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For every menu, submenu and input event: everything can be canceled with the [ESC] key.

3.1.Patterns and positions, playing music

When composing music in MoonBlaster it is important to know that this program works according to the pattern and position system. This system has already been used in many other music programs on various computer systems and has proven to bring many advantages in practice. Both for the composer and for the programmer who wants to use the music later in his own programs. Below is a brief explanation of this system.

3.1.1.What are patterns and positions?

The memory of the computer is divided into small pieces in which music data is stored. We call this pattern. A complete piece of music consists of a series of these patterns arranged in a random order. The order in which the patterns are arranged can be determined by setting a pattern to a specific item number. These are the positions. As a result, it is also possible to play a pattern several times within a piece of music, while it only once in memory. You can compare this system with a CD player. Set the tracks on the CD equal to the patterns and the order of the tracks equal to the positions. If you want to listen to the fourth track first, then the first and then the fourth one is on position 1 track (pattern) 4, on position 2 track (pattern) 1 and on position 3 track (pattern) 4. Maybe the pattern / position system sounds a bit complicated, but in practice it is very easy and saves a lot of time and memory space.

3.1.2Editing patterns and positions

Note: The current pattern means: the pattern that is currently displayed, the current position is the position indicated at the top right of the screen. If you change the current position, the current pattern automatically changes to the pattern that is in that position. That is not the case!

The patterns are numbered from 1 t/m to 76. The positions range from 0 t/m to 199. In total, a song can be 200 positions long. During edits of music it is necessary to walk through the patterns and positions quickly. With the [TAB] - and the cursors left / right you can walk through the positions in steps of 1; [TAB] and cursors up / down provide steps of 4. The patterns can also be run without changing the current position. With the [CTRL] and cursor left / right this goes with steps of 1, [CTRL] above and below provide steps of 4. With [CTRL] and the space the current pattern is set to the current position. [CTRL] - [A] adds the current pattern after the last position.

A pattern can also be inserted, this can be done with [TAB] - [INS]. The current pattern is then inserted at the current position (the Mast position1 worth clan also incremented by 1), The deletion of a pattern from the sequence series works in the same way: the [TAB] and [DEL] keys extract the pattern from the position order. The load position can be adjusted with [SHIFT] and the cursor keys. This allows the length of the track to be determined.

3.1.3Pattern / Position editor

You enter the pattern / position editor with the function key F6. Here you get an extensive overview of the sequence of the patterns. Editing patterns is very easy: with the cursor keys you can move the cursor on the screen to a certain position, with a press of the space the pattem number can be changed. Insert and delete patterns with resp. the [INS] key and the [DEL] key. In this menu it is also possible to play the track (F1) or a pattern (F2) and to swallow the load and loop position. This works in the same way as in the music editor (CTRL-L and SHIFT cursors).

3.1.4.Loop Position

A song can also continue indefinitely by setting a 'loop position'. This means that when the load position is reached, the song will jump back to the loop position, which is indicated at the bottom of the screen. It is therefore possible to make an "infinitely long" song. A loop position can be set by pressing [CTRL] - [L] and then adjusting the loop position with the cursor keys. With [RETURN] you confirm the change, with [ESC] you can undo the change. The track will end after the last position if an 'OFF' is entered at the loop position.

3.2.Playing music

3.2.1.Playing the song

Before a song can be played, you can first choose for which sound chip the music should be played. This can be done with the [SELECT] key. You can choose from: Stereo, MSX-MUSIC and MSX-AUDIO.

In addition, you can also turn on and off the output indicator that is playing while playing music with the [CTRL] - [0] combination. The command line at the bottom of the image will then show whether it is on or off.

The same applies to the Settings Scan. This is easy if you are creating a song and want to start playing in the middle of the song. It can not be ruled out that an instrument change has already taken place. The Settings Scan looks at all the changes and settings that occur in the song for the current pattern before the song is played back. This can be switched on and off with the [CTRL] - [S] keys. If the Settings Scan is off, it starts with the settings that apply at the beginning of the track. When the Settings Scan is on, MoonBlaster will first scan the track to settings for the current position or pattem after pressing F1 or F2. You can see this by the pattern / position numbers at the top right of the screen.

The MSX-MUSIC has the possibility to play 6 channels of music + 1 drum channel or 9 channel music. The [CTRL] - [F] combination switches between both options. The number of playable channels is shown on the right of the screen.

The actual playback of the song starts with the [F1] key. The song will start at the current position and end at the last position. The [F2] key plays only the current pattern. The latter is useful during composing.

3.2.2.Stopping the playback

While the music is playing, only the space bar, the [ESC] and the [STOP] keys work. The spacebar and the [ESC] have the same function, they stop the music and go back to the position that was selected before the playback was started. The [STOP] key is very useful for debugging. If you hear a fake note, press the [STOP] key and the music will stop at the position currently being played.

3.3Entering and deleting notes, drums and effects

Entering music

The music notation in MoonBlaster goes according to the American principle, so an A in octave 3 becomes 'A 3', an ais in octave 3 'A # 3' (moles are not possible, so a des becomes C #). MoonBlaster supports all octaves of MSX-MUSIC and MSX-AUDIO, 1 through 8. 'C 5' is the 'central C'. A pattern is divided into 16 steps. The slips that are next to each other are played simultaneously at the same time. There can be one thing per channel on one step (for example, a note).

A note can be entered in two different ways. MoonBlaster has two input systems, between which can be switched with the [CAPS] key.

With the first input system (CAPS off) notes have to be entered via several keys, namely the letters [A] to [G], for the correct note (plus possibly the [+] or [#] keys to a half note increase) and the numbers from [1] to [8], for the correct octave. With [ESC] key, the input can be canceled. If a note has been entered, the same note can be placed several times with the [RETURN] key without having to enter it again.

The second input system (CAPS on) lets the keyboard function as a music keyboard, in which two rows are created. Each row represents an octave, the current octaves are displayed where normally the loop position is displayed. You can increase this with the [+] and [.] And decrease the [,] with the [-]. The following keys are used:

2 3 5 6 7

(low octave)


(high octave)

So for entering a C, press the [Q] or [Z] key to enter a Gft on the [6] or [H]. If you want to enter something other than a note (for example, a volume change or a detune), the CAPS must first be switched off again.

While entering the notes, it may be useful to listen to the sound (note audition). This can be set with the [CTRL] - [K]. If the note audition is on, the correct tone will sound for each input note. This way, mistakes can easily be made. Of course, the [F1] and [F2] buttons (play) can also be used. A tone can (and sometimes must) be turned off. This can be done with the [O] key. An 'OFF' will then appear in the pattern. If you want to play an A # 5 on channel 5, and you only need to play a step (a sixteenth note), you have to move the cursor to channel 5 with the cursor keys (this is the fifth column) and type A # 5 there, immediately followed by an OFF event.

A somewhat more extensive OFF is only possible for MSX-MUSIC, namely the sustain option. The nut is not immediately cut off, but slowly dies out. This command can be entered with the [U] key. A 'SUS' will then appear in the pattern. With MSX-AUDIO this simply becomes an OFF.

Special options

The special functions can be entered in the first 9 columns and influence the tone in the desired way. A number must be entered for a number. You must press [RETURN] to end the entry if your number is shorter than the maximum length.

Volume change

The volume of each channel can be set with the [V]. After pressing the [V] you can enter a number from 1 (soft) to 63 (hard). In the pattern a volume change is shown with a V, for example 'V43'. For MSX-AUDIO all volume changes work, for MSX-MUSIC it runs in steps of 4, as shown by the label below:

V setting: MSX-MUSIC
60,61,62,63 15
56,57,58,59 14
52,53,54,55 13
48,49,50,51 12
44,45,46,47 11
40,41,42,43 10
36,37,38,39 9
32,33,34,35 8
28,29,30,31 7
24,25,26,27 6
20,21,22,23 5
16,17,18,19 4
12,13,14,15 3
8,9,10,11 2
4,5,6,7 1
1,2,3 1

Detune switch

The detune is an option that increases or decreases a channel (up to 3 frequency steps up or down). You can use this to give the track a full effect, see chapter 9. You can enter a detune with the [T], followed by the [+] or the [-] and a number between 0 and 3 (detune overturning with T + 0). In the pattern a detune command is represented by the T, for example 'T + 1'. With the detune option in MoonBlaster is counted from the 'zero point' which means that if a detune is given it is not counted in the previous detune setting (so T + 1, followed by a T + 3 becomes NOT T + 4). The detune will only be carried out when striking a new note.


By giving a pitch bend, a tone is smoothed upward (+) or downward (-). This can be done with the [P] and [+] or [-]. Then you type a number between 0 and 9. The speed of this attenuation depends on this number, 1 is slow, 9 is the fastest. If the value 0 is given, the pitch bend stops. The pitch bend will also stop at a note, OFF, SUS or MOD event. In the pattern the pitch bend is represented by a P, for example 'P + 3'


The modulation can be given with the [M] button and let the tone vibrate. This means that the frequency of the tone is quickly moved up and down. This will automatically stop at a note, OFF, SUS or pitch bend event. In the pattern a modulation is displayed with 'MOD'.


With the linking option you can play a new note without 'striking' it. It is therefore smoothly switched from the previous note to the new note. You can enter a link by pressing the [L], then you indicate with an 'offset' to which note to enter, this offset is between -9 and +9. You can enter this with the [+] or [-] and the digit keys. The offset is "canceled" at the current tone and is specified in semitone intervals (this is equal to the difference in pitch between two keys on a piano, where the black keys count).

From: To: Link command:
C5 C#5 L+1
E3 D3 L-2
A#6 F7 L+7

After a link, a new link can also be given; this tells the value at the previous link.


In the voice menu (see chapter 4, Select voices), a maximum of 16 instruments with start volume can be selected. These 16 instruments can be alternated during song playback; this can be done with the [I] key. After this, enter a number between 1 and 16. The numbers behind the I correspond to the numbers in the list of selected voices. For MSX-MUSIC only one software voice can be played simultaneously, keep that in mind! See chapter 4 for more information about voices. In the pattern an instrument change is shown with an I, so for example 'I 7' Note: in addition to the instrument (voice) the volume is also changed! At the 'I' command does not become an 'OFF' given. Normally you always put an 'OFF' for an instrument change, otherwise it does not sound nice. You can use this to get special effects. Make own voices that differ only slightly from each other. With a command you can then switch to the other voice with one voice while playing a tone, this can give a great result

Stereo settings

Behind the S instruction, which can be entered with the [S] key, a 0, a 1 or a 2 can be set. 's 0' means that the channel will be switched to MSX-AUDIO, 'S 1' to MSX-MUSIC, 'S 2' stands for stereo (BOTH).

This setting will only be made if you have selected STEREO with [SELECT]. Otherwise, stereo settings will be ignored.

The Sample and FM Drum channels

These are the channels FRQ (frequency), VLM (volume), SAM (sample) and DRM (drum). Here too, the last entry is under the [RETURN] key, for each channel separately. The first three columns (FRQ, VLM and SAM) are intended for the MSX-AUDIO sampler and therefore do not have to be used by people who only own an MSX-MUSIC.

In the SAM column the values ​​can be 1 to 14, these values ​​are stored on the sample blocks (see Chapter 5). If there is a 1 in the SAM channel, then sample block 1 will be played, there will be a 2, sample block 2 etc.

The VLM channel represents the volume of the sample. This volume can be changed before, during and after the sample is switched on. A sample can also be switched off by giving the value 1. The maximum volume is 127, minimum 1. The initial volume setting when playing the track is always 127. The volume does not have to be specified separately for each sample, if you do not enter anything, the last specified volume will be maintained.

The FRQ channel will change the frequency of the sample. For example, this can be very useful when playing a sample recorded at a low frequency. Here, too, a sample can be exchanged during sample playback (sample pitch bending!). The minimum value is 1, a maximum of 60. The initial setting is 49. The frequency does not have to be specified separately for each sample, if you do not enter anything, the last specified frequency will be maintained.

The fourth column represents the rhythm channel of the MSX-MUSIC. For those who only own an MSX AUDIO, it is not necessary to use this channel.

The DRM channel contains only number codes that refer to the drum blocks set in the FM-Drum menu ([F8], see Section 6). Are there a snare drum, an tom and a hi-hat on drumblock 3, and there is a 3 in the DRM channel, then a snare drum, a tom and a hi-hat will sound simultaneously during the playback of this channel.

The CMD channel

The CMD channel, the last column of the pattern, manages a number of special functions, which are described below.

Pace change

With the [T] key, the tempo of the song can be changed, after the T a number between 1 (slow) and 23 (fast) can be entered. In the pattern this is represented by TMP, so for example 'TMP17'

End of Pattern

With this option an early end can be given to a pattern. It can be entered with the [E] key, and is displayed by "ENDOP". Normally a pattern consists of 16 steps, but there is an ENDOP on step 8, then the pattern stops after playing step 8. This function is very useful for, for example, songs in a quarter of a quarter.

Drumset switch (MSX-MUSIC only)

The drum sets (see Chapter 6) are exchanged with the [D] key followed by the number of the drum set (1,2 or 3). This is shown in the pattern with DSET, for example 'DSET2'. If a DSET is given, then it will change the frequency of the FM Drums. These frequencies are adjusted in the FM-Drum menu (chapter 6). The initial setting is DSET1.

3.4Edit functions

For all functions described below it is expected that no block has been defined (see section 3.5).

Clearing steps, channels, patterns and song

Do you want to delete a step, because something should not be there for example then you can use the [DEL] key. This clears the step where the cursor is located. A channel can be deleted with the [SHIFT] + [DEL] keys. The channel where the cursor is located is then erased. A pattern is deleted with [CTRL] and [DEL]. The current pattern will then be deleted. With the [F7] key, the entire song is deleted. A confirmation will first be requested before the song is erased. Also, all settings will be reset as they stood when MoonBlaster was just started up.

Copying patterns, channels

A number of patterns can be copied to another location in the song using the [CTRL] - [P] keys. First you will be asked which pattern you want to copy, then the place where this pattern needs to be copied and finally the number of patterns is requested. So if you want to copy patterns 4, 5 and 6 to 10, 11 and 12 then you first use the [CTRL] - [P] after that you type in: [4] [RETURN], then [1] [0] and for the number of patterns [3] [RETURN].

Channels can also be copied, to a channel in the same pattern. It can also be specified how it must be moved up about the source channel (echo-steps). This can be done with the [CTRL] - [C] keys. Beware: no block may be defined (see 3.5).

Changing two channels

With [CTRL] - [X] two channels can be exchanged. Its operation is fairly simple: first the first channel is requested, then the second and these two channels are exchanged.

Transpose of channels

Channels can be transposed per half tone distance or per octave at the same time. This can be done with the [.] Or [+] key for incrementing with a semitone distance, while the [,] or [-] decreases the channel by another half tone pitch. Increasing an octave can decrease by [>] or [CTRL] + [+] with [<] or [CTRL] + [-]. The channel where the cursor is located will then be raised / lowered.

Turning channels off

The channels can be turned off to easily listen to a specific channel when playing a song. This can be done by moving the cursor to a channel and pressing [CTRL] - [W]. Above the channel, the message 'OFF ' to appear. The channels are also switched on again with the same operation. (NB: The CTRL-W settings are not saved, as they are only meant for editing.)

3.5Block functions

Defining a block, editing

You can put a part of the song in a block, then all sorts of operations on this block can be released. You can determine the beginning of the block (upper left corner) with [CTRL] - [B], the end (bottom right corner) with [CTRL] - [E]. The block will get a different color than the rest of the song. You can clear the block definition with [CTRL] - [D]. This does not delete the contents of the block, only the starting end position.

Deleting a block

The contents of the block are erased by placing the cursor in the block, and then pressing the [DEL] key. You will first be asked for confirmation, so if you accidentally press [DEL] there is nothing to worry about.


Just like channels individually, blocks can also be transposed per half-tone distance or per octave. First place the cursor in the block. Then [.] Or [+] a block can increase a semitone distance, [,] and [-] lower the content of the block by a semitone distance. The content of the block is increased by an octave by [>] or [CTRL] + [+], the [<] or [CTRL] - [-] decreasing the content an octave.

Copying a block

The block that has been defined can be copied with [CTRL] - [C] to where the cursor is currently located. Note: if no block is defined, a channel is copied instead of a block.

Changing a block

This is only possible if the block is a channel wide; the length does not apply. Place the cursor on the channel where the block should come and press [CTRL] - [X]. This changes the block with the contents of the intended channel and vice versa. Note: the initial settings (such as instrument, detune, etc.) are not exchanged. You can do this (if desired) by hand.

3.6Other functions

Entering the song name

The song name at the top of the screen can be adjusted using the [CTRL] - [N] keys. The cursor will then appear at the top of the screen and the name can be entered. With [RETURN] the new title is recorded, with [ESC] the old title is retained.


The MoonBlaster ramdisk provides content to a song and can only be used in the program itself. The current song can be written with [CTRL] - [R]. The question then appears whether to read from or written to the ramdisk. With the [S] the song is then written away, with [L] the program will bring out the song again. With [ESC], you can continue to return to the song.

Initial setting Stereo and Detune

The begin settings are the settings that the song will start with. The stereo and detune settings can be set per channel. With [F9] the stereo setting is adjusted. The cursor appears in the stereo column and the cursor keys left and right can be selected from: BOTH, MSX-MUSIC or MSX-AUDIO. This only works if the chip is also on the stereo position! (NB: BOTH stands for MSX-MUSIC and MSX-AUDIO, so stereo.)

The detune menu is located under the [F10] function key. Here the desired detune can be set per channel with the cursor keys left / right.

Modulation Depth

With [CTRL] - [M] the modulation depth of the song can be set. This only applies to the MSX AUDIO.


The initial tempo can be set with [CTRL] - [T]. The tempo is between 1 (slow) and 23 (fast). In the table below, it assumes 'number of quarter notes per minute' (a popular tempo indication for sheet music) that you use a pattern per measure (a quarter note is four steps). (Kwn / min means quarter notes per minute f Steps / min means number of steps per minute, the numbers are rounded.)

Tempo: Kwn/min 50Hz: Steps/min 50Hz: Kwn/min 60Hz: Steps/min 60Hz:
1 31 125 38 150
2 33 130 39 157
3 34 136 41 164
4 36 143 43 171
5 38 150 45 180
6 39 158 47 189
7 42 167 50 200
8 44 176 53 211
9 47 188 56 225
10 50 200 60 240
11 54 214 64 257
12 58 231 69 277
13 63 250 75 300
14 68 273 82 327
15 75 300 90 360
16 83 333 100 400
17 94 375 113 450
18 107 429 129 514
19 125 500 150 600
20 150 600 180 720
21 188 750 225 900
22 250 1000 300 1200
23 375 1500 450 1800


With [CTRL] - [I] an information screen will appear on the image. This information screen contains all information about the current song, such as the begin settings, which sample kit belongs to the song and which modulation depth is set (for MSX-AUDIO).