A&B Computing

Music Programs
By Musicsoft
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in A&B Computing 2.04

This set of programs from Musicsoft comes as a package on one disc but each program may be purchased separately on cassette. There are four main programs on the disc and each one consists of several sections selected by menu.

Pieman is a version of the well-known Simon game where you have to repeat a sequence of colours and sounds selected by the computer. However, Musicsoft's Simon takes things a great deal further than the original did and has been designed for use mainly in schools to aid in-ear training and short term aural memory.

Starting with the basic Simon as a simple introduction, things progress onto more complex patterns and sound sequences based on the pentatonic and major scales. This becomes very difficult and frustrating in the later stages but nevertheless rather fun.


Musictools consists of five working programs, the first of which is an organ spanning seven octaves using a two octave keyboard range. Tunes may be stored and replayed and facilities are incorporated to alter speed and rhythm and enable editing. The next program is an auto-tune generator which creates a chord sequence and then a simple tune on that sequence all displayed on a stave and an animated keyboard. The symbol writer program draws the stave and notes on the screen along with other musical notation in any one of twenty-six sizes. This is designed primarily I would think as a teaching aid for schools. The final program is envelope explorer which does just what it says, displaying the parameters of the envelope on-screen and allowing changes to be made.

Keyboards is a suite of five programs starting with a three voice organ in Basic - written in three lines by the way! There is also a single voice machine code organ program with pitch bend allowing some really bizarre effects and a three-voice version with a built-in envelope definer. A chord organ completes the set and is claimed by the programmer to enable the playing of 1,000 different three note chords.

Final program on the disc is The Synth, which is a keyboard program allowing the storage of up to 3,000 notes played in real time from the computer keyboard. All four sound channels may be played back together or individually and the pitch, volume and rhythm adjusted. Editing of the composition may be done and sections marked for repeat playing. An envelope definer is incorporated into the program which may be accessed during the record mode and displays all the current parameters of the selected envelope on screen. Your musical masterpieces, once complete, may be saved and subsequently reloaded.


Really in the space of this review I have only touched on some of the facilities of all the programs on the Musicsoft disc and would urge those whose interest I have aroused to contact the publishers for some further details.

My own personal feelings about the programs are that in the main they are all quite excellent, being well presented with interesting and sometimes unique features. The documentation supplied was very good and most of the programs are liberally furnished with plenty of REMs for those who wish to dig deeper and incorporate some of the routines into their own programs. The price of each program on cassette is £5.75, except The Synth which is £8.75 and they are available direct from the publishers only.

Contact Musicsoft at 12 Fallowfield, Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

Peter Rochford

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