March 2, 2015

Science of Sound - 8 Bit Computer Music is Alive and Well

Sound and the science of sound. What is sound exactly? Sound is basically something we can feel literally on our skin or also with hearing if we have that sense. However you perceive sound, its not just for those with official hearing. Sound is the movement of compression waves in a gas (the air) or in a solid, where the molecules are compressed together and push on each other like a domino effect. The result is a compression wave that travels from the source to our ears or skin surface where we can hear or even feel them. That is the basic science of sound.

Sound can be created from a speaker of course, and for computers in the early 80's, good old 8-bit programmable sound generation could be produced using sound chips. The sound chip simply generated a wave form and you could control its frequency and sometimes volume or the amplitude (height) of those waves. You could also control the duration of the tones and with great dedication you could program music. This 8-bit style music has some dedicated musicians making amazing productions that are quite complex. This one below, I highly recommend for your listening pleasure. If you ever liked Metallica, you will like this. I recall seeing the video of Enter Sandman during its premiere on MuchMusic in the 90's (Canada's version of MTV). Enjoy.

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