How to Make 8-Bit Music with FamiTracker

There are several effects you can add or take away from any instrument at any time. Each effect is assigned a number or letter that you need to enter followed by two numbers that serve as parameters. First however, let's discuss a little more about layout of the note entering area.

You will notice that in each channel's column has a whole bunch of dots in it. Look closer and you will see that some of the dots are grouped together into columns of their own. The leftmost column has a group of three dots. When you click on these and enter notes, the dots will show what note, a dash, and what octave. If you entered notes, you'll also see the next column over with a group of two dots will say "00." These numbers represent which instrument is set to play the notes. If you had multiple instruments, whichever one was selected would play the notes. This is useful if you want to have different instruments with differing effects such as volume arpeggios, which can easily be edited in the instrument editor.

The next column contains a single dot. This is for the volume. Most everything in this program works based on hex. So the value for the volume could be anywhere from 0 to F. In case you're not familiar, basically it's like having everything set on a scale of 16. 0 is the quietest. As the value increases, so do the numbers until you get to 9. After that you start with the letter A and keep going until you have the highest value F.

(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F)

Volume Changes

This is one of the easiest and most useful effects you can use in FamiTracker. At any point through your song, you can change the value in the volume column, whether a note is being played at the same time or not. This is how we can create a delay effect. If you have the volume when a note is played set to F, you can drop it by a few degrees at a time, then spike it, and drop it again. For example, F, B, 7, 3, D, 8, 4, 1.

Other Effects

In addition to being able to change the volume on each line of the song, you can do the same to many other effects. The last column of dots is grouped in three. Here you can add and edit almost any effect you desire. The first dot tells what effect will be applied. The next two are for parameters that vary depending on the effect. We'll try adding tremolo here. So, pick a line and on the first dot of the effects column, type "7." In this case the next dot will represent speed. The third dot represents depth. If you're not sure what those mean, try playing around with them to see the changes they make.

In my example "Chippy" below, I entered "777" at first, "755" a little later, and "733" after that. If you try this, you will hear a great difference between the three.

As mentioned, there are many other effects you can add in. To many to talk about here in fact. To see the full list of effects and what to enter for them, click Help > Effect Table.