AOH :: SIDNEWS5.TXT|
SIDPLAYER NEWS #5 March 1986
Introducing Sidplayer Singalong, an exciting new way to enjoy Sidplayer songs.
Singalong is a special player for Sidplayer songs which displays song verses
that change in time with the music. It is great for many different kinds of
songs including holiday, religious, popular, and comedy songs.
Note: The program will play only Singalong songs which have corresponding word
files on the same disk as the music files, and will not play other Sidplayer
This news file describes all of the features of the Singalong player, and also
tells you how to create your own Singalong songs.
The Singalong player was written by Bob Huffman and may be freely distributed,
along with Sidplayer songs.
Sidplayer is the music system published in "All About The Commodore 64, Volume
Two" by COMPUTE! Books. Sidplayer songs are created using the Sidplayer
Editor, which is a copyrighted program that may not be freely distributed.
A Singalong song consists of a Sidplayer music file (with a .MUS filename
extension) and a words file which has the same filename except for a .WDS
extension in place of the .MUS extension.
When you run the Singalong player, it first reads the disk directory to find
all of the .WDS files on the disk. If there are no .WDS files on the disk,
the program will ask you to insert another disk and press the function key f5
to rerun the program.
Once all of the .WDS files have been found, the program runs through the files
again to read the full title of each song.
The program next displays a menu listing the full titles of up to ten
Singalong songs, under the heading PAGE 1. If there were more than ten .WDS
files on the disk, a prompt message will be printed at the bottom of the
screen indicating that you can press the space bar to see the next page of
To play a song, just press the appropriate letter key from A to J. The
program will switch to a new screen, print the full title of the song, and try
to load the corresponding .MUS file for the song. The Singalong player
requires that both the .MUS file and the corresponding .WDS file be on the
same disk. If the .MUS file is not on the disk, the program will print an
error message, wait for you to press a key for acknowledgement, and return to
the song menu.
Always remember that both the .MUS and .WDS files for a Singalong song must be
on the same disk.
After the .MUS file for the song has been loaded, the program loads the .WDS
file. If no error occurs, the program prints the text lines for the song and
starts playing the music.
The verses for the song are printed on two lines. The current verse line is
printed in light blue, and the following verse line is printed in dark blue
under the current one. This lets you read ahead one line.
When the song is done playing, the program returns to the song menu. To stop
a song before it is done playing and return to the menu, press the space bar.
To repeat a song, just press the corresponding letter key again, and the
program will skip the loading process and play the song still in memory. You
may also press the R key to replay the most recently loaded song, if that is
more convenient. Note that the "R" key feature does not work when no song has
been loaded yet, or if an error occurred during the last attempt to load a
Another feature of the Singalong player is that you can play all of the
Singalong songs on the disk with one keystroke. Just press the "*" key to
select the autoplay mode. The program will load and play each Singalong song
on the disk in the order they appear in the song menu.
While songs are being played in the autoplay mode, you may press the space bar
to stop a song and advance to the next one. To stop the playing and return to
the song menu instead, press the f7 function key.
When you are done playing songs on one disk and want to play songs on another
disk, insert the new disk and press the f5 function key to make the program
run again. To exit from the program, press Run/Stop Restore.
To create a Singalong song, you must use a word processor to enter the verse
lines in a text file, run a conversion program to convert the text file into a
.WDS file, and embed special "flag" commands at the appropriate places in the
music to signal where the verse lines should change.
Begin by using the Sidplayer Editor to enter the notes of the song in the
normal way. When you are done editing the notes and commands in the song,
insert a FLG 1 command at each place where the next verse line is to be
printed. This needs to be done on only one voice. Be sure that there is at
least one note between each FLG command. Save the .MUS file when you are done.
The next step is to create the text file containing the verse lines. Two
different types of word processors are supported; Easyscript and other
compatible word processors (such as Paperclip) which create a SEQ file, and
Speedscript, which creates a PRG file.
Enter the verse lines of the song, one line for each FLG command in the music,
with a carriage return at the end of each line. Upper and lower case letters
may be used.
Be careful to not let a line contain more than 38 characters, as the Singalong
player cannot handle longer lines. Also, if the song plays a lead-in before
the verses start, a blank line at the beginning of the file may be necessary,
depending on where the first FLG command was used. Save the text file when
you are done.
Now run either the ES/WDS conversion program if you used Easyscript or a
compatible word processor, or SS/WDS if you used Speedscript. The program
will first ask you for the name of the text file. Enter the filename and wait
for the file to load.
Next the program asks for the title of the song. This is the full title that
is printed in the Singalong song menu. It may be up to 36 characters long.
The program will not let you type characters that may not be used in the title.
The program will then ask for the filename of the words file to be produced,
excluding the .WDS extension. This name should be the same as the root name
of the corresponding .MUS file, and may be up to 12 characters long.
If you also used the root name for the text file, you may instead just press
Return and the program will add the .WDS extension to that name to form the
The program begins the conversion process by scratching an earlier version of
the .WDS file if it exists. The screen is then changed to the colors used in
the Singalong player and the text lines are printed to the screen as they are
If a line is detected to have more than 38 characters, an error message will
be printed, the incomplete .WDS file will be scratched, and the program will
end. A verse line may not exceed 38 printable characters, or the printing
will be screwed up in the Singalong player.
After the conversion is done and the .WDS file has been completely written, it
is a good idea to play the song with the .WDS file all the way through at
least once, to check that the verse lines match up properly and that none have
One final touch for a Singalong song is to add color or reverse printing to
the verses. When the Singalong player prints each verse line, it always
resets the cursor color to light blue or dark blue as appropriate. To change
the color for the rest of the line, just insert the appropriate character code
in the line. Refer to the chart below for the proper character codes.
If you are using Speedscript, the character codes cannot be entered directly,
so a slightly different scheme is used. When you want to enter a color or
reverse lettering code, first press the Lira (English pound sign) key while
holding down the CTRL key. Speedscript will then prompt you to press a format
key. Press the appropriate letter key as shown in the chart below.
CODE KEY EFFECT
144 K BLACK
5 W WHITE
28 R RED
159 C CYAN
156 P PURPLE
30 G GREEN
31 B BLUE
158 Y YELLOW
129 O ORANGE
149 N BROWN
150 r LIGHT RED
151 d DARK GRAY
152 m MEDIUM GRAY
153 g LIGHT GREEN
154 b LIGHT BLUE
155 l LIGHT GRAY
18 V REVERSE ON
146 v REVERSE OFF
This scheme is pretty straightforward and logical. The letters usually match
the color name, and upper and lower case denote a dark or light color.
Even though these control codes do not increase the printed length of a verse
line, they are each counted as one character by the conversion programs. A
conversion program may therefore report the error that a line has more than 38
characters when in fact the number of printed characters does not exceed 38.
To get around this problem, change the assignment of the variable LL in line
120 of the conversion program from 38 to a larger value, such as 48. Just be
extra careful, then, that the number of letters and other printable characters
in each verse line does not exceed 38.
This concludes the documentation for Sidplayer Singalong. We hope you enjoy
the new dimension of fun that Singalong brings to Sidplayer music.
For any questions on how to use the Sidplayer Editor, or more information on
the FLG command and how to add Sidplayer music to your own programs, please
refer to Volume Two.
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