[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple II Mountain Music

May 21st, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Mountain Computer MusicSystem Music System Apple II Ad - Mountain Music - 1982The Mountain Computer MusicSystem. Not a scene from Hee Haw.

In an age when the vast majority of commercial music is recorded or produced using computers, it’s interesting to look back to a time with computer-based music tools were in their infancy. In this case we’re turning back the clock 30 years to examine an ad for the Mountain Computer MusicSystem, a musical synthesizer and sequencer add-on for the Apple II (horse not included).

Admittedly, I know nothing about this system beyond what you read in the ad above (and some Googled info found here and here). But I wouldn’t be surprised if the original creators of the MusicSystem are lurking somewhere out there on the Internet — just waiting for this subject to come up so they can post a comment about it on a blog like this one. If that’s the case, please do!

[ From Popular Computing, January 1982, p.1 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When was the first time you used a computer as a tool in music production?

8 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple II Mountain Music”

  1. Zoyous Says:

    Around 1990, I started using a simple sampling/destructive editing program on the Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000, but unfortunately I don’t remember what it was called. You could set loop points and adjust them on the fly as it was playing.

    Later on, probably about ’98, I started using Sonic Foundry’s great PC software, SoundForge and Vegas. Vegas has since been shifted to a focus on video editing, but it began as a multitrack audio editing application, and still excels as one.

  2. Zoyous Says:

    Oh yeah, earlier in the ’80s, I dabbled with Music Construction Set by Electronic Arts on the Apple IIe, but didn’t get very far with it.

  3. Arlandi Says:

    hmm… is using pascal to produce “melodies” through pc speaker count as music production? if it is, then 1992.
    if not, then 1999. i used rebirth by propellerhead to mix and create some stuff.
    since i’m not a pro, that was the furthest i went

  4. Donn Says:

    aaaand now I’ve got THAT song stuck in my head. Awesome.

  5. Fred Says:

    It was the summer of 2001. The program was whichever version of fruity loops (pre fl studio days) was current at the time, and windows me was the os.

  6. Moondog Says:

    Around ’85 or ’86 I played with a music app that appeared in RUN magazine. I typed it in, tested it, then proceeded to convert sheet music into numerical values. To do chords or multiple instruments, you’d have to time each overlaid voice just right. This was on a C-64.

  7. Mark Says:

    I used that Mountaiun Music/Apple II + system in the early eighties. Awesome system. Great sounds. Fully functional synth. Scoring software and a sequenser included. Not that you could do much with 64k memory 😉
    Not very user friendly for stage. It was 2 cards that plugged into Apple slots that were connected by ribbon cables to each other and a musical keyboard.
    I still have it packed away in the basement.

  8. J. David Ramsey Says:

    @Mark, re: “Not very user friendly for stage.”

    Today, it might not seem so stage friendly. After all, it’s possible to have a slimline keyboard controller and a computer the size of an iPhone running some VSTs.

    But, look back 10 years from the release of this “Mountain Music” system, when people were touring with Modular Moogs, Hammond B-3s, and Mellotrons. 😉

    On the other hand, if we look at the time of “Mountain Music,” there were already amazing synths that you could take out on the road with much less hassle.

    Does anybody know how much a Prophet or a Jupiter would have been when new? Would they have been more expensive than outfitting an Apple II with all the hardware and software necessary to run “Mountain Music” live?

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