MIDI software for the Mac

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Date: Sun, 1 Aug 93 07:04 CDT 
From: Govind@UTXVM.CC.UTEXAS.EDU
Subject: [*] MIDI software for the Mac - Report 

This document (perhaps most useful for those about to fritter
away their hard-earned paychecks for MIDI software on the
Macintosh :~), provides a short description of some of the
more common commercial MIDI software available for the Mac.
The reviews are organized in this document under three
extended categories:

 1. Sequencers and Notation Editors
 2. Music Training, Algorithmic Composition and Accompaniment
 3. MIDI Control

Cheers- Shekhar Govind            govind@utxvm.cc.utexas.edu

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

             MIDI Software for the Mac
             =========================
                                 Compiled by:
                                 Shekhar Govind
                                 <govind@utxvm.cc.utexas.edu>
                                 Last updated on : 7/31/93

This document (perhaps most useful for those about to fritter
away their hard-earned paychecks for MIDI software on the
Macintosh :~), provides a short description of some of the
more common commercial MIDI software available for the Mac.
Not all the comments are mine - some are culled from other
user's comments, and some from the product's propaganda
literature and reviews.

If the reader is not familiar with MIDI, and is confounded by
questions such as, "What's a sequencer?", "What's a patch
editor?", or even "What is MIDI?!", there are a number of
other files available on the 'net which might prove helpful:

1. "MIDI on the Macintosh." 3-part article in TidBITS. Back
issues available via anonymous FTP from:
  <sumex-aim.stanford.edu>   /info-mac/per/tb/...
    TidBITS#176/10-May-93: Introduction to MIDI
    TidBITS#177/17-May-93: MIDI software for the Mac
    TidBITS#178/31-May-93: Hardware: Interface, Macs, Synths.

2. "Inexpensive MIDI Resources for the Macintosh." FAQ file
for shareware and public domain MIDI programs for the MAC
maintained by Russ Evans, anonymous FTP from:
  <mac.archives.umich.edu>.

3. FAQ file for comp.music/rec.music.makers.synth on Usenet,
discusses various MIDI and synthesizer issues. Maintained by
Craig Latta, anonymous FTP from:
  <xcf.berkeley.edu>
4. A bibliography on synthesizers, midi, computer and
electronic music collected from various sources by Piet van
Oostrum can be obtained by ftp from:
  <cs.ruu.nl>   in    MIDI/DOC/bibliography.
5. MIDI and General MIDI Specifications, anonymous FTP from:
  <xcf.berkeley.edu>    /misc/netjam/doc/midi/...

                  ****************
                        ****

Commercial MIDI software for the Mac is organized in this
document under three extended categories:

 1. Sequencers and Notation Editors
 2. Music Training, Algorithmic Composition and Accompaniment
 3. MIDI Control

1. Sequencers and Notation Editors
==================================

Usually, the list price is a fair reflection of the
software's capabilities. The high-end packages are intended
for the professional musician, while the mid- and low-range
programs are aimed at the semi-pro or casual musician /
composer. Each package claims its forte to be either
sequencing [S] or notation [N], though sometimes both parts
are present in some mix: [SN]  [sN] or [Sn].

Ballade  [S]
    Good value 16 track sequencer with a snazzy MIDI mixing
    window. Built-in support for some sound modules such as
    Sound Canvas (Roland) and Tone Generator (Yamaha).
    List $ 99. Dynaware USA Inc. (800) 445-3962

Beyond  [S] :
    * * * * Discontinued * * * *
    (Now available in a new package - see Metro.)

Composer's Mosaic  [N] :
    Music-notation and publishing program with powerful tools
    for editing and manipulating scores. Quirky interface.
    A user comments that "It's the Microsloth Word of the
    music bizz: slow, cumbersome interface, and a processor
    hog to boot." Will run on Mac Plus and up. $595 list.
    Mark of the Unicorn, (617) 576-2760

ConcertWare+MIDI  [sN]:
    Competent mid-level music notation and publishing program
    with a no-frills sequencer. Includes Instrument Maker, a
    wave-form editing application. Will run on Mac Plus and
    up. $189 list. Great Wave Software, (408) 438-1990

Cubase  [S] :
    Sequencer with decent interface and a few unique editing
    features (e.g. edit sequence while they are playing).
    Will run on Mac II and up. Copy protected. $495 list.
    Steinberg/Jones, (818) 993-4091.

Deluxe Music Construction Set  [N] :
    Music-notation program with limited features. Will run on
    Mac Plus and up. Copy protected. $130 list . Electronic
    Arts, (800) 245-4525.

Encore  [N] :
    Music-notation program with decent interface and good
    printing options for Postscript / QuickDraw printers.
    Will run on Mac Plus and up. $595 list. Passport Designs,
    (415) 726-0280.

EZ Vision  [S] :
    Decent sequencer for beginners. Interface provides a
    tape-deck analogy for recording/playback. Has an adequate
    subset of the features found in Vision, its senior and
    more powerful sibling. Will run on Mac Plus and up. $149
    list. Opcode Systems, (415) 856-3333.

Finale  [SN] :
    Powerful notation and sequencing program that does just
    about everything. Primarily a notation editor, the
    sequencor is less powerful than other top of the line
    sequencers.  Intimidating interface, manual  Will run
    (actually, crawl) on Mac Plus (68030 based Macs
    recommended). $749 list. Coda Music Software,
    (800) 843-2066.

General MIDI Sequencer  [S]
    Low cost, yet powerful 100 tracks sequencer with features
    (track editing capabilities) of some of the more
    expensive packages. Has "GenMap" to automatically map
    patches of synths/sound modules to the General MIDI
    instrument set. Feels a little "kludgy". Even so, with a
    street price of $49, it is bound to give quite a few
    sequencers a run for their money. $ 80 list. Altech
    Systems.

Lime  [N] :
    Powerful notation program. Limited MIDI support, quirky
    interface. $295 list. CERL,

Master Tracks Pro  [S] :
    Feature laden sequencer with a decent interface (junior
    version called Trax). Will run on Mac Plus and up. $495
    list. Passport Designs, (415) 726-0280.

Metro  [S]:
    Can edit almost unlimited number of tracks in real time.
    Reincarnation of the sequencer Beyond with an integration
    to DECK (an inexpensive digital audio recording system
    from OSC.) Supports OMS and over 500 MIDI channels.
    $225 list. OSC. (800) 343-3325

MIDIplay  :
    HyperCard based MIDI player.  Will run on Mac Plus and
    up. $60 list. Opcode Systems, (415) 856-3333

MiniTrax  [s] :
    No-frills public domain sequencer showcasing MIDIBasic.
    Will run on Mac Plus and up. Free. Altech Systems,

Music Prose  [SN] :
    Easy-to-use program with good import capabilities. Will
    run on Mac Plus and up (68030 based Macs recommended).
    $249 list. Coda Music Software, (800) 843-2066.

Music Publisher  [N] :
    * * * * Discontinued * * * *

MusicShop  [Sn]
    Upgrade package from EZVision. Features the usual tape-
    deck style sequencer and a 32 stave notation editor.
    $ 150 list (upgrade from EZVision $49?). Opcode Systems,
    (415) 856-3333.

Music Writer 1/2/3  [N]
    Family of quirky notation programs offering 3/6/40
    musical staves.  Will run on Mac Plus and up.
    $119/295/595 list. Pygraphics, (800) 222-7536.

NoteWriter  [N]
    Notation program by Passport Designs, (415) 726-0280.

Performer  [Sn] :
    Feature laden sequencer with capable of loops within
    loops. Users report recent updates (4.0 x) prone to be
    buggy. Notation editor is slow, and lacks power - good
    only for proof sheets. Integrates well with Mosaic,
    Unysin, and FreeMIDI. Will run on Mac Plus and up. Copy
    protected.$495 list. Mark of the Unicorn, (617) 576-2760.

Songworks [sn]:
    A "Jack-of-all-trades" program which combines
    notation, sequencing, composition, and "one-finger"
    accompaniment. $125 list. ARS Nova, (800) 445-4866.

Trax  [S] :
    Easy to use sequencer for beginners with tape-deck type
    interface. Shares a few features (and the interface) with
    Master Tracks Pro, its senior and more powerful sibling.
    Will run on Mac Plus and up. $99 list. Passport Designs,
    (415) 726-0280.

Upbeat  :
    Versatile drum machine for arranging percussion. Will run
    on Mac Plus and up. $129 list. Dr. T's Music Software,
    (671) 455-1454

Vision  [S] :
    Full-featured sequencer with lots of extras (junior
    version called EZVision; Studio Vision, the high end
    package, combines digital audio and MIDI). Will run on
    Mac Plus and up, although it needs a color monitor to
    take full advantage of MIDI editing features.  Good
    integration with Galaxy, Max, and OMS. Copy protected.
    $495 list. Opcode Systems. (415) 856-3333.


2. Music Training, Algorithmic Composition, and Accompaniment
=============================================================

Band in a Box Professional :
    Provides accompaniment and rhythm for different styles of
    music. $88 list. PG Music.

Cypher :
    Unique algorithmic composition and accompaniment program.
    Can work with MIDI data in real time. $ 39 list.
    Available on CD as a companion to the book "Interactive
    Music System" by Robert Rowe, MIT Press, Boston.

Harmony Grid :
    Non-traditional learning and composition program.
    Interesting use of grid to show patterns between scales,
    and chords. $99 list. VPL Research, (415) 361-1710.

HMSL
    .......??.......??

Instant Pleasure Music
    Program to make-belive that you can play like a pro.
    Plays the corrects notes of a loaded song no matter
    which synth key you hit (what?!!). Instant virtual
    gratification. $149 list. Instant Pleasure (614) 297-7600

Interactor :
    In terms of basic midi processing, much the same as Max.
     ???? ???? (Details please!)

Jam Factory :
    Algorithmic accompaniment (rhythm) with manipulation of
    MIDI data in real time. $119 list. Dr. T's Music
    Software, (671) 455-1454.

Listen :
    Educational tool for ear training and music theory. $99
    list. Imaja, (510) 526- 4621.

M :
    Unique pattern-based algorithmic composition program that
    works with MIDI data in real time. $119 list.
    Dr. T's Music Software, (671) 455-1454.

MiBAC Jazz :
    Algorithmic composition and accompaniment for jazz
    numbers. By John Ellinger, Music Department, Carleton
    (jellinge@carleton.edu). $ 125 list. MiBAC Music
    Software, (507) 645-5851.

MIDI School
    Software tool to learn the basics about MIDI and
    electronic music. Includes a basic 8-track sequencer.
    $ 75 (???) list. EduACTIVE, (???) ???-????

Miracle Piano Teaching System  :
    Popular "teach-yourself-music" package containing
    software, a MIDI interface, and a 49-key MIDI keyboard.
    $600 list. Software Toolworks.

Music Mouse :
    Entertaining whimsical program which tracks mouse
    movements for playback. $49 list. Dr. T's Music Software,
    (671) 455-1454.

Notator Logic :

Practica Musica :
    Educational tool with an interactive game approach to ear
    training and music theory. $125 list. ARS Nova,
    (800) 445-4866.

Songworks :
    A marginal accompaniment and composition tool. (See
    above). $ 125 list. ARS Nova, (800) 445-4866.


3. MIDI Control
===============

Free MIDI System :
    Similar in function to the MIDI Manager and OMS (see
    below), Free MIDI System is seen by many as a True-Typish
    move to get developers to agree on a standard set of
    "system hooks" for MIDI on the Mac. Free to all
    interested MIDI/Music developers. Mark of the Unicorn,
    (617) 576-2760. (Beta version as of 4/93.)

GS Controller :
    Patch editor. (See also Super MIDI Player.)
    $68 list. Dynaware USA Inc. (800) 445-3962

Galaxy :
    Patch-librarian. $249 list. Opcode Systems,
    (415) 856-3333.

HyperMIDI :
    MIDI construction toolkit in HyperCard. Previously a
    shareware by Nigel Redmond, it has has recently gone
    commercial. $125 list. ELE.

Max :
    For those who enjoy both programming and music, the
    following words of wisdom gleaned from TV-reruns is
    offered: "Get smart; Max smart!" Max is an excellent
    object-oriented MIDI control and interface programming
    toolkit for creating MIDI systems, user interfaces, real-
    time processors and sequencers, algorithmic composition
    components, performance surfaces, and anything else you
    can possibly think of. Control primitives (or "objects")
    can be laid out and connected together and edited in a
    MacDraw-like environment, and then used to process MIDI
    data. Quite simply, it can be considered an instrument
    for building new MIDI virtual-instruments.  Copy
    protected. $329 list. Opcode Systems, (415) 856-3333.

    Overall, the software is stable, has a good interface,
    and is easy to use. Adding new external objects to Max is
    as easy (or difficult, depending on your point of view)
    as compiling a code resource and dropping it in a folder.
    Not that it is likely you'll need to do that - Max has
    more than 160 predefined objects. (The package also has
    two 800 K disks containing Max tools developed by users.)
    On-line help is good. The 600 + page ring-binder
    manual has 40 tutorials and comprehensive object-library
    specifications - though a table listing all the objects
    and their functions would be a nice addition to an
    otherwise well-presented manual. One major complaint I
    have is Max's (or rather, Opcode's) *annoying* copy-
    protected installation procedure. (I just have an
    aversion towards any copy protection scheme,)

MIDI Manager :
    Apple's MIDI Manager offers a high level interface to the
    Mac OS to correctly support the timing accuracy required
    by MIDI hardware and software under MultiFinder. MIDI
    Manager does not come with the System - it is available
    to developers or as licensed software with MIDI
    application packages. $39 list. APDA.

OMS :
    OMS is similar to MIDI Manager in that it extends the Mac
    OS for MIDI applications. It has some features not found
    in MIDI Manager (such as SMPTE synchronization). Version
    1.x was called "Opcode MIDI System." Versions 2.0 (due
    out summer 1993?) will be called "Open MIDI System" to
    reflect the fact that future versions of OMS will
    incorporate source code from other developers (see Free
    MIDI System.) OMS 2.0 will add IAC (Inter-Application
    Communication), and include serial port independence
    allowing the use of serial cards. Free to all interested
    MIDI/Music developers. Opcode Systems, (415) 856-3333.

Super Librarian :
    Patch-librarian with awkward un-Mac-like interface. Does
    not run on Quadras. $99 list. Pixel Publishing, Canada,
    (416) 785-3036.

Super MIDI Player :
    Functionally, a GS Controller with a MIDI Player.
    $88 list. Dynaware USA Inc. (800) 445-3962

Symbolic Composer :
    Symbolic Composer collects together in one environment
    all the standard tools for designing and originating
    music. Implements the 6th Generation Common Music
    Language for the Macintosh and Atari (consists of 150
    general purpose high-level commands that cover morphing,
    chord generation, user definable styles and libraries.
    $ ??? list. Capedia, ( [UK] 0727-869791)

Unisyn :
    Patch-librarian. $??? list. MOTU.

About this document:
====================
Copyright 1993
This document may be copied and distributed freely by user
groups, electronic b-boards, and archival services subject to
the following conditions:
1.  This document is copied only in full and without any
    alteration
2.  No charge is made for its disbursement other than
    reasonable costs of materials or connection services.

Disclaimer:
===========
This document reflects user comments, propaganda literature,
reviews, and *my opinions*.  There is no guarantee as to the
accuracy and completeness of the product description /
information / list provided here.  *Caveat lector*  I assume
no responsibility for your buying decision based on this
document.  *Caveat emptor*  All products, publications, and
company names may be registered trademarks of their
companies.

Send additions/corrections/suggestions to:
Shekhar Govind <govind@utxvm.cc.utexas.edu>

This document was last updated on : 7/31/1993


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