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.
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.