As a music lover and sometime musician, I have been particularly impressed by three cassettes released this month, which push the Bally's music capabilities to new boundaries.
Two are the result of a half-year of dedicated work by George Moses, who has given the Bally some credibility as a music synthesizer. After two years of listening to computers like the Apple II and the Commodore PET playing the Pachelbel "Kanon in D" and "Alla Turca" from Mozart's Sonata in A, I was becoming embarrassed by Bally's one-note version of "Tavern in the Town."
Moses has led us out of the desert with a collection of Bach's fifteen Two-Part Inventions. He has patiently modified and remodified the 3-part Music Assembler program, eliminating the timing problems of earlier versions, and has painstakingly transcribed over 22,000 inputs to create a cassette that is state-of-the-art as far as the Bally's sound synthesizer is concerned. Whether you're a Bach lover or a beginning computer music composer, you'll find this tape well worth the $7.50 investment. Moses goes a step further with his Arcade Christmas Music cassette, a selection of 27 pieces, including most of the popular carols and Yuletide melodies, which feature organ-like vibrato effects in appropriate passages ($9.50). Both programs run automatically from start to finish, making them ideal for background music, holiday parties or mood music as you labor over your latest flow chart.
The other item, seventh in the WaveMakers series, is a complete Guitar Instruction Course by Mike Peace. Mike is a professional musician and recording artist in addition to being a fine programmer.
Imagine what it would cost to have such a teacher available on command, to bear with you for hours showing you chord progressions, fingering and chord patterns and even tuning your guitar for you. Hundreds of dollars, no doubt, but Mike's cassette does all that and more. It displays the guitar neck on the screen, outputs the exact tone of each string for tuning, then allows you to select any conceivable key and any of three different progressions: blues, country or ballad. As the six notes of each chord are strummed (the Bally can only play three at one time, but you'll have to run this program several times, as I did, before you believe it!), the finger positions appear on the frets then disappear as the next chord is displayed. Not only that, but the individual strings actually vibrate on the screen as each string is played...a magnificent effect (guitar course sells for $12.95)!
To receive these programs (a must for any serious Bally user interested in music), contact the authors.
Editor's Note: CURSOR received all three of these tapes for review, and we consider them a tremendous bargain. They are, by far, three of the best pieces of software ever created for the Bally. - Fred Cornett
All programs by George Moses and WaveMakers are in the public domain. You can use the programs on a Bally Arcade/Astrocade. You can also listen to music transcribed for the Bally by George Moses in MP3 format.