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PC Reviews: Music Works Personal

Music Works Personal is the latest version of the highly popular Music Works series from developers Middle Earth Software Systems, that allows you to create professional musical scores. The beauty of Music Works Personal, besides playing back your own musical scores, is that you can also record from various MIDI instruments such as electronic MIDI keyboards and then print out these compositions.

The installation of Music Works Personal was extremely easy and once the CD was inserted into the CD-ROM, it automatically installed and I was ready to run the program. Before the program can be run, it must be configured. The configuration program searches your computer for a variety of different MIDI compatible devices.

Music Works Personal Features
- Auto formatting tool - auto insertion of rests and beams.
- Tweakable Ties and Slurs - change tilt and curvature at will.
- User-definable Symbol Library - allows great flexibility.
- New Transpose functions - now includes Chromatic and Diatonic.
- New notation compress and expand - to make sections fit a given space.
- US or European naming conventions.
- New mouse interface for easier access to features.
- Many existing functions greatly improved.
- New manual and vastly expanded online Help
- record from any MIDI instruments

Once the installation and configuration was completed, I then proceeded to run the program and it automatically brought back memories of my old piano days. The interface of Music Works Professional contains five different window panes, not including the pull-down menu system. The first pane includes a variety of different icons such as open, save, print, magnify and various musical features, whereas the second pane includes a CD player option that lets you playback your musical piece with a timer. The third pane includes a timeline for the speed of your piece with the fourth pane being your composition window and the fifth pane includes various beat, pitch and stave options to name a few of the features of the interface.

The interface is a little tricky at the start but once you have figured out where everything is hidden in the various menu systems and icons, you will soon find that creating your musical scores are a breeze. The program also allows you to cut, copy and paste from your composition that is not only a time-saving feature but removes the tediousness of repeating certain aspects of your composition. After a few hours of fiddling with the program, all my musical skills soon returned since when I played the piano and in no time I was creating some extremely "entertaining" compositions.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to create compositions and all I had to do was drag the notes into the composition piece from the palette that contained a variety of different musical notes. Unfortunately we did not have a MIDI instrument to connect to our test computer but if you have a electronic MIDI keyboard connected to your computer, the program automatically translates what you press onto the keyboard into a composition.

Another feature of the program is the transpose feature that allows you include a variety of different instruments into your piece that is ideal for composers. Music Works Personal also includes a wide variety of options that you can include into your composition such as rests, dynamics, ornaments, repeats, guitar chords, text and lyrics. Once your musical scores are ready, you can either save them in the Music Works Personal format or print them out for some extremely professional looking compositions.

I would highly recommend Music Works Personal to both the novice and musical professional as this review has only just touched the surface of what this program can achieve. With built-in options that allows you include various MIDI instruments, Music Works Personal is the perfect musical solution for students, teachers and aspiring composers and at an affordable price, the competition doesn't even come close.

- Andrew B

The Final Say!


Music Works Personal
Review Date: 4 September 2003

Distributor: Manaccom

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