A Portrait of C.P.U Bach

Evidence for the pre-technological origin of Music Mice.

Above is the only surviving picture of C.P.U. Bach, the youngest and least known of J.S. Bach's composer sons. Apparently, his father programmed him in his own image, but using the most advanced technology of his day, a tracker organ, for a display console. It is probable that young C.P.U. Bach's existence was kept a closely guarded secret and regarded as a dark skeleton in the Bach family's closet, because C.P.U. was only artificially intelligent, and during that period of history, artificial intelligence was still a little-known and poorly understood psychological condition.

Note the peculiar evolution of the tail on the mouse near the pedal board in the lower right corner of this picture. Musicologists now suspect the first Music Mouse to have been a heretic church mouse who became obsessed with trying to play the organ in the church where he lived, after listening to its resident organist, J.S. Bach, improvising.

It is possible, although highly improbable, that many early attempts at automation of the organ and other musical instruments (such as the actual C.P.U. Bach unit pictured above) were made by individuals sympathetic to the plight of these small but heroic animals, who suffered greatly in their passionate desire to play music on instruments obviously so far beyond their physical size as to render this not only impossible to do well but also dangerous to even attempt.

It is not until the late 20th century, however, that we do finally find at least one successful technological attempt to allow the satisfying playing of music by a mouse: Laurie Spiegel's computer program Music Mouse, named after this elusive subspecies of aesthetically sensitive rodent.

(Note: Spiegel has supposedly claimed that she was referring to the computer input device known as a "mouse" when she chose to name her computer program "Music Mouse" in 1985. But witnesses have attested to the fact that even while she was working on the very first versions of this software, she did in fact share her loft with several sonically active rodents of the organic furry kind.)

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By & © 1988 (image), 1998 (text) Laurie Spiegel