/ Music Trackers / MilkyTracker

MilkyTracker is an open source FastTracker 2 clone. It has a very intuitive interface, a good balance between keyboard and mouse control and an extensive sample editor that also allows you to draw your own samples. Some of its features are 8bit/16bit samples, forward/ping-pong loop points, waveform generation (sine, square, triangle, saw, noise), waveform smoothing, fade-in/fade-out effects, and a 3 and 10 band EQ. You can create and export instruments from your samples. It also has a visual envelope editor with the option to click and drag envelope points which is very convenient. The advanced editing options allow you to transpose notes and interpolate between values. There is even an optimize menu that cleans up your module of unused patterns, samples, etc.

MilkyTracker is also very configurable, you can change the resolution, color schemes, fonts, and several audio and editing options. I run it at a resolution of 640x800 so that the sample and instrument editor don't obscure the pattern editor when they're open.

There are a two little inconveniences that you will have to get used to, namely the song editor and the limitation of one effect column per channel.

All channels are viewed as one pattern so when you edit the song you will have to make different patterns for each change i.e. if you want to play the same beat but with a different melody you need a new pattern. This will increase the number of patterns in your song and may make it difficult for you to keep track of what is happening.

Having only one column for effects on each channel can be quite limiting at times and you will have to work around this problem. Lets say you want to apply a volume slide to an arpeggiated sine wave. You can use the volume column to achieve this effect but it will not produce a nice volume slide. Another option would be to use some kind of envelope trickery or sample editing but it would be much cleaner and nicer with more than one column for effects.

In general the ease-of-use of this tracker and how fast you can realize your music idea will outweigh any small little problems you'll encounter. You basically can't do much wrong if you pick this tracker. It runs on all platforms including Windows, Linux and Mac.

Further Reading