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“Chiptune” is music that which is created by manipulating or emulating the sound chips of retro computers and video game consoles.

There exists a global community working within or adjacent to the strict limitations of these old consoles to create new works of art, in the studio and on the stage. To learn for yourself the unique satisfaction of making music using obsolete video game hardware is to understand what it means to create more with less.

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LSDJ (Little Sound DJ) is software designed for writing music directly on your Nintendo GameBoy. It is an all-in-one sequencer, sampler, and synthesizer in the palm of your hand that makes full use of the 4 available sound channels.

Famitracker is an application for creating NES chipmusic on your Windows PC. It is designed for the 2A03 NES soundchip as well as VRC6 and other expansions, and allows exporting of songs in .NSF format for playback on a real NES console.

Deflemask is a multi-chip tracker for creating authentic chiptune on your computer or mobile device. It includes the Sega Genesis, Master System, Commodore 64, Arcade sound chips and more. Also exports data files for hardware playback.

These and many other programs for various systems are freely available to download and use, most include ongoing support from the developers, and an active userbase eager to share knowledge and learn from one another.

Useful Hyperlinks

Resources to aid you on your Chiptune voyage

Music Software

  • LSDJ: Little Sound DJGameBoy Music Tracker
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  • FamitrackerNES Music Tracker
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  • DeflemaskMulti-chip system tracker
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  • 0cc-FamitrackerFamitracker extension with additional features
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  • MilkyTrackerPortable cross-platform sample-based .XM music tracker
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  • Audio OverloadAudio emulator for VGM data formats
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  • AudacityFreeware audio editor. Deceptively useful
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Resources

  • Chipmusic forumsMusic sharing and discussion forum
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  • ChipflipGreat blog run by legendary C64 musician GOTO80
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  • TCTDTrue Chip Til Death blog. RIP
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  • MicromusicMusic community in operation for almost 20 years
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  • NESdevNES development community
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  • Zophar’s DomainIncredible music and retro game resource, info, links
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  • LSDJ Tutorial by SabrepulseA classic written tutorial, still holds up
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Game Soundtracks And Raw Files

  • SNES.SPC file archive
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  • SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive.VGZ file archive
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  • Commodore 64: High Voltage SID Collection.SID file archive
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  • AMP: Amiga Music PreservationComprehensive database of Amiga music and musicians
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  • Video Game Music Preservation FoundationWiki-style encyclopedia for all things VGM
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  • Mod ArchiveMusic module repository
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