A brief history of computer music


This is a fun little article from MusicRadar.com. I’m particularly fond of the nice big picture of the Commodore 64. The world of computer music was first made real for me with the Commodore 64. My parents even bought a MIDI expansion box that improved on the already incredible sounds of the SID chip. Playing along to Telstar and The Winner Takes It All with a notation display on the screen… happy days! (For a bit of heavy-duty nostalgia, I confess I still go to C64 game music remix sites to relive my pre-teen years…)

Anyway, this computer music timeline is all very well, but it misses off some very important dates:

1993: Sibelius Software Ltd is founded by Ben and Jonathan Finn in Ben’s flat in Cambridge.

1998: Sibelius 1.0 for Windows is released (fun fact: the original copies of Sibelius for Windows were shipped out on CD-Rs burned by the staff in the office, and the first few dozen copies didn’t work all that well; by the time Sibelius hit 1.003, everything was sorted out.)

1999: Sibelius 1.2 is released, including the first version for Mac OS (back then it was Mac OS 9), and a German-language version.

That was the period that set Sibelius off on the road to real success. I fondly remember being in our first office in Cambridge on a Saturday in June 1999, not long after I had joined the company, urgently testing the Mac version to destruction with Ben and Andrew Davis. We all went off for dinner at a local restaurant and came back to test a new build that had been squirted down the 64K ISDN line from the developers’ office in London. Happy days (or, rather, nights) indeed!

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