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DigiBarn TV Feature:
Video on the Mockingbird screen-based music scoring system
Created and demonstrated at Xerox PARC, 1980
Running on Dorado workstation

Mockingbird was the first screen-based computer music scoring system. It was built at Xerox PARC in 1980 by Severo M. Ornstein and John T. Maxwell. It's purpose was to explore the assistance that computers might provide to composers, especially those who utilized a piano keyboard in the process of composition. Midi didn't exist back then, so we modified an early synthesizer and invented an equivalent method for communication between the computer and the synthesizer. The program ran on the Dorado, a PARC-designed then-powerful personal computer. The system was never commercialized but many modern scoring systems have borrowed ideas that were first demonstrated in Mockingbird. There are two videos that show the system in operation: one from an early demonstration at a PARC Forum lecture, and the other a more detailed exposition of the final system. - Severo Orstein, April 2008

PARC Computing Forum Lecture (images and video)

Severo Ornstein & John T. Maxwell

View of the Mockingbird program on-screen

Full video of Computing Forum demo, late 1980 (possibly October): "Mockingbird, a Musician's Amanuensis" Click here to see this larger on YouTube or here to see it on the DigiBarn collection at Archive.org

Detailed Demonstration of the System in Operation (images and video)

Severo Ornstein "playing into" Mockingbird

Closeup of Mockingbird on the Dorado

Full video of detailed Mockingbird demo, late 1980 (possibly October)
Click here to see this larger on YouTube or here to see it on the DigiBarn collection at Archive.org

See also:

Our pages about Xerox (Alto, Dorado, Star and other systems)

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