Sample Trackers
by Joseph Anglin

What are sample trackers? Well, that’s a loaded question. Trackers are “in their most basic form” a way of creating electronic music. The more complex definition is: “trackers are software that takes samples of different waveforms of sound and allows someone to arrange them by tracking.” Trackers can be broken down into two core elements, samples and tracking. Samples are small parts of a sound (or slice) of music. That may seem out of the ordinary, but samples are used in all different types genres such as lo-fi hip-hop, rap music, and even orchestra (if they have digital synthesizers). Tracking is a very old form of music creation based on multi-tracking - creating music by writing music on top of music.

What can trackers do? I’m so glad you asked. The music made by sample trackers is very similar to video game music (or chip tune music). If you don’t know what I mean, just wait. There are other types of music made by them too. Dubstep/EDM (electronic dance music) and eurobeat are examples, but they’re all very similar. Trackers can even allow a person to make a little guitar music, even though it would be a little primitive. Honestly, sample tracker music has many different genres within itself, and most are indistinguishable to people outside of the community.

If you’re still reading this, congratulations. Your brain is probably pulsating from the amount of information I’m trying to compress into this single article. This sort of information could easily cause an information black hole that spaghettifies your atoms. Sorry.

So, what kind of people would go through the effort to make music like this? Well, game developers and even some DJs do, and I think we can learn from these folks. They know everything I just wrote about … and more. Quite frankly, it’s insane that there are some people that dedicate so much of their time and effort to make music like this. In conclusion, really it's hard to explain something only music can show.                          

The music file below is named Deadlock. It was finished in 1995 and was composed by elwood. It is my favorite example of sample tracker music. It has 24 tracks all running simultaneously, which I think is pretty cool. Enjoy.