Author Topic: Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples  (Read 2028 times)

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Offline The Illusive Man

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Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples
« on: October 24, 2012, 05:03:53 pm »
For those who do not know, chiptunes are broadly defined as “music written in formats where the sounds are synthesized by a computer or video-game-console sound chip.” Of course, this does not exclude tunes created via software that emulates such hardware for the purpose of composition.

Chiptunes started in the ye olden days of personal computing (rough timeframe of late 1970s). Such were the days of the Apple II, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC. Before the internet as we know it existed, electronic communication was carried out via the Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) and sharing of floppy disks. By the 1990s the United States government got square about it. Chiptunes were cool background music for cracktros, flash graphical intros used by pirates to showoff, insult and advertise. Such art would later evolve into what is known as the Demoscene.

Chiptunes still exist today and are recognized as art in both legal and illegal software. A surprising number of universities have shown interest. Examples include Game Nation presented by the University of Pennsylvania, M.I.T.’s Chiptune Laptop Orchestra and personal collections synthesized by student groups.



Some of my favorites:

Cyborg Jeff - Normandian Girl
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZqJAHfVQlU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZqJAHfVQlU</a>

Quote
With new keyboard samples from my Roland E68
Yesterday this melody began to fly in my mind Since Friday Sophie's back to France n i must wait 2 weeks before i see her back.Every day i think of her Then i need to compose for her.



Instant Remedy - Giana Sister Remix
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8cx_Kvh1UI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8cx_Kvh1UI</a>
The chiptune is a remix of the theme from the old video game The Great Giana Sisters as composed by Chris Hülsbeck.
Despite knowing about indoctrination I thought it was a good idea to put a human Reaper near my office. Now I am a sentient husk :(.

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Offline Rime

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Re: Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 06:10:43 pm »
I have an archive going of forgotten MIDI and SID captures because the compositions are good, but for one reason or another something is missing when they're translated to other formats.  There's something to be said about how good these sound despite the limited medium.  So, without further ado, some shameless channel whoring:


A forgotten precursor to Mortal Kombat.  So precursor, it doesn't even have jumping!
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ih9wfJ54Ww" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ih9wfJ54Ww</a>

I can't stand to listen to anything by Frank Klepacki after the first C&C.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKIzv6wW9Is" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKIzv6wW9Is</a>

And for All Hallow's Eve, a little trip to Ravenloft.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRmRevThXHk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRmRevThXHk</a>


And when we're done soul searching,
And we carry the weight and die for a cause.
Is misery made beautiful
Right before our eyes.

Mercy be revealed, or blind us where we stand?

Offline TheL

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Re: Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 09:23:48 pm »
Well, if we're going to bring in vintage game music to the mix, then I have to add these to the list:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksT_X9XD0bM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksT_X9XD0bM</a>
From KQVI, 1992.  Chris Brayman was a really good game music composer.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZH1o8N9PXU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZH1o8N9PXU</a>
From Sonic 3, 1994.  Launch Base Zone, A.K.A. the Chiptune version of Every Early 90's Hip-Hop Song Ever.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlP8OvCwozg" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlP8OvCwozg</a>
From Columns, 1990.  The BGM options for Columns were named after the Fates from Greek mythology.  This is "Clotho."

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U8TRpokjts" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U8TRpokjts</a>
From Pokemon 1st gen, 1995.  While the higher-quality remixes for GBA and DS are prettier, I still have a soft spot for the original.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmCCQxVBfyM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmCCQxVBfyM</a>
Fun fact: this is actually an 8-bit adaptation of an old Russian dance called "Korabushka."  The song (and thus, the dance itself) starts off very slowly, then gradually gets faster and faster.  Yup, sounds like Tetris.

....I think I've succeeded at dating myself pretty well there.
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You there. The creepy person who decided I was supporting their position. Stop it.

"Half the reason that I like foreign music is because I can kid myself that "Shake dat ass" is more poetic in Hindi."
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Offline Alehksunos

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Re: Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 03:39:41 am »
Chiptunes? Allow me to post some of my favorites:

First post, I'll leave you with Timothy Wright (also known today as "CoLD SToRAGE"). Much of the music he composed for games of the Commodore Amiga are very haunting.

(click to show/hide)

Later, I'll share music from other favorites, such as Timothy Follin, Nobuo Uematsu (shut up, he has talent) and other composers.

Offline Rime

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Re: Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 11:38:37 am »
Illusive: Sorry to have attempted to ninja your post, but I liked what you featured.  There's a lot to be said about composers who can excel in such limited mediums.  It's the reason I have decided to turn my channel into an archive of stuff that's not publicly viewable yet.  There's no shortage of videos that feature the music of Hubbard, Daglish and Galway, but guys like Whittaker, Arnold and McMenamy, these guys did some fantastic work but everyone aside from hardcore retrogamers and nostalgia chronics remember them.

The_L:  There's absolutely nothing wrong with liking any kind of music as long as you're not telling anyone else to like it.  I had no idea that Brayman was that good, and now I know. I knew about the Korobushka by another name, the Korobeiniki, which I found out by that video you posted in chat about the history of the Soviet Union a while ago.  :)

Alehksu Kihdo:  Beautiful stuff.  Sound was always Commodore's strong point.  It's a shame the Amiga went the same way as those other computers I used to argue about back in the days when user groups used to meet every week and most bulletin boards I knew about had a single telephone line.
And when we're done soul searching,
And we carry the weight and die for a cause.
Is misery made beautiful
Right before our eyes.

Mercy be revealed, or blind us where we stand?

Offline The Illusive Man

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Re: Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 04:18:31 pm »
Illusive: Sorry to have attempted to ninja your post, but I liked what you featured.  There's a lot to be said about composers who can excel in such limited mediums.  It's the reason I have decided to turn my channel into an archive of stuff that's not publicly viewable yet.  There's no shortage of videos that feature the music of Hubbard, Daglish and Galway, but guys like Whittaker, Arnold and McMenamy, these guys did some fantastic work but everyone aside from hardcore retrogamers and nostalgia chronics remember them.

No worries, you posted content rarely seen and that is good in my book.
Despite knowing about indoctrination I thought it was a good idea to put a human Reaper near my office. Now I am a sentient husk :(.

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Offline Alehksunos

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Re: Chiptunes: art, brief history, examples
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 11:30:50 am »
Not going to let this thread die (even though it's been only two days without a reply) without mention of my all-time favorite composer for music in video games: Timothy Follin.

(click to show/hide)