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Incognito Software
1984
Utility: Music
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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55
Jon Bates, Graeme Kidd
Chris Bourne

Musicmaster allows you to enter notes either direct onto the stave, pressing keys for the name of notes A-G and prefacing them with S for sharp, L for flat or N for natural, or you can use the keyboard overlay supplied with the cassette to make the two top rows of your Spectrum's keyboard simulate a real keyboard.

The program offers all the basic elements needed to start making music with your computer, allowing the user to 'music process' a tune once it is entered into the machine using the editing facility. Only one tune can be held in memory at any one time, which can be mildly infuriating at times, given that there is room for up to 1000 notes (or events, as a rest counts as a note), but there is a facility which allows you to save a completed tune to tape so it can be loaded back into the computer at a later stage.

When you enter a tune and play it, the computer plays the notes sequentially from start to finish. If a section of music is to be repeated, it's necessary to edit that section into the sequential tune file. Another minor disadvantage of Musicmaster is the lack of a repeat command - to replay a tune you have to go back through the menu, but it does allow a tune to be played back at different speeds.

Overall Musicmaster is a reasonable package which assumes no musical knowledge on the part of the user. Between them, the manual and the help function in the program were good, giving the user enough to get by on musically to make full use of the programs capabilities. While it isn't intended to be an 'educational program' as such, being more for amusement, it quite neatly teaches a little about keyboards.

In striking the middle line, aimed at someone who is neither a dedicated programmer with no musical knowledge on the one hand, nor a keyboard wizard who's scared stiff of computers on the other. Musicmaster is a success. It's a realistic way of converting a Spectrum into a music processor and keyboard which presented our team with no problems whatsoever in use.

CRITICISM

7/10
Good, if a little on the tiny side.
8/10
7/10
Slightly limited on the pitch range and lacks the ability to put expression in music.
7/10
Help facility and manual would give a total novice a reasonable start into keyboard music.