n00bstar's Klystrack Super Special Edition Super Klystrack Edition Deluxe, Super.

Head over to the files section to download a repackage of the latest stable version of Klystrack for Windows. Details are on that page so I won't bother to list them here.

Have fun!



We now have a forum!

What's the point? Well, right now the only place where people discuss about this software is on CMO and the entire discussion is held into a single, incredibly long thread. Anything from people reporting bugs to people asking questions on how to use klystrack in bunched up in that messy thread. After reading the bug reports on GitHub, I saw a request for a klystrack forum and thought it would be a great idea to put one in place. Since klystrack doesn't really have a real home on the interweb right now, I though I'd add it here.

Will people use it? Well that depends on YOU, the klystrack user. Even if you just drop by to say hello, your involvement is one more step towards creating a community around the software.

It's not the most beautiful forum interface in the world, but it's free and it does what it needs to do. You can access it by clicking on the aptly named Forum button up there.

And since there's now an actual place to have discussions, I've disabled comments on everything else in here so that everything ends up in the forums instead.

Have fun!


Klystrack Tutorial 9 - Command Column

A big part of tracking is the command column. Every time you're trying to achieve something more than triggering a note, there's a fair chance you'll need to use the command column to do it. In fact, it's such an important part of tracking, that I should've written about it before. But there's so many commands to write about, the lazy part of me (read: all of me) didn't really want to sit down and do it. But in my last tutorial, fantastic moron that I am, I painted myself in a corner by promising I would write about commands next. Ugh. So here goes... sit down, get comfy, cause this one is going to be long. Also note that I will be attacking these commands in alphabetical order, so they are not going to be well categorized in terms of what they actually do. 

a note about duplicate commands
A fair number of commands in Klystrack can be applied in more than one way. For example changing the volume of an instrument can be done in a few place: the volumn column (no really...), the command column, the instrument's program, etc. There is no single best way to go about it and in most cases it doesn't matter where/how you apply a command as the result will be the same. Sometimes however, you'll come across a situation where you need/want to apply more than one command simultaneously. In those cases, the general rule of thumb is: if it can be done somewhere other than the command column, then do it there and keep the command column free. For example: you want to change the volume, apply legato, and slide the pitch up at the same time. The only way to do all that on the same row is to apply the volume command in the volume column, use the control bits to apply legato, and put your pitch up effect in the command column.

how are commands applied to a sound
Commands are applied once per ticks so they will act differently depending on the song's speed. If you compose a song at speed 6 with three metric tons of pitch bend commands (1xx/2xx) and then you decide to change the speed to 4, you will need to adjust your pitch bends if you want them to bend by the exact same amount. Some commands remain unaffected by this because it doesn't matter how many times they are applied. The volume (Cxx) for example. Whether you apply it once or three thousand times, it won't make a difference. It'll set the volume at whatever value you put and that's the end of it. 

Pitch Bend (1xx / 2xx)
Two of the most common and useful commands at your disposal. You'll often see them referred to as "portamento" but that is not technically correct, albeit close enough. The 1xx command will bend the pitch up by the value indicated by xx. The 2xx is basically the same thing, but bending the pitch down. It is generally recommended to avoid using the pitch bend command in order to reach a specific pitch. It's not that its impossible to achieve, it's just that it takes a fair bit of fiddling around with values to get the precise pitch you're looking for, and furthermore...there's another command that's made to do just that. Legal values range from 00 to FF. 

Portamento (3xx)
This is actually the real portamento, but remember that this is tracking we're talking about, where everything has the wrong name and doesn't make sense, so you'll often see this referred to as slide. This command will make the pitch slide between the previous note, and the new one, whether its sliding up or down in pitch. Let's say you have a C note playing, and you want to bend up to a G. You will need to use the 3xx command on your G note. This will make the C note gradually slide up to the G. How fast it will slide is indicated by the value in xx. You only need to put the command once for the effect to apply, but if you're looking to get creative, you can put more than one 3xx command back to back with different sliding speeds.

Vibrato (4xy)
This is a fairly straightforward command. For every row where you have a 4xy command, your sound will have vibrato applied to it. If you use 400, you will basically be using the instrument's vibrato settings. It's the same thing as setting the vibrato Control Bit on. But if you'd like to have more control over the vibrato, know that x is the speed of the vibrato, and y is the depth. Legal values are from 0 to F for each parameter.

Pulse Width Modification (7xx / 8xx / 9xx)
You will use this command in the instrument's Program way more than you'll use it directly in a pattern, but it's still available in both places. 7xx will move the Pulse's width down (away from a pure square wave). 8xx will move the Pulse's width up (towards a pure square wave) and 9xx will let you set it to any specific value indicated by xx.

Fade Volume (Axy)
This command, quite obviously, fades the volume of an instrument either up or down. The x parameter is the Fade In value, and the y parameter is the Fade Out value. Obviously they are not meant to be used simultaneously, although nothing is stopping you from doing something as pointless as fading a sound in and out by the same amount. Values range from 0 to F for both parameters.

Set Waveform (Bxx)
This nifty little command lets you change which oscillators are on or off in your instrument. Used creatively, this command can really bring an instrument to life, or create weird new textures for instruments. The xx parameter is a bitfield and can be a bit confusing to newcomers. B01 is the Noise oscillator, B02 is the Pulse oscillator, B04 is the Triangle oscillator and so on. If you want to have all three turned on, you would use B07 (01+02+04). I use this command all the time for my snare, letting me have a tonal transient, and then switch to a noise tail.

Set Volume (Cxx)
That's pretty self explanatory. This command will set the volume of your instrument to whatever value you indicate in XX. Legal values range from 00 to FF. This command acts differently whether your instrument has the Relative option turned on or off. If it's off, then this command will simply set the volume at whatever value you put in. Remember that the default volume for an instrument is 80, halfway between 00 and FF. So if you want to have 50% volume, you need to check what the instrument's volume is. If it's 80, then half would be 40. If you have the Relative option set to on, then the effective range of the command is 00 to 80, with 80 representing the "full volume" of the instrument. So for example 20 would always be a quarter of the volume of your instrument, no matter what its volume parameter is set to. Very useful to have your instrument set to Relative.

Loop Pattern (Dxx)
Pointless command, a vestigial organ from olden days gone by, tracking's very own coccyx. It was mostly used to create multiple songs inside the same music file, or to keep the pattern data to a minimum to keep the file size as tiny as possible. In an age where your damn phone has 64gb of storage, this command has lost all purpose, besides perhaps to show off how technical you can get. It was included in Klystrack for questions of backwards compatibility when importing old xm/mod files.

Fine Pitch Bend (E1x / E2x)
These two commands work exactly like 1xx and 2xx, but with even more precision. You will rarely need that much precision in a pitch bend effect, at least for musical purposes. But it can definitely come in handy for special situations where a super slow bend is called for.

Retrigger (E9x)
This command basically lets you put in more notes than what the pattern can normally handle. It will retrigger the note a number of times equal to the x value. Very useful on percussions to create flam effects.

Fine Volume Fade (EAx / EBx)
Unlike the Fine Pitch Bend, this one actually comes in handy very often. The normal volume fade command (Axy) has only 16 possible values in any direction. This makes A01 and A10 a bit coarse. Sometimes you want to fade your volume slower than what a series of A01 would give. Of course you could space out your A01 commands a bit, but this will result in a 'staircase' effect. For long smooth fades, EAx (fade out) and EBx (fade in) is the only way to go.

Note Cut (ECx)
This commands cuts the sounds after a number of ticks equal to the value indicated by x. For example if your song is set to speed 4, then you have 4 ticks per row. If you want a note to be half the length of a row, you would use EC2 on it.

Note Delay (EDx)
This one delays the start of your note by the number of ticks indicated by x. This basically let's you place note "between rows." If your song is at speed 6, then it has 6 ticks per row. If you want to place a note halfway between two rows, you'd use ED3 on it. This command is super useful to 'humanize' your song. For example, if you have a C chord spread over three channels (C on 1, E on 2, and G on 3) you could add ED1 to the E note, and ED2 to the G note to simulate the looseness of an actual human playing a chord on a keyboard. It can be used to simulate guitar strumming too. Play with it, you'll see what I mean.

Set Speed (Fxy)
Unless you have a tempo change in your song, you will rarely be using this command. It would make much more sense to set the song's speed settings to whatever you need. But, if you do need to use it, you need to understand that contrary to a LOT of trackers out there, Klystrack has TWO speed settings: one for even-numbered rows, and one for odd-numbered rows. Sounds weird? It really is. The intention was to give you the ability to have "built-in" shuffle without having to do it by hand, but it really only works if you are at speed 6/6 and you have your beats set every four rows. In just about 100% of all cases, ever, you won't be using different settings. The x parameter is for even rows, and the y parameter is for odd rows. Note that if you put a value on y and leave x to 0, it will use the y value for both....one more proof that nobody in their right mind wants to have tempo changes per row.

Set External Arpeggio Note (0xxx / 1xxx)
This was explained in details in my arp tutorial, so you can read all about it over there.

Semitone Pitch Bend (11xx / 12xx)
Think of the normal 1xx and 2xx pitch bend commands and you have the basic idea. These two commands however, will bend the pitch in increments of one semitone. Not the most used commands, but you will eventually come across a situation where you want to bend by a fixed number of semitones and using this will be a lot faster than fiddling with 1xx/2xx until you get the pitch right.

Panning (17xx / 18xx / 19xx)
All three of these commands are basically the exact same thing: they will let you place the sound somewhere in the stereo field. The 18xx command is the basic one, and it will let you pan the instruments from hard left (1800) to hard right (18FF) with the center being at 1880. This gives you 128 discreet positions on each side and it should cover all your panning needs. However if for some obscure reason your song needs even more precision than that, you can use the other two commands. The 17xx command will let you pan from center (1700) to hard left (17FF), while the 18xx command let's you do the same thing on the right. This effectively gives you 256 discreet positions. Why in hell would you ever need such precision is beyond me, but it's available.

Global Volume Fade (1Axy)
There is one universal truth in music: YOU NEVER FADE OUT AT THE END OF THE SONG UNLESS YOU'RE BEING IRONIC. With that said, if irony is beyond your grasp, or if you can't finish your damn songs properly, there's a command that lets you fade the entire song's volume. It works exactly like the Axy command.

Set FX Bus (1Bxx)
This is one of the great underrated and underused commands in Klystrack. This lets you send your instrument's ouput to one of the eight FX units of your choice. It's a super creative command, and when used properly it can result in great effects. For example you could use it on every other snare hit so that one out of two snare has echo, or chorus. You can use it to have different delays on different notes for the same instrument. It's pretty damn fun to play around with, so try it for yourself.

Channel Volume (1Cxx)
This one works pretty much like the standard Cxx volume command, except that it affects the entire channel instead of just one note. I've yet to see a situation where this is useful, but it's there. Anything you can do with this command, you can probably do better manually. But for the lazy composers out there, there ya go buddy.

Global Volume (1Dxx)
Another command that works like Cxx, but this time it affects the whole song's volume. This one is actually way more useful than 1Cxx, but still very situational.

Set Sample Rate (1Exx)
If your instrument is sent to a FX unit with the bit crusher effect turned on, then this command will let you change the sample rate of the crusher on the fly. This opens up a ton of possible textures for your sound and really needs to be explored and tinkered with to be understood well. Note that if any other instrument is played through the same FX unit, their sound will also be affected by the new sample rate.

Set Rate (1Fxx)
This is an extension to the Speed (Fxy) command. It will let you set the Rate parameter to whatever floats your boat. Very useful for precise tempo changes in the middle of a song.

Filter (21xx / 22xx / 29xx / 2Axx / 2Bxx / 2Cxx)
This set of command lets you change an instrument's filter parameters on the go. The 21xx and 22xx commands will sweep the filter cutoff up or down accordingly, by the value indicated in xx. If you need to set your cutoff at a precise number, you can use 29xx. The 2Axx command lets you change the filter's resonance setting while the 2Bxx one lets you change the filter type. The most confusing of all filter commands is 2Cxx, the so called combined filter. From value 00 to 7F, it's a low pass filter, with 00 being completely closed, and 7F being completely open. Starting at 80, it's a high pass filter with 80 being completely open, and FF being completely closed. Having both of these on the same command is actually pretty sweet and lets you do stuff that would otherwise require a fair bit of manual work.

Skip Pattern (2Dxx)
If you've ever worked on music that has measures of different length, then you know how trackers are shit at handling this and not make a complete visual mess of it. This basically let's you end a pattern where you want, and move on to the next one, without suddenly making your sequence unreadable. Quite useful.

Tune Buzz (31xx / 32xx / 39xx / 3Axx / 3Fxx)
If your instrument uses the Buzz option, then these commands will let you change the parameters. The first one (31xx) will let you set the Detune into the positive numbers, while the second one (32xx) lets you tune it down into the negatives. The third command (39xx) lets you set the Fine Tune parameter, while the fourth one (3Axx) lets you set the Semitone value. The last command (3Fxx) changes the shape of the Buzz.

FM Parameters (33xx / 34xx / 35xx)
If your instrument uses FM, this set of command will let you change the parameters. You can change the Modulation with 33xx, the Feedback with 34xx, and the Multiplier with 35xx. These commands are hard to describe in writing and really need to be tinkered with in order to understand how they affect the sound. Go on...tinker.

Set Wavetable Item (3Bxx)
Another great command that goes unused and generally misunderstood. When you are using the wavetable in an instrument, the default is to refer to a specific wavetable item and stick with it. If you have Wave set to 0, then the instrument will use whatever is at position 0 in the wavetable as an oscillator. With this command however, you can change which wavetable item you are playing. This is an extremely creative command, and once again, you need to play around with it to fully grasp how cool it can be.

Absolute Arpeggio Note (4xxx)
This command was once nominated for the Most Pointless Shit In The Universe award. Unfortunately it came in third place, right after Ugg boots and Nicholas Cage. Basically what it does it change the pitch of your sound to whatever absolute note value you put in xxx. Sounds weird or confusing? This is something that people do when you have a limited number of channel and you need to mix instruments together. A kick that morphs into a bass for example. You input your kick, let's say at note C4. Then when the drum part of the instrument is over and its only the tonal bass sound, you can re-pitch it to something more musical. There are better and simpler ways to pull that off with other commands like 11xx or 12xx, or by simply adding more channels.

Wavetable Offset (5xxx)
This lets you offset the start point of a sample. Most commonly used on drum loops to trigger them from specific points in the loop. Back in the old days, this is how we did filter sweeps in a tracker that had no filter option. You'd record a long ass single-note filter sweep, and you'd move the offset to simulate moving the cutoff point.

Set Cutoff Fine (6xxx)
I can't really see  many situation where you'll need that level of precision on the cutoff, but if you ever need 4096 discreet increments instead of 256, this is what you'll be using.

Trigger Release (7Cxx)
This takes your unreleased album and puts it up on Bandcamp....I think. Or maybe it can be used to trigger the Release part of an instrument's envelope. Who knows? It's pretty much the same thing as putting a Note Off command directly in the channel, except that this time you can decide to trigger the release on a specific tick. A Note Off will always trigger the envelope on the first tick, but with this command you can offet that a little. The slower your song, the more useful the command. At speeds of 2 or 3, it becomes such a small difference that you're probably better off with the Note Off command just for clarity's sake when looking at your patterns.

Restart Instrument Program (7D00)
Another very fun and creative command that is rarely used. This command restarts the instrument's Program from the first row, without having to retrigger the instrument itself.

program specific commands
These commands can only be used inside an instrument's Program. Try as you might, you simply cannot input these commands in a pattern.

Goto (FFxx)
Lets you jump directly to a specific row inside the program. For example FF00 would send you back to the first row of the program. This is basically how you create arpeggios, tremolos, or any other kind of 'looping' effect in a instrument's program.

Loop (FD00, FExx)
The first command sets the start point of your loop, while the second one acts as the end point as well as deciding how many times to run the loop. For example, a FE10 command would go back to the previous FD00 ten times before finally moving on to the rest of the program. You can have as many of these loops as you want in a program, provided there's still space to put it. You can also nest loops inside each other. Are you familiar with coding? Then this should be easy for you to manage. If you're not used to nested loops, know that a FExx command will start looking "backwards" into the program until it finds a FD00 command.

Program End (FFFF)
By default, programs will loop. This command makes it possible to stop that. Useful when you have a program that only needs to run once.

....damn that took a long time to write. I hope it's useful to at least a few people.


now with 100% more Japanese!

Did you ever come to this blog thinking "I really wish I spoke english because none of this makes sense to me"?  (let's ignore the fact you couldn't read this question either if it was the case) Well now you can finally read it all....assuming you speak Japanese.

Takashi Kawano has taken upon himself to translate this blog (all of it! no joke!) for our Japanese brothers and sisters! How cool is that?

Give it a look-see here!


klystrack tutorial - melodies and textures

Alright, this time I'm going to write something that's actually fun to write about. Instead of the super technical bullshit of describing precise settings and whatnot, I'm just going to ramble on for a while about various tips, tricks and techniques I've picked up over the years.

making subtle from obvious
As contradictory as it may first appear, making chiptunes in a tracker is all about being subtle. Even if the aesthetics of chip music make it sound "raw" and "simple", the really great songs out there are all great because of the detail work, the fluff that often goes unnoticed until it's removed from the music. Subtlety becomes that much more important when your basic tools and elements are clunky oldschool digital crap. When your palette is so limited, subtle differences become more important. If you have 500 oscillator shapes to choose from, you're going to put a 50/50 Pulse in the same category as a 25/75 Pulse. But when your selection of shapes is cut down to less than 10, then a 50/50 Pulse is one thing, and a 25/75 is something entirely different. Hell, they're two different instruments. They are as different from each other as a guitar is from a piano, for your needs.

In Klystrack, the Pulse wave as 128 discreet increments between 0/100 and 50/50. That means 127 different possible textures that are all different. Sure a Pulse of 7FF is really really similar to a Pulse of 7EF, but what I mean is... there's 128 fucking possibilities, not 3. So even though a Pulse wave is something very very simple, you can get a LOT of mileage out of it if you train your ear for it.

more than the sum of the parts
Something you learn the hard way, over many years, at least in my case, I'd assume, is that the overuse, and general abuse, of commas in a sentence, will piss off most readers. One other thing you learn over many a long year spent making music is that it doesn't fucking matter if your bass/guitar/whatever riff sounds like the universe is exploding in an orgasmic firework of tits and beer. If it turns to mush when you add in the other instruments, or if its punchy character gets lost in the mix, all your hard work to get that one specific instrument sound like the bomb will have been in vain. 

Have you ever listened to an acapella? Or had the chance to listen to a professionally recorded song track by track? If so, then you know how ugly everything sounds when any one track is soloed. One classic example is the guitar solo in Pink Floyd's Time, off of DSotM. This is one of the cleanest ever prod ever on any album ever, ever. But if you watch the making-of documentary, you'll get a part where they solo that solo (hah) and you hear how fucking dirty and trashy the guitar sound is. I mean it's all kinds of distorted with handling noise and fret buzz and families of rats eating at the pickups while the guitar is repeatedly drilled through, underwater, on fire, in New Jersey. Sounds like a retarded three year old (with an extreme talent for melody, and the capacity to lift a heavy mid-60s stratocaster) was playing. Yet when the rest of the song is put back on, the whole thing just kicks your balls in.

Many times you'll need something like...I don't know, strings. You want some string chords, or melody or whatever. You fire up Klystrack and realize that after two weeks of hard work without any sleep, your "strings" still sound like a motherfucking beep in a motherfucking synth (starring Samuel L. Chipson). Well you know what? It will always sound like a beep. Deal with it.

What important is not that this one particular instrument sounds so much like that thing you want it to sound like. You know why? Because, at least as far as I know, people don't listen to your project's original tracks in a studio, they listen to the final mix, on their stupid computer. To them it doesn't matter how much your sound sounds like the sound you want your sound to sound. They want a song. Not data.

As for you, you should not be trying to communicate through sound how clever an instrument is made unless the purpose of your music is actually about technical wizardry (hey... it's valid too). But for more musical purposes, if your idea was to have strings play a particular part, then all you need to do is convey the idea of strings

Well how the jolly fuckpoop do you do that, I hear none of you ask? Easy: as long as it kinda sounds like strings when the rest of the song is playing, you've got strings. You can fiddle around with the subtleties (see previous) of the settings until you get a better sounding instrument, but once the basic set up of the instrument is made, the bulk of the editing should be done while other sounds are playing. It doesn't need to be constant, you can edit, then play, then edit, then play. But you need to check how it fucking sounds with the rest. I personally like to edit the basics of a sound, then make a simple pattern that fits well with the song I'm composing and then loop that pattern over and over. I'll tell solo the instrument I'm editing and start choosing other channels to bring into the mix as I edit my sound. For example:

1) Make basic instrument, create pattern, loop pattern.

2) I'll unmute the drums first. Drums are usually the loud points in a song, so I'll use them to set the general coarse volume of my instrument. If it's glaringly too soft or loud, that's where I fix it.

3) Unmute the bass next. Again I check for volume. I adjust my instrument's volume until it sits well with the bass.

4) Start editing the instrument until the texture sounds kickass with the rest playing.

5) Unmute another channel and go back to number 4 until everything is unmuted.

The same goes for FX editing. Test it against your track, every time! Sure as balls, every single solo instrument in the world sounds better with chorus and reverb and a bit of compression, and maybe a little tape sat here, some quiet slapback, eq the fret buzz out, noise print the shit out of it and use a reducer, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there we are, sounds like a ton of bricks. Treat every track this way and when they're all playing together, you get a bombastic mess of shit that sounds too blown up. Some shit needs to be in mono. Some shit needs to NOT have a five minute delay with infinite feedback and gnomes. So when you add effects to your track, just like when you add instruments to your song, repeatedly check them with the track playing, and do the bulk of your editing there. 

Treat your main melody like a singer
No that doesn't mean to wait until the show is over and then try to have sex with your main melody backstage. It means to put some life into your shit. And I don't mean growing mushrooms on a turd. What was I talking about? 

A good singer doesn't just hit the notes as they are written. Same goes for instruments where the performance is more than just speed and volume. The guitar is similar to a singer in that notes can be bent willy nilly. Good singers, and good guitar players, put feeling into their craft. And as dumb as it sounds, in pure technical empirical data, feeling in music pretty much translates directly to going off key / out of tune. 

So your main melody is, let's say, C E F F G. Pretty boring melody and I'm not convinced you should continue this song, but who am I to judge your art? You want to put more life into it. Some pzaaz, or hutzpah, or other vaguely jewish-sounding words without proper dictionary entries. Some tricks:

1) Bend down at the end of sustained notes. It's that simple. Once in a while you'll have a note in your melody where this little trick will make the notes pop out a little more. At the very end of a note, about 1 to 4 rows depending on your speed, you can add a little 2XX effect to pitch the sound down. You can do subtle pitch bends (210 or 220) to add a touch of guitar-like playing. You can add more pronounced portamentos up to 2FF to make more extreme bends. The subtle stuff works best to conserve the melodic aspect of the song. More extreme version often add a distinct chiptune feel. Try different stuff out. You previous melody could bend down between the two F notes, breaking the repetitiveness of two consecutive notes.

2) Bend up to your note. Directly inspired by vocals and guitars, bending UP to a note is usually a very fast bend from a note that's not too far down. In most cases you'll find that one to three notes down the scale will be just perfect for the effect you're shooting for, or the next note down in a chord. This is done by inputing two notes back to back, and making the second one a legato note with a slide effect. Let's say the last note of your melody, the G, is on row 16, and the key of your song is C. You can slide up from C, D, E or F, up to G and it should sound pretty good. Any more distance than that and the portamento will take longer and might not reach the note in time. Could be cool for effects though! Let's say you choose D, because you want the D. On row 16, instead of having G, you put D. Your G now goes on row 17. And on that G note, you add the L ans S effect in the effect column by tapping the "1" key when the cursor is on the first two digits of the effect column. There ya go.

3) If you listen closely to a vocal performance, or guitar solo, you'll notice that a LOT of the notes in the melody have vibrato added to them. Sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle, vibrato adds a little life to otherwise stale and mechanical melodies. There are two basic ways to do vibrato: you either use the vibrato function built into the instrument itself, or you do it all manually in the Command column. If you do it directly from the instrument itself, you'll have a little bit less control over how the vibrato is acting, but it will also be much simpler to use later on. If you do everything manually, you'll get perfect control over everything, but it takes about 800 years to edit it all by hand. The best solution in my opinion is to switch between one and the other according to what the song needs at any given time. I usually reserve the instrument's vibrato for subtle / musical effects, and I keep the manual work for when I need a more extreme or complex vibrato.

4) Let the fucking silence speak a bit. Too many newcomers to music fall into the habit of layering 600 instruments together while they all play 16 notes per beat. This is especially true in electronic music where the "emptiness" between notes can be seen on your screen. Seeing these holes, the amateur musician almost invariably thinks "dammit! must fill everything!" and then ruins a perfectly serviceable song. Don't be afraid to let the song breathe a bit. When a particular part of your song isn't clicking right, sometimes fixing it isn't about adding new stuff, but removing the extra bullshit. In music, less is almost always more. Do you really NEED all those notes? I mean sure you can fit them in, keep them in key, and make something that sounds okay. But was it necessary to convey the idea? Can you achieve the same effect with less? Yes? Then do so.

5) And if you must speak, it's okay to repeat yourself. A lot of people just starting out in music develop the reflex to try and avoid repeating a note twice or more times in a row. The thought process behind it is usually that you don't want the audience to think you couldn't come up with an actual real melody. But that's bullshit. In fact, using the same note over and over again creates tension and anticipation for the next change and can be used to great effect. So y'know... don't be afraid to have C-C-C-C-C-D#-F as a melody if that's what kicks the song into second gear.

Well that's it. Those were just random thoughts about music and tracking in general. Next time, we'll take a long look at all the stuff you can use in the Command column.


mid-winter's spring cleaning

Well it had to happen at some point. The blog is changing. I've decided to make myself a more professional looking website to present my music and hunt for freelance work. Meanwhile, I didn't want to just delete this blog and the tutorials on it because they are still quite popular, for some weird reason. 

I've wanted to make a Klystrack resource site for a while now so I decided I would just turn this blog into precisely that. I've removed all the non-Klystrack posts and I will be re-editing the tutorials to better reflect the changes in recent versions. 

Along with that, I have setup a file section where I will be hosting instrument libraries, keymaps and example songs for people to download and abuse of. I don't have much hosting on this here blog, but I should be able to squeeze in a few tracking files.

So bear with me for a bit while I noodle about the site and change stuff.