Help in compositing a chiptune

category: general [glöplog]

I started trying to make a bit of sound using Milky Tracker, and after a few days of training with the sample and instrument editor I started to produce a little thing, let's call it my first song work in progress.

My tools are essentially the Techniques of Chipping document and the Milky Tracker documentation.

I think I need help because in the little song I created, I use only a buzzer, kick and snare (with poor quality, sounds like) but it sound like it miss something, like another instrument. I don't know how to describe my feeling, I hope it sound well, but it is still a bit too simple and I wonder how to "fill" what is missing.

Any hint given would be super cool. Like maybe the volume is not well balanced. I tried to fine tune and add some padding to my instruments. I plane to make the melody on left/right as if it was a conversation between pixels. yeah.

Thanks for reading!
added on the 2019-05-13 20:02:48 by Romain337 Romain337
It's certainly a start but you've still ways to go. Adding a bass instrument might be the next logical step.
added on the 2019-05-13 20:11:18 by Gargaj Gargaj
added on the 2019-05-13 20:20:13 by Gargaj Gargaj
gargaj is right, add a bass track, maybe not this loud though

also you're one song in and you've already made a co-op with a cns member, it took others decades. congrats.
added on the 2019-05-13 20:44:59 by nagz nagz
I think I get the idea. I need a bass with a rythm behind/with it. Let's experiment! thanks
added on the 2019-05-13 20:45:14 by Romain337 Romain337
or my best tip: listen to a metric f*ckton of chiptunes, then you'll be able to sharpshoot what's missing from yours. don't mimic but draw inspiration.
added on the 2019-05-13 20:56:06 by nagz nagz
@nagz I'm listening a shitload of sound from the droidsound app on android, while in the metro and all my moves. and a lot of dubmood, goto80, Dan etc. it help for sure but I'm a noob and I know nothing :p
added on the 2019-05-13 21:10:51 by Romain337 Romain337
I end up with this for today
Not really the same song :) But It's cool because I discovered the bazz :p
Thanks you very much. Still lurking for hints!
added on the 2019-05-14 00:07:44 by Romain337 Romain337
not bad. make sure you don't play many concurrent melodies in the low registers (applies to every kind of music). Playing A-5 and C-6 will be easily distinguishable but playing A-2 and C-3 (ie. both at a much lower, bassy octave) will be unclear and eventually ugly.

another worthy tip: don't approach making chiptunes as "i am making a chiptune".
approach making chiptunes as "i am making a regular tune, just using chip-size samples to save space & to have their unique timbre". use the instruments the way you would use 'normal' samples so you will transcend from stereotypical keygen music to something that raises eyebrows.

if some shameless selfpromo is allowed, i remastered my best chiptunes and they are available on pretty much every platform you may need. You can even grab the original XM/MOD files scattered around the internets.
one of the best feedback i have ever gotten was from a guy whom i don't remember, but he said he doesn't necessarily Like my tunes, even hates some of them but goddamn, it inspires the heck out of him. i hope it will go down similarly at you.
added on the 2019-05-14 09:41:17 by nagz nagz
or also, if you aim at the more traditional/purist side of making chiptunes, take this one for example - amstrad cpc (iirc) samples, all 4chn XMs under 100kbyte. interface code by gargaj btw :)

also check the released musicdisks of Rebels for true giants. or just go by this list.

added on the 2019-05-14 10:10:18 by nagz nagz
shameless self promo
4chn xm, under 100Kb, not cpc sample but nes one i made.
still i'm not good at doing this, but opening and inspecting late 90's modules really helped me a lot.
added on the 2019-05-14 12:22:58 by Minus0 Minus0
added on the 2019-05-14 12:37:24 by nagz nagz
still i'm not good at doing this, but opening and inspecting late 90's modules really helped me a lot.

can definitely hear it. it's a bit disorganized, especially on the drums/percussions department and it's a bit of a pattern-after-pattern thing with no solid connection between them, but some of the chord progressions made me go Hmmm... and that's definitely the best thing ;) i see great things coming!
added on the 2019-05-14 12:43:13 by nagz nagz
Wow great I'll take a look at this after work :) Thanks you !!!
added on the 2019-05-14 13:28:21 by Romain337 Romain337
You might want to stick with sample sizes that are identical or have the sample sizes grow with powers of 2 (I don't remember the details on how to resize sample sizes to keep them harmonic). Otherwise you need to adjust the instruments to match each other's pitch in the instrument editor using "Relative note:" buttons and "F. Tune (fine tune)" slider. I am not sure if pitch is the correct musical term, but make sure your instruments sound harmonic when you play them side by side with the same note (the note's letter is important and the number should not matter here). This will make it easier to compose music that does not sound unharmonic by accident since you can visually confirm the compatibility of the notes.
added on the 2019-05-14 20:01:44 by wabe wabe
Also, make your drums more interesting - chiptunes are rarely kick-hihat-kick-hihat. Add some groove :)
added on the 2019-05-14 23:04:40 by Gargaj Gargaj
Okay I tried that Gargaj but I think my sample is too simple so I will rework it, also the bass in the part 4 is a bit to sharp when it come to F#4 I will adress that too :)

I've updated the file

What do you think of it ? I think to integrate it into my next switch prod if it sound good. But I have a lot of work yet but it's cool to do.
added on the 2019-05-14 23:43:38 by Romain337 Romain337
What is the lead melody and the main drum pattern in your tune? Can you hum the main elements and make an XM realization of them using the humming as guide? Currently it’s a bit all over the place and it’s unclear what the key ideas are.

Re: groove. IMO, groove isn’t made with lots of notes, and drums alone can’t make a sucky chaotic song groove. Groove is made with dynamics, all instruments and sounds are important and have to support the same rhythmic idea.
added on the 2019-05-15 07:39:19 by yzi yzi
damn i could maybe hum only 4% of my chiptunes :D
added on the 2019-05-15 09:16:15 by nagz nagz
Can you hum the main elements and make an XM realization of them using the humming as guide?

This "system" i usually try to use.
added on the 2019-05-15 09:37:46 by Serpent Serpent
i swear the tune sounds AI generated :)
added on the 2019-05-15 10:18:18 by nagz nagz
I tried to reduce the clutter and make something less but more pronounced stuff.

Your original bassline sounded like it didn't know if it was a bass, rhythm, lead or what. :)
added on the 2019-05-15 16:31:05 by yzi yzi
less is more, but sometimes clickable links are kind of nice
added on the 2019-05-15 16:33:35 by yzi yzi
And make your pitched sample loops the same length, or half/double size compared to each other, so you can tune them accurately and you don't have to transpose between instruments. For example if your lead sample has sample length 40h, the bass could be 80h.
added on the 2019-05-15 16:38:17 by yzi yzi
hi yzi :) I like what you did. Now, time to look into that xm ԅ(≖‿≖ԅ)
added on the 2019-05-15 20:05:52 by Romain337 Romain337