Songwriting Advice

How To Make A 8 Bit Song

how to make a 8 bit song lyric assistant

Are you an indie game developer or a nostalgic music lover looking to create your very own 8-bit song? The retro sound of 8-bit music has continued to captivate fans for decades since the era of arcade games and pixel-rich consoles. In today's digital age, making an 8-bit song has never been easier or more accessible. In this article, we will walk you through the process of creating your very own 8-bit masterpiece using various tools and techniques. So, let's get started and make your next hit a blast from the past!

1. Understanding 8-Bit Music

8-bit music, also known as chiptune, is a form of electronic music that uses retro game hardware to create catchy and nostalgic tunes. The term "8-bit" was coined due to the 8-bit processors used in early game consoles and computers, like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Commodore 64. To create an authentic 8-bit sound, think of simple waveforms, limited channels, and monophonic melodies.

2. Choosing the Right Software

Many tools are available for creating 8-bit songs, both free and paid. Here are some popular options:

- Famitracker (Free): Specifically designed for creating NES-style music, Famitracker is a powerful tracker software that can create authentic 8-bit music with a bit of a learning curve.

- LSDJ (Paid): Little Sound DJ is a music tracker software for the Nintendo Game Boy. If you can get your hands on a Game Boy and a physical cartridge, LSDJ lets you create authentic chiptunes on the go.

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

- Magical 8-Bit Plug (Free): A simple VST/AU plugin that can be used in any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and can create 8-bit sounds with ease.

- Bfxr (Free): A web-based tool that allows you to create and modify sound effects for your 8-bit song.

Choose the software that best aligns with your level of experience and desired sound.

3. Crafting Your Melody & The Core Mechanics of 8-Bit Music

Creating an 8-bit song begins with crafting a catchy melody. Remember, the charm of 8-bit music lies in its simplicity. Use monophonic lines and focus on strong rhythm and harmony to invoke the classic 8-bit charm.

- Limit your number of tracks: Early consoles had a limited number of channels (often 3 or 4) for music. Stick to this limitation to create an authentic sound.

- Use basic waveforms: Sawtooth, square, triangle, and pulse waves were commonly used in early consoles. Try to use these waveforms when making your song.

- Simple rhythm: Keep your drum patterns minimalistic as early consoles did not have powerful drum capabilities.

- Arpeggios: Use them to create the illusion of chord progressions and add depth to your song.

How To Make A 8 Bit Song Example

Let's walk through a general workflow for creating an 8-Bit song using Magical 8-Bit Plug in a DAW (like FL Studio, Ableton Live, or Logic Pro).

1. Start by setting your DAW's tempo to a pace that suits the energy of your desired 8-bit song.

2. Create a new track, and insert the Magical 8-Bit Plug as a software instrument.

3. Using your DAW's built-in piano roll, sequence your main melody using square wave from the plugin.

4. Add a second track using a triangle wave for the harmony.

5. Add arpeggios to accentuate the chord progressions.

6. Create a third track for the bassline using variations of the pulse wave.

7. Lastly, add a percussion track using simple drum samples or 8-bit inspired drum hits. Keep the rhythm simple and driving to emulate classic console hardware limitations.

Now that you know how to create your very own 8-Bit song, it's time to unleash your inner game composer and embark on a musical journey. Remember, the key to a successful 8-bit tune lies in simplicity, catchy melodies, and a sense of nostalgia. And when you're ready to add some captivating lyrics to your creation, look no further than Lyric Assistant! It will help you craft the perfect words to complement your 8-bit masterpiece. Let your creativity flow, and may your next song be your best one yet!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an 8-bit song?

An 8-bit song, often known as "chiptune" or "chip music," is a style of electronic music that uses sound synthesis emulating the audio produced by vintage computers, video game consoles, and arcade machines from the 1980s. The term "8-bit" refers to the audio depth of the sound chips used in these older systems.

Do I need special software to make an 8-bit song?

While you don't absolutely need specialized software to make an 8-bit song, there are many tools available that can make the process easier, such as Trackers and DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) with 8-bit plug-ins or sound libraries designed for chiptune music creation.

What is a Tracker?

A Tracker is a type of sequencer software specialized for creating music, including chiptunes. It allows the user to arrange sound samples on a vertical timeline with a grid representing pitches and beats.

What are some popular 8-bit music creation programs?

Popular programs include FamiTracker, LSDJ, MilkyTracker, and modern DAWs like FL Studio or Ableton Live with chiptune plug-ins.

Can I create 8-bit music if I don’t know how to play an instrument?

Yes, you can. Many 8-bit music creation tools provide step-sequencing options that let you place notes onto a grid pattern. This means you can create melodies and harmonies without needing traditional instrument skills.

Which audio tools or plugins can I use for making 8-bit sounds in a DAW?

You can use plugins like Magical 8bit Plug, Plogue Chipsounds, or Retro Boy to create authentic 8-bit sounds within a DAW.

What elements make up a typical 8-bit song?

A typical 8-bit song often includes distinct melodic patterns, square and triangle waveform lead lines, simple drum beats often produced with noise channels, and looping bass lines, resembling the complex simplicity of early video game soundtracks.

How do I start composing an 8-bit song?

Start with a catchy melody as your main theme, then build your song around it by adding bass, percussion, and harmonies. Keep your composition relatively simple, as vintage systems were limited to a few sound channels.

Can 8-bit music have different genres?

Absolutely! While it’s known for its distinctive electronic timbre, 8-bit music can encompass any genre, melding its unique sound with rock, pop, EDM, and more.

What should I consider regarding melody when creating an 8-bit song?

Due to the limitations of old hardware, 8-bit melodies were often relatively simple, yet catchy. Aim for clear, memorable melodic patterns that loop well and honor the characteristics of early video game music.

How do I create a good drum track for my 8-bit track?

Use noise and short, pitched sounds to simulate snare drums and kicks. Pay attention to rhythm and try to incorporate classic retro grooves that resonate with the 8-bit era.

Can I use modern sound effects in my 8-bit music?

While you can incorporate modern sound effects, it might take away from the authentic 8-bit feel. For pure 8-bit sound, stick to effects that could be generated by vintage sound chips.

Are there any legal issues with creating and sharing my own 8-bit music?

As long as the composition is original, you own the rights to it, and you don’t use any copyrighted samples without permission, you are free to create and share your 8-bit music.

How complicated should my 8-bit track be?

Aim for simplicity to remain true to the era. Vintage systems only had a few channels for sound, so intricate arrangements might not feel authentic. However, feel free to experiment and mix eras if that is your creative intent.

How can I make my 8-bit song stand out?

Focus on a strong, hummable melody and inventive use of limited sounds. Unusual rhythms, interesting harmonies, and dynamic changes can all contribute to a standout track.

Can I add vocals to my 8-bit track?

Yes, although adding vocals wasn't typical in the era of 8-bit music due to technological constraints, today there are no such limitations. Creative use of vocals can add a modern twist to your 8-bit track.

What key aspects define the 'chiptune' sound?

Chiptune sounds are defined by early hardware limitations, often characterized by simple waveforms such as square, sawtooth, and triangle waves, as well as, noise channels for percussion. They also have a distinctively crisp and bouncy timbre.

How do I export my song to sound like an actual 8-bit recording?

Export your composition using software or plug-ins that mimic the sound of vintage consoles. You may also want to degrade the sound quality using bit crusher effects or low sample rates to match the sound fidelity of old-school 8-bit machines.

Do I need to understand music theory to compose 8-bit music?

Music theory can be helpful, but it isn't strictly necessary. Understanding scales, harmony, and rhythm will certainly enable you to create more complex and appealing compositions, but you can also use trial and error and simple patterns to craft enjoyable 8-bit tunes.

How long does it typically take to create an 8-bit song?

The time it takes to create an 8-bit song depends on your experience, the complexity of the song, and how perfectionistic you are with tweaking your track. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Where can I find inspiration for my 8-bit compositions?

Listening to vintage video game soundtracks, studying chiptune artists, and experimenting with 8-bit sounds in your software can fuel your creativity. Additionally, the restrictions of the 8-bit palette itself can be a powerful source of inspiration.

Want to Write Better Songs? Try Lyric Assistant Today

Want To Write Better Song Lyrics? Try Lyric Assistant Now

Tell Lyric Assistant about the song you want to create & watch it write song lyrics for you to use.

Example: Pop, Rock, Rap, Electronic, R&B, K-Pop, Drill...
Example: Happy, sad, inspirational, romantic, gritty...
Example: Love, loss, overcoming adversity, party, faith, personal growth, reflection...
Example: Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Grimes, Beyonce, Billie Eillish, Pink Floyd, BTS ...
Example: Used to provide a new perspective or shift in the song's mood
author-avatar

About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

Related Posts