Chiptune, Fugue, Pure Music

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .
DDDot video game music.
DDDot music midi.

chiptune (aka 8-bit music) is a sound style of music from arcade video games of the 1980s. The characteristics is simple synthesized sound, back then due to technological limitations.

However, somehow i love chiptune, because they capture the music itself, without the complex sound from musical instrument. In a sense, it's pure music. (“pure music” in music theory is composition that focuses on the notes combination itself, not sound. (though, few seconds of web search i didn't find the term, for some reason. Maybe i got the term wrong.))

In fact, i always wanted to have a piano such that each key produces a simple beep sound of the right frequency, or a slightly modified pure tone with the right [ ADSR envelope ] [ ] (so the sound isn't jarring to the ear as [ pure tones ] [ ] tend to be). This would be great when playing Bach's music, in particular, his fugues, e.g. Well-tempered clavier. See:

8-Bit Liszt, Transcendental Etude #1

8-Bit Liszt, Transcendental Etude #1

8-bit Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody #2

Here's a fantastic 8-bit version of Liszt's famous song.

8-bit Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody #2

8-bit Chopin Etude Op.10-1

8-bit Chopin Etude Op.10-1

8-bit Chopin Etude Op.10-5 'Black key'

8-bit Chopin Etude Op.10-5 “Black key”

8-bit Bach BWV 1007

8-bit version: BWV 1007

Songs and Humanity