How Protracker and Amiga changed the music industry

Trackers have been a favoured way of making music on the Commodore Amiga ever since Karsten Obarski introduced this novel approach to create soundtracks. Although there were more powerful programs around when the first Soundtracker appeared, the ease of use made the Soundtracker a winner amongst the many amateur musicians. To get the computer to sound like real instruments, digitized sounds are used, i.e. samples. A sample is a sequence of bytes which describes the waveform of the sound. Each byte represents one point on the waveform. Depending on the wave, it will sound like a piano, a guitar or even a cow bell or a drum. If you think this sounds difficult, don’t despair. It’s fully possible to make wonderful music without knowing anything about digitized sound. The duration of the sound depends on the length of the sequence and the pitch of the note.

High pitches give short notes, and low pitches give long notes. Usually, the bytes are run through only once when a note is played, but the sample can be repeated partially or wholly to create longer notes. A song consists of up to 127 positions, each referring to a sequence of notes, called a pattern. The same pattern can be used several times in the position table, which contains the information about what pattern should be played at what position. Each pattern has four tracks, which means that the tracker can play four notes simultaneously. The patterns can be from 1 to 64 steps long, usually depending on the time signature of the song. It is the patterns that actually contain the music. When the song is played, it starts at position 0 and goes through the table until the last position has been reached. It will then usually restart at position 0, but this can be changed to another position, or to no restart at all. Many people started there music career using the Commodore Amiga, Daniel Ruczko is one of them he started producing music at the age of 12 on his Amiga 500 computer using ProTracker. Another is Danish techno hero Kölsch starting his career with the Commodore Amiga 500 and 512KB RAM. And offcourse DJ Ravi is doing an amazing job with his live mixing sessions using two Amiga 1200 computers and PT-1210 Mk1 Protracker Digital Turntable. In the end, many people started making music with the Commodore Amiga and no surprise here, the Commodore Amiga offered wonderfull audio capabilities! The perfect machine for people wanting more then an ordinary PC.

news source: various sources / image source: Pexels / watch on Youtube (Ms Mad Lemon/The basics of Protracker)

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