Master Composer

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Master Composer
Master Composer - C64 - Input.png
Creator Paul Kleimeyer
Released 1984-0?-??
Platform Commodore 64
For the example songs, see Master Composer (C64).

Master Composer was the first popular Commodore 64 music editor. It was written by Paul Kleimeyer in 1983 and published by Access Software, possibly in 1984 when the first known reviews and user songs arrived. The box truthfully advertised with important but then-rare game features: songs being easy to add to BASIC and machine code programs, running in background, and even the driver being relocatable.

You can fill up to 127 bars with up to 16 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 limits on arpeggios and tuplets.

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 (except for combined waves), 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 on each page, you set the starting and ending block. This was easy to overlook, though, since some songs end with hums or leftovers from previously loaded songs. You can also retune the song, although most arrangers left it at the default 450 Hz (NTSC) or 433.5 (PAL).

After the last page, the song ends (sometimes with a decaying hum, Master Composer's only known bug). A few arrangers copy-pasted pages to last about 20 minutes, and a few programmers handled looping themselves. Master Composer does not have any effects, but a few people added pulse width modulation in BASIC or machine code. In 1986 in the USA, Master Composer was becoming superseded by Sidplayer.


The following composers used Master Composer:

Picture Gallery