Well, everybody is getting used to the advantages of the Internet nowadays. How can it be possible in 'The Real World' to perform the things that are described in the following paragraphs?
There are special computer programs called "trackers". They were written by enthusiast programmers for enthusiast musicians to be able to compose music with computers. There are only very minimum requirements for most trackers - a PC starting with a 386 processor, and a soundcard starting with a PC Speaker. The tracker program itself costs nothing or almost nothing. Knowledge of musical theory isn't required as well - it's easy to work with a tracker, and it's easy to learn to do it well. Well, it should be made clear that tracking programs are most useful in the creation of modern musical styles, so they tend to attract youth. But, keeping in mind that to the youth belongs the future, this is not a scary concept. Different techno, jungle and other acid-style music can be created in half an hour with a minimum of effort, and the result will be an acceptable product. Music that is more technically involved will require more talent and time.
So, within such a tracker program, a sequence of instruments is set up. The program can change the pitch and sound of the instrument in different ways. Instruments are usually sound 'chunks' of any source, and can also known as 'samples'. They can easily be found on the Internet, or one can make a sample manually. Any music lover is able to set notes in defined sequences, and also set the pitch of each note, simply by pressing ordinary PC keyboard buttons. The result of such a work is a so-called MOD-file, where the samples and the sequences are stored. Now, the MOD file can be played by any computer with a special player software (which is usually free). The most popular MOD file player is called ModPlug. Winamp and Sonique, other popular players, can also play MOD files. Now we can see that anyone, even without a specialized musical education, with only a home computer, is able to compose music, enjoy it himself, and give it to his friends for them to have a listen. Now we can add to the beautiful opportunities of the Internet. Yes, really, those files can easily be spread over the Internet. The beauty becomes even bigger - this person can obtain a worldwide audience as people like him are not only the people who produce such music, but also the people who listen to it.
And this is all for free! Because it all depends on enthusiasm and creativity, not on money. One can check how some trick is done in another piece of music. One can even 'steal' a sample from another mod-file if the author permits (he's not a beast, is he?). One can personally email the composer of a song he likes and say to him. "Great!!! I want more!!!" It's always a great pleasure to receive positive reviews of your songs from unknown people, and many more.
There's a lot of Internet sites dedicated to MOD music. They are small personal composers' sites and big and authoritative servers. For example, the site called 'Trax in Space' (www.traxinspace.com). There was never such a thing as Trax In Space before. Musicians from all over the world can register here and store their music (all for free). MOD-files are placed on that server and can to be reviewed (several times). Anyone who wants to can become a reviewer, knowledge of English is required, and he will have to pass a test period. Each registered song is given a rating (1 to 10) and a review itself. Similar activity is also at the site called 'MODArchive' (www.modarchive.com). Through these sites, any amateur musician is able to see what he is like as a musician, and this is a very important factor. Ratings that are more than 7 are a very satisfying thing for an author. If one has many high ratings and downloads (they are counted as well) then you are a worldwide celebrity. Here talented people become famous, not the ones who are promoted.
The site 'United Trackers' (www.united-trackers.org) provides news of the MOD-world. They also hold competitions (in all, 'compos' are widespread in MOD music), and count different stats. Tutorials can be found there, and also articles (there are even big monthly e-mags), hints, and bulletin boards. Another site, 'MODPlug Central' (www.modplug.com) is the home site of some absolutely free software: ModPlug Player (the most popular MOD player) and ModPlug Tracker (one of the most popular tools to create MOD music). Being an American site, it does have its own mirrors in different countries including Russia. As for Russia, there are many MOD music fans here. The most famous Russian site is trackers.elkatel.ru which performs similar activities to United trackers, but in Russian.
So that one can create, experiment, listen, explore and progress - everything is free and accessable.
Article written by Sergeisergeievich, translated to English by Sergeisergeievich and Mister X. Article appeared in the Russian Newspaper "Ya Molodoy", translation reprinted by permission of the author. You may also view the original article as it appeared, in Russian. (JPG File, 279K)
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