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Trackers

Trackers were a popular way of composing music on a computer before traditional DAWs gained popularity. They were often used for music in video games and by the demoscene and in the jungle/drum and bass scene. Their distinctive quality is a top down in time workflow (rather than the traditional left and right that is popular today) and heavy emphasis on samples.

software

There are not many modern trackers around, Renoise is the most popular modern tracker and has most of the features of any other DAW making it possible to create incredibly polished sounding tracks. There is also SunVox which is a hybrid of a tracker and modular synth environment.

There are also a few remakes of old software and open source options.

hardware

In recent years an interest in a hardware form of the tracker workflow has emerged with projects like the game boy lsdj. In eurorack format there is the NerdSeq and in standalone hardware there is the Polyend Tracker and the Dirtywave M8.

example music