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Algorithmic System by Johanna Bindgen

SIMON ST Opening Screen


Algorithmic System
By Johanna Bindgen
Released as FREEWARE, SEPT. 2001

Recently I received an email from one Johanna Bindgen, a composer, teacher and programmer from Germany, informing me of her algorithmic application she has developed called SIMON ST. She has an excellent page with screen shots, example files and MP3's as well as the program download.See below for those links. In testing it, I have found it does not work on 030 machines such as the Falcon or TT030, but works fine of any ST. According to her page, the program requires 2 to 4 megs of RAM. However it was tested on a 1 Meg system by an Atari-Midi member and the program loaded.

It is a sequencer, pattern creator and algorithmic system. It also seems very "notator" like in its feel with many screens laid out in a logical fashion. The graphics are quite stunning with many dialog screens popping out at you when clicking into the various icons and fields.


However SIMON is unlike sequencers such as Notator or Cubase as its recording structure is different. You must enter what you want the program to do in the Interpreter/ Compiler screen much like other 'music languages' such as Symbolic Composer or IFORM. There is a good deal of control when entering the data in this fashion. It might take a bit to get used to. Johanna has been working on "lessons" for using Simon which should make things more clear.See the Link section.

SIMON ST Interpreter compiler screen

Here are correspondances between Johanna (the Author of Simon ST) and myself as I was was trying to understand how to use the program :

Tim Said:
I have not been able to figure out how to generate my own material: how to record or produce a pattern, ect. Usually I am OK without manuals for most programs, but this one stumps me.

Johanna Responds:
When I testet Omikron-basic the first time, I looked at an empty screen. There was a very bytefull program, which did not show anything!!! Only a big white screen. I thought: Mhhhh, what can I do with this.

The first lines I typed:

10 -start
20 print i
30 i=i+1
40 goto start

Wow, this was great.

I think, the first is an idea. Any idea

An the idea is for SimonST also the first.
Take the guitar05.cre song.
The idea is to create open string guitar patterns. They should be playable with normal fingers :-)

Open string means: The guitar is tuned for example in D minor. D-A-D-F-D-F

When you put your fingers on the guitar, they are changing the D-minor chord in a special way. Strings with no finger (open strings) are playing D-minor and strings with fingers playing another chord. So two chords come together and bring interesting harmonies.

On the The LEARN page for SIMON ST I have added the program text of guitar05.cre. You will find here comments by me, what the lines means and how you can change variables and randoms to change the music result.

Tim Said:
Perhaps you are already working on a "tutorial" so please forgive if I wrote too soon.Any hints would be appreciated.

Johanna Responded:
To learn, how to handle a program is one thing, to learn, how to create ideas and translate them into a (music) program speech is another thing.

But there is a third way: Take the idea of other programs to learn about changing ideas.


Tim Replies:
Thankyou for your reply. I think I understand. To create compositions you use the "compilation" screen to string variables together, so there is no direct "record" function as in sequencers such as notator and cubase.Is that true?


Can Simon St record Midi Input?

No. But I will think about this function.

You can also take the examples and use them as a 'skeleton' to create your own compositions by altering their parameters.So its a sort of "music language" much like FORTH or C-SOUND.

I do not know anything about forth or C-sound. But I think, you are right.

BTW: it was tested on a 1 meg machine by an Atari-Midi member and it works!

Great. I'm working daily to make my SimonST Site more structured. I have decided to write several lessons at the LEARN page for SIMON ST

There you can download the .cre-files, mp3 and look at the lessons about the songs.



Johanna has released a new program. MidiPlay ST! You can use this WITHOUT A MONITOR!! Great for live setups, although she uses it for educational purposes.

Go here:


here is some info on it from the MidiPlayer ST page:

MidiPlayerST is FREEWARE

MidiplayerST I use in my music school to play piano parts of any solo concerts.


Start, stop, continue, forward, backward
set mark 1 to 10, start play from mark 1 to 10
start play from bar x
transpose, program, volume
faster, slower (this is very important for the instrumental lessons)
relativ tempo, absolute tempo
play selected solo-channel
channel converter
starts from the auto-folder, if you want (its a TOS-program)
press HELP (when MidiplayerST has started) to get more information about the functions


Download SIMON ST


The SIMON ST Home Page

Look here often for any updates on SIMON ST.

The LEARN page for SIMON ST