Master Composer

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Master Composer
Master Composer - C64.jpg
Creator Paul Kleimeyer
Released 1984
Platform Commodore 64
For the example songs, see Master Composer (C64).

Master Composer was the first popular Commodore 64 music editor. It was programmed by Paul Kleimeyer in 1983 and published by Access Software, probably in 1984 and only in the USA where the first reviews and user songs arrived. However, by 1985, Europeans were also using it. The box truthfully advertised with songs being easy to add to BASIC and machine code programs, running in background, the driver being relocatable (a very rare feature until 1989). In the USA, it was superseded by Sidplayer.

You can fill up to 127 bars with up to 16 sixteenth notes. One bar is shown at once and can be scrolled up and down. Bars are displayed in a cross between traditional notation and a piano roll, and each voice has its own color. It is reminiscent of the later AdLib Visual Composer and has the same limitations concerning arpeggios and triplets.

The bars do not have to be played in order; instead, you can define up to 64 blocks (Programming mode), and in each block, you can set all SID chip registers, tempo, and starting and ending bar and sixteenth note, which simplifies repetitions, instrument changes, and fading. But even the blocks do not have to be played in order: You can define up to 23 pages, and in each page, you can set the starting and ending block. This was easy to overlook, though, since some songs (including Accolade's Comics (C64)) end with hums or leftovers from previously loaded songs.

After the last page, the song ends. A few arrangers copy-pasted pages to last about 20 minutes, and a few programmers handled looping themselves. After finishing an arrangement, a few people added pulse width modulation in BASIC or machine code.


The following composers used Master Composer:

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