All of the following tracks were composed to sound like old gaming consoles music. Download any of them and don’t worry about copyright, this royalty-free chiptune music is under a Creative Commons license, use it freely and just remember to write my name Patrick de Arteaga and a link to this website in the credits of your project.
|This retro music style is what a 8-bit video game needs. Ideal for hopeless moments.|
|Every game has a difficult challenge. This track is perfect for it.|
|The best thing about chiptune songs is that you can use them in almost any genre.|
|Action royalty free chiptune music. Ideal for clashes and battles.|
|This track can set a dark and heroic atmosphere, ideal for dungeons.|
|Sad and emotional theme, special for retro and vintage games, 8-bit style.|
|Perfect for hopeful moments and revealing scenes. This song can be very emotive.|
|I imagine this song playing on a title screen of a fantasy game. Can be?|
|Happy and bouncy music, ideal for mini-games or retro style projects.|
|Mystical, soft and bouncy song. Where can you use it? You know better than me.|
|Chiptune and electronic music were mixed to make this rhythmic tune.|
These works are published under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY):
Allowing distribute and modify these works for any purpose, even commercially, provided that the author Patrick de Arteaga is mentioned with a link to this site.
What is chiptune, chip music or 8-bit music?
Simply put, we could say that it is music that is played on sound chips of old gaming consoles, such as NES, Atari, Game Boy, etc. And the complex part, we say that digital music is stored in bits, and bits represent the capacity of a digital receiver to recognize and transform analog waves of musical instruments into digital information.
The greater the number of bits, the greater the amount of information in an audio file. To get an idea, today it is normal to work at 16 bits, which are 65536 amplitude levels, and even at 24 bits, which is more than enough to make the recording of a musical instrument to sound as the reality, and create a digital representation quite true to the original.
However, all of the above doesn’t have much to do with what we know as “8-bit music”. It is called like that because the game consoles of that time were “8-bit consoles”. It must be borne in mind that nowadays the amount of bits in an audio file is not the only thing that indicates its sound quality.
The reality is, due to the fame of many games in the past, chiptune music is currently considered a musical genre, is a cultural movement that goes beyond the technology used at that time to create video game music.
How did chiptune emerge as a retro musical genre?
The world is full of curious people who want to know how an electronic device works, how to hack it to get new functionalities or just for fun. In some way, chiptune music is born thanks to this movement, where curious people hacked video games to break the barriers of the software.
Among the discovered functionalities, there was the possibility of altering the functioning of the sound chips and taking control of them to use them as audio synthesizers, which allowed to use them to create their own melodies.
Over the years, synthesizers that now emulate the same type of sound from yesteryear emerged, although there are chiptune artists who prefer to continue using Gameboys or old gaming consoles to compose, and even to play live.
How is chiptune music different from conventional music?
Musically, there are no differences, it consists of melody, harmony, and rhythm. The difference is in the limitation imposed at that time by the 8 bits in variety and sound quality, which made every song sounded practically with beeps.
Another feature of this particular genre is that its sound chips used to play a maximum of three sounds simultaneously (or three musical notes played at the same time), where, in addition, the sound effects also used the same audio channel as the music, which caused that it stopped momentarily to play the sound effect. Nowadays, this is not taken into account when creating 8-bit music.
At present, the chiptune music genre has very diverse artists, there are even bands that use conventional instruments such as guitar, bass, drums and add sounds of a Game Boy as a substitute for any other instrument.
Royalty-free 8-bit music for video games
Like any musical creation, this type of music may be tied to copyright. However, it is possible to find free non-copyrighted music like the one you can download in this section.
There are several types of license. Particularly, my royalty-free music is under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY), which indicates that you can modify it and even use it for commercial purposes, but you must indicate that I am the original author of the work.
There is no difference between the quality of copyrighted music and non-copyrighted music. However, sometimes copyrighted music may offer certain advantages when it is compiled in packs, such as the one you can find on my store, where you will find a variety of formats, soundtracks with leitmotiv, etc.
How to make 8-bit music?
If you want to enter this world as a composer you will need to have a minimum of musical knowledge. Although it is not strictly necessary to have this knowledge, it will help you to create compositions of greater diversity and better elaborated, besides being much more attractive.
The truth is that within this genre you can create any type of music, you just have to master it a bit so that your songs have a certain appealing when using this type of 8-bit sounds, which after all is simply noise.
When composing, there are several methods to get chiptune style sounds. You can still use the memorable trackers (and their .MOD files), which were the software used to compose video game music at the beginning of the chiptune genre. There are also MIDI synthesizers that emulate their characteristic sound, and there are even audio formats that compile these pre-recorded sounds.
Could you convert a song at 16 bits to 8 bits?
First of all, we must be careful when using these terms. It is not the same to say “16-bit song” as “16-bit video game song”. And the same should happen with the 8 bits, although in this case the term “8-bit music” has been popularized, referring to chiptune music.
With regard to the converting a 16-bit song (referring to realistic sound music, not to the fourth generation of video games such as SNES or Sega Mega Drive) to chiptune, there are audio editing programs with effects that try to imitate this style, converting a song to 8-bit style. But they are not usually too customizable and the results are not so successful.
If you have a good musical ear, you can remake yourself a song in 8-bit style. But the currently fastest way is getting the song in MIDI format and modifying it with a program that allows you to change their instruments, and that has instruments that imitate the chiptune style.
Download royalty free 8-bit music for games
In this section, you will find some original compositions of chiptune music, totally royalty free. They are designed to be used in video games, prepared to be played in a loop and in a more optimal format. However, you can also use this music in any type of multimedia project, not necessarily a video game.
The Creative Commons license of these songs allows any modification, so you can adapt it to your needs, and even mix it and create new songs. Just remember to include me in the credits, the original author, Patrick de Arteaga.
If these tracks are not enough for you, you can get more simply by subscribing to my newsletter. And if that’s still not enough, you can check my royalty free chiptune and MIDI music packs on my store.