Last month's Lynx rhythms
Chris Everard investigates the Lynx rhythmic potential
Thumbing through the books and magazines on the market, I am amazed at the interest given to certain computers and the complete ignorance of and indifference shown towards others — some of which have better and more adaptable soft and hardware available than their superstar, mollycoddled competitors. One such computer is the Lynx. English bred and marketed widely, the Cambridge company who make them have managed to sell a considerable number. So, it is with a certain pride that I now present to all you high resolution home computer freaks out there, a taste of what this little machine can do in the field of electronic music (what else!).
As this is something of a 'taster' for greater things to come, I thought it best not to go over the top. The programme in this article allows a Lynx computer to control sequencers (either on-board or separate) via the TRIG IN or EXT SEQ IN sockets on most synths. The ambiguous word 'most' is used because it's impossible to try out this programme on every unit on the market. Suffice to say that it happily triggers a JX3P and a CS15 (EG's only on the latter). By altering the third digit on line 280 after the BEEP command you can acquire different trig pulse amplitudes. Thirty-four is just about right for the poly sequencer on the JX3P.
For this particular programme, the way rhythms are put in is via a potted notation. Typing in a C will represent and produce a crotchet (one beat), an M will come out as a minim (two crotchets), a Q for quavers (half a crotchet) and an S for a semi-quaver (half a quaver). Depressing the space bar will increase the tempo and the colon will decrease. Pushing the 'at' abbreviation button will start the pulses and depressing the A key will stop the trig pulses. A restart option will be given in the form of; "Restart Y/N?"; as if you couldn't work it out for yourselves, the Y means Yes and the N means No. There is also a facility for backspacing and deleting using the '/' button. By hitting this once for every step you wish to delete and re-entering the correct information, it avoids the need to start all over again if you enter a wrong letter.
As I said at the beginning of this article, the following programme is a mere sample of what the Lynx is ultimately capable of in the field of electric music making. The following programme may have some things which you may wish to alter or completely leave out — on the other hand, it may inspire you to develop it to such a point that you never have to bother about using the sequencer's on-board pulse notation again! Eyes down... and away we go.
Feature by Chris Everard