AdLib Visual Composer

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AdLib Visual Composer
AdLib Visual Composer - DOS.png
Creator Ad Lib, Inc.
Released 1987
Platform DOS

AdLib Visual Composer is a music composer program specifically targeted to the AdLib sound card. It was created by Ad Lib, Inc. in 1987. The program came with several example tunes which can be listened to on the AdLib Visual Composer (DOS) game page.

The composer consisted of six voice channels and a bass, snare, tom, hi-hat, and cymbal channel, or a "Without Percussion" mode with nine channels. The program allowed you to "paint" your music on its piano roll. Music was saved in the ROL format.

Instrument INS files were also associated with the first version of the program so that the voices could play in it. Since each instrument file size was 54 bytes, it costs 1 KB of real disk space to store it, so beginning with the version 1.5 BNK format was introduced to save disk space. The BNK files contained all the voices and the voices' information. Visual Composer also came with a program called "Instrument Maker" that lets you create or modify voices and sounds. New BNK files can also be created. Games that used Visual Composer for their music usually came with a BNK file so that other people could use the sounds from the game in their own compositions. The original BNK file (STANDARD.BNK) had numerous voices to choose from, from accordions to xylophones.

The program allowed you to change the tempo in-song, the voices in a channel, the volume, and the pitch accuracy. But even at that, there were some things that AdLib Visual Composer couldn't easily do that other music composition programs could do like arpeggios, pitch bends, and note slides. Arpeggios, triplets in 4/4 songs, quadruplets in 3/4 songs, could be created by altering the tempo in the middle of the song.

The program also came with AdLib Instrument Maker to make custom instruments BNK files, and AdLib Juke Box to play ROL files.


The following composers used AdLib Visual Composer.


Version Download Platform Notes
1.51 Download - (info) DOS Includes AdLib Instrument Maker and Jukebox