I always talk about how I grew up producing music using Trackers on the Amiga 500 and the early days of PC. I guess not many of you know what a tracker actually is, so I thought I could upload a video showcasing one of my old songs which were actually made in a tracker. I still have the original files, so I was able to import it into a modern tracker and record the results. It was orginally created in FastTracker, but I use ReNoise for recording purposes in this video.

What is a tracker you ask?

Well my darling, it allows you to import audio-samples and instruments into the tracker, much like modern samplers work today. Here you were able to arrange the instruments in patterns in up to 32 different channels. You could manipulate the samples and instruments with basic to advanced settings like speed, volume, arpeggio, portamento, vibrato, delay, cut.off, tremolo, panning and cross-fading. It could get pretty advanced actually.

A pattern consists of several rows (64 by default, 1024 by max) and is divided to columns (“tracks”). Each row can have one note in every track. A note can look like the following:

C#4 02 20 R11

This means the note is a C#-note on the chromatic scale, played at the 4th octave, with instrument number 2. The next column is the volume setting on a 0×00-0×40 hexadecimal scale, and the last column enables a variety of effects to be applied to the sound.

Trackers were used to make music for games

On the Amiga 500 we only had 4 channels to choose from a while, and this resulted in some fantastic memorable and inventive pieces of music used in every single game made at that time. I never made any music for games btw, I just got seriously influenced by those who did.

I dont have any 4-channel projects to show you though, because there was no internet for me to share it on back then and I have no idea what my father did to my Amiga disc-collection when that era was over. And to be perfectly honest, you probably dont want to hear anything from that time anyway. I didnt actually make anything worth listening to until I got FastTracker on the PC years later. I experimented a lot on the Amiga though, but I mosly made edits of songs other people had made for a long time. Experimenting. Learning.

Here is a fine example of music made in a tracker, used in a game:

So that is all, just wanted to share with you guys what a tracker actually is.