Electrosound has been designed for use by people
with varying musical knowledge, and comes complete with
50 preset voices and 24 drum and percussion sounds.
There are five different modes, each with a separate
function which can be used either to play the computer
like a proper synthesizer or create tunes:--
This is the mode that is best tried when the program
is first encountered. What this mode does is turn the
64 into a miniature synthesizer, all the keys on the
top two rows of the computer act as a two octave musical
keyboard. Electrosound is fully compatible with
the Commodore Music Maker keyboard overlay, so
if there's a spare one lying around put it over the
top to make playing a little more realistic (and easier).
are nine keyboard play modes which are put into three
categories -- mono, poly and unis (unison). When in
mono 1 mode, a key pressed plays a note with the voice
defined for channel one only. Mono 2 mode plays the
channel two voice, and mode three channel three. In
this mode it is possible only to play single notes.
With poly mode up to three combinations of notes can
be played, making it more like a proper synthesizer.
Unis mode is similar to mono mode, only a combination
of voices sound when a single note is pressed. Using
this mode, harmonies of three different voices can be
created at the single press of a key.
keyboard can be 'keyed up' by using the transpose parameter
-- this element determines the note range of the keyboard.
Normally the bottom note starts at C, but it can be
changed to start at D sharp, E or whatever. In transpose
mode the octave of the keyboard can also be changed,
so playing high or low octaves is possible.
in manual play mode, it is possible to define and create
new voices. When a new sound is required, the write
protect should first be turned off by pressing F2. Then
a cursor can be moved through all the sound parameter
and modulation values using F5 and F7. To change those
values use the F3 key (or F4 to change that value by
are the basic ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release)
parameters, which each have 15 settings. You can also
select the wave type from the 15 variables provided
(pulse, sawtooth, sin, noise and combinations of them
all). To customize the voice further, the pulse width
can be defined to make it more mellow or harsher. If
unis mode is being used, then it might be useful to
toggle with the detune parameter. This changes the voices
in both channel two and three, detuning channel two
just below the channel one note, and channel three above.
This gives a much 'fatter' and more spacious sound.
sound channel has two built-in filters which can be
switched on and off and there are separate low, medium
and high frequency filters which can also be switched
on or off. If a filter is used, then the cutoff parameter
can be defined to make the filter come into action at
a certain frequency. The resonance parameter can he
used in conjunction with the cutoff to emphasise the
cutoff frequencies and therefore give a distinctive
tone to the sound.
allows extensive modulation to a voice, and using the
following parameters some incredible sound customisation
can be made (like pitch slides).
are five modulation parameters -- vibrato, PWM (pulse
width modulation), pitchbend, autotrigger and cutoff.
Vibrato causes the pitch of the note to be constantly
changed and produces an effect similar to an acoustic
instrument such as a clarinet. PWM is similar to vibrato,
being a cyclic modulation. It causes the width of the
pulse waveform to vary above and below the defined pulse
width of the voice. The result of using pitchbend will
cause a voice to 'slide' upwards or downwards or become
a much harsher type of vibrato with a bigger cyclic
effect. Autotrigger constantly retriggers the ADSR element
of the voice, repeating it constantly if a key is held
down. When the cutoff is put into action, the filter's
cutoff frequency can be varied creating such effects
parameter has four values (trigger, rate, depth and
direction), which can be used in conjunction with the
five parameters and can be defined to determine when
pitch and modulation come into action. Trigger mode
can only be used with NTM (see below), whilst rate determines
how fast modulation occurs. The depth setting is used
to define how far modulation goes before changing course,
and direction is used to start the modulation from a
certain point. There is also an option which allows
S/H (sample and hold) to be used with depth. This setting
constantly changes the numbers being fed into the voice
parameter giving a 'random' synth noise.
are also two other values, modulation delay and note
trigger mode. Modulation delay determines how much time
elapses between a note being pressed and modulation
occurring, whilst NTM is used to determine whether this
delay is operative before every note is played or only
before the first one.
using manual play, voices can be defined for use in
any sort of tune that can be created by using the sequence
and track write options.
When using this mode very professional-sounding sequences
can be created for use with the track write option.
The way tunes are written using Electrosound
is quite unusual compared with other music utilities.
First of all sequences are written, which are then arranged
using the track write. This way completely different
styles of tunes can all be merged together to form almost
writing, rather than having a musical stave and putting
notes onto it, the stave is represented by a 240 x 3
grid, each sound channel taking up one line of the grid.
To create a tune, just point the arrow icon to the first
square of the grid and put in a note by pressing a key
note an the musical 'keyboard'. A note can be put in
for each of the three channels or, if desired, a rest
can be put in simply by pressing the space bar. Once
a chord has been created, the sequence can be advanced
one step and more notes added. With this process up
to 240 three-note chords can be created per sequence.
If there isn't enough space to put a full tune in, just
create another sequence and put them together with track
beauty of this program is that drum sounds can be placed
in any space, no matter what channel; just plonk them
in wherever there's a rest.
the sequence is finished go to . . .
Which allows the tune to be listened to without erasing
it. This mode acts like a tape recorder -- using BNM
-- as stop, play, pause, rewind, fast forward, it is
possible to listen or skip through parts of the tune.
In this mode the tempo of the tune can also be changed
to add higher resolution to the sound.
This is represented as a large yellow grid where sequence
numbers can be arranged and entered. Each of the ten
rows can hold ten tracks, giving huge potential for
writing almost endless tunes.
This works in the same way as sequence play, with the
same 'tape recorder' controls, only this time the entire
tune with all its sequences can be heard. If the tune
comes out slightly wrong, then just go back to the track
play and correct it.
allows storage of voices on both tape and disk and comes
complete with a set of demo tunes (which are excellent).
The instructions are detailed and explain exactly what
each of the functions does. The only trouble is that
reading the instructions is a necessity and could well
put off a novice, although it is possible just to tinker
with the program and get to know the ways around it
without detailed reading.