There's an application that's been on my mind on and off for months now, I want to find clarity.

Once upon a time, when MacOS was in black and white, there was a neat music composer/player application. Its icon was that of a ghetto blaster, and its file icons were cassette tapes (obviously). On the floppy were also some demo tunes including "Money", "Louie Louie", (possibly?) "Three Little Mice", "Axel F" (from the comedy movie with Eddie Murphy), "Rockit", "Like a Virgin", and others. It was able to do four voices of various instruments, and had one "synth" instrument where you could (theoretically!) draw a waveform with the mouse; many of the demo tunes had clearly digitized samples in the synth to do proper drums and such.

I frequently think of MusicWorks (by MacroMind), but that's a different application ... I think?

  • 4
    You might find it on the UMich archive. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to "browse" the icons of applications in the archive, so you'll have to download and unstuff the potential candidates.
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 0:37
  • @DrSheldon That's a good source, but no luck I'm afraid (it being mostly utilities). Thanks though!
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 10:08

2 Answers 2


MusicWorks Hayden Software 600 Suffolk St. Lowell, Massachusetts 01853 USA $46.00
The disk opens with an icon of a "ghetto-blaster" and a files icon of a cassette; we sense we are in a fun time. If today is like practically every day since MusicWorks' release, then at this very moment someone is probably uploading yet another MusicWorks tune to Compuserve or any one of hundreds of other bulletin board systems and databases.

enter image description here (click)
MusicWorks Draw Synth 1 menu.

Christopher Yavelow: "Music Software for the Apple Macintosh", Computer Music Journal, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Autumn, 1985), pp. 52-67, The MIT Press. (jstor)

This application can be seen and heard in action on several youtube videos:

MusicWorks, Published on Aug 9, 2007, MusicWorks for Mac cca.1985

provides the following screenshot:

enter image description here (click)

Although the document icons seem to be different:

enter image description here (click)
Mac Plus running MusicWorks after "Analog Board" recapping

And the mentioned "Rock It" is performed here

Macintosh SE - "Rock It"
Published on Nov 4, 2012
My old SE playing "Rock It" by Herbie Hancock, one of the built-in MusicWorks demos. Enjoy!

The application is actually one and the same as the one from MacroMind:

MacroMind was an Apple Macintosh software company founded in Chicago in 1984 by Marc Canter, Jay Fenton and Mark Stephen Pierce. The company's first product was SoundVision, a combined music and graphics editor. Before the release, the graphics editor was removed, and SoundVision became MusicWorks. Along with other early programs, MusicWorks was originally distributed by Hayden Software.

In 1988 the company moved to San Francisco, and in 1991 MacroMind merged with Paracomp to become MacroMind-Paracomp, then in 1992 merged with Authorware, Inc forming Macromedia.

And we all know who buried Macromedia.

  • So it was this MusicWorks after all, just with various iterations of company names. Thank you! (Aside: oh dear, I remember Rock It being way better than that...!)
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 13:23

If you can get to a library or institution with JSTOR access, this link will take you to a story that probably will give you your answer. (I don't have such access myself.)

The linked article is an overview of Mac music software circa 1985. It calls out MusicWorks, along with ConcertWare, MacMusic, MusPrint, Professional Composer, Song Painter, and Music Character Set. The Google summary of the page includes this snippet:

The disk opens with an icon of a "ghetto-blaster" and a files icon of a...

...but that doesn't appear on the free page, so I can't tell which one has this icon.

  • 4
    I registered for the free access and suffered through the corresponding reading interface: that text appears on page 8 of the article and suggests that the proper answer is MusicWorks by Hayden Software. The review also mentions a waveform editor.
    – Tommy
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 7:05
  • 1
    The mentioned Rock It, as video, with a view of the icon on youtube youtube.com/watch?v=S6WEB7fTPRY blob:youtube.com/3cd22771-9024-4d19-b6fb-1a594c804dc1 ? Commented May 19, 2019 at 14:19

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