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Music OnLine

David Janda goes for his regular jaunt round the bulletin boards

David Janda takes us for a whirlwind tour of the music comms world

More news from the Channel-X network of BBs. For those not in the know, Channel-X caters specifically for the BBC range of machines, and music lovers in particular.

The main board in the network is CCL4 on (Contact Details) - apologies for the wrong number in the first issue! A new addition to the Muzic Gang (a bunch of guys who compose music for the Beeb) is Ashley Frieze who normally operates from the Sin Bin. His contribution to the board consists of seven Beeb BASIC songs including; The Locomotion, Going for Gold, Spitting Image, Theme to Dynasty, Authur's Theme (from Authur 1), Stand by Me and Help - Comic Relief.

Of particular note are Ashley's Music ROMs. These consist of sideways RAM images in either one or two parts. Each ROM (tune?) has a number of star <*> commands associated with them which control the speed and such like. The good thing about these ROMs is that they are interrupt driven, so you can play a tune whilst using a word processor or whatever.

There's around 17 tunes to choose from, and as far as I can tell most are adaptations of existing Beeb based tunes. I've yet to download any as I only discovered the Music Roms the night before going to press, but will give you a full update in the next issue.

Staying with the Channel-X network, one item applicable to owners of all types of micro are the song lyrics. As the name implies the section consists of song lyrics which are constantly updated. The idea being that you choose a song, turn on your ASCII capture facility and the lyrics can be saved directly to disk or tape.

Prestel and Music

Even though I've used Prestel for three years, I've never been aware of how much coverage music gets on the system. What's even better is that all the material is not produced just by one IP (Information Provider), but several. Here's what's available:

Hobby Spot offers a wide range of reviews on all manner of musical products including micro music!

Musifax - This area is part of Hobby-Spot and is found on *810934#. The area is edited on a voluntary basis, which means that the people who edit the area are doing the job for the love of it, not the money. Because of this you cannot expect daily updates and top notch writing but what the heck?

Musifax is broadly divided into four areas; editorial, interaction, features and information. The news within the editorial section IS updated on a regular basis and is biased towards record releases and such like.

For reviews, hints, computer stuff and a radio section you need the features section, while charts and record reviews are to be found under the information section. Recommended reading.

Well Aard pop news from Aardvark and Partners.

*Aaard Rock# - This one's a Wolf in Sheeps clothing if ever there was one. Instead of information about hard rock the area is littered with banal prize draws. The quizzes are crap and each question costs money. The only part worthy of note is the UK singles and albums charts as compiled by Gallup/BBC, but looking at these will cost you 30p. Thumbs down on this one!

MIDI Spot - Another music area to be found within HobbySpot dedicated to MIDI fans. This is by far one of the best areas dedicated to music on Prestel.

Subjects covered include MIDI help, reviews, letters section and soon to be introduced an equipment list. Of particular note is the newsdesk which is updated on a regular basis. The area is recommended reading for anyone interested in MIDI, but do bear in mind that areas like Musifax and MIDI Spot are interactive and do rely on YOUR contribution.

Prestel's own music focus offers an on-line answer to Radio One.

Music Focus - Prestel is a major information provider on its own database. A lot of material that is centralised within Prestel Focus where Music Focus can be found.

The area is dedicated to music and radio and information is provided on charts, news, gig guides as well as radio and record companies. The information provided under each section is very comprehensive, but most of the pages/sections do incur a charge varying between one and four pence.

Micronet - As one of the largest information providers on the Prestel database you would expect Micronet to provide a degree of information on music, and it does.

The problem at present is that it's scattered throughout the Micronet pages, but if what David Rosenbaum (Micronet product manager) tells me is true this will not be the case for much longer.

Existing members of Micronet will no doubt be aware of Music City. This started life as an area devoted to music on the Acorn range of micros. Alas the people who were in charge of the area did not put too much effort into the job, and at the time of writing Music City has not been updated in a very long time.

As I understand it Micronet intend to reorganise the area, and once done the area will reflect ALL things associated with music on Micronet.

This will mean that machines such as the ST and Amiga will get a look in, and music related articles and features found on other areas of Micronet will be routed (directed) from Music City. A good job too, as there's quite a lot.

First there is Gallery. This area is edited by individual members who rent pages from Micronet on a quarterly basis. The contents of Gallery change all the time, but most quarters there's someone writing about music, be it computer related or otherwise. A routing from Music City would help boost the access figures for those galleries that feature music, and encourage others to start their own.

Xtra! Xtra! read all about the audio world with Voltage.

Next on the list is Xtra! This magazine within a magazine is dedicated to leisure subjects, and as such features a healthy dose of music related material. Now and then you can find the latest album reviews as scribed by one Tim Knight. If you like your writing to carry a real punch then the single reviews which are penned by The Velcro Fly should be right up your street.

Velcro Fly does not "review" singles in detail but has a dig at anything that revolves on a turntable. Not dedicated reviews as such, but a damned good laugh to read.

Voltage is an area within Xtra! that covers leisure electronics. It's biased towards hi-fi at the low end of the market, but occasionally reports on the very top of the range gear. As Chris Bourne, editor of Xtra! puts it; "we cover the gear the readers can afford, and the stuff they like to dream about owning."

The area is updated on a weekly basis and includes news (four stories a week), features and reviews - highly recommended.

Of course Prestel is not the only on-line database that caters for the music enthusiast. CIX has several conferences (areas) on music subjects, and Compunet has hundreds of music demos for the Amiga and ST. There are other specialised commercial services both here in the UK and in the states dedicated to the musician and music dealers, and I hope to report on these and others in the next few issues.

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Micro Music - Copyright: Argus Specialist Publications


Micro Music - Jun/Jul 1989

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman



Feature by David Janda

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