The Music 360 is the first, between the music software belonging to the family of Music N, to be realized by Barry Vercoe; he is now known in particular for the development of Csound, of which the Music 360 represents the oldest antecedent .

Brief History – Barry Vercoe began working at the Music 360 in the final months of 1968, and then terminate it at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the following year. The realization of the Music 360 picked up the legacy of other software belonging to the family of the Music N, such as the Music 4B, the realization of which also contributed Barry Vercoe at Princeton in 1963 with Godfrey Winham, Hubert Howe and James K. Randall, the same working group that three years later realized a new version called Music IVBF. Both versions were deeply indebted towards the Music IV by Max Mathews, which is why even the Music 360 appeared more similar to the previous version instead of the Music V realized in 1968.

Return to assembler – However, the Music N version to which the Music 360 was more linked is the Music 4B. In fact the initial goal of Barry Vercoe had to be just to provide a front-end language for the Music 4B. This goal also had a profound influence on the decision to adopt a machine language instead of a high-level programming language to which they were directing music software recently built, such as the Music V, for example. The number 360 indicates just the IBM 360 assembler for which the software was developed.

In fact, initially, Vercoe had planned to use the BEFAP, the assembler of the IBM 7094 installed in Princeton, where he had his first experiences. Once he began working on his version of Music N, Vercoe found a different machine that forced him to a change of strategy.[1] Added to this was also a willingness to take full advantage of the increased computing speed that the assembly language guaranteed with respect to the high-level languages ​​such as Fortran, for example.

The use that is made ​​of this software shows how the final work could be considered more than satisfactory, if you think that remained in circulation until the early nineties. In Italy it was imported at the Center of Computational Sonology (Centro di Sonologia Computazionale) in Padua by American composer James Dashow, which he also made a custom version called Music 30.[3]

Here you can read the reference manual of the Music 360:



[1] AA.VV., The Csound Book, a cura di Richard Boulanger, The Mit Press, New York, 2000.
[2] Barry Vercoe, Music 360, Reference Manual, Studio for Experimental Music, M.I.T., 1973.
[3] Richard Karpen, An Interview with James Dashow, Computer Music Journal, Vol. 27 [2], 2003, pp. 14 – 29.

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