What is a MOD?
A MOD file is very similar to a MIDI file in that it tells the sequencer (tracker)
which notes to play at which time. It differs from MIDI in the face that
you can make your own instrument sounds, and are not stuck with predefined
sounds as you are in MIDI. This gives the home user a lot of versitility
in making their own music. Another advantage that MODs have is that you don't
have to shell out a lot of money to get into computer music. As I mentioned
before, Scream Tracker is freeware. The only thing else you need is a sound card.
I should also mention here that I use the term MOD loosely; the files that
Scream Tracker can make are more advanced than the basic MOD format, and
while you can sav to MOD format, you get more options using the .S3M format
From now on, I will refer to .S3M and other types of files simply as
MOD files for simplicity. I will also assume that you are using Scream Tracker
because this is what I use, and am familiar with. If you use another MOD
tracker, you can still apply the basic knowledge, however the interface will
What does the Tracker Do?
As I touched on before, The MOD file contains all of the notes and spaces
as well as the actual sample (instrument) files. The tracker reads the samples
into memory and plays them at the specified time, in the appropriate pitch.
I would like to mention here that the samples are played at different speeds
to make up the different notes. This is very annoying at times, because
the length of the sample changes. On an instrument like a piano, it is hard
to detect, but if you have a sample of say, a guitar strum, it will sound
horrible trying to play other notes. I don't know it there is a way to get around
this: If you know how or have any ideas, please email me.
Introduction to Samples
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This Page Last Updated: February 1, 1998