How Notator SL Revolutionized Music World

Notator SL running on iMac.
Notator SL running on an Atari iFuji in an alternative future.

C-Lab’s Notator SL for Atari ST revolutionized the way music was made with computers when it appeared in 1988.

Atari ST, which was the only platform Notator ran on, was already the personal computer of choice for musicians of all sorts because of the integrated MIDI interface. But before Notator the music composing apps were clumsy and hard to work with.

Notator was rock solid, fast and easy to use. It had an excellent integrated notation editor. Its pattern-based approach, where you created different patterns, corresponding to the different parts of the song, and then chained them in four concurrent lines, was reminiscent of the hardware sequencers of the pre-computer era. Moreover, the hardware add-ons that C-lab gradually brought out turned the Atari ST in a modular music production monster. It was a dream come true and countless hits and movie soundtracks were made with it.

And, yes, there was also Steinberg Cubase, the other great Atari ST based music application, but that’s another story.

We have an Atari ST with Notator SL in our studio, and we still use it with full satisfaction.

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