BBC Music Processor (Quicksilva) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

BBC Music Processor
By Quicksilva
BBC Model A & B

Published in A&B Computing 1.02

Given the BBC's extensive sound creation and manipulation facilities, it is about time that somebody tied them together into a comprehensive package. Music Processor does just that. It turns your BBC Micro into a combined four track digital recorder and four channel synthesiser.

Using the package you are able to compose, edit and play tunes in a bewildering array of voices. Tunes are input into the computer's memory by playing them directly on the keyboard. To this end, the BBC's keyboard is split into two parts, each covering a different octave range. The function keys control channel selection, envelope, shape, noise, volume level, metronome, playback speed and cassette operations. The cursor keys become the tape controls for the digital recorder.

Once you have played your tune into the computer's memory you can rewind the tape back and listen to it. If you hear something tht you don't like then you can edit it out or replace it. When you are happy with the music, you can change channels and start work on an accompaniment or a harmony. Having finished this you can play both back simultaneously. You continue this process until you have finished your piece.

The program contains predefined envelope shapes to give usable instrument and special effect sounds. If these do not suit the piece of music you want to play you can enter the envelope editor. In this section you can alter any one of the fourteen parameters that go to make up the envelope statement. It is easy to 'fine tune' the sounds by moving backwards and forwards between the main program and the editor, altering values as you go.

For very long pieces you can switch the computer to long play mode. When in this mode each note takes only six bytes of store, as opposed to ten bytes in the normal mode. Once the music has been converted to long play format it can not be edited or changed.

Finally, the manual which is supplied with the package is very good. One point, read it completely before starting to use the package, it will save you a lot of time. There are also a few choice typographical mistakes in the manual, including a classic title for one of the prerecorded pieces supplied on the other side of the tape. The second piece is called "Hark the Herald Angels Sin".

Overall, it is a very good package and a must for anyone musically minded with a BBC Micro.