Developments to Watch
NOW, LOVERS OF BAROQUE MUSIC CAN PLUG IN A PERSONAL COMPOSER
First there was J.S. Bach, the composer. Then, there was his son, C.P.E. Bach, the composer. Now, there's C.P.U. Bach, the software. C.P.U. Bach composes Baroque-style music that resembles the works of the flesh-and-blood Bachs. The program, from MicroProse Software Inc. in Hunt Valley, Md., will run only on the new 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, a souped-up video-game machine with CD sound from 3DO Co. in Redwood City, Calif.
C.P.U. Bach was developed by MicroProse designers Sid Meier and Jeff Briggs, who has a doctorate in music theory. It plays concertos, fugues, minuets, and chorales according to the strict compositional rules of those genres. One part of the software generates a melody, another does harmony, another does counterpoint, and a fourth chooses the overall form of a piece. The parts interact and make decisions as the music plays, so no two compositions are alike. One drawback: Listeners don't have much control. You can specify that you want a preponderance of a certain instrument or genre, but you can't, say, feed the program a few notes as the basis for an improvisation. The $70 software is due to debut in February.EDITED BY CATHERINE ARNST