Future of tracker music

Started by Alex TEHb, August 15, 2020, 04:53:10

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Alex TEHb

I began to write music to the 90th on ZX-Spectrum.
It was difficult to make everything that you want and to find room for it to 3 canals of the sound processor. But it was demanded by that time and possibilities of the equipment.

Then there was PC, sound cards with MIDI.
The main advantage of tracker music was that the module comprised ALL necessary for reproduction, despite the small size.

There is no need for small file size today. VSTi as before in MIDI, lie out of the module.
From true Tracker editor there was only a structure of creation of the module. It also attracts me. On the contrary, pushes away someone...

Traditionally tracker music is considered, so-called, Demo-Scene. And where other styles?
Why they so are not enough? Today in Tracker it is possible to make almost any style...

There can be a problem in weak distribution of editors? I understand that there is no advertizing because it is the free project of enthusiasts. But also on torrents I very seldom see distributions of Tracker editors.

It is unlikely, someone keeps statistics, but it would be interesting to know at least the approximate number of users of Tracker editors. 

Saga Musix

QuoteBut also on torrents I very seldom see distributions of Tracker editors.
I know some people live by the mantra that a software doesn't exist if there's no torrent for it, but I see absolutely no reason for free software to be provided as a torrent if it's a small download anyway.

Trackers are clearly less desirable for the common user due to their steep learning curve, hence they are not so popular. I think that's inherent to the concept and not something that would be fixed by better advertising, more torrents or whatever. However, I can tell you that the number of OpenMPT users (according to our statistics) has been rising over the course of the last years. The user base is all but dead (although maybe not very vocal).
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Alex TEHb

It is a pity that such good tool is ignored. It seems to me, the more audience, the it is more than ideas for development...

AIMP Player is very widespread in Russia.
On my question of support of a MPTM format, they answered that is known only by MTM, but he died. The only thing, promised to enter in the following versions the line "Artist" at the Tags display in the IT files. (Before there was only a line "Name of a Song").

Saga Musix

Quote from: Alex TEHb on August 15, 2020, 11:55:48It is a pity that such good tool is ignored. It seems to me, the more audience, the it is more than ideas for development...
Quite honestly, I am happy with the amount of users we have. We already have more ideas than we can ever implement, and while some people claim that more users would automatically attract more developers, I am convinced the opposite is true: The more users an open-source project has, the worse the user-to-developer ratio usually is.
Currently we basically have two developers and several thousand active users. If we now had a million users, this wouldn't mean that suddenly we had a thousand active developers. We'd probably have ten more developers but a million more ideas how to "improve" the software.

Regarding external software, I can only recommend for them to use libopenmpt to play MPTM files. There's just too many little details to get right because the format is largely backwards-compatible to previous OpenMPT versions, and libopenmpt is pretty much the only way to play every MPTM file the way it was intended to be played.
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Alex TEHb

I am completely satisfied with OpenMPT and its support.
There is not enough, exactly, audience of users, a variety of styles.

Alas, did not save the link, once was on the Polish website. There were more rock compositions.
And there could be also classical music, a techno, industrial, new age, etc. If it was more users...

Looking at mod-archive, it seems that except electro-house nothing else in the trekerny editor can be made.
But same not so!
Everything rests to users and availability of various instruments.

Therefore started this conversation.
What is necessary to interest people?

Saga Musix

QuoteLooking at mod-archive, it seems that except electro-house nothing else in the trekerny editor can be made.
While it is true that most people are probably making electornic music with trackers, ModArchive features a much wider variety of music. The problem isn't that it doesn't exit, it's rather than it's very hard to organize and structure all this data. There was a big metal tracking scene in the late 90s, and lots of its output can be found on ModArchive (and more is to be added in the following months).

QuoteWhat is necessary to interest people?
I'd say that they themselves have to be ready to live with the idiosyncratic nature of how trackers do certain things. As said, there is a steep learning curve compared to regular sequencers, one has to be motivated to take this learning curve. Why learn for years how to make authentic-sounding metal music in a tracker when it's so much easier to just record 4 tracks from real instruments into a DAW?
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To add to what already has been said, when writing music, its really a matter of using the tool you are most comfortable in. When it comes to abilities between a tracker and a sequencer, nowadays they are mostly equal. By that I mean, if one knows the tools well enough, they can make the exact same song in both pieces of software, but it may go easier in one vs the other.

It is this nuance that makes it so that a tracker is not that widely used. I do use OpenMPT, but I also use a sequencer but for different type of projects. When creating a song, my methodology is different for a tracker vs a sequencer. In a sequencer, I'll record my midi notes using a keyboard while I hit the record button and do it track by track. In a tracker, I work pattern to pattern and usually work in groups of 4 patterns.

The biggest reason for me to go for a tracker over a sequencer, is if I want to create a module, for example for a demo project. Another reason could be to create chiptunes, something that is so much easier in a tracker.

So... it really does matter what one would want to accomplish whether or not their choice of software is determined on beforehand.

When it comes to modern music, one should keep in mind that a tracker works really well when you are one person composing the entire music. If you are in a band/group and you want to compose as a group, a tracker will make things so much harder than a sequencer by definition alone because you then have performers. They just want to play their instrument, so all you need to do is hit record. One could even just hit record and have a jam session, and then one person uses whatever was played to construct the real song, something that is much harder to do with a tracker and external sound recorder.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Alex TEHb

Decided to sum up the results.

Reflected on future Tracker music, and it is necessary to compare it to sequencer.
It is not absolutely correct, but itself arises...

= Possibilities of tracker and sequencer, approximately, identical.

- Certainly, to learn to write tracker music it is more difficult (but not on many), than in a sequencer.
- Work with VST in sequencers, perhaps, is thought more over and is supported better.
- It is more difficult to find ready instuments for the tracker.

+ Free Tracker.
+ Tracker does not demand knowledge of musical notation (however, with arrival of Piano Roll the sequencers made up for this point).

Sequencers are more attractive, but thousands of people still work in trackers.
What keeps us in it? Habit?
Then, the majority of trackerman - people very adult...
But me, apparently, as among us it is a lot of youth...


Hello, I would like to add to this discussion, I believe that some reasons why most musically talented people don't use trackers is because 1. Composers might prefer scoring software like Musescore or a Daw like Cakewalk by Bandlab, both of which are free and very powerful, 2. Because Mod tracking software is attached to a subculture that at times seems to be dark and evil looking, especially when people use names like "Dark Virus" or something like that, it doesn't exactly appear very friendly or normal, quite the opposite, it looks demented, dark and evil. I first found Amiga mod music in the early 90's like 1993/94 and some of the songs I found had the word "demon" in the name or "hell" or "satan", this makes mod tracker people look demented and twisted and normal people ie. non-satanic people find those kind of things very undesirable and even scary. The Amiga Mod Tracker community has painted themselves as being satanic because of the song names and forum user names they choose to use (and I'm not just talking about this forum, but also other Amiga mod music sites and tracker sites). Daws like Cakewalk by Bandlab and Pro Tools on the other hand are used by most musicians and probably Cakewalk is used even more these days because it is now free, there is also Musescore 3, Tux Guitar and Audacity.

Saga Musix

It has been asserted before that your opinion on the tracker scene is completely baseless and there are countless counter-examples. Yes, you will find users making dark music using all kinds of software. It's only your personal perception that people in the tracking exclusively make "dark" or "satanic" music and that noone else outside of the scene does that.

If you think we are all just a bunch of satanists, can you please just leave us alone and stop re-registering to the forum to re-assert this nonsense? And while you are at it, please stop judging our forum users by their name, thank you.
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How old are you Saga Musix, 16 or maybe 9? My perception is based on what I see and I see a lot of 666, demon, satan and a lot of other childish crap in the tracker scene. I don't see this kind of stuff on the Musescore Forum for instance. And if I have misinterpreted who you are, my apologies. And yes sometimes the truth hurts. The reason I left this forum the first time was becaause of this stuff but I thought I would give it another chance but if you (Sagamusix) are going to shout at me like a 9 year old child because maybe Dark Virus is a friend of yours then I may reconsider. I was only using that particular user name as an example of the many user handles I have seen on different forums in the tracker scene. Maybe your one of those Millennials that don't like old guys and I'm an 80's kid and I saw the beginning of the tracker music scene on the old dial in BBS's that I used to dial into with a Modem back in the late 80's and early 90's so I know what I am talking about because I have been around for quite a long time, and I am not saying everyone in the tracker music scene/Demoscene is satanic but too many give the impression that they are.

I used to play with OpenMPT back when Oliver was still developing it and it was called ModPlug Tracker. Don't get me wrong I thing Music trackers are pretty cool but I was just giving my impression about the Tracker/Demoscene, no need to jump all over me, I realize I have spoken about this type of thing before, but I thought it was worth restating in a little different way. Do you always tell people you disagree with to go away? And I never said you are all a bunch of satanists did I?

Alex TEHb

I wrote about technical capabilities, an udobnost of writing and a raprostraneniya of trackers music...
I am surprised how people find a pretext to change the subject in everything.

OMPT is means of self-expression, instrument.
Who will use this instrument and that at it will turn out - depends on the person!
Dear, Soundman, you can use OMPT and make the LIGHT contribution in fight against dark and gloomy.
Write pure, inspiring music.
I think, from it there will be more advantage, than from a talk...


You are right Alex, and I like the way you explained it to me.

Saga Musix

QuoteHow old are you Saga Musix, 16 or maybe 9?
Ah, an ad-hominem attack. Or is it ageism? I hope you are aware that those rank quite lowly in rhethoric arguments (read: they are plain old insults). But I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given that you previously asserted that "tracker music [is] always so demented" (direct quote). If you want to have a serious discussion on this topic, you should leave those insults against me and our community, and the generalizations at the door.
But I will ignore that for now and try to give you a serious answer. And it will be my last one on that topic.

QuoteMy perception is based on what I see and I see a lot of 666, demon, satan and a lot of other childish crap in the tracker scene.
When the tracker scene was in its infancy (so the late 80s/90s), many contributors were indeed kids or teenagers, few of them were young adults. Anything they did is merely a mirror of youth culture. None of these themes are exclusive to the tracker scene at all.
Most of those people grew up (some of them just grew old). Some decided to nevertheless stick to the funny and weird nicknames they chose during their teenage years, because why not - people are normally not judged by their nicknames. Lots of people you see here and in other music communities you mentioned are the very same people that already where in the scene back then. A nickname doesn't tell you whether someone is a "dark" person or not, in fact I would argue most of those people are decent human beings nowadays (maybe they weren't when they were teenagers).
That being said, the "demonic crap" you see is a minority in absolute terms, just like in more mainstream music, and it is typically used jokingly. I just briefly scanned through my playlist of thousands of modules and I couldn't really find anything satanic in song titles. Obviously that doesn't mean that there is no such stuff - but I think you have a perception bias here because you are aware of an apparent problem and now you see it everywhere. Quite honestly, you are much more likely to find a huge amount of dehumanizing, sexist and misogynistic lyrics in mainstream music these days and I think some of those are real issues compared to the fun some people had in the tracking scene during their teenage years (and sometimes beyond that).

QuoteI don't see this kind of stuff on the Musescore Forum for instance.
I dunno, just on the frontpage of the Musescore forum I found a post by someone named "undeadman05" - that's also quite a dark and unfriendly nickname, don't you think? But maybe you chose to ignore that because you are already convinced that their community is better. I guess the actual question remains - why are these nicknames a problem for you to begin with? Why can't you just let people be themselves?

It seems like your perception is heavily skewed against the scene, maybe because you had an issue with the Amiga scene (or a few people of it) in the 90s. But what you basically claim to be unique to the tracker scene is not unique at all. Let's have a look at the rest of the music world:
There are lots of metal bands playing music with "satanic" lyrics. Is this a reason for you to shun any electric guitar, any drum kit, and any other tool used to make this music because a few people in the metal scene jokingly sing about satan?
Other genres like EBM are very popular in the electronic music scene and often have apocalyptic, dark lyrics. They are not made using trackers, but most often using popular mainstream tools like Cubase. Is this now a reason for you avoid Cubase (and its community) as well and say that the entire electronic music scene is a bunch of dark / satanic / negative people? By following your logic that the entire Amiga community painted themselves as being satanic (because a handful of artist chose such themes), you also have to extend the fact that anyone using a guitar (or maybe every rock/metal band) is just as bad as the few metal bands singing about satan. If you agree that this wouldn't make any sense, then please reconsider what you said about the tracker scene.

I hope from these examples it's clear that (close to) noone in the aforementioned groups takes the stuff they sing about seriously, and that you cannot extend your opinion on a few individuals to an entire group (that's called discrimination). The same is true about the tracker scene and its handles. You need to adjust your sense for reality and start to understand that noone here or in aforementioned subcultures means to be satanic or unfriendly, and I believe that is crystal-clear to the average listener and most people don't take any offense in it. If you don't like that, that's fine but then please ignore those communities / genres instead of forcing your opinion on them.

QuoteDo you always tell people you disagree with to go away?
I'm a patient person but when you keep bombarding me with the same nonsense arguments again and again, I may lose my patience with you, yes. You have added nothing new to your posts from a few months ago so why do you have to bring up the same topic again? You could just have moved on instead of registering on the forums again to tell us how wrong we all are (according to your standards). And most importantly in the context of this thread, the real reasons why only few people use trackers have already been established and are well-known. If you don't believe me, you just need to search a bit (e.g. on social media) and you will notice that many people shy away from trackers due to their sheer complexity - not because they find the community appalling. It's quite obvious that an extremely technical niche product will never be as popular as its more intuitive, less technical counterparts. And while we're at it, new tracker users are mostly young teenagers who have no issues with weird nicknames, so it's unlikely that they shy away from the scene for the reason you claim.

And no, I wasn't shouting, not even figuratively. That's what you interpret into someone disagreeing with you.

PS: This is an open, inclusive community but a line has to be drawn when people are intolerant against the rest of the community. And that includes people who try to "salvage" me by sending unsolicited bible quotes.
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I am not intolerant against the community, but I guess I generalized to much and for that I apologize.
But I don't understand why you consider someone sharing Holy Scripture with you as though they did violence to you. I was sharing the words of life with you and warning you of the judgment to come, how is that a bad thing. When I saw the link on your personal webpage called "Satanic Kids Enterprises" I not knowing you interpreted that to mean that you were into satanism, so I wanted to warn you of the judgment to come and show you the way of salvation from the second death in the Lake of fire, so am I a bad person for doing that, no, evil people don't care if someone goes to hell, but I care. By the way Saga Musix, are you threatening me when you said you might lose your patience with me? We're you planning on using the force choke on me like Darth Vader 🙂