Make NES Music With LMMS



Introduction: Make NES Music With LMMS

About: I build projects using arduino nano / esp32 / arduino micro and also arduino mkr1010

LMMS has a module named Nescaline that reproduces NES sound.

We are going to use this free music production software, to make music, 8bit style!

  • First we will take a look at LMMS interface
  • Then we will learn how to create a pattern
  • Finally, we will create our song

We are going to use a premade session already setup to make NES music.

There are also examples, check them out!

As always all documentation/files are available on github in english/french :

Step 1: LMMS Interface

Before we start, let's take a look at LMMS Interface, if you have already use Fruity Loop, this should looks familiar.

  • Piano Roll : where you create a pattern : a group of notes
  • Song Editor : where you use your patterns to create a song
  • FX Mixer : where you can set the volume of each instruments
  • Instruments : Click on CH1/CH2/CH3/CH4 in the song editor to display the instruments.

Here we have 4 instruments, each instruments is assigned to the 4 channels of our nes

  • CH1 / CH2 generates pulse wave, for the melody
  • CH3 generates triangle wave, for the bass
  • CH4 generates noise, for the percussions

For more information, check out this two videos on youtube

Step 2: Create a Pattern

We will now see how to create a pattern, each pattern consists of 1 or more measure.

To create a pattern, go to the song editor :

  • Click on an empty box on the instrument you want
  • Double-click on the box to display it in the piano roll

We can now create our pattern in the piano roll.

  • Create a note: Left-Click on the piano roll
  • Move a note: Left-Click on a note
  • Resize a note: Left-Click on the right corner of the note
  • Delete a note: Right-Click
  • Play the pattern : Space bar

Step 3: Create a Song

If you want to hear all the patterns:
Click on the song editor and press the Space Bar

Create a loop

By default, the song will not loop

  • Turn on/off loop : Left click on the two green triangles (Enable/Disable loop points)
  • Move loop start : Middle-click
  • Move loop end : Right click

Copy/Paste a pattern

  • Left-Click on an empty box where you want to copy your pattern
  • Right-Click on the pattern / Copy
  • Right-Click on the empty pattern / Paste

You can erase a pattern with a middle click

Step 4: Modify Instruments

Click on CH1/CH2/CH3/CH4 in the song editor to display the instruments.

Try to modify each instruments, each channel is on his own line.

  • VOL : Volume
  • CRS : Tuning (Note by note) (1 --> C3 become C#3)
  • ENV/LEN : Reduce length of note
  • ∞ : Repeat note
  • Width : Change sound
  • Sweep/AMT/Rate : Change pitch of notes progressively
  • Note : Noise changes depending of note
  • Mode : Noise sounds more metallic

Step 5: Summary

Here for the basis, I hope it's inspired you to make rad old-school music (It's so bad!)

If you made a music using this tutorial, Please post it in the comments!

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