Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Milking Music... with Milkytracker

Today, this post is going to be about two things basically. Tools of Creativity and one of my Creations. Do go through the creation that's in the end. I couldn't help but pump in some detail about the Tool of Creativity, that may bore some people... ^^;;

Once upon a time, when computer's weren't very powerful, there were only three or four music formats. The popular ones were MIDI, WAV and Music Modules. While MIDI was the most popular because of small size, it wasn't really what we call "Digital Music". It was just a pattern of notes, played by the computer. Meaning that it was a format that could only play Unrealistic Sounding Instrumental Music. WAV was a format which took too much memory for even a 2 minute song. The final format was Music Module.

Music Module used a small sound recording of an instrument (called a sample) and automatically generated the other notes on the reference sample. It could also generate it's own instrument using inbuilt 1 Channel or 2 Channel Oscillators ( or Sound Generator). It gave the ability to make realistic sounding music without taking humungous amounts of memory. Because it could take in recordings, vocals could be added too. Remember, this was "Great" during the time period of 1988-1994, where 32 MB Ram was considered Luxury, and normal desktops had a Hard Drive capacity of 512 MB to 1 GB, which was "too much" for the common user. The most popular Music Module Softwares were from Amiga (MOD), Fast tracker (XM/IT) and Scream Tracker (SM/S2M/S3M).

All this going over your head?? Not Surprising...

To sum up... Music Modules by todays standards, is a very outdated technique for making music. But it still exists. There are people who still use it. And the first ones I came across was Milkytracker. It is a Fast tracker clone. and this is what it looks like... (All images ripped from Google Images and are not my own screenshots... simply call me lazy :P )

This next image shows what all is in Milky that lets us make music.

The final Pic shows us how music is arranged in Milky. All the notes and which instrument must play it are recorded along each column. The colored bar goes down as the music progresses. There can be many pages of these columns.

At first, very much like everyone else, I was thrown of by the seemingly complex looking interface, that had endless amount of options in it. But soon, I got a knack of the concept. How to put in samples, edit them and arrange notes in the column. Very soon, I ripped of some samples from other MOD/S3M files and some from the FL Studio 6 package ( ^^;; ) and made one Saw instrument in it. Then applying them on the keyboard, I made many tunes, and god knows if they even sounded like music or not...

Today, while browsing through my old computer, I found this one Milky file that was a Surviver of, I don't know how many Hard Disk crashes and consequent formats. Nonetheless it survived and amazingly, the title this file had was "Victory". It suited the occasion that time.

This song gave me an image of a torn and tired warrior walking on a battle field towards his team mates, dragging his sword soaked in blood along with him. His team mates are waiting eagerly to celebrate as dawn approaches the horizons...

Does this song give you a similar image?? Try to make a video in your mind that would suit this song... and do tell me what image you had when you first heard this song. Be sure to tell me... if you may -_-

1 comment:

NesQuarX said...

Good thing that somebody still remembers modules and trackers. Nice piece. Not victory exactly but serene exaltation would be more proper IMHO.