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  1. Overview
  2. Elements of a Tracker
  3. See Also
A tracker is the generic term for a class of music sequencer software. It allows the user to arrange the notes stepwise on a timeline across several monophonic channels. A tracker's interface is primarily numeric; notes are entered via the alphanumeric keys of the computer keyboard, while parameters, effects and so forth are entered in hexadecimal.


The name tracker comes from the tracker software Ultimate Soundtracker on the Commodore Amiga. A tracker is general term for a type of software used for music sequencing. Tracker’s use sound samples to be placed on a timeline, across multiple monophonic channels. The tracker interface is primarily numeric, notes are entered with the alphanumeric keys of the computer keyboard and parameters and effects entered in hexadecimal. A complete song is several multi-channel patterns chained together by a master list. Tracks (or channels), patterns, orders, samples, notes, effects are several elements common to any tracker program.
Tracker music is typically stored in so-called module files where the song data and samples are encapsulated in a single file.
There are also some tracker-like programs that utilize tracker-style sequencing schemes, while using real-time sound synthesis instead of samples. Many of these programs are designed for creating music for a particular synthesizer chip such as the OPL chips of the Adlib and SoundBlaster sound cards, or the sound chips of classic home computers.

Elements of a Tracker

A sample is a small digital sound file of an instrument, voice, or other sound effect. Most trackers allow a part of the sample to be looped, simulating a sustain of a note.

A note designates the frequency at which the sample is played back. By increasing or decreasing the playback speed of a digital sample, the pitch is raised or lowered, simulating instrumental notes (e.g. C, C#, D, etc.).

An effect is a special function applied to a particular note. These effects are then applied during playback through either hardware or software. Common tracker effects include volume, portamento, vibrato, retrigger, and arpeggio.

A track (or channel) is a space where one sample is played back at a time. Tracks have a fixed number of "rows" on which notes and effects can be placed (most trackers lay out tracks in a vertical fashion). Tracks typically contain 64 rows and 16 beats, although the beats and tempo can be increased or decreased to the composer's taste.

A pattern is a group of simultaneously played tracks that represents a full section of the song. A pattern is intended to represent an even number of measures of music composition.

An order is part of a sequence of patterns which defines the layout of a song. Patterns can be repeated across multiple orders to save tracking time and file space.

See Also

List of Trackers
Chip Music

referencing to:
- 2a03 (soundchip)

BotB Terminology