Nerd music + microprocessor = synthesized fun!

A few weeks ago my wife and I went to Ohio to see some of her family.  During the trip she, her mom, and her sister wanted to go to the local Goodwill store to find some clothes.  This wasn’t an incredibly promising trip for me but I do like to browse through the old electronics; you never know what gems you might find.  Lo and behold, they had an old microprocessor trainer kit for less than $10 laying on a shelf in the original—though yellowed—cardboard box.  It made the whole shopping-with-three-girls thing worth it.

I haven’t had a chance to mess with it until today but I very quickly learned from the manual (yes, it still has it!) how to work the internal synthesizer to both play music on the fly and program it in for computer playback.  It was pretty hard to just play it like a piano since the notes weren’t laid out very nicely, so I wanted to come up with a good, short, geeky song or riff to test it out with.  What could be better than “Axel F”?  Perhaps “Still Alive”, but that’s a song for another day I suppose.  That one would be near impossible though…I don’t see any way of programming adding a rest of any kind and “Still Alive” has a lot of them.
EDIT: I did find out how to program rests into a song; I just wasn’t reading far enough ahead. I updated the video to one that includes the rests in Axel-F, and maybe I’ll try Still Alive in the future.

Many thanks to my lovely and talented wife Christina for finding the sheet music online and converting it to solfège for me.  The trainer uses solfège instead of the typical A-G notes.


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