Even though I liked Robert Duguay’s Nine Songs in Pico-8, the fact that they were not freely-licensed always bothered me. I decided to make my own.
Actually, other than transcribing a few songs ‒ some partially, some fully ‒ I never made a full song before. I never even went through formal music training other than eevee’s post on music. Here, I just went by a sort of mindful intuition: while some of this was me going by what “sounds great”, I also asked myself questions that I felt that should be asked, the main one being, “Does this contribute to the overall feeling I want to convey?” I ended up with a song that “tells a story,” so to speak.
I made these in the music tool of WarioWare: DIY, used a male-male 3.5 mm cable from the headphone slot in my New 3DS XL to the microphone slot in a computer I use, then recorded, modified and exported them in Audacity. (I wish the in-game player did not make a sound when you start playing the song…) The MIDI files came from the WarioWare DIY Editor.
Time to Panic!!!
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Almost every music tool was either too complicated (LMMS) or too restricted (Advanced Mario Sequencer). The one tool that managed to hit the best medium was, surprisingly, the music editor tool in WarioWare: DIY.
The audio range is varied yet not overbearing; 32 instruments (not counting the drum sets) provide the sound behind 2 scales that provide the notes of 4 tracks and a rhythm/drum track. The actual interface is extremely intuitive; because every note and 4 phrases make a grid located behind the Touch Screen, I can place notes intuitively, the name of the note appearing when I place the note. Of course, there is also a piano besides the grid, which lets me determine a note by ear, though, sadly, does not display the note when I touch the respective key. I can also copy and move the notes within the grid and between the two pages that, together, make an 8-phrase “block”. I can also test how an instrument sounds both by itself and in the context of one or every track. There is also volume control, undo, and import from other “blocks”. The “block” interface itself permits easy movement and copying of blocks. I can even move the flag that marks the end of a song, letting me move “experimental” “blocks” past the flag. Other notable features include “block”-undo and tempo-alteration.
More advanced music-makers may be aghast at my preferrence of such a “primitive” tool but this tool is the best fit to my needs.