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

2 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.

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