Bank Street Music Writer

Copyright: © 1986 Mindscappic
Genre: Educational games

Educational games

Bank Street Music Writer
Bank Street Music Writer is an excellent music composition program that
not only teaches you the basic concepts of music, but also allows you to
write and "play" music as well. Although it helps if you can already read
musical notes, that isn't a prerequisite for the program: Mindscape
includes a clear and concise 64-page documentation -- an introduction to
music fundamentals that will teach the most tone-deaf neophyte such
basics as notes, tempo, pitch and melody (I will try to scan this manual
sometime soon ;)) Writing notes on the screen music "paper" is a very
simple affair of positioning the cursor at the line corresponding to the
note you want, and pressing a number key. Four is a quarter note, eight
is an eighth note, and so on. If you make a mistake, the program's error
protection alerts you and prevents the note from being entered. Notes
already entered can be erased with a keystroke, and the music you have
already notated can be heard at any time. Each of the four separate
voices is highlighted in different colors as each note is played, like a
follow-along bouncing ball. To demonstrate finished results, Music Writer
has includes a dozen complete pieces of music you can read and edit.
These range from a long excerpt from Tchaikovski's "Nutcracker Suite"' to
Scott Joplin rags and "On Top of Old Smokey." This last song is used as
the basis for the program's tutorial, which quickly teaches how to
operate the keyboard commands and use them to start writing music.
Another intriguing idea of the program is that it was shipped with the
"Mindscape Music Board" intended for people who didn't have Tandy or
PCjr. This is a 6 voice sound card which turned out to be a sine or
square wave generator with simple attack, sustain, and delay parameters.
It also allows you to print out real sheet music, and you could follow
your voices on-screen as they played. A great piece of hardware that sure
beats cheap plastic guitar picks that come with most modern music
programs ;) Overall, Bank Street Music Writer is a revolutionary program
that is still surprisingly playable today. It is not as intuitive or
pretty to look at as EA's Music Construction Set, but it's got enough
different features and user-friendly options to stand up to the best.
 

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