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/// Usenet Review: Deluxe Music 2.0
By Daniel Barrett
Deluxe Music 2.0
Deluxe Music 2.0 ("DM2") is a program for creating, printing, and
playing music using the Amiga's sound chip or MIDI instruments. It is
primarily a music notation program rather than a sequencer, though it
has some basic sequencer functions.
A freely distributable demo version of DM2 is available on the
Aminet ftp sites and elsewhere. This demo is based on an older version of
the program and contains some bugs which have reportedly been fixed in the
actual release. It also has saving and printing disabled. However, it will
give you a reasonable idea of the program's user interface.
Name: Electronic Arts
Address: PO Box 7578
San Mateo, CA 94403-7578
Telephone: (415) 572-2787
The program was written by David "Talin" Joiner.
$100 (US). Mailorder price is approximately $80.
An upgrade is available to owners of the original Deluxe Music
Construction Set for $50 plus shipping. Call Electronic Arts at
800-245-4525, weekdays between 8am and 5pm Pacific Time, and have your DMCS
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
Any Amiga computer.
1 MB RAM or more.
2 floppy drives or 1 hard drive.
A printer is recommended.
Reportedly runs under all AmigaDOS versions from 1.3 to 3.0.
ARexx is recommended.
Serial number protection. When you install the program, you are
prompted for your name, company name, and program serial number. This
information is then encoded directly in the program. A little window
pops up for a few seconds and displays it every time you load the program.
This copy protection is painless, and I find it completely
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
Amiga 3000T, 8 MB Fast RAM, 2 MB Chip RAM, 210 MB hard drive.
ECE MIDI Plus interface.
AmigaDOS 2.1 (Kickstart 2.04 ROM).
The long-awaited Deluxe Music 2 is finally shipping. More than an
update of the original Deluxe Music Construction Set (DMCS), DM2 is a
completely rewritten program with a similar interface, created by David
Joiner, the author of the MIDI sequencer "Music-X."
For many years, the Amiga has had no professional-quality music
notation programs; see the section "COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS,"
below, for more information. Does DM2 finally give us a pro-level notation
program? I hope to answer in this question in my review.
DM2 includes the program itself, a directory full of sampled
instrument sounds, a few example scores, and a freely distributable
player program called DMPlayer.
This review will discuss the operation of DM2 in some detail, and
then I shall focus on the shortcomings of the program. Unfortunately,
this program really needs some improvement.
VOCABULARY FOR NON-MUSICIANS
You will need some musical knowledge to understand this review.
Here is a little vocabulary that may help non-musicians or people who need a
brief review of terminology. MUSICIANS MAY SKIP THIS SECTION.
DM2 is a "notation" or "scoring" or "music transcription" program,
which means that it is used for creating written music or "sheet music." A
"score" is a complete piece of sheet music, either printed or on the screen,
and consists of one or more "staves" (which is the plural of "staff"). A
"staff" refers to the 5 horizontal lines on which we write traditional music
notation. Typically, the music of one instrument appears on each staff,
although some instruments typically use two (piano) or three (organ)
parallel staves. A staff contains "notes" (indicating a musical sound) and
"rests" (indicating a period of silence), plus various other symbols. If we
want to write a note that is too high or too low for the staff, little
extra lines called "ledger lines" are added for that single note.
A single note consists of two parts: the "note head" or "head"
which is the little circle indicating the pitch, and a "stem" which is the
vertical line extending from the head, indicating the duration. A symbol
called a "clef" indicates which lines on the staff represent which notes.
Notes can be grouped together or "beamed" by connecting the stems
with horizontal or diagonal lines. The music on a staff is separated into
"measures" using vertical lines called "bar lines." A "time signature"
determines how much music goes into each measure, and a "key signature"
determines which pitches are appropriate to be used in the piece. (This set
of pitches is called the "key" of the piece. You can use any pitches you
want, but the pitches in the "key" are more convenient to notate.) A pitch
that is not in the key of the piece is called an "accidental," and there are
5 kinds: sharp (raise pitch), double-sharp (raise pitch twice), flat (lower
pitch), double-flat (lower pitch twice), and natural (undo any sharp or
"MIDI" stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface." This is a
method of communication between a computer and an electronic musical
instrument (e.g., synthesizer), or between two instruments, so one can
control the other. Pressing a key on (for example) a synthesizer keyboard
sends a message through a wire (a "MIDI cable") saying "Key number 23 was
just pressed!" This message can be recorded and played back by a computer,
causing the instrument to reproduce the note, or it can simply be sent to
another instrument which will then play its "key number 23." (This is a
VERY simplistic explanation suitable for beginners only.) The important
thing to realize is that MIDI does not transmit any sound; instead, it
transmits messages like "play this note" and "stop playing that note."
A computer program or hardware device that records and plays back such
information is called a "MIDI sequencer."
If you are a non-musician who read this section, please send me
e-mail telling me whether it helped you understand the review or not. (I am
THE CHALLENGES OF COMPUTER NOTATION
The perfect music notation program still does not exist. The reason
is that musical notation is very diverse, somewhat arbitrary, and quite
difficult to get right. Here are some examples of why writing a notation
program is hard. I am including this section because, in my opinion, some
USENET readers do not know what I mean by a "professional" notation program.
Let's start with the obvious stuff: correct output. Symbols should
look correct, clear, and be free of "jaggies" when printed. The dots on
dotted notes should be close to the notes they modify. Horizontal spacing
should look "natural," and simultaneous events in different staves should
line up vertically.
Beaming can be a challenge. When several notes must be beamed
together, we want the results to look both clear and natural. By clear, I
mean that the individual beams should be visible and not overwrite any note
heads. By natural, I mean that the beams should be at a "good" distance
from the note heads and drawn at an angle that looks appropriate for the
notes. If the notes are ascending or descending by simple steps, then beam
angles may be easy to calculate; but if the notes are spread out all over
the staff, should the beam angle upwards, downwards, or neither? The answer
may depend on the notes that appear before and after the beamed ones.
Chords can be challenging to notate if the individual notes are
very close together. Note heads should not overlap too much to obscure
each other, nor should they be so far apart that gaps are visible. This
is particularly true when a chord contains a half step.
Two of the most difficult pieces of musical notation for a program
to get right are "ties" and "slurs." These are slightly arced lines --
similar to the arcs drawn in a paint program -- that connect two notes (in
the case of a tie) or group several notes (a slur). These are difficult for
a program to draw precisely because their size is not constant, they need to
be diagonal at arbitrary angles (in the case of slurs), and they may need to
extend between measures or even staves.
A final challenge is that there are many symbols available in
musical notation, and some composers even like to make up their own
notation. Does the program support all standard clefs? How about
non-standard time and key signatures? What if we want only 4 lines on a
staff and diamond-shaped note heads (as in some medieval music)? What if we
don't want any bar lines (as in modern classical music)? How do you notate
the scraping of an aluminum can lid on a violin string? The ideal notation
program would allow the user to draw his/her own symbols and add them
(permanently or temporarily) to the program's musical vocabulary.
We shall see how DM2 fares against these notational challenges.
Installation is easy. Simply click on the Install-Deluxe Music
icon, and the Commodore Installer program guides you through the steps
to put DM2 on your hard drive or another floppy disk.
I had one problem when using the "Pretend To Install" option.
After I choose the name of the directory which will contain the
DeluxeMusic subdirectory and click "Proceed", I get the error message
Sorry, an error has occurred
Getenv: string too long
and the Installer exits. I don't know if this a bug in the Installer or in
the particular installation script. I think I've seen this happen before
when installing another application.
CREATING AND EDITING MUSICAL DATA
My first test of DM2 was to invoke the program and start using
it without reading the manual. I found the interface to be very intuitive.
Three windows are presented to the user at first: the Score Window,
the Tool Window, and the Piano Keyboard window.
The Score Window is a blank score with two staves (treble and bass),
1 measure long. As you add notes to the score, a blank measure is
continually appended. When you play back your score, notes get highlighted
as they are played.
The Tool Window contains gadgets which represent different kinds of
musical symbols. Click on a symbol, the mouse pointer turns into that
symbol, and you can insert that symbol into the Score Window by clicking on
the desired part of the staff. The Tool Window also has tools for erasing
symbols, beaming, and text entry.
The Piano Keyboard window looks like a piano and is an alternate way
to add notes to the score. Click on a key, and the corresponding note is
inserted into the score. You can also build chords and insert rests. During
playback, the corresponding keys on the keyboard are highlighted.
The menus are pretty standard, conforming pretty closely to those in
the Amiga User Interface Style Guide. Without the manual, I was able to
figure out what most menu items do with only a few exceptions. That is,
given a menu item, I could use it. The opposite gave me trouble, though:
if I want to do some operation, how do I execute it? I had to hunt quite a
bit for some operations. For example, to control the global amount of space
between staves, I guessed to look under "Score Settings" first. Nope. It's
under "Staves." Little ambiguities like that made the program a little bit
hard to use. But these are small complaints -- once you read the manual,
it's no problem.
DM2 has a reasonable amount of notational flexibility, but it has
some unfortunate limitations. For example:
NICE FEATURE UNFORTUNATELY...
You can set the number of The number of staves must remain
staves. constant for the entire score.
You can change the clef in Clef changes are allowed only at the
any measure. beginning of the measure.
Note values from whole note No grace notes.
all the way to 64th note
Important symbols available These are font symbols only and do
like fermata, C clef, not affect playback.
"dc a fine", etc.
Automatically numbers your No page numbers.
Insert text into the score. No score title, author name, page
headers/footers, piano fingering.
So while DM2 has some nice features, I wish it went a little further than it
Once really nice feature of the program is that you can leave various
requestors (really they are windows) open while you edit the score. Other
programs force you to close the requestor before you can continue working.
In addition, while playback and printing are going on, you can still work
with the program. (Though this sometimes leads to trouble: see the "BUGS"
Now for the bad news: Deluxe Music is missing LOTS of important
features that prevent it from being a professional-level notation program.
I've already mentioned grace notes, score titles, page numbering, and piano
fingering. Some more are:
o Accent signs (that look like ">") for notes.
o Double sharps. The double flat exists but only as a font
symbol with no meaning for playback.
o Glissando markings.
It is also missing basic features like:
o Rests inside a set of beamed notes. (For example, putting a
beam over two 16th notes, a 16th rest, and a 16th note.)
o Full-page view of the score.
o Cannot drag notes on multiple staves simultaneously.
o Cannot align a group of notes -- all you can do is align an
o Clef changes cannot occur in the middle of a measure.
o Key signature changes that reduce the number of sharps or
flats should produce a key signature with naturals in it,
indicating visually which sharps/flats have disappeared. Or
if the change occurs in the first measure of a staff, a good
program will place a indicator of the change at the end of
the previous staff. Deluxe Music doesn't do either.
It's also missing professional features like:
o Cannot design your own symbols easily, except by editing a
font and memorizing which symbols correspond to which ASCII
o Cannot change the number of staves within a score -- you
must use the same number of staves throughout the score.
o No N-tuplets for N greater than 7.
o There is only one size for notes and staves.
o No mezzo and soprano clefs.
o No Baroque-style ornamentation (in a tiny staff above a
MEETING THE CHALLENGES
In the section "THE CHALLENGES OF COMPUTER NOTATION" above, I
listed some things that are difficult to do in a notation program. Let's
see how DM2 handles them.
Correct Output: DM2 gets a bunch of the basics right. Note heads
are clear (though sometimes they overlap and notes must be moved manually).
In some rare occasions, note stems do not reach all the way to their beams.
Plenty of jaggedness is visible when scores are printed on my 300dpi laser
printer. Some symbols overlap each other and cannot be corrected; for
example, "8va up" symbols overlap high notes. Dots on dotted notes are
sometimes correctly placed, sometimes too high, and sometimes missing (!!),
particularly in chords with dotted notes (see the "BUGS" section, below).
Beaming: In general, DM2 chooses beam distances and angles well.
Unfortunately, some note/rest combinations are impossible to beam with DM2.
Chords: DM2 does a decent job, even with chords containing half
Ties And Slurs: DM2 can tie/slur notes within a measure, across
measures, and across staves. Nice. But they look lousy printed: very
jagged. And very small ties are not symmetric, making them look deformed.
Creating Your Own Symbols: DM2 provides no facility for this.
You can create your own Amiga font full of musical symbols and use it,
but DM2 has no user interface for inserting these symbols except by
keystroke, forcing the user to memorize which keystrokes correspond to
which font symbols.
DM2 can run on many kinds of screens, including custom, Workbench
and Public Screens. You can change the Palette and the font. However,
if you change the font to something too large, you can't access the
rightmost menus because they are pushed offscreen. And the rightmost
menu is the "Settings" menu, so you can't change the font back. And
the Settings menu has no keyboard equivalents. OOPS!!! You're stuck.
Quit the program and restart it.
Even with this little "Catch 22" problem, it is great to see
a program that lets the user modify the screen type so nicely. Well done.
DM2 comes with 32 sampled instrument sounds. I think their quality
is reasonable for use as a sketchpad and for quick feedback. I do my real
playback with MIDI synthesizers. Since sounds are a matter of taste, I
won't say any more on this.
Instead of using the internal sounds, you can assign different
staves to play on different MIDI channels. This worked fine for me.
You can also input your music using a MIDI keyboard, on one staff at
a time. Note duration is increased the longer you hold down the key: it
jumps to eighth, dotted eighth, quarter, etc., at a speed that you may set.
Too bad there's no metronome built in, or you might be able to enter your
music in real time.
DM2 is not a heavy-duty sequencer. It doesn't have sophisticated
features like MIDI event filtering, system exclusive handling, etc.: just
simple recording and playback.
The score can be played back starting either from the beginning, or
between two markers (Begin/End Section). This is pretty lame, since there
is only one set of markers in a score. I'd rather see an unlimited number,
and the ability to name them for easy reference.
During playback, there is no way to cause the program to skip
repeats, or skip to a second ending. There also appears to be no way to
adjust the volumes of the internal instruments relative to one another.
I'd rate the playback options as "minimally acceptable."
Printing speed is approximately one page every 5-6 minutes on
my 68030 Amiga with an HP Laserjet IIP printer.
Some of my complaints about the printing are:
o Repeated 16th-notes overlap their note heads.
o Flats sometimes overlap the previous note stem.
o In a chord with 2 sharps, one of the sharps invariably
overlaps the previous note.
o Beams are jagged, even on a 300dpi laser printer.
o "Begin repeat" signs overlap the first note in the measure.
o "8va" signs overlap high or low notes.
o Very small ties look like crap. In general, ties and
slurs look jagged and sometimes deformed.
If you look at the output from 1-2 feet away, it appears close to
publication quality. But look closer and you see the jaggies. This is not
professional output, but it's good enough to read.
DM2 has a very rich ARexx implementation with 86 commands, some
having many options. I wrote a few scripts, and most things worked as
documented. If your script contains an error, DM2 puts up a requestor
with the ARexx error message -- THANK YOU for this.
ARexx macros may be recorded and played back interactively. Just
choose "Record", do a bunch of things in the program, and then stop
recording. You have just created a macro that can be played back
repeatedly, and then saved in a file if you desire.
ARexx macros are executed using a file requestor (choose the script
name) or may be assigned to function keys. DM2 also has an ARexx Console (a
command-line shell) which lets the user type ARexx commands directly if
desired, for experimentation or quick operations. GREAT feature.
A few of the ARexx commands are implemented strangely. For example,
the "Next Note" command which moves the cursor to the next note will
deselect the previous note, if it was selected. This is dumb, since a very
obvious operation is to move from note to note, selecting each. I wonder if
this behavior is a bug?
Another strange thing is that "Goto Measure" does looks like it
moves the cursor to the beginning of the measure, but internally it
doesn't. If you try to do a "SelectItem" immediately afterwards,
it selects the second item in the measure. To go the beginning of
a measure, you have to do "Goto Measure" followed by "Previous Note".
I have one big complaint about ARexx in DM2, and that is
Electronic Arts' attitude about it. The manual repeatedly describes
ARexx as "an advanced programming language" which is "recommended for
expert computer users" only. Not only that, but "Electronic Arts does
not offer technical customer support for ARexx scripting issues."
Hey, why not just say that ARexx is poison that will kill you?!? Come
on, EA, what's the point in trying to scare away new users from ARexx?
I have more complaints about the ARexx documentation in the
"DOCUMENTATION" section, below.
DM2 stores its files by default in CMUS format, a new IFF format
which is more powerful than the old SMUS that Deluxe Music Construction Set
used. It can also read and write files in SMUS and Standard MIDI File (SMF)
Realize, however, that not all file formats store the same
information. If you don't save in CMUS format, not all of the symbols
in your score will be saved. SMF format is great for importing your music
into a sequencer, but it won't store beaming, text, etc. It also doesn't
notice your repeat signs, which I consider a design flaw: DM2 should
give you the option of "expanding" repeated sections by including them
multiple times in the SMF. Finally, according to a report I read in
comp.sys.amiga.audio, saving in SMUS format has problems with notes with
Documentation consists of a 167-page, spiral bound manual, an
8-page fold-out Amiga Reference Card, and a README file on disk with
The manual is suitable for beginners and contains several
tutorials that are reasonably good. Experts will occasionally be
frustrated with the manual's "beginner" tone.
I don't like the presentation of the ARexx information. Pardon me
for yelling, but I wish manufacturers would...
STOP DOCUMENTING AREXX COMMANDS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER!!!
IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE NAME OF THE COMMAND YOU NEED, YOU HAVE
TO READ THE WHOLE DAMN SECTION TO FIND IT!!!!
PLEASE DOCUMENT AREXX COMMANDS ACCORDING TO THEIR FUNCTION!!!
For example, "file commands", "movement commands", "delete commands",
"locking and unlocking the GUI commands", etc. If you insist on using
alphabetical order, then AT LEAST provide a brief functional grouping of
command names in a separate section. This is SO frustrating. In fact, I am
so frustrated that I wrote my own functional grouping and uploaded it to
Aminet, in the directory /pub/aminet/mus/midi, in the file DMusic2-ARexx.lha.
The Reference Card is very handy, except for its coverage of
ARexx, which does nothing but scare users away from trying it.
LIKES AND DISLIKES
(1) It's easy to use.
(2) It adheres to Commodore's User Interface Style Guide.
(3) It has a ton of ARexx commands.
(1) There is no visual indicator of whether the current score is saved
(2) You can't erase text with the Eraser Tool. In fact, you can't erase
text boxes at all! You can delete the text in them, but the
invisible boxes stay around forever.
(3) While multitasking, it's easy to insert extra notes accidentally.
Click the Note Tool, flip Deluxe Music's screen to the back, work on
a different screen for a while, and then flip back to Deluxe Music.
If you activate the screen by clicking in the score window, an
unwanted note gets inserted. Boo. Other programs can detect that
they are being reactivated and won't treat the first mouseclick as
an operation. (In fact, David Joiner's own Music-X program does
(4) The program is missing many standard notation features that
I mentioned in the body of the review.
(5) This is a BIG one. Deluxe Music uses the same Clipboard unit as
most programs -- unit 0. This means that if you are multitasking
Deluxe Music with your favorite word processor, then cutting/pasting
with your word processor deletes or garbages the data that Deluxe
Music puts into the clipboard. FRUSTRATING!
Possibly this is a bug in Deluxe Music, because writing to the
Clipboard with DM2 doesn't garbage other programs' clipped data.
(6) Insert some text. Now adjust the staff spacing using the Staff
Window. The text stays in the same absolute position, rather than
moving to the same relative position in the score. Let the user
attach text to symbols so the text moves when the symbol does.
(7) If two notes are tied, and you want to tie the second also to a third
note, you can't do it directly. You have to remove the first tie,
select all 3 notes, and tie them all.
(8) "Revert" makes the display jump away from the current location to
elsewhere in the score. This is because while the old version is
reloading, the scroll bar gets moved around, and then the score
jumps to correspond to the new scrollbar location.
(9) Why does "Tie Note Up" have a keyboard equivalent but "Tie Note Down"
does not? Why doesn't every non-dangerous menu item have a keyboard
(1) Allow the user to choose which Clipboard unit is used by the
program, so it doesn't conflict with other non-music programs.
Or if this behavior is a bug, fix it.
(2) If you click on the background screen, you have no menu bar at all.
While this is natural from a programming standpoint, it can be
confusing to the user. Always have some menu active.
(3) If you want to make a very high note on a low staff, the program
can't distinguish it from a low note on a high staff (due to
overlap). There should be a "staff lock" command that forces all
input to go to a particular staff.
(4) Too often, I have to click on the background before the Note Tool to
"clear" the fact that notes are selected. If I don't, then I can't
click on any modifiers (to apply to the next note) without applying
them to the selected notes. There should be a quick way to do
"deselect all" rather than clicking on the background, or even
better, the program should "deselect all" (at the user's option)
when the Note Tool is clicked (perhaps under certain
circumstances... THINK about how this should be done.)
(5) I don't like the use of "Exit" in some requesters, such as the one
in the "Save As" requestor, which should probably be "Cancel."
(6) The GetItemAttr command has no way to discover the name of the
current note (A, C, etc.), only the MIDI pitch number. Thus,
enharmonic notes (e.g., A-sharp and B-flat) cannot be distinguished.
COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
The old "Deluxe Music Construction Set" was interesting to play
with, but it had severe limitations and does not work reliably under
AmigaDOS 2.0 and higher.
Dr. T's "Copyist Professional DTP" produces excellent output, but it
is primarily a graphics program lacking real knowledge of music. (For
example, if you want to insert a measure, you have to move all the later
measures by hand to make space. This is pathetic! Can you imagine a word
processor forcing you to do this when you insert a word?) DM2 has more
musical knowledge, though its printed output is inferior to Copyist's
Postscript. Maybe someone will write a new "Copyist Companion" program
that will convert from CMUS to Copyist format for printing.
The freely distributable MusicTeX or MuTeX also produces great
output and is quite flexible, but it requires TeX programming knowledge to
use effectively. DM2 is far easier to use.
The Macintosh and PC have pro-level programs like Finale, Score,
Notator, and several others, but these have never been ported to the Amiga.
These programs are light-years beyond anything available for the Amiga.
Finale can reportedly be run on the Amiga using the AMax II+ or Emplant
Sigh... Deluxe Music is FULL of bugs. I am really surprised that
the program was released in this buggy state. Here is a brief listing of
the bugs that I discovered in two weeks of using the program.
* Serious Bugs
(1) The program produces Enforcer hits. They happen at various
times that I cannot predict. One reproducible hit is to
open the ARexx Console and type "changeitem pitch -1", which
is an illegal command, but NOTHING should produce Enforcer hits.
(2) Create a measure with an octave chord in it. Apply a sharp
accidental to the lower note. Save the score and close it. Re-load
the score, and both notes now have sharps on them. (This is
musically incorrect -- accidentals do not automatically apply to
other notes with the same name, e.g., an octave away.)
[This bug was discovered by someone else on USENET.]
(3) Sometimes, quitting the program causes a recoverable alert (yellow)
to be displayed, saying "Not enough memory for this operation."
Not enough memory to QUIT?!?!? Huh??
(4) After pasting from the clipboard, the score cursor does not appear
in any consistent place. Sometimes it's in the next measure of the
same staff. Sometimes it's in the same measure of the next staff.
Sometimes it's in the middle of a measure. And so on. So quick,
consistent, repeated pasting is not possible.
* Other Bugs
(5) Inserting a rest sometimes causes a note to be played.
(6) Inserting a note sometimes causes the wrong note -- an octave off --
to be played.
(7) Use the "Up Octave" menu item to raise notes in your topmost staff
so high that they go beyond the staff separation markers. Now
lower the notes. Bogus ledger lines are left in the staff above.
(8) Click the depth gadget on the Tools Window. Then click the Note
Tool. The cursor should change into a note head, but it doesn't.
(9) Slurs don't move upward during an "Up Octave" operation.
If you flip the note stems twice, the problem is corrected.
(10) Sometimes when dragging a note, the wrong pitch will sound. For
example, in the key of A-flat major, drag an E-flat up a half
step. An F-flat sounds, but the actual note is F.
(11) Once when I clicked on the close gadget of the Tool Window, the
mouse pointer disappeared. It came back when I clicked the
right mouse button.
(12) The "8va up" and "8va down" symbols cannot be moved up and down;
therefore, they overlap very high and low notes, respectively.
This is true both on the printout and on screen.
(13) Very high notes overlap with instrument names.
(14) Insert a very low note as the first note of the last measure in the
score. This forces the screen to scroll. Under some circumstances,
if you hold down the mouse button too long, the scrolling causes the
note to be inserted much too low. This is intermittent, but I can
usually reproduce it after a few minutes of trying.
(15) Open a new text box. Then change font to a smaller size. The box
stays big (to accommodate the large font), and the text in the new
font sometimes comes out too large. This is intermittent.
(16) Scrolling the score vertically sometimes causes graphics glitches.
The main one is that a portion of the staff gets drawn one pixel
too high, so the straight lines are disconnected at a point.
(17) It is not possible to apply an "8va up" to a single note. Try it,
and no "8va" symbol appears.
(18) Display the Piano Keyboard Window and click on the "Enter Notes In
Score" gadget so a checkmark appears. Now print your score.
While printing is in progress, click on the gadget again and the
checkmark disappears. However, the program still thinks that you
are in "enter notes in score" mode, even though the gadget is
(19) Create a half-step chord -- adjacent E and F at the bottom of a
staff with a treble clef -- made of dotted notes. The dot for the E
is missing. For other note combinations, the upper note has two dots
instead of one.
(20) Multiple menu selection doesn't always work. (Holding down the
right mouse button and clicking several menu items with the left
button.) I could not reproduce this problem later.
(21) I was able to drag a text box so far to the left of the score
window that the drag gadget was left out of the window bounds
(that is, I could not see it). Thus, I was not able to drag the
box any more since the gadget was out of sight. I could not
reproduce this bug. Maybe I was clueless and forgot about the
horizontal scroll bars.
(22) The "8va up" modifier is ignored when you select a note to hear its
pitch. The pitch that is played is the un-raised pitch. (Similarly
for "8va down".)
(23) In a measure with some beamed notes, spend a lot of time adjusting
the beams manually so they look just the way you like. Then add a
new note to the measure. All the beams jump back to their original
(24) When you do a "Down Octave" operation on beamed notes, the note
stems grow downward, but the beam stays in the same place. So you
get notes with ridiculously long beams. If you flip the note stems
twice, the stems go back to normal.
(25) Try to beam a triplet consisting of an 8th note and a 16th note
which are tied together. The beam appears normally. Click elsewhere
in the score. The beam disappears! This is intermittent.
(26) Halting (canceling) a print job leaves my printer's "job in
progress" light turned on. I don't know if the program or the
printer is at fault, but my other programs don't cause this to
(27) Saving a score as a Standard MIDI File removes all of the repeat
signs. It also loses some time signature changes.
(28) Clicking on the Play Section control sometimes produces a burst
of audio noise instead of starting playback. Clicking a second
time starts playback.
(29) The empty measure at the end of the score is impossible to get
rid of permanently. Delete it, save the score and reload it,
and the empty measure is back.
(30) Insert two instrument changes in the same staff. Now insert
notes after the second instrument change. The notes you hear
during insertion use the first instrument sound.
(31) The ARexx sequence of LockGUI followed by UnlockGUI leaves an extra
score cursor (vertical bar) on the screen. UpdateDisplay doesn't
remove it. Resizing the score window does.
(32) Rests are considered of NOTE type when using GetItemAttr. They have
Note.Pitch = 0. However, 0 is a legitimate MIDI note pitch, so this
is a conflict.
* Unintended Behavior (probably)
(1) The "undo" command clears all of the modifiers (sharps, triplets,
etc.) in the Tool Window.
(2) Locate a note in your score that is a natural in the key signature
(that is, its scale degree does not have a sharp or flat applied).
Use the mouse to drag the note to a sharped/flatted scale degree.
This turns on the sharp/flat in the Tool Window, and it stays on!
Thus, the next notes you enter will have this sharp/flat applied to
(3) Apply an "8va up" to a group of notes. Then use the Score Setup
Window to increase the score width. The notes spread out, but the
"8va up" symbol doesn't line up with the notes any more.
Unfortunately, this bug is intermittent.
(4) Click the Play Section gadget. Then click the Stop gadget. Then
click the Stop gadget again, so the score should start playing from
where it left off. It does (sometimes), but now the Play (instead
of Play Section) gadget is turned on. I think that "continue
from where you left off" should mean that the same play mode should
DM2 was supposed to ship by April 1993, according to advertisements
by Electronic Arts, but it didn't appear until late September. Such delays
reflect badly on the vendor, in my opinion.
I have had no reason to contact the vendor, but I will be sending
them a long bug report. :-(
Media is guaranteed for 90 days. After 90 days, it costs $7.50 (US)
for each replacement disk.
Page 32 of the manual states that "DeluxeMusic gives you complete
flexibility in the way you format your musical scores." Unfortunately, this
statement is too optimistic. The fact that you cannot raise "8va" symbols
and instrument names so they don't obscure your notes is a simple
counterexample, and there are dozens more.
The sheer number of bugs in this program is very disappointing.
Since many of them are intermittent bugs, I fear that they will be hard for
the author to track down. I really hope they get fixed though, and soon.
Deluxe Music 2.0 is not a professional level notation program.
But pro-level programs run $250 or more on other computers. Is Deluxe
Music 2.0 worth the price? Yes. You can get some work done with it, and
it's rather fun, except for the annoying bugs.
I give this program 2.5 out of 5 stars in its current state. It
fills a much-needed gap in Amiga software, but not enough to satisfy me. I
hope that Electronic Arts will give this program a serious update, or at
least a bug fix very soon.
Copyright 1993 by Daniel J. Barrett. This article may be freely
distributed as long as it is distributed in its entirety. It may not be
included in any commercial publication without the written permission of the