RISC World


Aaron Timbrell probes into the software directory

Once again we have come up trumps with our free commercial piece of software this issue, a must for those interested in music we present Rhapsody. This was originally published by Clares but is now owned by APDL/ProAction.


Rhapsody is to a musical score what a word processor is to a book. It will enable you to enter a musical score onto the screen; to edit it in all sorts of ways, to save it and merge it with other scores, and finally to print it out on your printer in a variety of scales and formats.

In addition, (and this is something no word processor can do) Rhapsody will also perform your masterpiece, either through the internal sound system, using, perhaps, sampled voices, or through an electronic instrument such as a synthesizer which is fitted with a MIDI port. (To do this you will also need a MIDI interface fitted inside your computer.)

All the essential facilities for producing a piece of music rather than just a sequence of notes, are provided. These include repeats, dynamic markings, crescendos and decrescendos, accelerandos and ritardandos, staccato and accented notes and a huge range of trills and ornaments.

If you have a MIDI instrument, you can use it not only to play scores but also to help input musical parts. This can be done in real time while the computer is playing the rest of the score. Rhapsody is compatible with both Maestro and MIDI files so if you already have musical pieces in either of these formats, they can easily be converted to Rhapsody files.

Rhapsody has been carefully designed to be as easy as possible to use. It conforms closely with the guidelines set down for other standard RISC OS packages such as !Paint and clearly it owes a lot to the pioneer in this field - !Maestro, so if you are familiar with these programs, you will find Rhapsody very easy to master. This manual assumes that you are familiar with the RISC OS environment. If this is not the case please read the manuals supplied with your computer. You will soon find that choosing items from a menu and clicking on icons becomes second nature.

Whether you are an instrumentalist in search of a tireless and uncomplaining accompanist; a struggling pianist who wants to discover what your pieces should actually sound like; a teacher who wants a third Euphonium part in Eb tomorrow; or a budding (or even a professional) composer who wants to see your works in print and hear them competently performed, Rhapsody is the program you have been waiting for.

Important note for those who don't like reading manuals!

It is sincerely hoped that anyone familiar with RISC OS will be able to get started without having to read very much of this manual. Nevertheless, there are one or two areas in which even the experienced newcomer is bound to need a bit of prompting. In particular, all editing is done with the help of the Panel-1 window which is obtained by choosing 'Show panels' on the main menu. This window has several white icons. The contents of these icons can be cycled using the Select and Adjust buttons. Select increases the number or moves the selection forward by one, Adjust decreases the number or moves the selection back by one.

Secondly, Rhapsody differs sharply from Maestro in that you have to position a cursor in the score (by clicking on the score with Select) before you can add notes etc. Adding notes etc. is then performed by highlighting the desired icon and clicking on the green Insert-At icon in the panel window. When inserting notes, clicking with Select adds an upstalk note, clicking with Adjust adds a downstalk note. The yellow icons with arrows on are called Insert-Before and Insert-After respectively and the red icon is the Delete icon.

If you want to know what 'Capture' means on the main menu, you will have to read chapter 7. Sorry! You should also glance at chapter 8 if you want to print your score.

You can obtain interactive help by running the !Help application on your applications disc supplied with the computer.

The complete DiscWorld line up


The latest set of CD inlays by Matt le Blanc.


Image processing application by Martin Carrudus


All the games from this issues games world column including XU4 ported by the Unix Porting Project.


The Acorn application for generating RiscPC screen modes.

Also included is an example MDF (Monitor Definition File) produced for a 21" Formac ProNitron monitor (effectively a 21" Sony). This includes a number of higher refresh modes, including a 1600 x 1200 68Hz mode, which looks very impressive. Note that you should check the specifications of your monitor before using this MDF as it is designed for large high spec CRT displays.


All the latest PD, shareware and freeware releases from the PD column.


The complete version of Rhapsody with example files.


This contains two sets of Toolbox Modules. The Castle archive contains the latest 26/32 bit neutral system components, required if you want to run a lot of new software releases on 26bit machines (ie. anything that isn't an Iyonix). The RISCOS Ltd archive contains later and improved versions of a number of modules and is suitable for all versions of RISC OS from 3.1 onwards.

Aaron Timbrell