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Creating your own alarm sound files

Creating your own alarm sound files

From time to time we print in The HP Palmtop Paper the contents of a customized sound file. Such a file, after it has been named ALARM. SND and placed in the C:\_DAT folder, will replace the standard alarm sounds (such as Beep, Trumpet, or Chime) that get played whenever one of your ApptBook alarms goes off.

An ALARM.SND file consists of, in its simplest form, a string of letters that represent the different notes of a particular song. For example, if you open MEMO and type


and then save the file as an ASCII file to C:\_DAT\ ALARM.SND, the next time one of your appointment alarms goes off, the musical notes "C" then "D" then "E" will be played. (Actually, there's one other thing you'll have to do: press MENU in ApptBook, then choose Options, Beep, Custom. This will force ApptBook to use your customized ALARM.SND file.)

Anyone can create customized sound in MEMO, or in any other word processor or text editor. If you look up "Alarms, programming" in your HP 100LX or HP 200LX User's Guide, you'll find a list of commands for creating your own song scripts.

In addition to including letters representing different notes, you can include instructions that set the length, octave, tempo, volume, and other particulars of whatever song you'd like to have played.

The more adept you are at reading a musical score, the easier it will be to create your own custom alarm file that contains one of your favorite songs. However, even if you don't know very much about music, you may be able to create a simple sound file. Here's what to do.

First, go to your local public library and find a book of musical song scores. Look through the book and find a song that is in the key of C. Songs in the key of C will be much easier to program than songs in another key.

Songs in the key of C will not have any musical symbols representing flats ( b ) or sharps (#) after the musical cleft at the beginning of the song. If you have any doubts about whether a particular song is in the key of C, ask a friend who is a musician, or someone who sings in a choir.

Screen 1 shows letter designations for each note on the staff. For instance, a note that is positioned on the top line of the staff is an F. Using the information in Screen 1, you can assign the letters A through G to the notes of a song you've found in a music book.

Screen 1: Refer to this staff to find out what the letter designations are for the notes in your favorite song.

For instance, in Screen 2, which shows the first line of the score of the well-known song, Do-Re-Me, from The Sound of Music, I've written the correct letters below each note (C, D, E, etc.). Now we're ready to create a sound file.

Screen 2: After referring to Screen 1, we've added the note designation (C, D, E, etc.) to the song Do-Re-Me.

Look at Screen 3 to see what the completed file looks like (DO-RE-ME.SND). At the beginning of the file the letters "K1" appear. This command allows you to terminate the alarm by pressing any keystroke. "L0" would disable this feature.

Screen 3: This MEMO file will play the song Do-Re-Me whenever an ApptBook alarm goes off.

The next thing to note is the appearance of spaces, and a few commas, throughout the file. Neither spaces nor commas have any effect on the file. However, they can be used to make your commands more readable. For instance, I separate each note with a space, and each line of the score with a comma.

"O1" appears next. "O" followed by a number from 0 to 7 sets the octave. Lower numbers represent lower octaves.

"T" followed by a number from 0 to 255 sets the tempo. I experimented with different tempos, then finally settled on "T185." "V" followed by a number from 0 to 3 sets the volume.

The "L6C" is the first note of the song. "L" followed by a number from 1 to 64 represents the length of a note, with lower numbers designating longer notes.

The rest of the notes appear next, with each note assigned a specific length.

Ralph C. Turner

Managing Editor

The HP Palmtop Paper


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