What makes Chiptune & 8 Bit music?

Last Revised: Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Hihi..music lovers! Today I will be talking about

Chiptune!.. any idea what is chiptune or 8 bit music?

Potato Chiptune Music
Potato Chiptune Music

Ah.. It has got nothing to do with these potatoes chip ;P
But if you are thinking about the electronic component (micro-chip) you are right!

Chiptune is one of the earliest form of video game music. It's first d├ębut was in the late 70's when the arcade video games thrive. I still remember the loud gritty sound coming out of my pc's speaker when I played those games back in the early 90's. Gosh my ear hurts o.o Yup they still exist in the early 90's. Below is one of my favourite childhood games with chiptune music..

Bubble Bobble theme by Tadashi Kimijima & Zuntata

..and guess what! WHAT? for your bonus information SNSD Ramen song has the same melody.

Anyway Chiptune is also known as 8-bit music.. or I should say Chiptune is a music genre which consists of 8-bit, 12-bit  and anything that sounds "chippy".. Which they are often made out of simple sound waves (sine, sawtooth, triangle & square) with limited channels of sound. Now some of you might not understand what do I mean by channels, to put it simply one channel = one instrument.

So if you have lesser channels to work with, the variant of creativity will be lesser. With these restrictions Game audio composer of the past have to develop simple yet catchy tunes.

How the different Soundwaves are formed: sine cosine mentaiko

Basically anything to do with waves works the same.. If you learned physics you might know what is Fourier Series!!!! -_-" difficult subject.. the fundamental concepts are relatively easy to understand. Below is a video showing how you can achieve a square wave by adding the different sine wave harmonics together. Note: there are complex waves that have additions of both sine and cosine..

Now Are you able to understand the concept of how to get a sawtooth, square or triangle waves? Just by adding the different harmonics of sine wave.

With all that being said, there is one part I have yet to touch on.
One particular channel in chiptune music that is very special
Since it does not have a regular wave pattern they are considered as noise! Noise in music You're kidding me? No I am not.. Perhaps this is part of the reason why my ear hurts Haha.(dont know what im taking about? go back to the top and read again)

Listen to chiptune carefully and you'll notice that noises are mainly used for "drums" and effects. This is done so to give more interesting colours to the music.. since what the technology can do in the past is limited, dont you agree with me?

With the invention of sound card in the late 80's the quality of sound gets better, 8 bit music had since gradually dies off.

Good thing is some of us still likes chiptune music. Nostalgia!!!!

Do you enjoy chiptune music? If you do you might want to check out the band Anamaguchi!

Durian Opened by Simon Ooh

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