It is not easy to compose music. You still want to be challenged and learn How To Make 8 Bit Music. It is 8-bit music, but it is still a difficult genre to create for beginners.
Cazzette recommends you compose 8-bit music if you feel confident in your musical senses. Let’s first review the basics and what information is needed to begin the creative process. You can master 8-bit music if you follow the article through to the end. Good luck.
What is 8-bit Music?
8-bit music can also be called chiptunes (or chip music). It uses the same technology as songs from old video games. These include Nintendo and Game boy.
This electronic music can be made with either a PSG (programmable sound generator) or synthesizers found in old games and coin-operated machines.
Contrary to other music genres, 8-bit music does not have a specific sound. The main focus is on the uniqueness of the technology that produces its sound.
The technology that was used to create these games was not yet available. A tiny computer chip that could only process 8 bits per second was all that was available.
This limitation meant that sound engineers had to find a way to create music. Music was created using four channels. Two channels were used to produce treble vocals, while the third channel was for bass. The last channel was for gritty noises.
Why Do People Want To Make 8-bit Music?
Because of its originality, some people love 8-bit music. A well-constructed 8-bit song is enjoyable to listen to, provided that the tracks are optimized. Many 8-bit music lovers find this unique electronic music appealing.
Although 8-bit music may be considered outdated in certain circles, it is unique and one-of-a-kind for many musicians who make it. It is also very easy to create, even if you don’t know music theory. You only need to be creative and know how to use your DAW.
Los Angeles has a community that is exclusively for 8-bit musicians. They are known as Obsolete. Because of the outdated technology used to create the music, the name Obsolete was chosen.
Every month, the community hosts a showcase. This is something you should see if you are in LA because it is easier to make progress when like-minded people surround you.
How to Make Great 8-Bit Music (Chiptune) Using Your DAW
Step 1: Know how 8-Bit Music originally was made
To make this music style authentic, it is important first to understand its roots. It has some very interesting facts!
The Sound Chip
In the 1980s, video game music was not recorded. Instead, it was inserted into video games using the standard record and import technique we use today.
Do you remember the old Atari and Commodore games consoles? These consoles had 8-Bit sound processors that produced simple sounds.
As you know, this music was not composed with real instruments. It was made using chips from the 8-Bit sound processors.
However, the computer chip did not have the same realistic sound as a real instrument.
There were not infinite voices available on sound chips. The sound chips were limited in their ability to produce one sound.
As you may have guessed, 8-Bit music was named Chiptune after these sound processors.
You must understand the limitations of 8-Bit music if you want it to sound authentic.
You could have a few sounds playing at once, for example.
Usually, only three notes are being played simultaneously.
But, if you added a sound effect (such as Mario jumping), it would affect the number and quality of the notes being played. The music now only had two notes!
Step 2: Find and Install Some Great 8-Bit VSTs
It was a long time ago that the 80s were. You don’t have to do it the old-fashioned way, with sound chips and all that.
- You can now create Chiptune or 8-Bit music by either:
- You can use an online chiptune maker right from your browser (such as BeepBox).
- Use a Music Tracker to track your music on your computer (I’ll get there)
- This article is about VSTs and Your PC
- Downloading the Chiptune-maker App
Below is an infographic I created. This infographic shows how Chiptune music has evolved over the years.
(Can you guess my favorite videogame by looking at the 1990s version?)
We have a wide range of VST plugins available today. You can also load them into Cubase, Logic Pro, or any other Digital Audio Workstation you prefer.
If you’re new to music production
A VST plugin is one that you can use with your DAW. VST Effect plugins include delay, reverb, and other effects. VST Instrument is the name of the cello sample that you can load in GarageBand or Logic Pro. This article will provide more information.
VSTs are not the best way to create 8-Bit music. It is an efficient and simpler way to emulate sound.
This post is mainly about creating 8-bit tracks using Cubase, Ableton, and Logic.
It is worth noting that a tracker can be used if you want to test your music production skills. Many of these trackers can be used as DAWs.
You might ask what a tracker is?
A tracker, just like your DAW, is a music sequencer. Although it can record music, the process is very different from what you would use in Logic or Cubase.
Some trackers may be fully featured DAWs, but they aren’t the same.
You can use a tracker to work with numbers and patterns. The grid’s music is not moving from one side to the other but from top to bottom.
The interface of a music tracker is less user-friendly than most DAWs. If you’re a beginner and want to learn basic 8-Bit music theory, I recommend starting with a regular DAW.
This isn’t like creating music in DAWs that most people use. This is the place to go if you want to feel like a programmer.
The tracker was first introduced in the 1980s (Amiga Commodore), and it is this music sequencer created the iconic music for Game Boy, Nintendo, and other platforms in the 1990s.
Step 3: Identify the Typical Traits of 8-Bit Music
You now have the knowledge and tools to create a great track in your DAW.
What’s the best track?
These are some of the characteristics of a retro 8-Bit track that you can incorporate into your music.
8-bit music is often very fast. It operates in the 120 BPM range. This is not surprising considering the arcade-game era from which 8-Bit music was created.
Consider your 8-Bit favorite soundtracks.
I think they are quite upbeat. Most 8-Bit hits are written in Major Key. This is considered the happy-sounding key.
Most 8-Bit music was back in C Major.
They often take inspiration from classical music.
You will soon find that video game songs composed by legendary Japanese composers are rooted in classical music as well as ragtime.
It’s easy to sing along with
The restrictions on sound chips forced composers to think of creative ways around them.
It was easy to create simple melodies that were almost impossible not to sing along to. It’s impossible to forget.
You don’t have to be a singer to enjoy the 8-Bit track.
Step 4: Keep it Simple
Please keep it simple to create an 8-bit track that sounds authentic.
2016 was the year I attempted to create an 8-bit track. It was intended to be an 8-Bit version authentically made by Andyax Soundtrack. The scene was featured in The Camera Hack.
Aha, I’ll load some synths that sound like an 8-bit sound and then compose music as I normally do. You can have several instruments that play different parts of the melody simultaneously.
I should have done my research before I made this decision. This is why:
- I miscalculated the number of notes that could be played simultaneously. I should have known that 8-bit tracks were limited. But I didn’t.
- It was also too complicated due to the many notes that each played different melodies simultaneously. As I said, the real thing was not perfect. This was evident when listening to the music.
- I should have downloaded an 8-Bit VST. The sounds I used weren’t ‘chippy enough’.
- What did you get? The result?
It is much easier to create authentic and delicious-sounding things if you keep it simple.
Back in those days, sound chips were limited to composers. It is the simplicity of Chiptunes that has defined their sound over the years.
You say, Well, that’s too terrible, but Super Mario Bros has way more complexity!
Even though 8-Bit classics like Super Mario Bros can be very complex (you’ve probably heard an orchestra arrangement), you should pay attention to how many notes are being played simultaneously.
There are not many notes being played simultaneously.
Super Mario Bros is very simple to sing along with.
This is because programmers and composers had to think in this way. To be creative, regardless of the limitations of sound.
(I made many other mistakes as a composer. This post will tell you about the worst. It’s worth reading.
Step 5: Study Other 8-Bit Composers
We can load a huge library of 8-Bit samples quickly and export it in a matter of minutes, and our track will sound just like the classic video game music…
Does that automatically mean the music will be as great as the Super Mario Bros theme song? Oder Ocarina of Time, Zelda’s music?
These songs are, at the end of it all, very well-written.
If you look for inspiration to create 8-Bit songs, legendary NES composers such as Konji Kondo can be a great source.
Hiroshige Tonomura and Yoshihiro Sakaguchi are also recommended composers. Junichi Masuda is my favorite (for his work in the Pokemon Red and Blue games as a child).
Listening to either an orchestra version or a piano cover from these songs on YouTube will show you how intricately complex the melodies can be.
Tips for Composing in 8-bit
1. Get creative with implying harmony
It is impossible to speak four notes simultaneously due to the limitations of many vintage sound chips.
The NES has only three melodic voices if you aren’t using the DPCM channel for melody.
However, there are at least two ways to get around it:
The fifth chord should be dropped. The fifth chord of chord is the least valuable tone. It is only there to support the root note, and it doesn’t identify the chord.
This is a well-known technique that Koji Kondo used in his Super Mario Bros. soundtrack.
Arpeggios are a great way to use arpeggios. You don’t have to be able to speak in four different tones simultaneously. But that doesn’t mean you can not create rich and interesting harmonies using arpeggios.
2. Get creative with effects
Effects are one of the best ways for old composers to offset the limitations inherent in vintage hardware.
Deflemask is a great way to modify and manipulate sound. These include, but not limited to:
- White noise washing
- Portamento glides and slides
- Glitchy arpeggios
- Bass drum imitation by pitch-shifting the triangle channel very fast (listen to my example track).
3. Think in counterpoint
Folk musicians, like me, are used to singing and playing chords on the guitar. Maybe you are a pianist who is used to playing chords and melody with your left hand.
It is helpful to think in terms of individual voices when composing 8-bit music.
Contrapuntal music, such as that found in Bach’s works or church hymns, is an excellent example of the mindset required to create a great 8-bit composition.
Each voice supports the other but is distinct from the others. The bass, soprano, and alto voices move in supportive, interweaving patterns that create an interesting, sometimes regal sound.
I recommend that you check out the free Bach scores at IMSLP.org or get a copy of an old church hymnal.
You can practice counterpoint by putting these pieces into Deflemask or any other tracker you prefer.
4. Don’t compose in the tracker at first
It is easy to get overwhelmed by writing in a tracker your first time around.
My suggestion would be to create a simple melody in your DAW (or use existing melodies, as I mentioned above) and then put it into the tracker.
After you feel comfortable with that, you can start to have fun going blind into the tracker and seeing what you come up with.
You’ll be able to create things that you didn’t realize were possible with a DAW nine times out of 10.
How do I make 8-bit music on my phone?
Nine free 8-bit music maker apps for Android and iOS TonePad. nanoloop. Picnic. Medly. Music Maker JAM. 8-bit Music Maker. Auxy. GarageBand.
Who invented 8-bit music?
Karsten Obarski invents 1987 the MOD format to run his Ultimate Tracker on Amiga computers. Many songs have been created since then, especially for the demoscene. The MOD samples are saved in 8bits. There are only four voices.
Click here: https://www.retrogames-online.com/musik/
What instruments are used in 8-bit music?
Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, and Nintendo Entertainment System are just a few of the used systems. These sounds can be combined with traditional instruments such as guitars and drums, modern synthesizers, drum machines, vocals, and sound effects.
How do you create a melody?
9 Tips to Writing Memorable Melodies: Here are nine tips. Use a scale. Plan your writing. Make your melodies the center of your writing. Stepwise lines should be written with just a few jumps. Repetition phrases but make slight changes. Try counterpoint. Set down your instrument.
After you are done with your work, anyone can view it and share it. It would help if you had someone else critique your work as an artist. It would be a good idea to pamper yourself, learn from your experiences, and keep improving each day as you complete the work.
You can be proud to have been praised for your achievements. While it may not be the greatest thing in the world for you, you can be certain that you will improve over time.
Maybe You Need To Know: