Fastfingers For The Commodore 64

Dan Laskowski demonstrates Fastfingers, his 1984 lead synth software/hardware combo for the Commodore 64 and Mattel Intellivision Piano Keyboard .

Some might think that this demo comes 27 years too late.

For fans of 8-bit music and those interested in how early music programmers dealt with limited resources, Laskowski’s demo is a window into the early days of music on personal computers.

Part 2 below. 

Amazingly, Laskowski says that he is “ready to ship”.

That’s right – he’s updated Fastfingers with faster saving, better tuning and more. Details at his site.

Finally, the news report, embedded below, captures Laskowski at the height of “micro-mania”:

via techristian

48 thoughts on “Fastfingers For The Commodore 64

  1. Excellent videos.

    Well, they're $50 (or less) on ebay, or you can buy a "new C64" for $595 (or more?) from Sadly the new machine is just a PC in a C64 case with a built-in emulator (possibly in ROM, though, which is kind of cool – something to be said for a machine that starts up nearly instantly and is immediately ready to be programmed in BASIC.)

    The C64 TV Game (C64DTV) is a lot closer to the original in terms of hardware, being (quite brilliantly) a C64-on-a-chip.

  2. Its very fun to see but as much as I love my C64 (I actually have a few working ones here; old model, new model with some 1541's and stuff) I don't think this setup will compare to my current DAW gear (Live / M4L for example).

    That said; the C64 sure had a very specific and pretty cool sound to it.

  3. It's just that he's talking too loud. Someone needs to tell him we can hear him just fine, and he can use his indoor voice.

  4. Thanks all. I'm loud, because ,well I'm just loud. Almost 40 years of factory and drumming. Besides I never had a separate microphone. Anyway I have just finished porting over 140 fastfinger sounds/arpeggios to the Korg KP3 and Kaossillator Pro and hopefully should have the videos up on youtube before the end of the week. The sound will be fed DIRECTLY into the video and I will have a separate channel for a microphone (which I can turn down. I'm also using 2 SID chips for the next demo. (2 SIDS recorded directly to Korg R + L )

    Thanks for watching.


  5. Today I began BASIC MIDI routines with the C64 Expansion Port Sentech/Passport type MIDI interface, mostly to check my MIDI interface and also to re-familiarize myself with the MIDI commands. I was able to get my Kawai K3 to play a slew of notes which I sent to it by way of a fornext loop. So the MIDI programming re-begins..after almost 30 years. So hopefully I will be able to integrate this into Fastfingers. This in only HALF of the BASIC programming. The other HALF is to also RECEIVE notes from a MIDI keyboard to trigger the Fastfingers sounds.

    The PASSPORT type MIDI interface was the most popular, and it is not easy to make a universal MIDI driver because of the way the DATA and CONTROL/STATUS registers work. There is only ONE STATUS register on the PASSPORT and the same register is also the CONTROL register. Many other MIDI interfaces will use 2 separate registers for STATUS AND CONTROL. The same goes with the DATA register. It also flips so that it can be a READ or WRITE register.

    So what I’m basically saying. Is to start shopping for a PASSPORT type MIDI interface if you plan on using Fastfingers ,in the future, with MIDI.


  6. I have been having a difficult time with MIDI for the C64. To allow more TIME for MIDI processing, I have broken up the INTERRUPT routine (which updates the effects 240 times per second) so that it now runs 3125 times per second. This has an interesting effect on the timbre of the sound. It seems to have more high end. Anyway, I haven’t yet been able to get MIDI input working yet. I’m looking at also developing a PIC chip synthesizer and software combined. Still trying to put together a solid SERIAL and PARALLEL port computer. (my Thinkpad laptop is dying)


  7. I’m still working on MIDI for Fastfingers. Right now I have pulled apart major parts of all of the effects routines and are re-assembling them in a more logical manner. This will make them smoother and allow TIME for Midi. The PIC chip thing will be an ongoing project for a few years. Right now I just want to wrap up Fastfingers2 with midi. Fastfingers2 will no longer have support for the Mattel Intellivision keyboard.

  8. Here are updates on my lead synth sequencer for C64.
    This was presented at the WOC 2015 in Toronto
    Next year it will be even better with all devices connected to MIDI



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