Chiptune and bitpop are related styles that use the distinctive tones of early eight-bit computer sound chips as the heart of their music. These sound chips were used in early '80s computers like the Commodore 64, as well as video game consoles including the Nintendo Entertainment System the Atari 400 and 800, which is why the chips' bleeps and bloops often suggest vintage video game music. Unlike the sample-based synthesis of later computers, these chips had very simple tone and noise generators that offered square and pulse wave instruments and white noise percussion. However, clever composers found ways to make the most of this limited sonic palette, from using arpeggios to suggest chords to employing wavetable synthesis to color the sound.
Chiptune, the first and strictest eight-bit music style, began as music featuring only the sounds from sound chips. Along with video game music, it is also closely related to the demoscene, where artists showcase their skill at making audio-visual presentations on early home computers like the Amiga and Commodore 64. Chiptune flourished in the '80s and early '90s, but its influence continued into the 2000s, even when artists used computers with full sample playback capability: Sweden's Role Model (aka Johan Kotlinski) and Japan's YMCK developed emulators and plug-ins that brought the eight-bit sound to more contemporary and complex computers. Bitpop and 8-bit were among the terms used to describe music made with eight-bit sounds as well as other instrumentation ranging from other electronics to live instruments. 8 Bit Weapon, Pixelh8, Crystal Castles, Team Doyobi, DAT Politics and Freezepop are among the artists spanning the spectrum of chiptune and bitpop.
Other Styles in Experimental Electronic