Thread: [Tutorial] Creating CUSTOM Pokemon Music
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Old February 19th, 2010 (01:10 PM). Edited February 18th, 2011 by gamesharkhacker.
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hello, everyone.

Today, I will talk about how to make CUSTOM Pokemon music for the GBA series of Pokemon games.

NOTE: This tutorial is designed for people who know MUSIC THEORY. If you do not know what music theory is, you may well not waste your time reading this tutorial.

Anvil Studio
Sappy 2006 (For checking instruments and inserting the music)

I recommend a set of HI-FI HEADPHONES (I use Sony headphones by the way), because it helps you create the song, and all of it's features, perfectly.

1. Intro
2. Keys
3. Structure
4. MIDI Controller Events
5. Looping
6. Instruments and Tracks
7. Volume and Panning
8. Not so FAQ
9. Ending

1) Intro:
Hello everyone.
CUSTOM music is rarely ever seen (more like heard) in Hacked Pokemon Games. The best thing about making this type of music is that you do not have to write 20,000 hours of it. Why? Because you loop it. The music kinda challenging to make but very fun to make.

2) Keys
The keys in music are very important. They determine the song's "mood".
Pokemon music sounds happy but the battle themes show a sense of nervousness or scariness.

The key for trainer battle/elite four/legendary battles/rival battles etc. is...
F minor. This key consists of the notes: F, G, A♭, B♭, C, D♭, E♭ and then F again. ...or C#minor which consists of the notes: C♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A, B, and then C# again.

The key for islands/surfing etc. or the Credits music is...
A major. This key consists of the notes:
A, B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G♯, and then A again.
...or E♭ minor, which consists of the notes: E♭, F, G♭, A♭, B♭, C♭, D♭, and then E♭ again.

The key for towns/cities/routes etc. is...

B♭ major. This key consists of the notes: B♭, C, D, E♭, F, G, A, and then B♭ again. ...or F♯ minor, which consists of the notes: F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯, D, E, and then F♯ again.

3) Structure

All songs have a structure. For example, songs have a chorus, verses, interludes and maybe a guitar solo. For Pokemon songs, it is different.

Most of the song is different with some parts repeating, but never repeat the same thing over and over and over and over....
Because that will bore the crap out of the listener. If you want to become a good composer, laziness does not come into the equation.

Pokemon songs usually have a intro first, then a main part, interlude, then a different main part, a break and then the whole song loops over again, from the first main part.

4) MIDI Controller Events

Now, your probably thinking: "What the hell is a MIDI controller event?".
A MIDI controller event is a special function, that allows you to say, pan an instrument, on the fly, to the opposite speaker.

Here is a list of compatible, commonly used MIDI Controller Events:
1. Panpot - Used to pan any instrument, on the fly, to any speaker.
2. Program Change - Used to change an instrument to another instrument in the middle of a song.

3. Pitch Bend - Used to change the pitch of a note without actually "hitting" any more notes.

NOTE: When changing a value in Anvil Studio, subtract the chosen value by 1. For example, if you choose 81, change that to 80. Simple.

5) Looping

Looping is the technique we use (and the original composers of the Pokemon songs use) to make songs go on, and on, and on, and on, and... Yeah, I think you get it.

Once you have completed making your song, it is supposed sound a bit "incomplete", because it is supposed to connect up to the first main part again (usually).

Usually the Pokemon songs repeat from end, but what i reckon is it is good to get all creative with it.

NOTE: You can not loop a MIDI file, you can only the S file you make with Midi2Gba (not sharing much info on that, because apparantly it is an illegal program to have).

6) Instruments and Tracks
Every song is made from instruments, whether it be soft instruments, or loud instruments every song is made of instruments.

Here is a list of commonly used instruments:

57 - Trumpet

60 - French Horn

49 - String Ensemble 1

48 - Timpani

0 - Acoustic Grand [Channel 10] (used as drums)

81 - Lead 1 (square)

82 - Lead 2 (sawtooth)

83 - Lead 3 (calliope)

34 - Electric Bass (finger)

128 - Gunshot (used as drum noise)

127 - Applause (used as drum noise)

And, tracks. Tracks in Pokemon songs have a maximum of 10 tracks per song.

Tracks have channels, but you do not need to worry about this unless you are adding drums to your song. Drums are at channel 10.

7) Volume and Panning

The volume in a Pokemon song isn't the same as a normal song, but the panning is similar. In a Pokemon song, the volume is winded down to about 50%. All other instrument volumes have a max of 70% and minimum of 40-50%.

Panning is the technique of making songs sound better by making some instrument play through the left speaker, or the right speaker.

The are also other common panning techniques. Here is a list of them:

Full right speaker - 100% right speaker

Full left speaker - 100% left speaker

Mostly right speaker - 75% right speaker, 25% left speaker

Mostly left speaker - 75% left speaker, 25% right speaker

Centered Panning - 50% left speaker, 50% right speaker.

To change the panning and volume in Anvil Studio, you will see a big box of nobs in the centre/middle of the screen. To change the panning to the left speaker, drag one of the nobs to the right. To change the panning to the right speaker, drag one of the nobs to the left.

8) Not so FAQ
Q. What is transposing?
A. Transposing is raise a set of notes pitches to a higher or lower pitch.

Q. What is difference between MIDI Format-0 and MIDI Format-1?
A. I don't know but it saves track channels backwards. That's all I know.

Q. In the bottom left corner of Anvil Studio, it says style. What does that do?
A. It is just the way you see the musical notes. I recommend "guitar".

Q. When I try to convert my file to an S file, it doesn't convert. Why?
A. The only reason for this is because, the MIDI has problems. To fix those problems, go to "File" and then "Repair Song..." and then follow the prompts.

Q. When I try to transfer my S file into Sappy, the whole program crashes. Why?
A. I have no idea. I think it is a bug in Windows XP, not Sappy. If anyone could help with this I would be grateful.

9) Ending

All things come to end, my friends. If you would like to comment on this tutorial, please don't flame me, this is my first ever tutorial.

Thanks for reading this tutorial and, happy composing!
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