Deluxe Music Construction Set

Author: Geoff Brown
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Category: MIDI , Music & Sound
Shared by: MR
On: 2015-11-14 20:51:07
Updated by: MR
On: 2023-12-24 09:52:47
Other contributors: InkBlot , that-ben
Rating: 0.00 Clarus out of 10 (0 vote)
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What is Deluxe Music Construction Set?

Deluxe Music Construction Set is a notation-based music program that lets you enter up to 48 voices on 8 staves, and play the music through the Mac’s internal speaker and/or via MIDI on one or more external synthesizers.

You can enter notes from a palette, a Piano Keyboard window, or from a MIDI keyboard. Recording notes over MIDl is not handled in real time that is, the program doesn’t record rhythms — so it doesn’t qualify as a MIDI sequencer, but a clever feature lets you specify note durations from the MIDI keyboard indirectly. The palette also contains modifiers, such as accidentals, dots, dynamics, rests, triplets, and quintuplets.

Dynamic markings, double bars, repeats with first and second endings, slurs, and ties are all available. You can beam eighth (or shorter) notes, and you can also adjust the angle of the beam. The program knows how to display seconds (adjacent notes) in a chord properly, and it carefully follows the rules for maintaining accidentals within a measure. It also handles two distinct voices on one staff and keeps track of the proper stem directions.

The program initially spaces the notes on the staff for you according to their duration, but you can realign notes freely within bars and stretch or shrink bar lines as well. This feature helps create professional-looking manuscripts and is important when working with lyrics.

Deluxe Music Construction Set is equally versatile at handling text. Text blocks for lyrics, tempos, performance notes, and so on are set up anywhere on a page with complete control over font, size, and style. Unfortunately, there is no way to align two different text blocks.

The program uses Adobe's Sonata font for excellent results with a LaserWriter (although you have to purchase the laser version or the font separately). A font is also included for drawing chord diagrams for guitar players.

Deluxe Music Construction Set exchanges files with other music programs that use the SMUS-IFF format, so you can record a sequence in real time, then port it over to DMCS and print it out. Unfortunately, the only such program available is the rather unexciting Sequencer 2.5 from Opcode Systems. There is a newer file format called Midi Files (also developed by Opcode), which is used by several high-end sequencing programs. An independent programmer should create a utility that converts SMUS-IFF to MidiFiles so that users of those sequencers can take advantage of DMCS as well.

As a musical performer, the program is a bit less successful. The internal sounds are adequate, and the program comes with a disk full of them. They improve markedly if you hook your Mac up to a stereo system, A module is included for designing your own sounds, but it’s complex and the documentation is poor.

The MIDI implementation is clumsy. It takes about eight operations to enable the MIDI output, and switching back and forth from internal sounds to MIDI is slow. If you specify a MIDI patch change in one voice, the program sends out patch changes on all the MIDI voices. If one of the MIDI synthesizers receiving the unnecessary patch change happens to be holding a note, the note may be cut off.

The manual has a good tutorial, but its reference section is inadequate for serious users. A lot of information is in obscure places, and other stuff is simply missing.

There are also a few strange bugs. The program loses track of where it is if you move too quickly on a page. When you export a file in SMUS-IFF format, the screen goes haywire, with beams to nowhere and measures piled up on top of each other.

Deluxe Music Construction Set is a program that's not quite there, but it's still impressive in some ways.

Although several high-end, high-priced, music-notation programs are available for the Mac that rival DCMS [sic] in power, it still promises to remain a best buy despite it's current limitations.

Lehrman, Paul D. (June 1988). Deluxe Music Construction Set. MacUser. (pgs. 110, 116).


Download Deluxe Music Construction Set for Mac

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Compatibility notes

Emulating this? It could probably run under: Mini vMac

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