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Tips to compose chiptune music

on Jul 21, 2020 in Making Music at Home

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In simple terms, 8-bit music is named after the 8-bit sound processors used by early gamers. Instead of being created by traditional musicians, they were synthesized using the computer chips themselves and were captured and brought as loops into the game.

As such, 8-bit music is distinguished by its constraints and ingenuity. Each chip was only able to generate a certain number of sounds, so that composers had to invent certain tricks to make their stories even work. Find out the tips to compose chiptune music.

The number of simultaneous sounds which could be played at once depended on each chip as well – the Commodore 64, for example, could only handle three notes at once. Bear in mind that this must have sound effects as well as a soundtrack-any time Mario hits a piece of coin or picks up a mushroom back in 8-bit days, that is a sound effect, at the cost of some audio feature. It is the pace at which these sounds alternate that our brains fill polyphonic gaps.

A beautiful pop hit normally reaches 120 beats per minute. The rapid existence of several 8-bit action-oriented games. Note it was mainly an age of games, in which emotionally deep and difficult stories, which would benefit from a more reflective soundtrack, meant their soundtracks dropped nicely, if not more rapidly.

And compared to modern development teams, only a handful of developers created early 8-bit games, which meant many 8-bit tunes were, shockingly, composed by programmers.

It’s marvelous that 8-bit tunes haven’t been some sort of atonal mess with the sonic odds stacked that way.

However, the true indicator of any cultural influencer or movement is its capacity to exceed its initial limits. The Chiptune craze was influenced by 8-bit music – a sub-genre that dramatically tips its hat into the 8-bit era.

Combined with the first rule on repeating, the hardware restrictions meant that eight-bit composers had only basic melodies to communicate their individual games’ magic better. A cocky melody was the key to our memories and no number of choral choruses, sweeping strings or amplified guitar riffs would cover up a fundamental lack of tune.

Future Inspiration

The indie boom of the last years has seen retro-thematic games, many with 8-bit twinges, particularly as smaller teams adopt the retro-thematic approach of the period.