PCjr Music composition software.

Software related questions

PCjr Music composition software.

Postby Maximillion95 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:28 am

I am interested in music composition software for older machines and was wondering if anyone knew of ay other programs that I haven't heard of yet.

Music Construction Set
Kind of hard to get working on a Jr because the DOS port of the program will lock up the machine.
I finally found a teledisk image that worked after 2 years of trying to get the DOS version to work.

However, I discovered that every note played it exactly 1 half step sharp, making direct translations from sheet music that much harder to do.

Bank Street Music Writer
Seems to work in DOSbox, but running it on a real DOS machine will produce extra text on the menus which make it almost unusable.
It does actually play music, but without a working menu it makes saving and loading songs very difficult.

Junior Music Machine

I ran across this program about 2 years ago, It seems to be just like any other 3-voice music program for the PCjr except that it has 2 interesting features.

It uses one of the 16 color graphics modes. I have not seen this on other music programs for the Jr or Tandy 1000.
It has the ability to play notes starting from C2, IIRC the Jr's lowest note is A2.

The extra few notes added to the bottom range really help with some songs; however this program has a nasty bug in where if you are writing a new piece of music, and are in 4/4 time, and place more than 13 or more 16th notes sequentially, the program locks up and writes random vertical bars to the screen.

I think the program was originality set to boot from DOS automatically via autoexec.bat.

I have included a copy of Junior Music Machine here as I have not seen the program discussed anywhere else on the forum.
In my experience I had to write the contents of the zip to a 360k disk, trying to run it from my 3.5" backpack drive would cause it to lock up when trying to save a song.
Attachments
JMM.zip
Junior Music Machine
(88.07 KiB) Downloaded 140 times
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby geoffdaddy » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:34 pm

Interesting.

I haven't tried this yet myself, but have you tried running Deskmate 2 on the PCjr? It has a music program in it.
PCjr: 10MB RACore 01 hard drive expansion, Hotshot 640kB RAM expander, optical mouse, Xircom PE3, speech sidecar.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby Maximillion95 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:44 pm

I'm afraid I'm new to running Deskmate software on the Jr. When I run Personal Deskmate 2. Only half the graphics display (Every other horizontal line is blank).
This happens regardless of the fact the V/32 Option is set in jrconfig to set a 32KB Video buffer at segment 1800h. (Maybe this software requires either the Tandy or Jr1000 mod?)

I was also not able to see a mouse cursor. I know PDM2 can use a mouse. I am using a Mouse Systems PCjr Mouse. I don't know if it can't use that kind of mouse or it might require a DOS Driver. I am unsure if a DOS driver exists for mouse systems mice because I haven't been able to find one yet.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby jmetal88 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:34 am

Maximillion95 wrote:I'm afraid I'm new to running Deskmate software on the Jr. When I run Personal Deskmate 2. Only half the graphics display (Every other horizontal line is blank).
This happens regardless of the fact the V/32 Option is set in jrconfig to set a 32KB Video buffer at segment 1800h. (Maybe this software requires either the Tandy or Jr1000 mod?)

I was also not able to see a mouse cursor. I know PDM2 can use a mouse. I am using a Mouse Systems PCjr Mouse. I don't know if it can't use that kind of mouse or it might require a DOS Driver. I am unsure if a DOS driver exists for mouse systems mice because I haven't been able to find one yet.


I'd say it probably does need the Tandy mod, as well as a mouse driver. I'm not sure what protocol the Mouse Systems PCjr Mouse is using, so I wouldn't be able to recommend a driver.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby GHiero » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:34 am

Maximillion95 wrote:I'm afraid I'm new to running Deskmate software on the Jr. When I run Personal Deskmate 2. Only half the graphics display (Every other horizontal line is blank).
This happens regardless of the fact the V/32 Option is set in jrconfig to set a 32KB Video buffer at segment 1800h. (Maybe this software requires either the Tandy or Jr1000 mod?)

I was also not able to see a mouse cursor. I know PDM2 can use a mouse. I am using a Mouse Systems PCjr Mouse. I don't know if it can't use that kind of mouse or it might require a DOS Driver. I am unsure if a DOS driver exists for mouse systems mice because I haven't been able to find one yet.


The missing graphics you describe, the so-called Venetian Blinds issue, should be solved by the Tandy-mod. Deskmate is a Tandy branded product and when in graphics mode uses a 32KB buffer window at B800. The PCjr. only provides a 16KB buffer window at B800 and there is nothing you can do about it in software.

Cutemouse supports Mouse Systems-protocol mice. Start with 1.91.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby Maximillion95 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:28 pm

I was able to get Cute Mouse to use the Mouse Systems Mouse, but I still can't use it in Deskmate2. It works for other Mouse-enabled DOS programs, but not Deskmate. Does Deskmate have any requirements for the mouse used with it? My mouse is on COM1, IRQ3. Something else I noticed is that when you use the keyboard for input, it will duplicate key presses. I am thinking this might be due to the keyboard differences between the Jr and normal PCs.If that is the case, even if I do the Tandy mod, I won't be able to use the Deskmate 2 Music program.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby GHiero » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:26 pm

Some Deskmate versions :

Tandy 1000/A/HD - Deskmate
Tandy 1000EX - Personal Deskmate
Tandy 1000SX - Deskmate II
Tandy 1000HX/TX - Personal Deskmate II

Tandy released a joystick mouse driver for its PC systems, its called joy.sys. You may want to try that, its included with Personal Deskmate. The driver makes the joystick emulate a mouse.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby Trixter » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:12 pm

Maximillion95 wrote:Bank Street Music Writer
Seems to work in DOSbox, but running it on a real DOS machine will produce extra text on the menus which make it almost unusable.
It does actually play music, but without a working menu it makes saving and loading songs very difficult.


Load an ANSI driver and the menus will look normal.

Junior Music Machine
I ran across this program about 2 years ago, It seems to be just like any other 3-voice music program for the PCjr except that it has 2 interesting features.


Whoa, I've never heard of this!! I look forward to trying it out, thanks for the attachment.

It has the ability to play notes starting from C2, IIRC the Jr's lowest note is A2.


The lowest Hz a PCjr chip can play is about 110Hz, so if it's going lower, it's performing some trickery that I will try to figure out. EDIT: I tried it (wonderful little program!) and the lower-than-A2 notes are produced by putting the chip into periodic noise mode tied to the last channel and choosing a frequency that "sounds" lower than the usual square wave. The actual frequencies are an octave higher, but because it produces a "buzz" it sounds lower. Cute :)

As for other PCjr-supporting music programs, you've hit all of them. I used to use Songwriter with a PC and PCjr, but it is a monophonic program that doesn't use the PCjr's capabilities.

EDIT: I forgot about The Music Studio, which is a Deskmate program. So any PCjr with the Tandy mod can run that too.
Last edited by Trixter on Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby GHiero » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:34 pm

On the PCjr., Personal Deskmate may not start if another program has already been run. Sometimes it will display the BIOS date and just give beeps.

With a mouse in either Microsoft or Mouse Systems mode with the Cutemouse driver, the mouse function will work, but it cannot be seen on the screen. If you click after moving the mouse around, there will be the mouse function, but as you cannot see it, its useless. Either the PCjr. slightly different video adapter isn't drawing the mouse cursor correctly in this mode, which is unlikely as it appears just fine with the joystick driver, or the driver is not compatible with the program. An older driver is suggested.
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Re: PCjr Music composition software.

Postby Vorticon » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:56 pm

Maximillion95 wrote:I am interested in music composition software for older machines and was wondering if anyone knew of ay other programs that I haven't heard of yet.

Music Construction Set
Kind of hard to get working on a Jr because the DOS port of the program will lock up the machine.
I finally found a teledisk image that worked after 2 years of trying to get the DOS version to work.

However, I discovered that every note played it exactly 1 half step sharp, making direct translations from sheet music that much harder to do.


I have the Music Construction Set and it works perfectly fine on the jr. The sound is nothing to write home about though...
Interesting program.
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