Make Your own Chiptunes with Free Software

Geek Culture

As regular listeners of our HipTrax music podcast can attest, I am a big fan of chiptunes. The incredibly dedicated and staggeringly creative community that has sprung from the simple concept of manipulating classic gaming sound chips to create undeniably modern electronic music is nothing short of astounding. And the only thing more interesting than the music produced is the eclectic catalog of creative concepts and personalities at play.

Particularly relevant to the GeekDad community is the emphasis that the chiptune scene places on repurposing otherwise antiquated technology and its encouragement of unbridled musical experimentation. Perhaps no one so clearly exemplifies these simple virtues of the micro-musician than Matthew Applegate, the British composer better known as Pixelh8. Though his unique take on chip music has garnered the attention of BBC Radio 1 and the UK’s National Museum of Computing, Pixelh8 is arguably best known for his custom-designed music software for the Gameboy series of handheld systems.

Though Pixelh8 has long sold these performance tools to other musicians – including such major players as Imogen Heap and Damon Albarn – he recently announced that his Music Tech V2.0, Pro Performer, Drum Tech and Death Ray modules would now be available to a much wider audience as free downloads.

After lengthy consideration, I decided I would rather have my Game Boy / Game Boy Advance music software be used by everyone it can be used by, instead of just the few.

All of my my music software is now free for download on the software page, please read the FAQ’s before emailing me questions, Enjoy!

I am doing a lot of work in music and music education, the software is now even being used in some UK schools for students to do their GCSE music composition on.

Make music, make friends, have fun.

The Pro Performer, Drum Tech and Death Ray software are available from Pixelh8′s site in the .gb format, for use with Gameboy/Gameboy Advance emulators and Gameboy-compatible USB-based or flashable Smart Cards. The Music Tech V2.0 software is in the .GBA format, for use with Gameboy Advance emulators and similar devices for the GBA.

These synthesizers are admittedly difficult to master, but, like their little brothers the Drum Tech sequencer and the Death Ray Noise Generator, they are also a great deal of fun just to play with. Each application is stable, fully-featured and packed with seemingly endless musical possibilities. So download them all and take them for a spin.

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