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Music Mouse

An Intelligent Instrument

Music Mouse Screen

Music Mouse

Originally coded for the Mac in 1985 by Laurie Spiegel. It was ported to the ST platform in 1988 by David Silver working with Laurie Spiegel."

This program actually turns the ST into a musical instrument in it's own right with complete control in the hands of the performer. Basically it takes mouse movements inside a grid on the screen (above) and transforms them into 4 moving voices that can be assigned different midi channels & sounds depending on what you do on the QWERTY keyboard. Other QWERTY keys are live in realtime as controller faders and for playing with tempo, transposition, and a host of other features. In three words... IT"S PLAIN FUN! Musicians as well as non-musicians can benefit from this simple-to-use yet deep program. Laurie is continuing to upgrade it for the Mac Platform, but the Atari version is still pretty much identical to the current Mac rev.


Specifications: (reproduced by permission of Laurie Spiegel)

High Level Realtime Musical Controls:

Chromatic, diatonic, pentatonic, middle eastern, octatonic, and quartal harmony
Transposition, and interval of transposition controls for harmonic modulation
Parallel and contrary motion, voicing, and grouping switches
Loudness and tempo faders
4 rhythmic treatments: chord, arpeggio, line, and "improvisational"
Mute / Punch In keys for each of the 4 voices
Global sound on/off Staccato / Legato /Half-Legato switch keys
Display user input (mouse position) or musical output (notes being played)

10 preset melodic-harmonic patterns, with realtime adaptation to harmony type, scale degree, transposition, voicing, and tonal or modal inversion

Realtime MIDI Controls (via keyboard faders):

Preset (sound number) Control
Global Channel Loudness
Portamento Rate
Breath Controller
Foot Controller
User selectable MIDI output channels
MIDI Through (MIDI Merge for live input from an external source) Realtime on-screen display of all values


Music Mouse Availability
NEW:February 2007
Music Mouse is now available as a downloadable product.This means the copy protection has been lifted, and you can now download Music Mouse(below), try it out, then register it for $15.00 at http://musicmouse.com/ Click on the 'Register' link.

This version also works on the Atari emulator for PC called Steem:


However if you want a real disc and hard-copy manual, you can also order that for $29.00. It's a little more money, but if you prefer the historical documentation, then this is the way to go.

This is a very unique and historical piece of software, while remaining the most user freindly alternate mouse controller. Please support Laurie Speigel and Music Mouse. She would also appreciate any comments.

Also be sure to check out Laurie Speigels Web Site: http://retiary.org/ls/index.html
which has a wealth of interesting information.


In my own applications of Music Mouse; I run it on my 1040 Ste and record directly into Cubase on my TT030. (It also works on the TT030 with the cache off.) I can run several tracks of MM material, then add percussion and other parts as the piece needs. To synchronize the music, I use the Match Quantise Tool in Cubase to match Music Mouse tracks to other tracks. Another trick to get more scales is to use the Input Transform Option and transform Music Mouse in realtime to any of the selection of scales available in the Input Transform window. Dr T's Omega II also has an option to map notes to other notes or scales, so the same thing can be applied. I also use different midi channels for each voice. For Example: One voice is assigned a marimba sound, another an acoustic guitar, while the remaining voices I assign a sustaining type sound such as Strings or a pad sound. Of course, anything can be changed at any time while you play. Another application is to record rhythmic patterns into Cubase at a tempo of 90 or 100. Then record another track in Cubase using MM as a melody or lead instrument (using a single voice) with the tempo at 300 to produce fast "licks". Sometimes I assign MM to midi channel 10 to produce percussion tracks, which can be a lot of fun!

Timothy Mouse



It takes a little practice to move the mouse to produce the results you want. My technique is to use small circular motions in one area of the grid, then move all four voices slowly up or to the side or downward. Sometimes I would leave 3 voices at the bottom of the grid slowly moving back and forth, while moving the horizontal axis upwards to produce a melody. Another trick is to start with one voice, then slowly add voices (unmuting them with the numeric keys). One thing I like to do is to put MM in the Octatonic mode, use only one voice each on the horizontal and vertical axes, with a tempo of 120. Then start doing circular motions starting at the bottom of the grid and expanding upwards. Instant ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) Style! Sometimes I move the mouse slowly to produce chords at certain parts of the grid. Hit the space bar to silence the mouse, then move the mouse to another part of the grid, then hit the spacebar again and another chord is produced.

Hitting the Help key brings up the menu. In this mode, you can select individual midi channels for each voice. You can also select a different sound by muting all with the 0/1/2/3 keys, then selecting the 0 key, choose the sound you want with the I and U keys, then muting it again. Then selecting the 1 key, select your sound, selecting 1 again to mute it, select the next voice (2) and continue with this procedure with the other voices.

I cannot recommend this program enough for any Midi Musician using an Atari.


Music Mouse Keys

Treatment of any chord

Generic pattern selectors

Music Tempo

Disconnect Mouse

Added patterns off and on

Type of harmony

sound (patch change}


alternative tempo

tempo select

Voicing and grouping

breath control

foot control

after touch



mod wheel



muting controls