How to Make Excellent 8-Bit Songs

by Steven French
Make 8-bit music to emulate the sound of old computer and video games.

Make 8-bit music to emulate the sound of old computer and video games.

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The 8-bit style of music is the electronic sound present in older video games like the Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Genesis. The style is also referred to as "chiptunes," because musicians use the chips from older video game machines and other devices to compose music. You can achieve a similar effect and create your own 8-bit music by using plugins designed to emulate the sound of these old sound chips.

Items you will need

  • Sequencing software
  • Musical keyboard (optional)
Step 1

Install sequencing software on your computer, and then download a plugin for it. Sequencing software acts as the manager of instrument tracks, playing them in the proper sequence and combining them to make a finished song. The VSTPlanet website offers a number of free and commercial sequencers. To download and install plugins for sequencer, visit the YMCK or KVR Audio websites. Consult the help file from your sequencer if you are unsure which plugin formats it supports.

Step 2

Open your sequencing software and create a new track. Set the instrument or generator setting of the track to the plugin you just installed. The settings screen for the plugin should appear.

Step 3

Choose a preset for the plugin or adjust the settings manually to get the sound you would like for your first track.

Step 4

Enter notes with the mouse or press "Record" and enter notes with your musical keyboard to create the first track.

Step 5

Create another track and load the same plugin and choose a different preset or new settings. Enter notes or record from the keyboard. Repeat until you have an 8-bit song that you are pleased with.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images