have recommendations for the best music applications for people with visual limitations.

via freemusicsoftware.org

3 thoughts on “QWS – A MIDI Sequencer For The Visually Impaired

  1. Hi. I might just be the world’s second-longest QWS user. James called me one evening and sent me a very early protype in 2002 or 2003 I can’t remember. I’ve used nothing since, and continue to use QWS to this day. I’m an instrumental musician with a BTec in sound-engineering and have numerous albums on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify all made using QWS as a backbone.
    I obviously have to farm my sounds out to external gear (or VST’s) as QWS itself does not handle audio, but every track I make has been created inside of it.
    Visit my website for content.
    I should also add that QWS is not specifically for the visually impaired, it was simply made by somebody who is.
    It has full mouse-control, all functions appear on-screen, so this article is somewhat misleading but not entirely untrue.
    Thanks.

    1. Hello there! This is an awesome program gws. However is there an easy way that you add your audio tracks to the qws sequence? Thanks

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