MusicWorks Screenshot

MusicWorks for Macintosh was one of the first music software programs for home consumption (ca 1984); it takes up a whopping 69K of memory. I still use it: it acts as a primitive sequencer, letting me cut and paste loops that I write into some kind of coherent (hopefully catchy) song or composition. It gets a nice, unsophisticated video game sound, with about 10 "instruments"--e.g., piano, organ, trumpet (uggh), chime, synth 1, synth 2--and controls for the attack and decay as well as tremolo and vibrato. The pieces I did in '88, when the computer was relatively new, are more structured (i.e. songlike) than the most recent stuff, which is more "tracklike" and features found sound (other folks' lock grooves from turntables, etc.). A new composition will be posted soon, something I'm pretty happy with--a score for another artist's video--that's more in the '88 spirit.

Unfortunately the ancient Mac SE I run MusicWorks on seems to be dying; it takes longer and longer to save and I've lost some work. I like this little music program a lot--it's sort of the aural equivalent of MSPaintbrush, which I'm also fixated on--and I'm hoping it can be run on the newer Macs. If it can I'll plunk down and buy one.

- tom moody 4-21-2004 8:38 am

I know you're into old software, but if you do "plunk down" Garage Band is free with the purchse and although it does a lot more, you can make it act like musicworks does. That is if working in colour isn't against your religion or something.
Besides that, I have an LC 3 collecting dust that I'll give you if you want to "upgrade" from your SE.

Don't count on musicworks working on a newer mac. If you want to give me a copy some time I will check it out though.
- joester 4-21-2004 4:46 pm

take the LC! the idea makes me so happy. I miss my old LC the way I miss my first bike. I gave it to a guy who needed a computer and he still has it but he never really learned how to use it, and seems to blame me for the fact that it is a really really old computer. on the other hand, buy a G4! Garage Band really looks like a lot of fun, and structurally at least pretty much the same as MusicWorks. It came with my ibook and I've been saving it for a rainy day.
- sally mckay 4-21-2004 5:40 pm

used imacs are super cheep on ebay 3-$400
- bill 4-21-2004 5:53 pm

Thanks, all. Joe, I'd like to see if MusicWorks runs on the LC and later models. I'll email you about the logistics of that.

- tom moody 4-21-2004 8:26 pm

fwiw: I used my G4 ibook the othe day to watch a dvd while working on big image files in photoshop at the same time. No problem. I haven't ever been so technologically satisfied.

- sally mckay 5-19-2004 6:09 pm

I've never had luck using it on newer machines (Performa or a G3). Might have something to do with the old system 6 requirements. Mind you, might also be due to the version (I'm using 0.42).
- Marc. (guest) 12-05-2004 9:33 am

There is an old Mac emulator:

Mini vMac emulates a Macintosh Plus, one of the earliest of Macintosh computers, sold between 1986 and 1990. It can run old Macintosh software that otherwise couldn't be used on recent machines, and so helps to preserve history, from the era when the modern user interface for computers was being defined.
It needs an actual Mac ROM file to run though, so you'd have to have access to one (the program CopyRoms will extract the ROM into a file.) Of course, while not strictly legal, a little googling could possibly turn something up.

Took a bit of work, but I am booted into System 6 as we speak (inside a window in 10.3,) playing with MacPaint.

If there is any way to send me the musicworks program I will see if it runs. Don't see why it wouldn't.
- jim 12-05-2004 5:29 pm

I have it on a floppy, and will bring it next time I see you. The only thing different (and it's a potentially a big thing) is that it would be using your state of the art sound card to make synthesizer sounds rather than the chip(s) in the Mac SE, which had their own uniquely charming limitations.

Just wondering, would the old microsoft word files generated on the Mac SE also have to be recovered by this method, or do new machines read them? I have a lot of written material on the SE as well.
- tom moody 12-05-2004 5:59 pm

I can't believe I got system 6 running and you think the sound card is going to be "too good." It's like you're never not satisfied. :-)

I have no floppy drives of course, so unless you can hook your SE to teh internets there won't be any way for me to get the program (I googled a bit for it but didn't find anything.)
- jim 12-05-2004 6:09 pm

Man, even my (2 year old) PC has a floppy reader (it doesn't work worth a damn, but it's there). What are Apple geezers supposed to do? I guess there's a modem somewhere that could get the SE to talk to the internets.

- tom moody 12-05-2004 6:23 pm

hi tom moody , is it possible for you to send a copy of musicworks?
I am seraching for it but i can only find demo versions.
- did (guest) 5-15-2006 12:11 am

Unfortunately the MacSE with my copy of MusicWorks no longer boots up. I had to stop using it shortly after the last comment here.
- tom moody 5-15-2006 12:26 am

does it give the flasshing "?" if so you should find a cheap external hd on ebay and you can still use it.
- MSG (guest) 5-18-2006 8:03 pm