At ﬁrst I have to say: If you came here and it happens you are familar with the general handling of a tracker, go away and delete the ﬁle. You probably won‘t ﬁnd anything new in here. Otherwise: Welcome to another great way of wasting your time! I‘ll try my best to get you started with the Famitracker and teach you thevery basics of handling a tracker in common. It probably won‘t turn you into the worlds next Jean Michelle Jarre, but at least, it will make you able to start making your own tunes. Also I‘ll provide a list with useful links for you to go on and research for your own, after reading this little piece. Enough for now, let‘s get started!
Got it! What now?
After installing Famitracker, I suggestyou to open a few songs with it to get an impression, on how it looks. The look stays the same although. So we just start out with what we are seeing.
The patternview. Here are the pieces of your song stored. Section 7 is called a pattern. Each pattern has a different number, so you can make changes take place and arrange them in this window. The ﬁrst two digits are the rownumber. The morerows, the longer your song. The digits to the right represent the channels of the famicom. Don‘t get worried, I‘ll explain the use of this later on. :)
This is, what it should look like, when you start the program. The upper menubars should be quit selfexplaining. I guess you already know, how a playbutton looks, don‘t you? So what we‘ve got here, are 7 sections to perform our madnesswith. Let‘s start explaining!
The song settings. You can change 3 simple things in this section. The song speed, to set the actual bpm of the song. Like 120 for moderate pop songs or around 180 for driving rock tunes. With the ﬁeld ‚length‘ you can choose how many notes a pattern should have. This comes in handy for some tunes, but shouldn‘t bother you in the ﬁrst time. The framesﬁeld is much moreimportant. Click on it and watch. Yes, you‘re right! Now you have 2 frames, which means the patternview has now 2 rows.
Part 3 is the edit settings ﬁeld. You can choose, wether to loop your song or not. Just keep it, as it is for now.
Get Famitracker at http://famitracker.shoodot.net/
Tell the people, who made this lovely tune, with this section. First goes thesongname, than your name and the last ﬁeld is for the one who holds the copyright.
Here it is! Our scratchpad to fame: the pattern. 5 columns of pure technical power. Each of this columns represents one channel for us to mangle with. From left to right it is: 2x Square: The main channels, which can be altered in a million ways and give our tunes the beloved chippish ﬂavour. 1x Triangle:A need and soft channel. Deﬁnitely not as ﬂexible as the square, but essential to a good tune. 1x Noise: The good old white noise. If manipulated correctly, this is your ﬁrst choice in drumming. 1x DPCM: The sample channel. Here you can load your samples and add them to your tune. As far as I know DPCM stands for Delta Pulse Code Modulation, but I might be wrong. These are the four keys to themighty palace of nsf-music. But there is still more to it. You probably have noticed the bunch of weird digits at the left side of the window. These indicate the position in the current pattern and are just in a hexadecimal way.
No audio application is complete without a fancy oscillator! And here it is. Just above one of the most important buttons: ‚add instrument‘. This is for adding aplain and unmodiﬁed setting. Without this you‘re never gonna hear something. Of course you can also remove an instrument.
Unlike other music programs or standard notation, a tracker is read from top to bottom instead of left to the right. This is why there are columns for the channels. Not a big thing to get used to it. Currently the pattern is empty and nothing is changed, so each horizontal...