Chiptune Crash Course

Getting Started with Chip Music

Rethink how you make music by turning old Game Boy sounds into an 8-bit-style sonic masterpiece.

90 Minutes
4 Sections

Feeling nostalgic for the video game sounds of the '80s and '90s? Breathe new life into the sounds you love with chiptune music. Chiptune artists harness the sound chips of old video games to make 8-bit-style electronic beats, songs, and soundscapes. It's amazing what you can achieve using the retro sounds of old video game systems.

In this free course, professional chiptune artist Chipocrite (a.k.a. Paul Weinstein) takes you through how to get set up and start making chiptune music from scratch. We'll be looking specifically at the original Nintendo Game Boy and its sound capabilities, and learning how to use a piece of software called “Little Sound Dj” (LSDJ) to create music with it.

If you want to authentically recreate the sounds of your childhood or add a retro touch to your modern productions, this is the course for you. Jump in and learn how to program chip sounds now!

Chipocrite AKA Paul Weinstein

Composer, Producer, Chiptune Star

Chipocrite, aka Paul Weinstein, uses original Nintendo Game Boys, often accompanied by bass, guitar, drums, and/or other lo-fi sequencers, to create complex audio masterpieces. His multifaceted, catchy compositions combine the nostalgic game sounds of his childhood with modern music influences.

Since emerging from the Philadelphia chip scene just a few years ago, Chipocrite has taken the stage at numerous performance spaces, events, and conventions, including the Vans Warped Tour, Blip Festival, MAGFest, and AnimeNEXT; provided soundtracks for commercials, including a nationally televised GameStop ad, as well as video games and online videos; released several albums and EPs, including "Hit and Run," which was named "Best Album — Chiptune" in Square Enix Music Online's Annual Game Music Awards for 2011; appeared as the musical guest on popular tech-centric web talk show series "On the Verge," and much more. Chipocrite is currently working on the soundtrack for "EarthNight," a Rogue-like runner game coming soon to PS4 and other devices.

More About Chipocrite AKA Paul
Less About Chipocrite AKA Paul
chiptune crash course: getting started with chip music
paul weinstein
video game music
little sound dj (lsdj)

Course Outline

  1. Section 1

    Introduction to Chiptune

  2. Section 2

    How It Works

  3. Section 3

    Getting to Know the Software

  4. Section 4

    Your First Challenge


Who is this course for?

Musicians who appreciate the old, retro, 8-bit, lo-fi sounds of the video games they grew up with and want to learn how to make them themselves, as authentically as possible, and incorporate it into their modern music. And for hacker/DIY artists who are excited about the idea of repurposing old, cheap, “obsolete” computers as instruments.

What are the requirements?

The only thing you need to take this course is a $5 piece of software called LSDJ (we'll walk you through it in section 3 of the course); though you can still learn a lot about chip music from the course, even if you don't ever get set up with LSDJ.

How long does it take?

This section of the Chiptune Crash Course can take as little as an hour, but if you're following along and getting yourself up and running with LSDJ for the first time, we recommend planning for 2-3 hours to get through all the course materials and to get familiar with the program so you're ready to start programming music.

What can I expect to get out of this course?

You will understand and be able to explain how old analog video game/computer sound chips work and what makes them unique and different from modern audio technology. You will be able to create sounds/compose songs using old hardware (which you might have at home already and not even realize it could be an instrument). You will know have powerful sounds using lo-fi and inexpensive tools at your disposal for your own music.