Tim's Atari MIDI World

The Atari MIDI Tool Box


This month is a special treat for those with disk drive only systems. Actually, many Atari musicians prefer having a system with no hard drive as it is very quiet and without the whirring humming sound of a hard drive. Also, many Atari musicians have more than one computer, running tools on one and a sequencer on the other. I do this myself, setting up my 1040STE with disk drive only operation, while my Falcon and TT030 cover sequencing and SysEx.

Below in the file section you will find a special compilation of Atari MIDI tools covering SysEx, groove machines, alternate mouse controllers and MIDI monitors. These are what I call "tools", while the sequencer of choice is the bread and butter of the system. The file is meant to fit on a single 720 KB disk. So you might call it the "cover disk" for this month!

On this disk you will find no less than 11 programs offering many tools for today's Atari musician. Some of the archives were condensed with only the files needed to run the programs (a few had demo files, although some are included). This was done to preserve space. The full programs can be found on Tim's Atari MIDI World (see link section). Unzip without a main folder directly to a 720 KB DOS-formatted disk. There is some documentation with the actual programs, so please read through those. When using the programs and you want to save files created with the programs, use a separate disk. Of course, all these programs work on the Falcon and 030 machines.

Dump It by Ben Hall
A universal SysEx dumper: loads and saves in standard SysEx format. With all the free patches on the internet, this is an invaluable tool. Simply load and send.

[Screen-shot: Grid Sequencer]

Grid Sequencer by Matucana
This is the "original" Grid Sequencer. A refined version was created and is now called ISEQ (see This version however is smaller in size and still very workable. Based on a dream.

MIDI Processor by Shawn Hargreaves
This is a text-based application with remarkable results. Simply hit your sustain pedal on your keyboard controller, which starts MIDI Processor in record mode. Hit a few notes and it takes off, adding and manipulating your original phrase. You can also change the parameters that create the changes. A wonderful program! Try it with percussion sounds.

[Screen-shot: MIDI Square]

MIDI Square by David Snow
This is an alternate mouse controller. Simply move the mouse around the grid and play music. You can change the way it harmonizes as well as tempo and phrasing. You can also record your actions and save it as a MIDI file to import into your favorite sequencer.

MIDI View by Jim Johnson
A MIDI tool box would not be complete without a MIDI monitor. Simply run the program and see what is happening in your MIDI system. To pause hit [Alternate], and to quite hit [Control]. It's that easy.

MIDI Mouse Music by Gareth Jones
Another alternate mouse controller with a twist. Within this small program are no less then four different screens or modes to move the mouse around: a grid mode, a guitar strum mode, a stave mode and a joystick mode for controlling continuous controllers (panning, volume...). A lot packed into this small application. Full details on the Megastar Synthesizer Collective page at TAMW (

[Screen-shot: Pulsar]

Pulsar version 2.0 by Neil Wakeling
Here is Pulsar, the analog sequencer emulator. 3 rows of 16 notes. Lots of beats can be created on this one. Out-does most of the analog sequencers found on modern instruments these days. Full instructions and tutorials on the Pulsar page at TAMW ( Example file includes "On the run", the sequence used by Pink Floyd on "Dark Side of the Moon".

Sequencer: Pattern based MIDI sequencer by Gaston Klares
Another analog sequencer emulator, however quite different to Pulsar. It is keyboard-driven (no mouse actions). By pressing [Help], all the commands are tabulated. An excellent addition to the tool box! Example file includes "On the run", the sequence used by Pink Floyd on "Dark Side of the Moon".

[Screen-shot: Tunesmith]

Tunesmith by Jim Johnson
This is the largest of the programs, but I have decided to include it for the tool box. Tunesmith is an algorithmic phrase generator. Complete details and tutorials can be found on the Tunesmith page at TAMW ( Basically it produces a theme which can be driven with accompaniment of six tracks. You can also produce percussion tracks as well. One of the best of the algo-comp applications.

A simple program that when run allows the MIDI Out port of the ST to become a MIDI Thru. Quite useful at times.

Music Calc by Martin Milner
This is many applications at once: versatile delay calculation, approximate frequencies covered by various instruments. A typical example of instrument panning in a stereo mix. A summary of General MIDI sound set groupings. (very useful!). A practical display of sound pressure levels measured in decibels related to everyday situations. Some useful facts and figures. This is a desk accessory and boots up when the disk is in the disk drive.

AUTO folder
Also included is an AUTO folder with some fun utilities.

  • AUTOMOUS.PRG: Changes the cursor into a swinging metronome.
  • FUIJDESK.PRG: Displays a rotating Fuji in a corner of the desktop.
  • SILKMOUS.PRG: A mouse accelerator.
  • SEBRA.PRG: For those with color monitors, it allows emulation of ST high resolution (monochrome). While not the clearest, it works. Most of the programs on this disk require ST high resolutoin to work (while some do not, such as Tunesmith, MIDI Processor, MIDI View and MIDI Calc).

Programs requiring mono (ST high resolution) mode:

  • MIDI Square
  • Grid Sequencer
  • MIDI Mouse Music
  • Pulsar
  • Sequencer

To disable any of these AUTO folder programs, simply change the extension from .PRG to .PRX using the Show info command on the Atari desktop.

Finally I have included CONTROL.ACC which allows you to adjust colors on a color monitor as well as reverse the video when using monochrome. This boots up at start-up as a desk accessory.

Have fun with these programs. My aim in creating this tool box is to promote the use of these "left hand" applications in which the Atari platform is rich in. There were several other programs I wish I could have added, such as Dr Ambient's AEX, but disk space would not allow it.

I would also encourage creating your own tool box of programs you mostly use for your own applications. It's amazing how many programs you can fit on a single 720 KB disk!


  • The Atari MIDI Tool Box compilation


Useful link


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MyAtari magazine - Feature #9, May 2003

Copyright 2003 MyAtari magazine