Yamaha Music Cartridge (1995 – late 1990s)

Yamaha introduced Music Cartridges in 1995 for use in some of its PSR range of entry-level and mid-range keyboards. These are not to be confused with an earlier Music Cartridge format from Yamaha that was used on its TYU-30 model in 1986.

The Yamaha Music Cartridge for PSR models were ROM cartridges containing either fully-arranged songs, or additional styles to add to the keyboard’s library, and were inserted into a slot on top of the keyboard. Six models of keyboard were able to accept Music Cartridges – PSR-320, PSR-420, PSR-520 and PSR-620, launched in 1995, and the PSR-330 and PSR-530, launched in 1997.

Later models of Yamaha keyboard used 3.5-inch floppy disks.

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Roland Music Style Card (1989 – 1991)

The Roland Music Style Card was a ROM card containing programmed music rhythms to extend those available in the E-series ‘intelligent synthesisers’ made by Roland.

The first of the ‘intelligent synthesisers’ was the E-20, released by Roland in 1988 as the first product of Roland’s new European arm, and was aimed at the high-end home market. A number of variations of the first-generation E-series were released, such as the cut-down E-5, and the enhanced E-30 and Pro-E (an ‘intelligent arranger’).

For the first generation of the E-series, the cards were prefixed with TN-SC1 and there were 14 Music Style Cards in the first series released between 1989 and 1991.

There was a subsequent series of Music Style Cards with a slightly different shape and prefixed TN-SC2 for later E-series synthesisers such as the E-35, E-56 and E-70.

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Casio ROM Pack (1983 – early 1990s)

Casio ROM pack (front)The Casio ROM Pack was a ROM cartridge that allowed certain Casio keyboards to play pre-programmed music. The first Casio keyboard to accept ROM Packs was released in 1983, and Casio made a number of keyboard models throughout the 1980s and early 1990s that accepted them.

The Casio keyboards that accepted ROM Packs came bundled with ‘World Songs’ (RO-551) which contained four songs, but a large number of additional packs (estimated to be at least 46), covering a wide range of musical genres, were available to purchase separately.

As well as just listening to the music, ROM Pack keyboards had various training modes to teach you to play the tunes, most using flashing LEDs above each key to guide the user.

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