MT32 Tracker

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MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-11 @ 12:35

Hi there!

Today I decided to release my old MT32 Tracker, an app I worked on for two years (I can't believe it now!). I stopped working on it in 2004 and it is far from finished, but I suppose someone else might find it useful too or at least have some fun with it and their good old MT32 module :-)
The MT32 is really a sweet thing and I was not able to find any tracker-style application for it, so I resolved to create my own. Even though it's not finished, it's still my greates feat ever ;-) I still enjoy toying with the app, even after these years...
The app consists of the tracker itself (M32TRACK.EXE) and a standalone player of the .M32 files (M32PLAY.EXE). A few .M32 files I created are added just to give you a way to test the app on your MT32. None of them is a complete song, mind you ;-D Both are in the textmode only, no graphics, sorry. And there are features that used to be planned but did not make it into the application :(
The first thing you are supposed to do to get it running is to run SETUP.BAT and choose the port of your MT32 (if you are unsure, it will probably be 0x330). There is no README file included, but I will post some info if there is any interest.
After setting the port, you can try running M32PLAY with any of the .M32 files as a parameter (for example: M32PLAY CLARINET.M32) and your MT32 should beep with pleasure ;-) Then run the tracker itself, try to put in some notes (the controls are really similar to any standard digital tracker like Scream Tracker or the nowadays ruler Renoise) and press F5 to play it.

I am releasing this as a "useware", so there are only two thing I expect the user to do:
1) use it
2) send me some nice tunes the user created :-)

Other than that, use it for any purpose you like.

Cheers

WhiteFalcon
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M32TRACK.ZIP
MT32 Tracker by WhiteFalcon
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby Thunder » 2007-12-12 @ 03:43

Hey that's pretty cool. I've never heard of a midi tracker before.

If you wrote it in 2002, why on earth is it a dos program? seems rather strange to write a dos app in this day and age.

Some of those tunes are pretty decent, If only i had some musical talent i could make my own.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-12 @ 08:42

Hey Thunder, thanks! It is a DOS program because MT-32's native system was DOS in it's era, I have always liked DOS and frankly, never have learned to code in windows for some reason.
Try to compose something, maybe you will be surprised to find a talent you were not aware of :-)
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-12 @ 09:44

I realized that the controls are in general similar to standard tracker controls, but not all of them, so:

Letters - used to write notes (Z-M is the first octave, Q-P the second)
/ write a silencer (the track will stop playing when the silencer is reached)
+ change octave up, - change octave down
] change the channel of the MT-32 up, [ change it down
' increase playing speed, ; decrease it

F2 - save the .M32 song (write it without the extension)
F3 - load an .M32 song (write it without the extension)
F5 - play the song
F9 - setup the MT-32's channels/instruments and their volume
F10 - Quit

CTRL+INSERT - Add a new pattern after current
CTRL+DELETE - Delete current pattern
F12 - Move to next pattern
F11 - Move to previous pattern

Copying is pretty standard:

hold ALT to select a block to copy, then
ALT+F4 - copy the block to the memory
ALT+F5 - paste the block
ALT+F3 - delete selected notes

SHIFT+F4 - copy selected track
SHIFT+F5 - paste selected track
SHIFT+F3 - delete selected track

CTRL+F4 - copy current pattern
CTRL+F5 - paste current pattern
CTRL+F3 - clear current pattern (not removing it)

Hopefully this helps :-)
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-12 @ 10:46

Just got myself into tracking again and have made a small remix of an old demo/intro tune. I am not sure what it's name was, but it was in the HSC format, hence the name. In my opinion, it sounds good on the Roland, although the instruments had to be selected with the number of voice parts the MT-32 can handle at one time on mind. I mainly wanted to show that a tune can be created pretty fast in this tracker despite perhaps its not too user-frienly looks. Give it a try and see if Roland sounds better than Adlib on that ;-) (provided you know the original tune)
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HSC.ZIP
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby 5u3 » 2007-12-13 @ 00:45

:shocked:

This is AWESOME! Great work! :happyhappy:
Are you planning to develop it further?

The "HSC-tune" was originally composed by Hannes Seifert for the game 1869.
It has a great tradition as a demo song for AdLib trackers since CHiCKEN/EcR ripped the OPL2 playing routines from the game and wrote the HSC Tracker.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-13 @ 08:42

Thank you, 5u3 :blush:

I have not touched the source for three years and it is really messy. I had no intention to develop it any further, but I guess that some changes or additions should be possible if there is a need. When composing another tune yesterday, I for example found out that some sort of global changes would be useful, to be able to change the octave of the current track, shift it a few halftones up or down.. I was also surprised to see the volume column works, did not remember implementing it, but typing numbers between 00-7F on the first two dots after the instrument number does change the volume of the note. The rest of the effects column is obviously disabled as is the separate column on the right, which was planned to be used for global effects.

Also thanks for giving me the info on that tune. I have been trying to find its origins with no success. Never heard of the game 1869, have to fill the hole in my knowledge :-)

If you create anything using this tracker, it would be really nice if you gave me the chance to listen to it ;-) Moreover, if you have any suggestions on how to improve the tracker, let me know. I would try to find some order in the messy sources.
Last edited by WhiteFalcon on 2007-12-13 @ 13:11, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-13 @ 09:12

It is off-topic, but mentioning the HSC tune, a few weeks ago I created a more modern remix of it using Renoise. If you happen to be interested, get the MP3 here. Hopefully it is allowed to attach MP3 files to messages on this board..
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WhiteFalcon - MUSIC.HSC Remix.mp3
My remix of a tune that was used in the game 1869 and then mixed by CHiCKEN/EcR (as I was told).
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WolverineDK » 2007-12-14 @ 03:15

WhiteFalcon: what about releasing the source code ? under one of the open source licenses, since then other people could use it and work on it further. And lovely melody, it has some genuine euro (nontrance) dance influence in it.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-14 @ 07:46

WolverineDK: Well, as I mentioned, the sources are real mess, many things are done clumsily enough that I would not like anyone to see :wink: Apart from that, I am not much into releaseing sources, but if there is interest, I will try to improve the tracker. It seems there are not as many people still using DOS as I expected and it is impossible to port this to Windows.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby Thunder » 2007-12-14 @ 08:32

That HSC tune is really neat, nice work there WhiteFalcon.

A windows port would be interesting, assuming it's written in C. although the whole interface would have to be redone as well as the timing and writing of midi data out. It could end up being quite a big job.
I'm part way through writing a midi player of my own to play midis from old dos games (it's windows command line program with a dos style UI, lol). If you do want to port it to windows, i may be able to assist.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2007-12-14 @ 13:09

Nice of you, Thunder, thanks! :happy:

Yet this really is not portable. As you said, the whole interface would have to be rewritten, the timing and playing routines... we would end up writing it from scratch anyway as the app does not consist of much else than that :wink:
Also, all the text drawing routines are in assembler.
It is nice to hear you are working on a midi player, I will be happy to test it when you are finished! I would also offer help with development, but I got sort of stuck with programming in pure C, be it in DOS or for GamePark32. Maybe using SDL would make things easier..
Anyway, I guess the tracker may work in windows or at least in DOSBox with a MT-32 connected, I have not tried that.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby Thunder » 2007-12-15 @ 02:44

Yep it works fine in dosbox, that's how i'm using it. I don't use my dos computer much now that dosbox works as well as it does.

I'll post my midi player soon for those that are interested.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby Thunder » 2007-12-18 @ 13:06

WhiteFalcon:

I've put up my midi player in the milliways forum, since it's not strictly MT32 or munt related. Link here:

http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=17337

Comments appreciated :)
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby 5u3 » 2008-1-01 @ 23:53

Finally had some time available to play around a bit with the tracker; I like it so much it will always get some space on my hard disk. :wink:

I also appreciate the fact that it is a plain DOS application, so I can run it on my old 486 machine without problems. The interface is very easy to use, especially for people who are already familiar with tracker programs.
I didn't encounter major bugs or unexpected behaviour, except for one minor glitch: Pasting a long block into the very end of a track using the <ALT>+<F5> keys deletes the first lines in the adjacent track on the right.

If you feel like making changes or additions, here are some suggestions:
  • Playback commands for looping the current pattern and the whole song
  • A "jump-to-pattern" command (to be inserted instead of a note)
  • A function to change the octave of the current track (as you suggested) would be nice, being able to change instruments and volumes for the current track would be perfect...
  • When selecting instruments from the MT-32 instrument list, it would be handy if the menu bar jumped to the position of the currently selected instrument instead of the first.

Well, enough with the nagging, here is my first cheesy song:
It's called "Praises", composed by Karl Sommer, released with the Surprise! AdLib Tracker.
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praises.zip
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WFalcon » 2008-1-16 @ 13:43

Hey 5u3, I am really glad you like it! :blush:

I had trouble with the account on this board and after trying to recover it and sending a mail to the admin (which got bounced back twice), I ended up creating another account..

You are right, there seems to be a bug with the copying, I will try to locate it. Your suggestions are reasonable and I hope will have the time/knowledge to iclude at least some of them. Alas, time is the thing that I have been lacking recently so if there will be changes, they are going to happen in a longer time horizon.
I tried your song several times and it sounds very nice, thanks for posting it :happy:

Cheers!

PS. Tried to contact you on ICQ with no luck, maybe the 5u3 on the ICQ server is not you...
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby 5u3 » 2008-1-20 @ 00:41

Nice to hear from you again, despite the forum troubles, thanks for the reply!

Don't feel obliged to spend much time on sifting through your old code right now, because this tracker is already very useable, and the glitch is easy to avoid.

I also wish I had more time available to play around with it. :wink:

So, in case of updates, please keep us informed (even if it's a long time from now).

P.S.: I've never used ICQ, so that nick belongs to someone else. But feel free to contact me through personal messages here or on the QuestStudios forums.
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2011-11-09 @ 11:12

Hey, if you ever come here again :-) I tried contacting you as I was unable to log in, with no luck. Now I just got through. Havent toucht the tracker frankly, but I wondered if you might have give it another try and as I liked your Praises track a lot, I would be very interested in hearing what you came up with :-)
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby Malik » 2014-2-07 @ 02:54

Just wanted to inform that I'm playing the .m32 files in Dosbox using the latest MUNT. Everything is good.

(The recent 1869 game's music in Guess the Soundtrack thread brought me here, while searching for the MT-32 version of that game's intro song.)
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Re: MT32 Tracker

Postby WhiteFalcon » 2017-7-28 @ 09:51

Good to know :-) It should work just fine as the tracker only uses the default patches... well, more precisely the current loaded patches.
Weird posting a message here every five years or so :blush:
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