Retro Music Q's

Photon

  • Posts: 2697
Hey all. In my current project (Black: Pixel Ninja), I have been trying to make nes-style/retro music for it using PXTone. I am not by any means an expert music maker, but I am not bad either. I thought I would ask around on some things for you music people out there:

1.) How do you guys typically start the song-making process? What part of the song do you focus on first?

2.) For PXTone users, do you ever produce your own ptvoices? Any tips? Do you use just simple-waveforms? Instruments? A combination of the two? Do you blend different voices together to make a single instrument (i.e. two tracks playing the exact same notes)?

Personally, I am a fan of the old NES MegaMan games, and I really like the music too. As an example, the MagnetMan and SnakeMan themes from MegaMan 3 are two of my favorites. I kind of would like to get the same feeling seen in those games for my music. Not necessarily exact, of course, but you hopefully get the idea of what I mean.
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bonzero

  • Posts: 488
I think a lot of us love the chiptune style of music, in fact I downloaded 18GB of chip tune tracks that somebody shared the other day, unfortunately I don't think many people over here make their own music, I don't know how to either but i'm curious about that program that you use

Photon

  • Posts: 2697
Well, making music is certainly not something you just "pick-up" most of the time. Its quite the art. I fortunately have a starting advantage in that I took two years of piano, which means I can read music and the like. I have messed around over the years with things like Anvil Studio and PXTone. I know there are at least one or two people around here though that can make music.
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Hectate

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  • Posts: 4645
PXTone is very obtuse to me, but I haven't studied music programs extensively so don't look at me. That said, Musagi is another popular option (it has an "xnes" instrument that emulates the NES sound chip) that is nice.
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MetalRenard

  • Posts: 134
I've used Musagi, it's pretty good for what it does.
For actual soundtracks though, I use REAPER and a ton of varied virtual instruments such as Kontakt's library and all manner of synths. I record my guitar too.

Anyway, that aside, my process... Is as varied as can be. I don't have a set way of starting a track. If I have an idea, I record it or lay it down in midi with a synth or piano and see what happens from there. Usually good songs write themselves.

When I'm writing music for others, for their games, I study the material a lot to try and think about which sounds would suit it the most, then I build up a few melodies using the sounds I decided on and go from there.

For films/animations, the process is even more specific. Everything happens at a pre-planned, and SET moment, that means you can work around and towards goals.
A guy gets hurt at 20 seconds and 15 frames in? Work out the beats per minute to make it coincide with that and BAM, you have an interesting soundtrack that fits the visuals perfectly.
This is a video I wrote the soundtrack for:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG1YdSRgHWU
You can see what I mean about specific timing goals pretty well.

Work around your medium, the more specific your task the more precise you have to be.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 03:30:54 pm by MetalRenard »
Composer. Rocker. World Ambassador For Foxes.
http://metalrenardmusic.com/

Photon

  • Posts: 2697
I downloaded Musagi; good stuff. I might try making some of my own instruments to suit the game layout. Any suggestions?
Do NOT PM me your questions, because I likely will not respond. If I have replied to your question on the forum, keep using that topic. Thanks!

MetalRenard

  • Posts: 134
If you're looking for a plugin that can make good sounds, you may be interested in Massive by Native Instruments. It's a very powerful synth and if you don't add too many effects, you can get very retro sounds.

Composer. Rocker. World Ambassador For Foxes.
http://metalrenardmusic.com/

Photon

  • Posts: 2697
I was listening to some Mega Man 2 music... straight off the NES cartridge, might I add. :)

I get the feeling that less is more. 2 or 3 "instruments" max with SFX/Drums seems to be a desirable route.
Do NOT PM me your questions, because I likely will not respond. If I have replied to your question on the forum, keep using that topic. Thanks!

MetalRenard

  • Posts: 134
Yes, and high bpm.
Composer. Rocker. World Ambassador For Foxes.
http://metalrenardmusic.com/

Waltoid

  • Posts: 17
Sorry if this is considered necroposting, but may I suggest Peach, Toad and Triforce at Tweakbench.com. They're emulators of some of the NES synths, and they're pretty useful.

Ashton Morris

  • Posts: 3
Hi, I write a lot of this style of music.   https://soundcloud.com/ashtonmorris

I use Cubase with the synth Chipsounds, it recreates many old music chips from computers and consoles. Also the synth Massive, which you can really make any sound with.

The songs start many different ways, maybe you hum and idea then find the notes and record/program them. I usually start with some chords or arpeggios then add drums after a few bars then the melody, then something very different but still in the same key like a breakdown. Then back to the main melody and then subtract instruments until it sounds like the beginning so it can loop easy.

I guess its hard to explain, but that one thing I do.

I made a tutorial which has a link to a nintendo soft synth in the comments that free. Good luck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPusOylbgLY&list=UUAatLTGgKRvOxgqmSNwA4gQ&index=1