Rose Software
1984
Educational
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

62
Jon Bates, Graeme Kidd
Chris Bourne

Somehow, the four games contained in this package, which are all quite easy, basic and short, while being musically sound and logical don't quite carry through. The games are not appealing in their own right and probably wouldn't stimulate a real interest in music from a casual look. I got the impression that they have been designed somewhere between education-for-it's-own-sake and games, and have fallen towards simplistic education at the expense of entertainment - they don't offer much in the way of reward for the correct answer and are rather schoolmasterish in approach.

Treble Clef is a straightforward note recognition game, confined to the treble clef only as its name implies, which offers a permanently available help facility and colour codes the notes (this could have been carried over to other games in the package, forming a link but wasn't). Yes, up to three people can play together, and yes they could learn to recognise notes on the treble clef - but what about the base clef?

Scale position again uses the treble clef only, and was specifically designed to help Grade 5 theory and as such would no doubt assist - but surely a sharp or flat default would have helped. A bit technical this one - obviously not much relevance to the novice. My assistant hadn't got a clue.

Note Values requires the user to enter notes or rests onto the stave displayed on the screen which build up into a sequence. A random time signature is chosen by the computer and the player will become familiar with the names of notes and their values. Unfortunately the whole stave moves to the left as the game progresses, and the novice could lose his or her position in the bar being assembled.

Keyboard is the final program in the package, and is intended to teach the beginner the relationship between notes on the keyboard and notes on the stave. The player uses the cursor keys to find the notes displayed on a keyboard at the base of the screen, and gets three attempts before being given the correct answer.

Without getting too technical, the logic is a bit out of order, in that flats and sharps on consecutive white notes on the keyboard could lead to severe confusion given the way the program presents them. A bit worthless for the beginner really.

The four programs in this package, taken separately don't follow through under the title of 'Read Music'. If they had been linked together better, had been a lot more informative and most importantly more fun, the package could have been a good one.

CRITICISM

2/10
Uninspiring, not much fun and it looked like some routines were transferred from one program to another rather inappropriately.
5/10
Half way there.
4/10
'the player can get help and a score is given at the end' and that's yer lot.
5/10
Tries to cope with too wide a range of abilities in one package perhaps.