Mega Man 2 Soundtrack Challenge

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  • @burrsettles  Feb 21

    TLDR, write a 1-2 minute loopable piece with 4 parts:
    - drums/percussion
    - bass
    - lead/melody
    - harmony/arpeggio

    Which follows these basic "rules":
    - either 180 or 150 bpm
    - preference for minor key (the more sharps & flats the better)
    - chord progression usually ends in VII (or ♭VII) → i
    - bass is either "driving" (180bpm) or a "funky" blues scale (150bpm)
    - melody mostly sticks to chord notes
    - harmony either 3rds of melody, or syncopated 16th note arpeggios

    If you decide to try it too, tag your tracks #megaman2!


    Backstory: I wanted to tackle a #onesynth challenge, trying to get all the sounds (percussion, bass, melody, etc.) from the same synth.

    To not go crazy with too many voices, I thought to limit myself to 4 tracks, which reminded me that old NES game consoles only had 4 synth voices: noise (for percussion), triangle wave (for bass), and two square/pulse waves (for melody & harmony). So I figured I'd use that template for getting the various parts out of my synths....

    *THEN* I remembered that I learned all that from a youtuber who analyzed the Mega Man 2 soundtrack... which is probably my favorite side-scroller video game of all time:

    Turns out the Mega Man 2 music by composer Takashi Tateishi is fairly formulaic, so I'm going to try to do one or more songs according to its "rules" (summarized above from the video, in case you don't feel like watching). Seems there are generally 2-3 musical sections that repeat, roughly 28-32 bars in total. So if you composed it and looped it to play through twice, it should last 1-2 minutes. So I'm gonna try it!

  • @burrsettles  Feb 21

    Note: it doesn't need to be a "chiptune" or use synths, if you wanted to try this with a guitars or even ukuleles that could be cool, too. 😀

  • @burrsettles  Feb 22

    So I ended up doing a "feast" (multiple songs all in one sitting) of three of these. I planned to use hardware synths instead of "authentic" chiptune sounds, but after composing them in the DAW I hit MIDI routing headaches for outboard stuff, so I just ran with a virtual NES emulator plugin thingie.

    - Pencil Man
    - Dozer Man
    - Blimp Man

    I don't *THINK* any of those are real Mega Man boss robots. 😀

    This was quite fun, yet and surprisingly challenging (for me, anyway, who isn't used to thinking of everything in terms of interleaving monophonic voices). I recommend it as a compositional exercise!

  • @jessespillane Feb 24

    Megaman 2 was one of my favorite games growing up and it had some of my favorite songs among NES games.

    Here's my entry:

    Not an actual chiptune, but it follows the basic constraints 😀

  • @ianuarius  Feb 24


  • @tesla3090  Feb 28

    This was a great idea!

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