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FAQ/Tutorial (Part 1 of 2) by J Woodrow

Version: 1.2 | Updated: 04/04/2002
FAQ of the Month Winner: April 2002


by J Woodrow  <jonjon132002@yahoo.co.uk>  04/04/2002

Version 1.1 - This FAQ is in two parts plus seperate Appendices


Released: November 1998
Developers: Jester Interactive
Publisher: Codemasters

[Sorry - this game was not released in USA - 'MTV Music Generator' FAQ
coming soon. Possibly. Some of this may still be relevant.]


                P A R T  O N E - T H E  B A S I C S


MUSIC is not a game as such. It is a remarkably fully-featured 'Music and
Video Creator' - quite basic but also surprisingly powerful and lots of
fun to use. It has hundreds of sampled instruments, with snatches of
melody and vocal samples, and loads of ready-made demo tunes and beats.
In fact everything you need to mix up some sounds and stitch them
together to make your very own danceable tracks which, with just a bit of
effort and a lot of imagination, can be nearly as good as anything among
your CD collection. You can Save to a memory card and impress your Mum
and your mates and one day maybe even a record company. It's at your
fingertips with MUSIC in your PlayStation.

The interface seems daunting at first, but it is simple enough with some
thought and a little patience. There are enough features in there to
allow even a complete beginner to knock together a classy track, in just
about any style you can come up with, in no time at all. This FAQ is
simply a guide to that interface, with some tips and pointers to help you
make sense of it if you are having trouble getting started. It is pretty
basic information, put in terms as simply as I can, since I will assume
you are reading this mostly because you have little experience with any
kind of music program and can't make sense of this one. MUSIC for
Dummies? Well, I wish someone had taken the time to do something like
this for me when I started, because after months of trying things out,
I'm still learning. I really hope you will find all the information you
need to get in there and Boss this incredible music-making tool around so
you can just get on and start making music of your own.

I won't be telling you how to make a 'hit' (because if I could, I'd be
busy doing it), but maybe I can help you form a clearer idea of what it
is that you are trying to do, and organise your first attempts at music-
making so that you can find out if MUSIC is the tool to help you to do
it. Although you can't expect TOO much, this awesome program contains all
of the most useful basic features you will find in any of the
'professional' music sequencers. You will at the least gain so much
knowledge of how a track can be built up that you will soon know if you
have what it takes to make music, and if you find that you do then you
can confidently go on and try one of those.

Just have some fun - you are limited only by your own inspiration, and as
long as you are willing to devote a little time to get the best out of
MUSIC then you should have many, many hours of pleasure, and perhaps
along the way you'll work out that hit song that is in you.


                P A R T  O N E - T H E  B A S I C S

 Best viewed in Courier New - from a distance and with a squint.8888888
 The 'MUSIC' logo is a registered Trademark. f8888! |788888888888888888
 88887'        )X888888888888888888888888888888887 /X888888888888888888
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 888888   8888   8888   8o          o88          88   8o          88888
     M U S I C  C R E A T I O N  F O R  T H E  P L A Y S T A T I O N



Have you ever wanted to make your own music but felt you lacked the
ability (or patience) to learn an instrument? Perhaps you have some
ability but don't know where to begin to get your ideas down... you have
a head full of tunes and just listening to some of the stuff they play on
the radio you KNOW you can do so much better if only you had some idea of
how it was done.  You even dream that one night in the club the DJ will
be putting YOUR Tuneful 12" on the decks and the joint will be rocking to
your very own bangin' beats! Fame, Riches and gorgeous Girls will surely
follow and... Well, let's not get carried away just yet.

I don't want to put a dampener on your ambition, but realistically, you
are NOT going to make a No.1 record using just this program. I'd love for
you to prove me wrong, perhaps by saying so on the back of a large
cheque, but... Face it, the records you hear on the radio or at that club
are almost always the result of dozens of professional people working
full-time in studios with tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds
worth of recording gear, and with proper musicians who have spent years
learning their craft. ALMOST always - there is still room for the
creative amateur and I daresay you could break through with a pair of
spoons and a lot of front if you have truly unmistakable talent. Most of
us don't, and I'm guessing that you are not sure yet but you always want
to learn, so that maybe one day soon you can join those studio guys and
share your talent with them. That's a good attitude, because even the
pro's had to start somewhere, and MUSIC is a great place for us to start.

You don't need those thousands of pounds worth of equipment, instruments
and recording gear to make music. You already have a PlayStation and now,
in MUSIC you have the perfect tool you need to work out your ideas. You
will spend some time at first just learning the interface so that you can
understand how things work. This is important, because before you can
make any meaningful music you need to have clear ideas and an organised
approach. It may seem boring, but you can take your time, and it is not
exactly like hard work. I reckon you will take it all in no problem, and
it will then seem like so much fun that someone will have to tell you to

Think what you are working towards - keep that 'Tune' in your head. You
will soon be able to: lay down some drums and a rhythm track; combine
different instruments and sounds; add in some simple vocals and structure
all those pieces into at least one coherent and (hopefully) tuneful track
of which you can be proud.

What you do with it is up to you.


R . E . S . P . E . C . T .

All credit to Jester Interactive and Codemasters for doing something
truly revolutionary with this fabulous program. The game (I'll have to
call it that) came out in the UK in November 1998, to rave notices from
just about everyone - all the PlayStation magazine journalists, readers
and reviewers, many, many top musicians and not least around 360,000+
satisfied customers. Surely all of them were intrigued by its quirky
little interface and then found to their astonishment that ANYONE really
can create surprisingly sophisticated danceable music after just a couple
of hours. The excitement at that time was partly because it was (and
still is) very different from anything else on the PlayStation. Parappa
the Rapper was a very funny 'music-based' game and Fluid was an amusing
diversion where you could mix up and create your own tunes from ready-
made samples, but they were still just games. MUSIC has much more in
common with a computer program, and if you have any experience of
'proper' music software such as Cubase or Logic Audio, then you will be
astonished at how fully-featured this one is. I stress that it isn't a
top-line piece of kit; it's not pretty to look at and there are severe
restrictions on the Memory front, but it does what it does very well.
Even though there are half a hundred Samplers, Sequencers and Music
Editors at every price and with every feature imaginable, they require
the power and expense of a desktop PC. MUSIC has the major advantage that
it costs next to nothing and it runs on your PlayStation.


R T F M (s)

I don't know what it says about musicians, but Jester have included not
one but TWO manuals in the box...

There is a comprehensive manual as you would expect, which tells you
everything you need to know, and there is also a 'Quick Start Guide'
which tells you everything you need to know but very, very simply. (I'm
not making any jokes about Drummers.)

Well, that's understandable. I suppose it IS a bit confusing at first.
You can start in and use those manuals right now, and in truth you don't
need much more than what is in there to get started, but there is also a
lot of potentially confusing information in there that you DON'T need
just yet. Take this tutorial instead and you will learn all the important
bits without even trying.

What we are going to do is look at the interface (what they call the MAIN
CONSOLE) in simple and logical steps to introduce all its components
gradually, so that you can master them instead of possibly becoming
confused by trying to make music straight away without fully
understanding what is going on. To make this even simpler, we are going
to forget entirely about the Video Creation features of the 'game'. Now
that is disappointing in a way, because those parts are certainly
intriguing, but it is just too much to take in right now. All we want to
do is get down to actually making MUSIC!

Fire up the disc and let's see what we've got.


W H A T ' S  G O I N '  O N ?

I really have no idea of who did the Lion's share in bringing this game
to the public, but take a moment to appreciate the 'Bouncing Hula-Hoops'
logo of the publisher Codemasters - that is your guarantee of quality, so
look for it on games elsewhere. Similarly with Jester Interactive, the
developers. They Know. Even the Loading screen isn't as irritating as on
most games, because we get to watch an animated DJ manically spinning a

Of course you will select 'English' and then we are at the Main Menu:

                         load and save
                           cd player

        X select

We'll be using just 'start' and 'load and save' in this tutorial.

[Unsurprisingly, 'cd player' lets you put any music CD in the PlayStation
- and then there IS a nice surprise, as you get an automatically
generated lightshow to accompany it. We don't need any of that just yet,
and likewise you can just read the manual for an explanation of all the

If you touch nothing for a minute, a demo will load up and you will get a
random selection from several complete tracks which are included on the
disc to give you an idea of what your new best friend can do. Some of the
videos are fascinating (depending on your, er, state of mind), and so you
might like to look at the pretty patterns whilst listening to some of the
tracks. This is actually a good way to take an objective view on how they
sound. They are all made using just the instrument samples on the disc,
so just think - if THEY can, YOU can! No doubt you will like some of them
and dislike others, but that is fine because you will soon be able to dig
around and CHANGE the bits you hate and LEARN from the bits you love!

After you have heard a couple of demos, press any button and you are back
at the Main Menu.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I have to ask you to keep your natural
enthusiasm in check for the moment. To get the very most out of this
fabulous game, it really does pay dividends to invest a little time to
learning just how everything works. That means we are not going to be
making music any time soon, but once you understand every menu item, it
will be much easier and a lot more fun when you do.


S T A R T   M E  U P

If you press X to 'start' then you are confronted with a mostly blue and
black screen comprised of grids and numbers in boxes. This is the MAIN
CONSOLE. It looks very confusing, and there doesn't seem to be much to
do. When you have mastered this interface, you will dive straight in
here, so that is why it is first on the list at the Main Menu. For now,
don't press any buttons but take a good look at the screen. It will
become like your second home from now on.

fig.1 - THE MAIN CONSOLE                 [Best viewed in Courier New]

     ___                                                    _______
  ~'     \  ,=========================================-~   | VIDEO |
 /    1   ) I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)  |/MUSIC?|
(        <  |>-----------+-----------+-----------+-----<|  |_______|
 >    2   ) I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)   _______
(        <  |>-----------+-----------+-----------+-----<|  |counter|
 >    3   ) I||||| This window is the TRACK EDITOR  |  |)  |_O_O_1_|
(        <  |>-----------+-----------+-----------+-----<|   _______
 >    4   ) I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)  |=======|
(        <  |>-----------+-----------+-----------+-----<|  |MEMORY?|
 >    5   ) I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)  |_______|
(        <  |>-----------+-----------+-----------+-----<|     .--.
 >    6   ) I||||||||||||I_ |  |  |  l_ |  |  |  l_ |  |)    (BPM?)
 \.____,~'  '-========================================-'      '~~'
           |  Here you see ON-SCREEN BUTTON 'HELP'    |
 _______________________     ______________________         (That)
/||||||||||||||||||||||||\ ,Y|||||||||||||||||||||||\     gr-0_0-vy
1||||||||||||||||||||||||1 l|||...and so is this |||| ('MUSIC'   logo)
1||||||||||||||||||||||||l 1||||||||||||||||||||||||;   (is HERE!)
1|||| This is BLANK  ||||1  >======================x
1||||   (for now)    ||||l 1||||||||||||||||||||||||Y      ok8Y8bk
1||||||||||||||||||||||||l 1 ||  ||  ||  ||  ||  || |     88VF888Pd/
1||||||||||||||||||||||||1 l ||  ||  ||  ||  ||  || |    (88MK8HM/e|
1||||||||||||||||||||||||1 l========================|     |g8oM888";
1||||||||||||||||||||||||1 |12345678910111213141516 |       ^>TY"'
 \||||||||||||||||||||||/   \oooooooooooooooooooooo/
                                                        ['MODE' BALL]

Looking at your tv screen, and using fig. 1 as a reference, take a close
look at that interface. It is comprised of 12 distinct elements, and we
will be looking at each one, but in no particular order because not all
of them are useful to us just now. Reading from top left clockwise (they
aren't numbered in fig.1 but you can see easily enough which is which),
these elements are:

i)    The curvy window down the left simply shows us which 'row' we are
on. There are sixteen horizontal rows (called CHANNELS) and at the moment
you can see six of them, which is why there are the numbers 1-6 in this
window. The number '1' is lit up, since that is the Channel we are on at
the moment, before we start moving around. (You'll soon get a clearer
idea of this)

ii)   The biggest window is called the TRACK EDITOR, which is a good
thing because it is where you will 'Edit' your 'Tracks'

iii)  The tiny box at top right simply shows: are we in VIDEO mode? / are
we in MUSIC mode? At the moment we are in Music mode because there is a
musical symbol showing. This is good. We are not going to use Video mode

iv)   TIMER (hour:minute:second) and underneath is a similar COUNTER

v)    The coloured horizontal bars show: how much MEMORY are we using?
How much is available? (None at the moment. Never enough.)

vi)   A green indicator - which will flash in time when our song is
playing to show us the 'BPM' (Beats Per Minute)

vii)  A friendly DJ. He doesn't do anything but keep us company

viii) A 3D rotating 'MODE BALL' (at least it WILL rotate later). It just
shows us the mode we are in. -Huh? - Later, I promise

ix)   [Upper window] Later on, you will summon menus which pop up here,
and they also sometimes take over the window underneath as well

x)    [Lower window] At the moment, this is displaying information about
the status of the 'Channels' mentioned in the bit about the first window.
These are indicated by those little numbers from 1 to 16

xii)  The last window at lower left is BLANK for now, but it is usually
where Video images can be seen. Later it will contain lots of powerful
tools for making our songs sound even better

xii)  ...and there in the centre is the self-explanatory HELP menu

If you keep these elements separate in your mind, then you will not be
overloaded with information and you can concentrate on your music. Just
about all the windows and boxes are useful, but not at the same time.


S E E  W H A T  Y O U  H E A R

The main 'grid' across most of the top section is the Track Editor, which
is where all the action is going to be.

You can imagine your song written out on a very long sheet of paper like
a roll of wallpaper, and the grid is a window through which there is just
a small part of it that you can see. As your song is playing, the long
sheet of paper scrolls past this window so you can now SEE each part of
the song you are hearing as it is played.

So how long is this sheet of 'paper' (in other words - how long is the
song written on it)? It can be any length you like, within sensible
constraints. It could be just a few seconds (a radio jingle for example)
or a ten minute Club Anthem. Most songs are about 3-5 minutes, because
that is about the right length before even a good tune becomes over-
familiar to our busy minds (in other words: Repetitive = Boring). On this
one, stick with convention.

Examine the grid. It seems to be made up of blue 'blocks' stacked up like
bricks. If the screen is red and not blue, you have probably accidentally
touched L2, as this would mean that you are about to edit Video and not
Music. That is maybe a subject for another tutorial, but we are going to
ignore the Video features for now. Tap L2 on and off a couple of times
anyway to see the blocks switch from blue to red, and notice the little
musical note in the box at top right flip over to become a theatrical
lightbulb to match the ones now beside the numbers in the vertical window
down the left. That is all that little box does, so from now on you can
safely ignore it.

If the screen goes completely black (but you can still see a little DJ at
lower right) at any time, then you have accidentally switched R2 and gone
into full-screen Video mode. Flick R2 a couple of times to check on this.
When you have the Main Console switched so that the blocks are blue and
the numbers each have a musical note symbol, take a close look at the
Track Editor window again.

The area to the left is blacked out so it is quite hard to make out, but
now that you look closer you can see that even the blacked-out area is
made up of blocks. If you count from the top left, the grid is six blocks
deep and fourteen across, with the first four vertical rows being the
blacked-out ones. The shading of the blue blocks make them look a bit
like columns of pennies viewed in close-up from the side. The vertical
black stripes are thinner than the horizontal ones, so really it looks
like the blocks are in rows, and there are six of them. Six..? Like the
numbers 1-6 down the left side? You should certainly expect so; six rows,
each of which is four across (the black ones), then it looks like another
set of four and then another set of four and then just two...

Fig.1.1 - The TRACK EDITOR

        1   I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)
        2   I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)
        3   I||||||||||||1  |  |  |  1  |  |  |  1  |  |)
        4   I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)
        5   I||||||||||||l  |  |  |  l  |  |  |  l  |  |)
        6   I||||||||||||I_ |  |  |  l_ |  |  |  l_ |  |)
              0  0  0  0   1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4  1  2...

Well this is just a way to make it easier for you to distinguish one
sequence of blocks from another; they seem to be in sets of four, because
there are usually 'four beats to a bar'. A bar is a short 'chunk' of
music that forms a natural little section of a song. There is really no
separation between the blocks other than this visual one, and the idea is
to 'fill' these blocks with little bits of music to make one continuous

You will therefore find it convenient to be organising your Tune into
sets of four 'blocks' of any sound you want, each of which contains four
'beats' so a block can be thought of as one 'bar' of music. (Sorry to get
all technical there.) It's easy enough to imagine the way it works: you
have heard a million songs where someone goes "1-2-3-4" and everyone
starts to play at the speed of the counting. You can go through just
about any song going "1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4" in your head and notice then how
key parts of the song - a new verse or the chorus or an instrumental solo
etc. - seem to occur just as you go "One..." to begin another bar. In
most styles of music, that is just a natural rhythm. Don't worry too much
if you have only a little musical knowledge - MUSIC is quite intuitive,
so you can just play it the way you feel it.


R O C K  A R O U N D  T H E  B L O C K

You will notice that there are green 'crosshairs' over the grid, glowing
soothingly, and notice too that the centres of these crosshairs cover
exactly one block. Think of the crosshairs as containing a 'cursor' able
to highlight just one block at a time. Using this cursor to target any
block you choose, you will soon be placing into some of them a little
piece of music or sound - an instrument playing just a single note or a
part of a tune, a drum roll or cymbal crash, snatches of vocals or any
other sound you want at that place in your song. The blocks fit together
so that you will hear one long flow of music, and soon you won't be
thinking of them as individual blocks at all, but just part of the
overall sound. The little blocks are just a neat way to contain a small
part of your song, to help you work on it bit by bit until you have
created the whole thing.

When a block is filled with music, the creators of this game call these
blocks 'Riffs' which is quite suitable, as that is apparently the usual
musicians term for a small component of any song when played on its own.
Each block is able to contain just a few seconds of sound, but that is
the perfect length for one 'bar' of music anyway.

The cursor shows you which Riff in the grid is targeted, meaning that is
the one you can edit at any particular time. You only need one at a time
of course, because you only have one pair of hands:) There is a huge
library of ready-made riffs on the disc to get you started, and you can
simply fit them together like a chain. Your song will most likely be made
up of hundreds of riffs, but you will soon see that editing several riffs
together at once is a standard technique, so don't worry that you may
have too many to cope with.

At the moment there is no song loaded and therefore no riffs, and all the
blocks are empty - there is no sound waiting to be played as the cursor
passes over - but you can see and hopefully understand the method you
will be using to make music soon enough. You can scroll the crosshairs
around to highlight any block you like.

Try it now, first by just moving the D-pad RIGHT button. There are a LOT
more than fourteen blocks on that roll of paper scrolling past your
window - an endless stream of blue whizzes past. Straight away you will
notice the white numbers in the little box to the right start counting


I'M  C O U N T I N G  O N  Y O U

There are two sets of numbers: the little ones on top represent a clock
counting in minutes and seconds how far 'along' your Tune you have
scrolled (and when those blocks contain riffs of music, then how much of
your song has been played), and this is in sync with the lower, larger
sized numbers which show the same thing but in terms of how many blocks
along from the beginning you have scrolled. Stop and tap Left and Right
to confirm this. These numbers are shown a little larger because when you
are composing it is more important to you to know which block you are at
than how long your song has been playing when you scroll to any
particular point.

Common sense will tell you that your Tune should be not be much more than
about 4 or 5 minutes long (to avoid boring everyone to death if nothing
else), and it may be better to aim for three minutes which was
established many years ago as the perfect duration for pop records - and
Radio play! This means that your song should be from around 80-180 blocks
long depending on how fast it is to be played. In the present case, if
you scroll to the right until the clock reads five minutes (0 05 00),
then the larger number should read 164. That is quite a lot of blocks to
fill with sound, so you should be satisfied with that.

If you are wondering just how long you CAN make a track, then keep
scrolling to the right: scrollin', scrollin', scrollin', scrollin' ON!
Keep scrollin'... until you reach the very end of the 'roll of paper'.
999 blocks, right? The clock in this case reads '0 30 40' which is just
over half an hour, and only just under half a CD! Unless you are thinking
of doing a tribute to Spinal Tap's "Jazz Odyssey", that is more than you
will ever need for any individual song, but it is nice to know you COULD
compose one that long if you wanted to. (In fact the theoretical maximum
you could manage is 1 hour 41 minutes if the song was played very slowly,
but I doubt anyone would want to listen to all of it!)

Now scroll all the way back using D-pad Left until the block counter
reads 001 again. Maybe pause a couple of times along the way, just to be
sure you understand how those counters are working together. If you are
sure you've got it, then there is no need to scroll all that way back -
press 'START' and then hold it as you press and release 'DOWN'. Presto!
Back to the very first block.

Notice that the counter reads 001, so you definitely ARE back to square
one, yet there are still those blacked-out blocks to your left!? They are
obviously there just to give you a visual clue that you are at the very
beginning - and there is a very long way to go before you reach the end,
as you have just seen!

I see you are looking a little unhappy. All we have done so far is zip
around a blank screen and there is no sign of any music. And this block
thing isn't making much sense either...


W E'R E  G O N N A  G E T  L O A D E D

...and have a Good Time. Take a quick glance to see that the Counter is
at 001.

 1) Press SELECT + START to return to the Main Menu - you can do this at
any time anywhere.

 2) Highlight 'load and save' by pressing DOWN once. Press X.

- I find this Menu to be the opposite of intuitive! This is where you go
to Save your songs to a memory card. We'll take a proper look a bit
later. For now it's just In and Out.

 3) The Yellow box is flashing - Press UP.

 4) The CD icon is flashing - Press X.

 5) After a short pause the Yellow box is flashing again - Press X.

 6) Small white boxes with icons have appeared and the one at top left is
flashing. Using JUST the D-pad, move to the little green arrow at bottom
right of that window [Down x4] until it flashes. Press X.

 7) Don't move. Press X.

 8) Now there are just 7 little white box icons. Using JUST the D-pad
move up to the top left again [Up x2 then L x2] and you see "Disco" under
'name' at the top right of the screen. Press X TWICE.

 9) After a short while the Yellow box is flashing again. Press TRIANGLE.

10) Back at the Main Menu - Press UP to highlight 'start' and then X.

Ta-dah! Our boring blue window is nearly filled with little pictures of
fairy cakes. Since you are in a button-bashing mood, press START.


I  G O T  T H E  M U S I C  I N  M E

Yeah, I know - horrible isn't it? We'll sort it out a bit later, but
there are a few things going on that should divert your attention. The
colourful musical icons (they aren't cakes at all - I was just messing
with you) each represent a small section of all the sounds that you hear.
You can see that the Green crosshairs turn to Blue as they sweep steadily
across the blocks, now filled with icons. As they hit each block, across
the whole width of the window, they trigger all of the sounds in them in
sequence, one after the other seamlessly until they reach the end.

Now that the music has stopped, take another good look at the Track
Editor window.

You can see very clearly that the icons appear to be in rows. The game
designers have thoughtfully made various icons which represent the type
of sound of the riff on which they appear. If you look a bit closer you
can see that rows 1 and 6 have the identical icon, which is five piano
keys. This can denote various musical styles, and in this case it is the
bassline and that delightful melody, each played on a synth. Row two is
clearly a kick drum (with a pedal) and row 3 is a snare drum. Row 4 is
obviously a hi-hat which leaves row 5, which appears to be a kilt and
sporran... Anyway, you will get used to seeing these icons and others,
and they become very useful in quickly identifying certain styles of
riff. You can place any type of music on any of the rows, and all mixed
up if you want to, but take a leaf out of this composer's book and keep
everything neat like this. There is no reason not to.

You might not have noticed that there are little 'wedges' of light at the
foot of the window to mark the places where each new 'set' of four blocks
begin. This is just to help you keep things organised should the screen
become too full of music icons and you can't see the blue blocks and
their helpful shading. Remember that most styles of music are well suited
to a rhythmic '1-2-3-4 / 1-2-3-4' structure.

Hold START and flick DOWN to return to 001 and press Start again. Take a
look at everything that is happening on the screen as the music plays.

That little green indicator is flashing away and you will remember from
reading the introduction to the interface that this is in time to the
Beats Per Minute. Thankfully there is not a whole minute of this tune.
Along the bottom above the numbers, there are little dancing LED's -
you've probably seen something similar on a hi-fi, so you are correct if
you are thinking that these are 'levels'. You have just been
investigating the Counter, so of course you will notice that it is
ticking up nicely. It stops on 009, and the clock above it reads '0 00
16' - eight blocks of music played in sixteen seconds. It just seemed

Grit your teeth and scroll back to the beginning once again (or hold
START and flick DOWN like before). Press Start once more. This time just
watch that lower window with the LED's. How many are 'on'? Not too
difficult - the first six out of a possible 16 are leaping in time with
the music.

Scroll back to 001. Take a look at those numbers down the top left edge
in their own little curvy window, each alongside a musical symbol. Use
the D-pad DOWN to scroll the cursor towards the bottom. You will notice
that only the first six rows that were on-screen are filled with coloured
icons - and six just 'happened' to be the number of channels shown by the
LED's..! It is now making sense I hope. The lower part of the screen
after the number 7 is blank, like all the rest of the roll of wallpaper
off to the right after block 008.

See the numbers light up in a little spotlight as the cursor passes over
each row? You will notice that they only read from 1 to 6 at the start
but there are 16 altogether, and then there is the very bottom row which
is green. We'll get to that soon. It seems an unusual number, so why are
there sixteen rows? Why not ten, or two million?  I'm assuming that you
have no practical experience of a recording studio, so excuse me for
being simplistic if you do...


T R A C K  R E C O R D S

Your song will be 'constructed' using as many of the 16 available rows of
blocks as you like. These rows extend along the timeline you just
investigated, and you can fill any of these blocks with any sound or
instrument you can find on the MUSIC disc. As the cursor travels along
that row it will play whatever is contained in any of the blocks which
are active. These rows are stacked one on top of the other in the Track
Editor window, so you can see that any or all or none of these 16 blocks
can play simultaneously. Think of the cursor as a train travelling along
a rigid 'track'. The blocks can be the spaces between the sleepers. There
are 16 'tracks' of these blocks running tight alongside each other, and
as the crosshairs (extending right across all 16 tracks) pass over each
block, they will play whatever sound or piece of music is contained in
each one of them at the very same time. You therefore have 16 'tracks'
available to use as far as you like along the timeline and fill with
whatever drum beats, instruments and vocal elements you can find, all to
be heard at the same time just like a real band playing. Sixteen might
not seem very many, but in fact it is really too many - if you intend to
cram your Tunes with sound all the way through then you will very quickly
end up with an unlistenable cacophony. Phil Spector knew exactly what he
was doing, and I'm thinking maybe you don't just yet.

In practice, you'll probably need to use only around six to ten of these
'tracks' for the bulk of all your tunes. A bonus in keeping the number of
sounds to the minimum is that not only will your music sound better, but
there will be less memory required to put it on your Memory card! (In
normal use, you will be able to fit at least a dozen songs on a card.)
Remember that sometimes "Less is More".

Each part of your song - drums, every instrument, vocals and any sound
effects - should be allocated separate tracks, which are also known as
'CHANNELS'. For one thing, this approach will make it easier for you to
keep track of what elements you have as you build them up.

So what is the concept of using 'Channels'? Imagine a recording studio,
and a band is recording. If they all start to play at once, just as if it
were a live performance in front of their fans, then all the sounds will
have to be recorded together and that is effectively just one 'channel'
of a recording. If any instrument is too loud or plays a wrong note
(which almost never happens of course ahem), that sound cannot be re-
recorded because there is no way to separate it from the other sounds in
the channel. For this reason, when 'laying down tracks' each player
almost always records his own part separately on a dedicated channel,
perhaps listening to the parts the others have already laid down on the
tape through headphones to be sure he is in sync. Typically this means
one channel is recorded for each of the guitars and one for the vocals,
several for the drums and one each for any keyboards or other
instruments, and still others for backing vocals and sound effects and
all the other samples and sounds that need to be dubbed on top. Since it
is quite normal to allocate separate tracks to each drum (to allow for
mixing the sound levels), and even to all the different cymbals, you can
imagine that in a pro studio the number of tracks available can fill up
pretty quickly.

In the days of black and white movies, a recording would have been taken
of even a vast orchestra in just one go. When it became possible to
record onto magnetic tape, at first one then two and soon four tracks
were used, which gave a degree of flexibility as the band could record
their instruments on one track and the vocals on another, and the drums
could be recorded separately also. This allowed for re-recording of any
of these elements without losing the good parts already taped. (In a
similar way, with MUSIC you can start to 'layer' your Tune with all the
separate elements, and change or remove any of these without affecting
any of the others.)  As recording technology improved, it became quite
the thing to record using eight tracks and then sixteen and today it is
nothing unusual to have 32-track recording or even 64. It should stop
there because even Pink Floyd would be pushed to expect 128 sounds
simultaneously. 'Sergeant Pepper' was recorded using dozens of overdubs
on just a simple 4-track, so sixteen is enough for us I think.


B E A T 'E M  U P

Look again at the Track Editor window and see where you left the cursor
at the far left bottom row. Instead of one of the numbers 1-16 down the
rest of the left side, this row is headed by an icon of an Orchestra
Conductor's hand holding a baton. This is the BPM channel which stands
for Beats Per Minute, which is a literal way to express the 'Tempo' (It's
a musical term meaning Speed, Chris. "That's the right answer! You've
just won 500 pounds!"). The BPM channel simply shows you how quickly your
Tune is being played. You can see that the demo we loaded has a tempo of
115 bpm.

Most of what can be called 'Dance' music is recorded at a fast tempo
(typically 120-130 bpm) because that makes the rhythm sound 'urgent' and
exciting, which hopefully makes you want to move your body at the same
speed, (it still has to be a good tune though) and the reason it is
enjoyable may be partly because 120+ bpm is the typical heart rate of an
excited person! In recent years it has been the trend for various types
of Dance music such as Jungle and Drum 'n' Bass to go as high as 150 bpm,
which makes you so breathless that it is bordering on intolerable unless
you are on one or Mad for it... Conversely, other types of music such as
Trip Hop or Trance can slow down to only about 80 bpm for a Chilled Out
vibe. The tempo is a crucial factor in giving your songs their own mood,
so even if you know all this, you should always be ready to experiment.

You set the BPM with the R1 button. ONLY when the cursor is on that green
row, press R1 and a new window will open in the part of the Main Console
that says "Fever 1", and you know what this window relates to because
there is the 'Conductor's Baton' icon again. The number '115' is flashing
since you already noticed that was the tempo of the demo you just loaded.
Flick the R1 button on and off to get used to bringing up the BPM Editor.

Try changing the BPM for the demo that is loaded - you can't damage it by
messing about with it. (Unfortunately.) Make sure the cursor is in the
green BPM channel and the block Counter reads 001, and press R1. When the
BPM Editor appears again use UP to make the BPM 230. Hopefully this will
make the tune go twice as quickly. Press R1 again to close the BPM Editor
and press Start to find out...

Hey! That's not bad. It has a sort of Cajun feel don't you think? Well
done, anyway - you have successfully carried out an Edit for the first
time. Hold Start and flick DOWN to return to 001 and use R1 to summon the
BPM window once more and now use DOWN to set it to a little over half
speed - just 60 bpm - and Play It Again, Man. (If it still plays fast,
then you probably forgot to return to the beginning before setting the

This slowed-down version has a very different feel - you can imagine Bo
Derek bouncing across the beach in slow motion to this one... Of course
neither of these variations are particularly good as they are, but you
can see how something as simple as adjusting the BPM can affect the whole
'feeling' of your songs. This is going to be fun! Put the BPM back to 115
again for now.

[For future reference, the default is set at 130 bpm - that is what you
get with a new blank Track Editor window.]

In case you can't get a sense of quite how fast any desired BPM setting
is, remember that the green indicator to the right of the Track Editor
window will be flashing at the selected tempo when you try your song out.
Try clicking your fingers or tapping your toe to match this pulsing
metronome and you'll 'feel' the tempo you want. Simply move the D-pad UP
or DOWN to increase or decrease the BPM. You can go down as low as 40
bpm, which is so slow you're nearly asleep, and theoretically right up to
999 bpm which sounds exciting but results in just noise. In practice,
anything very much over 150 bpm is headache-inducing and can make your
track sound like it is a Pinky and Perky cover. It might be good for
making Cartoon soundtracks or crazy Videogame theme tunes though...
Anyway, perhaps it is best to stick within conventional BPM limits until
you know what you are doing. Just remember that whenever you change the
tempo, make sure the cursor is over the very first green block - the
counter will read 001 - so that the whole song will be played to that

So why is there a whole separate channel for the BPM? Surely it only
needs to be set once for each song... Well, this way it is possible to
change the BPM at any number of different points in the song (and if I
remember, L'il Louie for one did this very effectively a few years ago),
but that is a rare tool in the songwriters armoury, and for a good
reason: keep recklessly changing the tempo of your Tune, simply because
you can, and it becomes difficult to dance to and maybe annoying just to
listen to. There is no point in challenging your audience too much
without a good reason at this early stage, so once again steer clear of
the gimmicks and stick with the tried and true.


C H A N N E L  H O P P I N G

After you have used R1 to close the BPM Editor menu, move the cursor up
off the bottom row a little and press CIRCLE. Just tap your thumb on and
off the circle button a couple of times. What can you see? There is a
clicking sound as that strange little 3D ball spins back and forth. Also
one of the numbers alongside it started flashing. Hold CIRCLE down for a
moment. Which number is flashing, and what row did your cursor stop on?
A-ha! That's right - the number flashing is the same as the number with a
music note next to it, which is of course highlighted because that row
contains the cursor somewhere along its length. As you might expect, the
little number is flashing so that you can be sure you are about to do
something with just that channel and no other. (But not just yet.)

Let go of the circle button and move the cursor back to the bottom row
and then press circle again. Nothing happens; not even the ball spins.
Move it up a row and try it again, just to make sure it isn't broken...

OK, you have learned a vital mechanism in the way MUSIC does things. The
circle button had no effect when you were on the BPM channel because
there was no function it could perform - the few things you can do when
BPM is active are taken care of by other buttons. There are only so many
buttons on your PlayStation controller, and many, many features in MUSIC,
so all the major song editing tools are gathered into 'Modes' depending
on what you might be trying to do. That way the same buttons can produce
different results depending on which 'Mode' you are in. Ingenious!


O F F  T H E  M E N U

You may already have had the frustrating experience of pressing buttons
and seeing unwanted consoles pop up and not being able to get rid of them
and you just want to get back to where you were, but strange things keep
happening and - Oh no! Now it has been deleted...

Don't panic. Possibly without noticing it, you may have 'switched' menus.
You would think you are about to do one thing but MUSIC thinks it has
been told to do another. Pay close attention to the on-screen Help menu
before you try something new, until you know exactly what you are doing.

Slip the cursor back over the green-coloured BPM channel again and look
at your scrolling on-screen Help menu. Notice one of the commands says
"R1 edit bpm", which you have already just done. Now move the cursor up a
row or two once more and look at the Help menu now. It looks pretty
similar, but straight away you can see that R1 is now the button to press
for something called 'riff editor'. (Hold on, Tiger - don't press it just
yet.) This is an example of menu switching. You don't have to do anything
special; MUSIC will anticipate what you are trying to do by offering you
a suitable Help menu wherever your cursor goes or whichever items you are
scrolling through. A quick glance at this menu will tell you whether you
are even in the right mode...

-Whoa! The who and the what now? You mentioned that 'mode' thing before,
and I didn't get it but I didn't like to say anything.


I N  T H E  M O D E

You should have asked - I'm trying to help! Let's see...

In the 'Channel Hopping' example above, simply holding down the circle
button switched to a completely different Mode as you easily noticed
because the 3D 'Mode Ball' turned around. You will remember that a
similar thing happened when you pressed L2 and the little 'Music or
Video?' indicator at top right flipped over. That has a box all to itself
because that is quite an important difference, but some of the modes we
are going to look at are related to each other closely enough that they
can share that spinning ball to save on screen Real Estate.

Earlier you learned that it is a good idea to pay close attention to the
on-screen Help menu so that you can always be confident that each button
will do what you expect. You can also confirm that you are in the right
mode first with a glance at the Mode Ball.

Check your Counter is at 001 and press START. This time you can distract
yourself from that annoying ditty by looking at the Mode Ball. You may
not have noticed with everything else that was going on, but now you see
that it flipped down to show a Dark Blue face with a triangle icon. That
should be familiar to you since it is the widely recognised 'Play'
symbol, just like on your video and cassette player. This is appropriate
then, as it indicates that we are in 'PLAY MODE'. Rewind to the beginning
once more and after using it to begin playback yet again, press START a
couple of times while the tune is running to pause the playback and see
the modes switch. Notice from the Help menu that as you would expect -
and as with BPM editing - there are very few options in Play Mode. When
you reach the end of the demo, the Start button no longer has an effect
(there is nothing left to play back) and so Play Mode is no longer
available. Scroll to 001 and do it again to be sure you have got it.

Have another look at that Mode Ball. If you look closely, you will notice
that the Red face of the ball has an identical icon to the one for the
BPM channel, only a different colour. It is a Conductor's hand holding a
baton. This just indicates that we are in what is called 'TRACK MODE'.
Think of yourself as if in a rehearsal studio, gathering together all the
musicians and instruments you need to make your song, and telling them
all what sound you want, and you are just having fun trying out lots of
different stuff and starting to lay down some 'Tracks'. While you are
preparing all these bits and pieces, the Conductor is there patiently
waiting while you work things out, until the performance is finally ready
to begin.

A little while ago you held CIRCLE to discover that it caused you to
switch to a different mode. This mode has to do with turning SOUND on and
off, which is known of course as 'muting', and so it is called 'MUTE
MODE'. That is why this mode has a little picture of a music speaker -
hold down circle once again and it is right there on the Light Blue face
of the Mode Ball. The speaker is about to become 'Mute'.


D I D  H E  S A Y  'M O O T'?  W H A T'S  A  M O O T ?

Let's see what we can do with those green Channel buttons in the bottom
right window. HOLD the Circle button on your controller to enter  Mute
Mode and move the D-pad Left and Right. This has the strange effect of
still moving the cursor in an 'up and down' direction through the rows 1-
16, and this is because you are now controlling its position by scrolling
through the corresponding numbers in the Mute Mode window. As the cursor
causes the numbers with the music notes to light up, the numbers in this
window flash at the same time. The Mute Mode window will be active for as
long as you hold down CIRCLE.

Stop on any number you like and - still keeping your thumb on the Circle
button - press UP on the D-pad once. What happened? Hard to miss unless
you are colour blind - your chosen track number now has a RED button
underneath it. Red - like the Video Console we switched over to by using
L2 a little while ago...is there a theme here? You got it - that little
red button means that this track is now dedicated to showing only Video
clips when the cursor runs over it; or at least it would be if we were
going to load any clips. Video can be loaded into blocks just like sound
can, and the 'Chases' appear on the red screen we checked out earlier
with the L2 button. (If you press it now you can confirm that there is no
Video loaded in any of the blocks in the Video Console.)

Still holding CIRCLE, move along to another number and press UP again,
and now you expect the red button to appear, which it does, so press UP
once more and what do you get now? Blue - like our friendly Main Console
when it is in 'Music' mode... So of course now that particular channel is
dedicated to playing back only Music, and if there are any Video blocks
along that tracks' timeline in the corresponding Video Console, they will
be ignored. We don't have to do this in this tutorial, but it doesn't
hurt to understand the concept now.

Have another go at switching one of the channels from Green to Red to
Blue and then throw caution to the wind and press UP one more time. Oh
no! The bulb has blown... I'm joking, of course. Now the channel
indicator is Black because it is switched OFF, which means that when you
come to play a song where several of the channels are fully loaded, you
can 'mute' one or more tracks completely by switching it off. (That must
be why this is called the 'Mute Mode', huh?) To save you risking
PlayStation Thumb, you can press CIRCLE and DOWN to cycle straight to
'Off' if that is the option you want. You can imagine that there will be
times when you might want to listen to just the keyboard and drums
without the guitar and vocals for example, or vice versa, or in fact any
combination of the 16 tracks, and this is how you do it. You can do this
even while your song is playing so you can instantly hear the effect of
dropping out any tracks.

The Green button is the default, and it just means that the cursor
passing along that channel will play back both Music and Video as it
comes across either of them. You are fine leaving the defaults on for
now. Think: 'Green means GO' (and if you are a taxi driver, Amber means
Accelerate). Pressing SQUARE will automatically reset all channels to

Try it out - first hold Circle and then press Square. Now scroll along to
number 1 and press UP to switch it to Red and next move along to channel
6 and just for variety press DOWN to switch it off. Try making 2 and 3
Blue. That looks really good! What do you think will happen when you
press START?

Well, that demo is certainly sounding a lot better with the annoying
melody nearly muted out... but can you PLEASE find which track is still
playing that bloody tune and switch it off! (I think you will find it is
row 5, since it has riffs named Edam, Brie and Feta - there is a theme
there but whatever can it be? All I know is that Edam is the only cheese
that is made backwards...) When you have got this muting technique down,
you can reset all the channels again with Circle + Square.

There is one final trick in Mute Mode, and you can probably see it
coming. If you wanted to mute EVERYTHING just to listen to one track (the
snare drum pattern for example), then it would be pretty tedious to have
to switch off all the other channels one by one. Forget that. With your
thumb on that Circle, scroll to the number of the channel you want to
hear and press SELECT. Everything is blacked out except the channel you
chose, looking just like a stage star standing in the spotlight ready for
a solo. Sing Monkey, Sing!

Now try muting everything but channel 2. Keep holding CIRCLE and scroll
Left until '2' is flashing. Let go of Circle and press Start. Look at the
window in the middle as this channel plays. Above the Mute Mode window it
should say "Rumbler 1" as the drum starts to play like a heartbeat, and
then it changes to "Rumbler 2" as the second bar begins, and you will
hear the subtle difference in the beat with this second riff playing. It
can be helpful to scroll around while a demo is playing for example, and
use these titles to identify different riffs as they are playing.

If you then want to hear any other channel solo'd, just scroll up and
down in the Track Editor window and press Start.

Remember to keep half an eye on this window as you are playing back your
songs. You get that LED 'level' indicator for each channel, so you can
easily see which channel is playing a particular element as you hear it
(a cymbal crash that comes and goes quickly for example will show as a
sudden 'leap' of Green into the Red. A channel with an ambient synth note
will stay pretty much constantly in the Green band).

That's all you need to know about this window for now, and that is nearly
every item in the Main Console explained. Phew!


B O O K 'M  D A N N O

Reset the Channels with Square and let go of the Circle button to return
to Track mode. Now flick the L1 button. You get a little click and what
happens? The two windows at lower right have become a menu of some kind.
Don't touch anything yet, but tap L1 again and your PlayStation burps a
little and you hear an electronic beep and those by now familiar green
buttons are back again. (Notice, there is a new arrival in that window
called 'breathbass 1' - maybe it had something to do with that burp? Just
ignore it for now.) Tap L1 once more and this time you are prepared to
observe that the Mode Ball has revolved again, just a quarter turn this
time, and now it has a Purple face showing, with what appears to be an
open book on it. But why a book? Ah, wait a minute - there is something I
need to check...

Tap L1 again to return to Track mode and now look over your on-screen
Help menu. There it is - that is what we are looking for: "L1 library".
Library = Books! Nice one. So you access Library Mode by pressing L1 when
the cursor is in the Track Editor window. OK then, so what is in this

Music, and lots of it...


I  H E A R  A  S Y M P H O N Y

You have done some hard work and taken in a lot of information, so now it
is time for a bit of fun. Press L1 again so that you have the window
headed 'ambient' with 'basslines' underneath. 'Ambient' is the heading
for that style of music and 'basslines' is the type of music in that
particular list. (In this case, short samples of music that sound like
they can be used for basslines.) Using the DOWN button, scroll through
the names in this list: 'capable' and 'happy' - well that sounds good...
'magnetic', 'revolver'...'wobbler'? That's can't be so good - and there
are four of them!

Well, you won't know until you try. Take a glance at your Help menu and
you will see that X gives you a 'demo', so stop over a likely name and
hit it.


Do it again.


Try another...

-Hmm-mm? Not bad.

...and another.

-Oh yeees! Hey, even those 'wobblers' sound pretty good; sort of like
'Dr. Who'... I can imagine stringing all four together and swapping them
around and upping the tempo and bringing in some keyboards and you've got
a Tune started right there..!

That's right... This is where your musical adventures begin. Using the
LEFT and RIGHT buttons, scroll through some of the 60+ menus. Notice the
word 'ambient' changes to 'drum n bass' after a dozen or so menus, and
then after another dozen in that category we have 'house' and then
'techno' and finally 'trip hop', before arriving back at 'ambient'.

[Don't get hung up on the names too much - there is such a variety of
instruments and sounds in there that it is possible to make just about
any style of music using a selection from them. See Appendix 1 for a full

Every single one of those menus is packed with all kinds of music and
sounds - each grouped by style and then instrument type. Just press DOWN
to take a look and when you see something intriguing, press X. It takes a
couple of seconds for the PlayStation to load each one. What do you think
of the 'scary man' or 'funky bottle'? How about 'monk abbey... hello
robot... clever boy... alien tiger... santa sledge... starter...' It
sounds like the Grand National! (Not sure about 'deep blow' followed by
'messy floor' though...) Somebody obviously had a lot of fun naming them,
so you should have some fun giving them the once-over.

If there are perhaps two of the five musical 'genres' you find yourself
most interested in, you can switch between all the styles very quickly by
bringing your right thumb on to SELECT and then keep using Left and Right
and now you are scrolling straight to the first menu in each category.
There should be more than a couple you like.


OK, gather up! Let's see... are all the 'House' styles here? Good. Now, I
want you to give me some words to describe yourself. Basslines! Tell us
what you've got!

-'bouncing', 'cooking', 'gritty', 'grooving', 'growling'...

You hear that men? THAT's the kind of thing I'm looking for. Hi Hat!
You're up next.

- 'cool', 'creative', 'dry', 'offbeat', 'vibrant'...

Tasty!! I'll see you later. Pads?

- My style is 'light'. And also 'trendy'.

Yeees... I'm watching you, Pads. Melody! - how about YOU?

-Me? err...well...'airy'...er... 'cheesy'? ...'complex'... 'crisp'...
and... um... [cough. shuffle]... 'curly'.

Nnnhhh. Alright, let's have a look at 'Techno'...


Some of these Styles have the identical sub-categories such as
'basslines', 'cymbals' and 'percussion' amongst others. Try several of
these to compare the different styles. The genre headings are really just
for convenience, as you will soon see that many of the samples in each
category can be adapted to suit just about any other style of music.

Have a really good dig around in each menu, because even some of the less
promising categories can throw up some pleasant surprises. Perhaps keep a
notebook handy to jot down some interesting discoveries so that you can
play around with them later. Some of them may trigger off a whole new
idea in you, so let your imagination run wild. You will soon be able to
shape those fleeting snatches of melody and beats in your head into
actual Tunes.

How do we manage to get any of these snatches of music into a song? Enter
the most powerful feature in MUSIC - the Riff Editor. (In Part Two.)


Coming up in Part Two - MAKING MUSIC:

Introduction to the Riff Editor
Using the Instrument Manager
The Riff Library
Handling and Editing Riffs
Building your own Riffs
Fine-Tuning your Riffs
Memory Issues

and much, much more!

[See also APPENDICES posted separately to save unnecessary Downloads]

(c) J Woodrow 2002


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