Master Composer

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Master Composer
Master Composer - C64 - Loading.png
Creator Paul Kleimeyer
Released 1984
Platform Commodore 64
For the official release and example songs, see Master Composer (C64).

Master Composer was the first popular Commodore 64 music editor. It was programmed in 1983 by Paul Kleimeyer and published by Access Software, possibly in 1984. 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 uncommon feature until 1989), and printing.

An arranger can fill up to 127 bars with up to 16 sixteenth notes. One bar is shown at once and can be scrolled in all directions. Bars are displayed in a cross between traditional notation and a piano roll. 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, arrangers can define up to 64 blocks (Programming mode), and in each block, they can set all SID chip registers, tempo, and starting and ending bar and sixteenth note, allowing to repeat, change instruments, and fade out. But even the blocks do not have to be played in order: Arrangers can define up to 23 pages, and in each page, they can set the starting and ending block. This was easy to overlook, though, causing some songs (including Accolade's Comics (C64)) to end with hums or leftovers from previously loaded songs.

After the last page, the song ends (if sometimes with a very slow release). A few arrangers copy-pasted pages to last about 40 minutes, and a few programmers restarted songs themselves. After finishing a song, a few people set up pulse width modulation and random notes in BASIC or machine code.


The following composers used Master Composer:

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