David Gordon
1983
Utility: Music
£5.75
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

56
Jon Bates, Graeme Kidd
Chris Bourne

Music Maker comes with a fairly detailed inlay card which takes the reader on a whistle stop tour of musical notation and theory. It makes good sense to someone in the know but might be a little confusing to the novice. It must have been a difficult task to compress so much information into such a small space, and it's unfortunate that there's no additional help in the program itself, which is a bit complicated.

The input method, using cursor keys (which move rather rapidly when selecting) takes a bit of getting used to. The screen displays the bar you ' re working on, and while it plays each note as you add it - giving you the option to delete it immediately - there's no real editing facility.

Notes can only be deleted from the end of an assembled tune, and if you find the third note in your fifty note composition is wrong, there's no option but to delete the last forty seven notes you input before you get to the mistake, and then lay them all back in again. It can get a bit tedious keying in a long tune, and if you're re-keying an old tune which you've just deleted by editing, the aggravation factor increases dramatically.

Musically the program is a bit limiting, in that there are only ten playback speeds to choose from, and it seemed impossible to tie notes together so that they can be sustained over a bar for instance. The program accepts up to 200 notes or events and allows tunes to be stored on cassette and printed out. In the main, a worthy piece of programming which scores plus points for printing a couple of tunes on the inlay for the user to try out.

CRITICISM

6/10
A bit chunky, and the screen display is rather cluttered.
6/10
The pitch range is slightly limited, as is the range of beats per minute on offer, but quite accurate overall.
5/10
Only half way there.
4/10
The inlay card reads like it was written as an afterthought, in a bit of a rush and could confuse as easily as enlighten.