The Music Studio from Activision is among the first of what promises to be a host of sophisticated music programs becoming available for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST computers.
It's an easy-to-use program, featuring pull-down menus and icons which are selected with a click of the mouse. The documentation consists of a small booklet explaining the available features as they are offered on both the Amiga and the Atari ST versions. Although the documentation does not include an index, it's straightforward enough to guide you quickly through the software.
The program itself offers five basic screens from which to work. The Composition screen displays a treble and bass clef. Several icons appear along the border of the screen which allow you to adjust the volume, speed, time signature, and key in which the composition is to be played. You move the mouse to the note icon, select the type of note or rest to be placed on the staff, move the mouse pointer to the desired location on the staff, and fix the note in place with a click of the mouse. An ear icon in the lower left-hand corner will, when selected, play the piece as it is written.
The Composition screen allows you to use any of 15 different sounds, or presets, which are included with the program. The different sounds, including bassoon, French horn, harmonica, and jazz guitar, are each represented by a different color. When you select the bassoon, for example, the notes appear on the staff in green. The notes for the French horn appear in blue, and so on.
Since the Amiga allows you to play four different parts simultaneously, the color-coded notes help you to distinguish clearly among the four tracks being played. Lyrics can also be inserted within the score.
The Composition screen includes a pull-down menu with options which allow you to cut, paste, delete, copy, and otherwise rearrange what you have written. You can even hear the score played back in half-time or double-time.