Music Maker (Fsoft) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

Music Maker
By FSoft
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in A&B Computing 2.06

Music Maker

Music Maker is a musical package for the BBC Micro which consists of three parts, a synthesiser, a sequencer and a number of data files.

The synthesiser section deals with the creation of sounds using two high res graphics displays. These show the amplitude and pitch characteristics of the envelope being defined. All the parameters of the envelope can be altered and the resultant change is shown by the display.

The current sound can be played via the keyboard over two octaves and this may be extended to four octaves using two octave shift keys. The keyboard has a three note polyphonic capability. In addition, there are eight percussion keys for producing rhythm sounds using the noise channel of the BBC.

Once you have created the sound you want, it may be stored in memory and up to sixteen may be held at one time. These may also be saved to disc or tape for subsequent recall. A good feature is that the envelope parameters may be displayed on screen in their BASIC format so that they may be used in your own programs.

The sequencer section has the same keyboard facilities as the synthesiser but features playing aids such as a metronome. Previously designed sounds may be reloaded and two different ones may be operative at one time by using a definable keyboard split.

The sequencer will allow the recording of two or three lines of music played in real time along with rhythms generated by the eight percussion keys. Timing errors are corrected by the program and the playback speed can be varied. As the music is played, the notes are displayed on a stave in standard musical notation.

There is also the ability to edit the music once created or in fact you may enter an entire sequence from scratch. The memory available will allow compositions of up to twelve minutes long.

Music Maker is supplied with two keystrips and a particularly well-written manual that I found easy to follow. The whole package is well thought out and a pleasure to use and enables the creation of some pretty impressive sounds and effects.

It is only natural that comarisons of musical packages for the Beeb will be made against the Island Logic's The Music Studio. Music Maker does not have the kind of features of The Music Studio or the remarkable graphics. However, one must remember it doesn't cost anywhere near as much as The Music Studio. For its price though, Music Maker provides good facilities and I feel that for some people, its ease of use compared to the complexities of The Music Studio will make it more attractive.

Shingo Sugiura

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