I'm preferring...chiptune composers. Like Fast Tracker, keygen songs.
FastTracker is a sample based tracker. The samples needed to be loaded into memory and consumed more memory than most 8-bit systems had. Sample trackers were in the 16-bit era.
Chiptunes are more like MIDI in that the tunes are composed of instructions rather than audio samples. These did easily fit into the memory of 8-bit systems.
Chiptune instructions describe how to manipulate a set of square wave oscillators so that they produce specific sounds. Manipulation takes place through what is called an Envelope
, with Frequency, Attack, Hold, Decay, Sustain, Release, Arpeggio, Retrigger
, as well as activating various analogue filters at the output stage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADSR_envelope#ADSR_envelope
Defining these strange instructions was very much like coding assembler. Some people even did write chipmusic directly in assembler, which is crazy to even think about. Most notable for this was David Whittaker. An example of his work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P55X6eZXBGo