Welcome to my music pages. These pages will introduce a reader to the PC music scene, provide handy links to other sites, and recommend software to use for composing and producing music. There are also some musicical compositions composed by myself for download and playback if you dare! So where did it all start and what's it all about?
The word "Tracking" describes a method of creating music on a PC. Essentially, tracking consists of sequencing together various samples to make a music track. In 'PC' talk, the software to achieve this is called a tracker. A tracking application not only allows you to sequence samples together, but you can also add effects to them and play many samples together simultaneously. Some trackers enable the finished work to be saved in various music formats, such as the MP3 music format.
The picture below illustrates a typical tracker (this one being my preferred, ModPlug Tracker).
One of the advantages of using a tracker is the unique what in which they produce music. Once a tracker has a sample, that one sample can be used to produce many different tones by playing it back at different speeds. All the tracker needs to know is which sample to play, and at what rate. This all boils down to a very efficient way of storing music (even more efficient than MP3!).
The files saved by a tracker are known as modules. They come in various formats, IT, XM, MOD, S3M etc depending on which tracker was used. Windows applications do not understand these formats which is where the Player applications come in.
Players are applications that can play back the modules created using a tracker program. There are many players available. The more sophisticated players are capable of playing a wide range of music formats (including MP3), and some even have some fancy music visualisations (see below).
How Much Does It Cost?
Here's the good bit. If you've got a PC 100 MHz or higher with a digital sound card such as a SoundBlaster 16, you're in business. The software you will require (Player/Tracker) will need to be downloaded ( see the music links section ). The software is normally shareware, which means you can use it for free. Authors of some of the applications may stipulate conditions to their use. For example, you're not to make any money from the use of one.
The PC Music Scene
When I first started using tracking software to write music, I was surprised to find how many other people out there participate. There are literally thousands of people out there writing music, some good, some not so good. Some individuals, like myself, dabble with it a little and upload their compositions onto their web pages where others can down load and listen to their work. Others join tracking groups, where teams of people jointly compose and release their music.
All this amounts to thousands of compositions, covering all styles of music being available to download. It's a good idea to download other artist's works. If not only to listen to it, but to see what techniques have been employed in making the music, or to rip off samples (provided you credit the original author) for use in your own music.
Some organisations have formed over the years, such as United Trackers, in an attempt to bring artists together, allowing the sharing of their work.
All of this forms the PC music scene. Anyone can join. All you need is a computer and access to the Internet. So why not give it a try, you never know, perhaps one day you might be the next Jean-Michelle Jarre!