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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 29th Apr 2019, 6:22 pm   #1
Slothie
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Question Micro music box project.

For a long time now I've been trying to locate any information about a music box project that I saw in ETI, Practical Electronics or possibly Everyday Electronics years ago, probably in the late 70's/early 80s. It was a microprocessor based music box that composed its own tunes algorithmically. I believe it was based around an SC/MP or possibly CDP1802 processor. I don't recall it being particularly complex but the article did go into some detail about how the music was composed.
While I have no musical talent whatsoever I have always had a fascination with the idea of generating "music" with a computer, and would love to find this article. I seem to recall the cover of the magazine was pale yellow with a picture of the music box in the middle if thats any help!

I've started looking through the magazines on the "American Radio History" archive ( https://www.americanradiohistory.com/ ) but as this may take some time given the only vague idea I have as to what magazine and what year it was this is going to take time, so any hints from others who may recall it or have stumbled across it would be great!

Any pointers to similar projects would be welcome too!
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 6:45 pm   #2
duncanlowe
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

Can't help with the project link, I'm sorry. But while at school in a music lesson we were taught some basic rules of composition. Can't remember much but it was thing like never moving more that a couple of notes up or down in a jump. I programmed a VIC20 with some of the basic rules and it was suprisingly musical, in spite of no recognisable tune and no phrasing / timing rules. I think I still have the cassette with VICPIN (VIC piano) on it!
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 11:00 pm   #3
Slothie
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

Thats interesting If you ever manage to get the program off the tape I'd love to see it.
I've done some experiments in the past generating random melodies and transposing or reversing sections that were ... interesting! I wouldn't say they were great.

I have tried to little avail to get my laptop to play notes through the midi synthesiser on the sound card from Python, but despite it being proclaimed easy I can't get a peep from it. I also used to have a program called "Band in a box" that you could type chord progressions into and it wpuld synthesise an accompaniment and drums which isn't quite what I wanted but fun to play with.

I will probably end up getting one of my old Atari 7800XLs or my C64 to work and try again using that - at least from BASIC you could get notes to come out!

But I still would like to find that article because if it was SC/MP based I have a number of "spare" SC/MP chips just looking for a use!
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 11:41 pm   #4
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

Good news, I've found it in the Feb 1979 issue of ETI.

https://www.americanradiohistory.com...1979-02-79.pdf


The cover of the magazine was nothing like I remembered it but I spotted it on the list of projects. It's called "Twonky" which I imagine is intended to reflect what the tunes sound like.....

Looks like an ideal breadboard project to me!
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 11:51 pm   #5
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

...Page 79, for anyone with less patience than me.

That same issue also contains a one page editorial obituary for John Miller-Kirkpatrick, who was mentioned in other recent threads. (Page 60).
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 12:08 am   #6
Slothie
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

There's a review/article on the SCRUMPI3 in the Oct 78 edition of ETI as wel.

The Twonky article points out that with a few mods the twoky program could be made to work on an MK14, if you made a PRBS generator and speaker circuit and hooked them up saving the trouble of working out the schematic that has no pin numbers or PCB layout.... I think I might try that put, will make for a good MK14 project now I have one!
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 9:00 am   #7
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

Once you have it working 'on board' maybe try modifying it to send out the equivalent MIDI notes instead, that's another exercise I had in mind, to try modifying the MK14 manual 'Music Box' program to send its notes out via MIDI.

(It sounds as though you have interests in electronic music and therefore possibly a MIDI instrument or two).
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 8:38 pm   #8
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

I had found the Twonky article and filed it to go back later the other week at that time I also found in the May 1979 issue there is a news item that music it produced was due to be used as the theme tune on the BBC - they also mention that the Tolinka Chess (also SC/MP based) was on Blakes 7!

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There is a random number circuit in Computing Today June 1979 Page 69 - the sample game is in Z80 but, the circuit is contemporary.

http://www.flaxcottage.com/ComputingToday/7906.pdf

I did see one in Practical Electronics as well and thought - oh that is interesting but, did not save the reference...
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Old 25th May 2019, 6:29 pm   #9
NealCrook
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

That copy of ETI was part of a box-load that I shipped to the owner of American Radio History in the USA two years ago. It cost me about 50 but save me keeping them in my loft! I was pleased to see the link to the Computing Today scans - sad to say I binned all my copies years ago.

Neal
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 12:41 am   #10
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

Thanks to Timbucus's discovery of / suspected involvement in the uploading online of those old issues of the MK14 user group newsletter 'Complement And Add', we now have the necessary changes, as published by Geoff Philips, to make the ETI 'Twonky' code run on an MK14, on this page:

https://archive.org/details/Compleme...Issue2/page/n7

The original 'Twonky' code (to which these changes have to be made) is on magazine page 81 of the ETI issue Slothie linked to in post #4 of this thread.

The MK14 version also requires an independent square wave oscillator (a 555?) to be running into the SC/MP Sense-B input.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 3:05 am   #11
Slothie
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Default Re: Micro music box project.

That's interesting, thanks for digging that up! I'd got stuck because I knew I'd have to put in a couple of extra instructions to correct the index registers but my SC/MP skillz where not mad enough to work out how without making the code any longer.
I've typed in and corrected the assembly code to work with SBASM so I'll see what these changes involve! Once I get my uploader finished I'll be able to try it out.
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