XORsoft [1]
Paul Mann
1984
Utility: Music
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

60
Jon Bates, Graeme Kidd
Chris Bourne

Both the demo section and the learning mode are well put together, and despite some misapprehensions about the graphics, the whole package is well ordered and comprehensive. The demo and keyboard/stave familiarisation games provide the user with a simple but good background to what he or she is about to do - and the range of options, including the facility to store a total of 2,500 events and up to 26 different tunes at any one time is truly impressive.

The editor is a true music processor, which allows you to edit tunes by scrolling to the left and right. Short sections of music can be written and then merged together to compile one long tune, and while the editor can be a bit difficult to get to grips with, it's well worth the effort, being very accurate and comprehensive.

The inlay instructions are straightforward and well set out, and given the sheer volume of facilities on offer, are bound to be complicated.

Overall, the biggest plus has to be the facility that allows you to use the Spectrum keyboard to emulate a two and a half octave keyboard. In the practice mode, you can play music merrily, and once the piece is perfect you can play it into memory in real time. Given that a tune memorised from the keyboard can then be edited or printed out, the program could be very useful as a real-time music printer/sequencer, not least for the untrained musician who can't score out his tunes played by ear.

This program was very accurate musically and while it would benefit from a keyboard overlay and a little graphical tidying up, it's well worth the effort required to get to know the complicated editing routines. Spectune would appeal to both the total musical novice and the competent musician equally - it's just a pity that the Spectrum isn't polyphonic!

CRITICISM

8/10
Room for some improvement, a little clumsy at times.
7/10
Complicated at times, but worth getting to know.
9/10
8/10