making chiptune music

how to start making chiptune music? /subjective guideline/

This post aims to give you subjective guidance to chiptune music creation. It’s not practical nor detailed tutorial. Just a handful of ideas.

Chip of choice

Spot and choose some retro platform. Do research. Listen to the best examples of music for that platform. Maybe you feel connected to something? Anyway, aim at learning its ins and outs.

The real thing

Technology is important part of the process of creating chiptune music. So buy real piece of hardware. Or maybe your uncle has one in the attic? And believe it or not, it’s much easier to compose chiptunes with retro gear than to compose with contemporary ‘chiptunesque’ software. I don’t want you to get stuck with retro gear. But it’s important to use some to get the point of what it’s all about.

Know your stuff

Read chip datasheets. Read them on and on. Try to understand them in depth. So you can see the constraints and think about the ways to overcome them.

Techniques

Learn chiptune techniques: study available sources, notice the way musicians use the trackers, analyse songs and instrument edits. Start with ready-made instruments but try do modify them slightly from the very beginning. See how it works and listen to the results.

Chiptune masters

Listen to the old chiptune masters – they were real innovators. They were experimentators. There were exploring the unknown and defined the genre. Finally, nothing can be substitute for exposure to chiptune music.

Scene

Try to understand demoscene and chiptune scene. What’s it all about, how it works, what are its values? So you can avoid being a lamer from the very beginning.

Chiptune community

Become a part of chiptune community. Discuss, but don’t waste your time on useless discussion about what is real chiptune music and what is not. And behave in the way you’d expect others to behave.

Learn about the sound

Learn about the nature of sound and ‘serious’ synthesis. And try to apply the knowledge to chiptune. So learn how to make a bass drum or bass sound or snare durm with a modern synth. And try to do it with your chiptune gear.

Be different

And to conclude, it’s not simple but try to differentiate yourself. Find your own way.

If you need instruments, just start browsing the stuff here: https://micro-routine.com