Music Editor (System) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

Music Editor
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 1.10

Making sweet music

The only criticism I have of System Software's Music Editor is its name. It should be called the Music Maker because that is exactly what it is - an easily-used utility which allows you to compose tunes on your BBC Micro.

You write the tunes using two modes of operation. The first is edit mode in which the actual composing is done. The skeleton of a piece of sheet music (technically known as the bass and treble staves) appears on the screen and you can use the keyboard to enter in a tune, note by note.

When you enter a note it not only sounds but also appears on the staves in the right position with the right value. If it's not what you want then you can just press a key to delete it and try another. It's not just the pitch of the note you can alter. The program allows you to alter the duration and loudness of the notes, simply and quickly. You can even choose the key and tempo of your tune. And if that's not enough you can have up to three parts or "voices" to add harmony to your composition. It may

sound complicated but in practice it isn't

The second mode is the command mode and by using this you can "command" the micro to play back your masterpiece. You can have the whole tune or just a part of it and the program even allows repeats of sections of the piece. If you like what you hear you can save it for posterity. If you don't it's back to editing mode and the throws of creation! And if you need inspiration you can always load one of your previous efforts and play it.

As if all this weren't enough, when you first run the Music Editor you get a choice of 16 ready-to-use sound envelopes. If you don't like these you can alter them easily from the keyboard or load envelopes that you have previously altered and saved.

These are just the major facilities that the program gives you. There are lots more, all useful. And if you get lost you can always press the H key and get a crib sheet.

But you shouldn't need it. The instruction booklet is excellent and the whole program an example of what is meant by "user-friendly". People with no musical knowledge may be a little daunted at first but the Music Editor is so easy to use that it encourages experiment and with it learning.

You can write tunes by ear while the display gives you the correct musical notation. It's a gift to every frustrated composer, thwarted music teacher and parent who wants to give a child something that is amusing yet educational. And it's so much fun to use!

This excellent piece of software was a pleasure to review. Thoroughly recommended.

Nigel Peters