Joshua Spann

Making Music with TempleOS

TempleOS’s GodSong

Nov 1, 2019

A long time ago it was written that God said “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The “dwelling” has generally been referred to the “Tabernacle”, and after David and Solomon’s reign, the “Temple”. In the Jewish and Christian worlds, the Temple is a place of sacrifice and redemption, though prophets hint that it will become a place of praise and worship. There were two Temples made of stone, wood, and the like. Both of them were raided and plundered, left utterly destroyed. There is but a hope that someday a Third Temple will be made.

Terry Davis, an unfortunately schizophrenic though amazingly talented programmer, believed that he was chosen by God to build the Third Temple with a very unorthodox material: computer code. Originally a pet project that focused on being the illegitimate lovechild of the Commodore64 and MS-DOS with a VAX makeover, TempleOS was constructed solely by Terry Davis. During the time he built the system, his mental state was on the decline. Soon his pet project moved away from being a pet project. It transformed from something personal to a divine revalation. His C+ programming language that the system was built on became HolyC. Making the graphics resolution 640x480 went from being an easier programming choice to a declaration by God.

The system had “After Egypt”, a program about being in the wilderness with the Israelites. It had games, graphics in source code, automatic compression, Ring0 access — you name it! One neat feature it had was a simple program that used a random seed and a few parameters to procedurally-generate music and images. You set a few parameters, tap the spacebar a few times, repeat and voilá! You’ve got a song! If only you could save it… well, you actually can!

You can hit F6 on your keyboard and give it a whirl, but good luck saving it. Luckily, the same trick that lets you have images in source code allows you to have a “GodSong” in there as well! TempleOS saves everything in a type of document format, which allows these neat tricks.

Simply create a new file with the Edit command: The Edit Command Extra points if you get a random word with F7!!!

We are fine with it not being a text file: Warning that it’s not a text file

Once in the file, hit F6 and do your magic: The parameters for song settings Spacebar is left-click, escape is like hitting an ‘OK’ button.

Now spam the spacebar!!! It might vary it up to have a greater time in-between spams: The generation seed screen

Wash: The parameters (again) for generating song content

Rinse and repeat. The song plays forever, yay: After creating the song in the text file

It’s not saved yet, so hit the escape key: After saving the new file

NOW it’s saved. Simply replay it by running the Edit command on your file!

But it’s fairly useless on TempleOS, especially since it’s not in a MIDI format. Pull up a voice recorder, app on your phone, or redirect output to recording software on your computer. Open the file in TempleOS and record it for about 50 seconds. Most songs generated procedurally last about 40 seconds. Save that music file then use your DAW (like FL Studio) to convert the recording to MIDI data. Converting to MIDI Piano Roll in FL Studio

If you don’t have that sorta dough, send the recording off to or some other web service and download the file. Load the MIDI file in your software of choice and do some touchups. Some songs require more touchups than others, and you can get some neat, glitchy effects. One time, it made goose sounds with the right synth! Guesstimate the tempo and set your project to it. Do the deed, harmonize and then some!

CONGRATULATIONS! You just made music with TempleOS!