You are here

Writing challenge #3: Chiptune edition!

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Moderator: Moderators

Re: Writing challenge #3: Chiptune edition!

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:35 pm

Ben Asaro wrote:Thanks, Martin; that's actually quite helpful!

:thumbup:
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 17485
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Writing challenge #3: Chiptune edition!

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:04 am

To supplement what Martin wrote, I'd say chiptune-style material needs a fairly powerful sequencer in order to drive the basic tones in different ways.

The Polyend Tracker, for example, is essentially a chiptune machine at heart and in order to do that it offers many of the same sequencer features found on the original 8 and 16-bit trackers (and I suspect on many a music programmer's custom driver as well) including such things as different tones per step per channel and the ability to apply real-time 'FX' to each step to rapidly modulate or otherwise effect it in different ways.

The Squarp Hermod would be a good bet in a purely modular setup as it shares a lot of the relevant feature set.

Chiptune music is a lot less about timbre and a lot more about technique. Even though there are highly recognisable timbres from the original audio hardware in the C64, Amiga and ST families, if you were to apply the same complex sequencing techniques to virtually any basic tone (and probably quite a lot of not so basic ones) you'd get something instantly classifiable as a chiptune.

Another common technique is to rapidly arpeggiate a single channel over the notes in a chord in order to give the illusion of polyphony on a monophonic channel.

If you want to try a 'quick and dirty' experiment to simulate this, try playing the Bach piece using the same tone you did before but for the higher part use a square LFO to modulate the pitch up (and subsequently back down of course) by an octave at 32nd or 64th note intervals... or even asynchronously but in that ballpark. That should sound fairly chippy I reckon :-)
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 5860
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works | The SOS Forum Album projects
 

Re: Writing challenge #3: Chiptune edition!

Postby Ben Asaro » Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:26 am

Thanks, Eddy; appreciate those insights, they are quite helpful!

The NerdSeq is a full blown tracker sequencer, including classic tracker effects and a host of other features, too.

The ornaments in the Bach piece are actually table effects inserted on those steps in the NerdSeq.

Also, the AY3s are capable of playing arps instead of notes.

I will take all of this info to heart, and see what I can come up with! Thanks again!
Ben Asaro
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1307
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:00 am
Location: NYC

Re: Writing challenge #3: Chiptune edition!

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:27 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:Chiptune music is a lot less about timbre and a lot more about technique. Even though there are highly recognisable timbres from the original audio hardware in the C64, Amiga and ST families, if you were to apply the same complex sequencing techniques to virtually any basic tone (and probably quite a lot of not so basic ones) you'd get something instantly classifiable as a chiptune.

A hearty +1 to this advice from Eddy.

To hopefully shed some more light on this topic, here's an multi-track oscilloscope video for possibly my most famous 8-bit SID theme (from the shoot'em up Armalyte):

Armalyte.jpg


To listen, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raLQepqKulU


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 17485
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Previous