MilkyTracker [docs] is a chiptune music app for Linux, Mac and Windows. Playing and editing xm, s3m or mod files e.g. from modarchive is a good way to explore tracking [bassoon].
apt-get install milkytracker, start the app and
be greeted by a somewhat overwhelming screen.
Apart from the command section top left, we have instruments/
Ok, so how do we make sound? We load a wav sample (e.g.
say "wow" into a recorder app) by going top-right to Samples→
Ctrl+Alt+S) aka sample
editor, which opens at the bottom.
RMB into the empty space, and choose New with 64
samples to create our "sound canvas" with time (x-axis) and
volume (y-axis). More samples will stretch the wave and
thus make the sound lower. Then
RMB again to
To actually play a tone, press one of
Y or the keys
right from it, until
M: This our cdefgab, and the half
tones are on
GHJ in the row above,
mirroring what a piano
does. Note: German keyboard.
Also try Bi-dir instead of Forward, to go back
and forth instead of repeat, and notice how the sound becomes
"dirtier". And for a third instrument, instead of
To further refine the sound, you could press the Ins. Ed.
Ctrl+Alt+I) button for the instrument editor. Activate
checkbox On, then button Add for more control
points to the left, then move them by mouse for fine-grained
volume shaping. And
Ctrl+Alt+X to get back to the main
Now that we can make a tone, next up is composing. At the top,
hit Shrink two times to get a manageable first recording
time. Pressing Rec (
Space) makes the gray cursor
bar turn red, and from now on every tone should go into the first
1 records as "stop tone", and cursor keys
navigate elsewhere for larger pauses.
selects tones for delete (
Del), copy (
and paste (
extend the selection.
Space again to get out of editing, Play Sng
Enter) to start replay, and Stop (
to stop; alternatively
Shift+Space for tone-by-tone
debugging. The middle bar shows waveforms, and you can
on any of them to (un)mute, useful for listening to track
decomposition. While editing, you can also
through the tracks and
Shift+M (un)mute them.
Now to the notes: Something like "C-5 2" means C on octave 5 (on
0..7, reachable by
F8), with instrument 2
here "sine64" in the instrument panel top-middle.
Each detail can be edited: Note down (
or up (
Shift+F2) by a half tone, as well as instrument
Ctrl+Shift+ß, right of
0) or up (
two right of
Combined with copy&paste, you can duplicate the first track, then change the instrument or octave (12x note up or down), or transpose to the fifth like in a power chord (7x note up/down). Tricks like these can make the sound appear "fuller" in our ears.
You might have noticed the columns are not quite full: We are missing volume and effects [png] yet. Volume (green) goes into the column after instrument and effect (pink+yellow) in the column after that.
Effects [docs] are e.g. 3 for "fade from previous tone" [docs] and have parameters, e.g. 05 for fade speed. Note that I removed the stop tone so there is actually a tone to fade from. Volume is a number from 0 to 40, with default 40, and can be set either as absolute number or +/-, with +F the maximum increase; also usable as volume effect [docs].
The (muted) track 2 shows a copy of most of track 1, but with different instrument and transposed by +7 half tones. At the end, a second effect is 4 for vibrato [docs], with the parameters 55 defining weak or strong vibrato.
A musical piece contains a lot of sheets (patterns), and so far we have had only one sheet of 0x10 or 16 notes, with the default 0x40 notes. At the top left is the sheet management, where you see sheet 0 with id 00. Use Ins to add another entry 1 and +/- to define which sheet will be played there.
For editing, use the top middle Patn. +/-
buttons to change which sheet you are on. Within the sheet in edit
F12 to jump to first to fourth
quarter of a sheet, and
F12 to play
from that quarter.
And if you are this far, consult the docs again to see what else is possible...
MilkyTracker is quite a fun way to create or just listen to music while letting the notes dance in your eyeballs. Have fun, and happy composing!EOF (Jun:2022)