Original URL: http://egnatia.ee.auth.gr/~nalevrid/enf/efasttracker.html
I suppose you already have a collection of samples (you can find some in the samples section of the site) and of course the latest version of Fasttracker .
First of all , if you want to work with Fasttracker , you should choose the appropriate settings for your sound card . This can be achieved through the config menu . At the main screen of the program click on the CONFIG (3) button . The upper half of the screen changes and now you can determine the Output Device and the Sampling Device (usually sound blaster) . Then you can determine the settings for the card (PORT , IRQ , DMA) . If all the numbers are correct the sound card should work fine . You can confirm that by loading and playing a module . Click on the SAVE CONFIG and EXIT buttons . Then click on DISK OP. (4) and choose a module (MOD , XM , S3M) from one of the directories of your disk . Now click EXITor DISK OP. (4) again to return to the main screen . With the PLAY SNG. (6) button or by pressing the right CTRL you can hear the loaded module . If it sounds good then everything is fine . Usually when something is wrong with the settings Fasttracker plays only the first seconds of the track and then stops .
2nd Step : Starting
And now it's time to begin working with fasttracker . To get rid of the module loaded in memory you press STOP , ZAP (7) and then ALL . Now you can start working with your first module . A module is a set of sampled sounds and a list of notes to be played by each sound (instrument most of the times) . The samples are placed in the upper right corner of the screen (positions 1 , 2 , e.t.c.) . The notes are placed on the pattern which is in the lower half of the screen (the 8 parallel columns shown in the picture) . Each one of these columns hosts usually the notes for one instrument and is called track . To import the notes you will use the keyboard which is transformed by fasttracker to something like a harmonium . The buttons Z to M are a string of notes (C to B) and the buttons A to L host the sharps of these notes . So we have Z=C , S=C# , X=D , D=D# , e.t.c. . The same thing happens with the buttons Q to ] and 1 to = . So you can imagine the keyboard as a small harmonium .
3rd Step : Choosing Samples
Now you can proceed to the selection of the samples that will be used in your module . To simplify the operation lets suppose that you are going to edit only the beat of the song . Click on the DISK OP. (4) button and from the options found in the upper left corner of the screen choose Samples instead of Modules . Then go to the directory of the disk where the samples are stored and choose a bass drum (bdrum) . After you load it you can hear how it sounds by pressing some buttons on the keyboard . If there is a note where the sample sounds good , keep it . If the sample doesn't sound good you can load another one in its place until you find the best . Now you have to choose a snare drum from the samples' directory . You do the same things with the snare drum except from one thing : before loading the sample you should change the position where the sample will be loaded so that it won't replace the bass drum . This is done by clicking on the position (2) at the upper right corner of the screen . Then you can load the second sample . Now you are ready to edit a very simple beat .
4th Step : Editing
Now if you want to create a beat you will simply have to place the notes for each instrument (bass drum , snare drum) in a single track . When you choose the sample you usually find the note that it sounds better (this is for the drums because the other instruments sound good in all the notes) . Let's say that for the bass drum this note is A (button N) and for the snare drum the note is C (button Q) . Now you have to place the notes on the tracks (vertical columns 1 to 7) . To make it easier you should put the bass drum in track 0 and the snare drum in track 1 (most of the times you can put them together in the same track but there's no need to do that) . You can move between the tracks with the TAB button . So you go to track 0 and , after you pick sample 01 (bass drum) from the upper right corner , you start the editing . If you press the space bar the screen border becomes blue and now you can place notes on the track . Let's say that you want the bass drum to sound with one hit after another . You go to position 00 of track 0 with the cursor keys and press the N button . Then you leave three positions empty and press again the N button . If you do that several times you will reach the end of the track (No 63) . You can leave more empty positions between two hits of the bass drum to make it hit slowly . If you make a mistake during the editing you can correct it with the Insert , the Delete and the Backspace button . Now if you click on the PLAY SNG. (6) button or press the right CTRL key you can hear the bass drum . If it sounds good you can proceed with the snare drum . You stop the module with STOP and you press TAB to move to track 1 . If there's no blue border in the screen you press the space button and from the samples you pick the snare drum . With the cursor keys you move to position 02 of track 1 and start placing the notes for the snare . You begin from position 02 so that the hit of the snare drum follows the hit of the bass drum . You press the Q button and again leave three positions empty . You continue until you reach the end of the track . If nothing went wrong , you have just finished your first drum loop .
5th Step : Adding
Let's say that after the beat is played once (one pattern) you want to add a bass . You have finished pattern 00 and now you can proceed to 01 . This can be achieved by adding a new pattern to the module . In the upper left corner of the screen you can see the patterns of your module . Until now the song had only one pattern so you only see pattern 00 in position 00 . If you click on INS. (9) you can add position 01 that now has pattern 00 . However , you want the song to continue with a new pattern so by pressing button (13) you move to position 01 . Then you click on button (11) and force the program to play pattern 01 at position 01 (it's much easier than it sounds!!) . Now in the main screen you see pattern 01 which is of course empty . The drums can stay the same so you have to copy them from pattern 00 . You move to pattern 00 and press CTRL+F4 . Then you return to pattern 01 and press CTRL+F5 . You see the drum notes appearing on the screen and you can now move to track 2 and start editing the bass .
6th Step : Melody
Writing the notes for the bass is a much more complex operation because the notes and the empty positions between them vary . On the upper right corner of the screen you click on the position 3 of the samples and through the DISK OP. (4) menu you load a bass . Obviously you are going to use track 2 which is empty to place the notes of the bass . The best thing you can do now is to form a tune in you mind or using the keyboard (better with the keyboard) . Now , you have to import the tune to the track . First of all you have to find the keyboard buttons with the notes found in your tune (e.g. if you have a tune with the notes A , C# , D you have to find the keys that represent these notes - N , 2 , W) . After you finish with that you can press the space bar (blue border) and start the editing . To edit the tune as successfully as possible you have to keep always in mind that the duration of a note depends on the empty positions you leave before you place the next one . At the beginning (when you won't have much experience) it is almost certain that the tune will have mistakes . The only thing you can do is to hear the pattern again and again with PLAY PTN (5) until you correct all the mistakes . The best thing you can do to find the mistakes is to hear only track 2 which contains the tune . You can do that by clicking on the osciloscope . If you click on channels 0 and 1 an "X" will appear and now fasttracker will play only the other tracks . By clicking on the "X"s you can activate these tracks again . Using this method , after some adjustments , the tune will sound exactly as you imagined it . In your first few songs the editing of the tunes won't be an easy thing . However , some simple rules can help you at the beginning . For example , a good sign for knowing if the editing goes well is the half of the track (Position 32 or position 20 if you use HEX count) . Usually , at these positions you place a note and most of the times a new bar begins .
7th Step : Completing Songs
Obviously what you've wrote until now is far from a complete module . However , now you know the basic operations of the program and you can add new patterns , new tracks , new instruments , e.t.c. . At the end maybe you end up with something that sounds good and then you can save it through the DISK OP. (4) menu . I will be glad to answer through e-mail (email@example.com) to every question you have regarding the editing or if the above does not cover your basic needs . Also I propose to all new trackers out there to take a look at The Tracker's Handbook . It is an extremely valuable tool if you want to know everything (OK almost everything) about tracking . The latest version of the Handbook is always available at the trackers page .
Good Luck :-)
(can be found in the program's documantation)
1.Moving In A Pattern
There are more key shortcuts but these should
be enough .