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do re bB : the BASICs of batari music


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#1 kisrael OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:38 PM

I've made a new page, do re bB, an introduction to making music on the Atari....from the introduction...

Music on the Atari 2600 is a little odd. To put it simply, the way an Atari makes sounds means it can't play the "normal" notes that make up Western music.

The good news is that batari BASIC makes it pretty easy to experiment with the sound capabilities of the 2600. It doesn't have built in sound commands, per se, but it's pretty easy to write the logic to set the 6 special TIA variables that control what's coming out of your TV speakers while your bB program is under way.

(Incidentally, everything in this page (except for the code samples) applies to people coding in ASM as well.)

The 2600 can play two tones at once. It has several different "voices" ("distortions") that either voice can be set to (some good for music, some good for sound or drum effects), and each voice is set to one of 32 values that control the pitch.

This page can't make a musician out of you...it will help if you know the very basics of music: what notes are, and how letters are used to describe notes and all that stuff. Also, this page will mostly discuss music, not ideas for Sound Effects, which have to share the same two voices.

Check it out and let me know what you think. One of the coolest things is a new tool webTune2600... actually just a friendly wrapper to Thomas Jentzsch's old Tune2600. Just check the notes you want off the piano or guitar UI and hit the button, and it will return the values to use.

#2 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

Random Terrain

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Posted Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:05 PM

I'd like webTune2600 better if we could hear the notes, but I guess there is only so much you can do with an online tool. I can use Anvil Studio's on screen piano keyboard to figure out which notes I want to play. Anvil Studio lets you choose a keyboard shortcut for 'Lock Score' so I can bang away at the keyboard until I hit the note I want, quickly unlock with the keyboard shortcut, then add the note. Between Anvil Studio and webTune2600, I should be able to do something (if I ever want to add music).

Thanks.

#3 kisrael OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:21 PM

I'd like webTune2600 better if we could hear the notes, but I guess there is only so much you can do with an online tool. I can use Anvil Studio's on screen piano keyboard to figure out which notes I want to play. Anvil Studio lets you choose a keyboard shortcut for 'Lock Score' so I can bang away at the keyboard until I hit the note I want, quickly unlock with the keyboard shortcut, then add the note. Between Anvil Studio and webTune2600, I should be able to do something (if I ever want to add music).

On [stella] someone posted generated soundalike samples of all the TIA distortions and pitches, so something a bit like that could be kind of possible in Java or something...

I think what I'm reall missing is something to capture the timing of more complex rhythms...

#4 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:07 PM

On [stella] someone posted generated soundalike samples of all the TIA distortions and pitches, so something a bit like that could be kind of possible in Java or something...

View Post

I wasn't even thinking about that, I was just thinking about generic piano type samples for those who don't know what C, D, E, and so on sound like, but that would be cool if you could use TIA sound-alike samples in some kind of online tool.

#5 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 19, 2005 11:18 PM

One of the coolest things is a new tool webTune2600... actually just a friendly wrapper to Thomas Jentzsch's old Tune2600.


Doesn't seem all that useful, the little I've tried it; what's really needed is a way to optimally choose a base pitch according to the notes required in the various timbres so that the notes one uses will be optimally in tune with each other, without regard for concert pitch. Except for timbres 4/5 and 12/13, the different timbres sound different from each other and should nto be mixed in an effort to get correct pitches (different timbres may be used together, but the selection should be based on the desired timbre, not pitch).

#6 kisrael OFFLINE  

kisrael

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Posted Sat Aug 20, 2005 6:25 AM

One of the coolest things is a new tool webTune2600... actually just a friendly wrapper to Thomas Jentzsch's old Tune2600.


Doesn't seem all that useful, the little I've tried it; what's really needed is a way to optimally choose a base pitch according to the notes required in the various timbres so that the notes one uses will be optimally in tune with each other, without regard for concert pitch.

Errr...right, that's exactly what Tune2600 does....it tries different base pitches 'til it finds one where the notes are in tune relative TO EACH OTHER as possible.

Except for timbres 4/5 and 12/13, the different timbres sound different from each other and should nto be mixed in an effort to get correct pitches (different timbres may be used together, but the selection should be based on the desired timbre, not pitch).

By "timbre" you mean distortion channel, right?
According to Thomas' Original Post Tune2600 only uses 4,6,12,14, which should be "pure tones". I wrote a quick experiment that uses Tune2600's suggestion of c3 and e3 in distortion 12 and d3 in distortion 6, and while there's a difference in "timbre" it seems to flow ok.

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