It all started in 1969, when I was working at Electronic Music Studios (EMS) in Putney, S.W. London, UK. I was asked to design a programming language with two constraints. The first constraint was that the language should be intelligible to the musicians who would use it for composing electronic music. The second constraint was that it had to run on a DEC PDP8/L with 4K 12-bit words of memory. (The computer I am using to compose this web page has 666,667 times as much memory.)

I mentioned this problem to my good friend, Brian Shearing, (with whom I am now, 38 years later, working on another programming language) and he helpfully pointed me to an article by Christopher Strachey entitled "A General Purpose Macrogenerator". I borrowed ideas from this article — those that I could understand, anyway — and came up with MUSYS, which we used for some years at EMS. A technical description of MUSYS appeared as

MUSYS: Software for an Electronic Music Studio. Software - Practice and Experience, vol. 3, pages 369-383, 1973.

A few years later, in 1978 to be precise, I cleaned up the language, renamed it Mouse, and published an article about it in BYTE Magazine (July 1979, pages 198-220). The name "Mouse" was intended to convey something small and active. If I had known then that the eponymous pointing device would soon become ubiquitous, I would probably have chosen another name.

Another few years went by, and Petrocelli published a book about Mouse. Unfortunately, Petrocelli folded shortly after publishing the Mouse book (I don't know whether this was cause and effect or mere coincidence) and the book is now hard to obtain.

MOUSE: A Language for Microcomputers, Petrocelli Books, 1983

Yet more years passed and I discovered, to my surprise, that Mouse had a small but enthusiast fan club (see links at left). I would like to give a big THANK YOU! to Lee Bradley, Sean Fuller, Tom Hunt, David G. Simpson, and any other programmers and supporters of Mouse who may be out there.