I <3 chiptunes*.
*For me, recently, I've been thinking about music and what I like about it. After all, I for a while listened to nothing but baroque, especially if not exclusively J.S.Bach, easily the greatest composer of music to grace this earth. Consider this piece, which is his concerto for two harpsichords (my favorite instrument) in C major, third movement:
This is one of my all-time favorites. I mean, a fugue with 6 voices besides string accompaniment? Yet listen to the opening few moments - a solo, proclaiming a single theme, which is repeated, in keeping with the style of the fugue, throughout the piece through it's many voices. The theme is simple, really. As with pretty much all Bach's fugues, the beginning is simplicity itself, but it evolves into an elegant conversation between voices. Although the main theme is the ... well, main theme, each and every part on it's own is pleasant to listen to. Really it is.
And that's part of what I see in chiptunes. Good chiptunes, that is, good being a relative standard as it is. Simplicity. You have one type of sound. You can manipulate that sound a little, but not much. Make some music with a single sound. That what 8bit music, aka chiptunes, is all about.
And that is what the best music is about. Taking something simple, and making something elegant out of it. Elevating something to a thing of beauty.
Dremescene Time Machine does an excellent job. I really like pretty much everything he does.
And that's also what I don't like about modern "classical" composers, like Stravinsky (BOOOOO HISSSSSS ), Wagner, Rachmaninoff, , Brahms, Tchaikovsky, etc, and even earlier composers, like Beethoven. They reach for something outside of the music itself to make it good, mostly appealing to the listener to make some sort of an emotional connection with the music. I'm not saying that they all made some pretty epic pieces, (Except for Stravinsky. Seriously, that guy had no business in the music world.) but they all generally fail in the basics. In making their music, they meander here and there, making many statements without actually saying anything, like an aimless sheep without flock or shepard.
I'll prove it. Who knows the beginning of Beethoven's fifth? If you don't know it off hand, here's a helpfull reminder:
Or the beginning of Super Mario? Seriously, who needs a reminder in that?
Pretty epic music, there.
You know why it's epic?
Or why you remember that piece and go "Oh yeah, that's some good stuff, there."
Or even why you remember it?
Because it's simple. The main theme of the first movement of his 5th is literally 4 notes. And Mario is, well, Mario.
However, you can go to pretty much any other piece, especially the later ones, (Especially Stravinsky), and reel from the dissonant disjointedness.
This is supposedly one of Stravinsky's best pieces. Really, Stravinsky? They say that children are the ones that like his music the most, and that pretty much describes the maturity of non-children who like it IMO.
Let's try that with Bach. Youtube "Bach", select the first vid + jump to random point yields this result:
He doesn't leave to wonder where the music is going. It's direct. It's easy to jump in and instantly understand. It's simple. But despite it's straightforwardness, it's elegance makes the piece infinitely complex yet exceedingly ordered. That's pretty much why Bach is the best composer of all time: none has matched his ability to take a simple tune and elevate it to such grandeur as to
That's what modern composers seem to forget. Simpleness =/= dumb, repetitive, etc. If that's your view when composing or even listening then the problem is with you, not the music.
But that's what I like about chiptunes. Simplicity and an elegance of sorts. Sure, not all chiptunes are equal, and I'm not putting Dreamscene on the same level as Bach. But still, elegant in it's simplicity makes Dreamscene instantly one of my favorite artists.
And that's the way music should be. Music is infinite, and your ability to wield it is based on your lowest capacity to imagine. Music should be simple.
Make simple things. Make beauty.