Music video Accessibility Questions

Hello Accessibility Experts! 

I am working with several instructors who uses music videos as part of their courses. These include: Correlation of the Arts, Music Appreciation course and Fundamentals of Music courses. All contacted me today about issues around accessibility!

There are several questions that have come up: 
  1. Are videos that have images while music is being played and the instructor has printed the words to the song for students to read, does this align for accessibility? If not, what solution is there?

  2. If a music video, such as David Bowie's Space Oddity is used, which does not have closed captions, can the lyrics be placed under the video?

  3. Does a video of an opera that contains subtitles, meet accessibility guidelines? If not, what can one do to remedy this?
The instructor for the Fundamentals of Music has told me:
  1. The traditional music notation taught in my class is not accessible to vision impaired students. 
  2. The music MP3 files are only sound files containing no spoken words making them inaccessible to hearing impaired students.
What can I tell that instructor who is trying to adhere to accessibility guidelines? Are there simply some things that would be considered "inherently inaccessible"? If that is the case, is there specific language that needs to be applied to the course description or the course Syllabus that you could provide?

Are there ways to caption a YouTube video such as this space oddity video? 

Thank you for advice on handling things like this! 


  • Sheryl
    Sheryl Member
    edited November 2019

    There is quite a lot here to respond to so hopefully I will cover it all:
    1. Videos that have images need to have those images described. Captioning, alt text, etc is really an accessibility requirement so all people have access to the same information - including images.
    2. Videos must have captions to be accessible. If you are linking to a youtube video that you have not produced then you should provide an alternative especially if you are using it for learning purposes. If the video is a video created by you and embedded on your site then you are responsible for captioning.
    3. If the video of the opera contains word for word subtitles that describe the action of the opera, then yes, it is accessible.
    4. I'm not sure what musical notation you are using and would need further information to respond.
    5. Yes, sound files will be inaccessible to hearing impaired users. You will need to provide an alternative, especially in a learning environment where the student will be responsible for learning. 
    6. You can add captions to youtube videos you do not own but I would seek permission rights for use when copyright is involved.
    If you would like to contact AccessibilityOz for more information, I'd be happy to help provide more thorough responses to your needs. Do not hesitate to contact me directly.

    I hope I've helped.