Faust Music Creator

Short introduction

Faust music creator is a tracker for the yamaha OPL2 chip, found in Creative's "Sound Blaster" line of soundcards (n.b. Creative continued using the "Sound Blaster" name long past the last soundcards to contain OPL chips), which were common in PCs in the 1990s. Prior experience of trackers would be helpful if you are intending to use FMC, but is not essential. Bear in mind that this is a manual, not a tutorial. FMC also comes with a perfectly good manual of its own, so refer to that if you want more help. A basic understanding of FM synthesis is also important, and will not be discussed further here. All numbers within FMC are displayed/entered using the hexadecimal system (base-16, as opposed to the more common base-10 decimal), so an understanding of that will be needed too.

A tracker is a popular type of software used to create music on a computer. Trackers were not hugely popular with professional musicians, but popular with hobbyists, but also popular for writing (e.g.) game soundtracks. A tracker is laid out somewhat like a spreadsheet - notes are organised in columns, with one column corresponding to one "channel" of sound (the OPL2 had nine channels, but FMC supports only eight). One row corresponds to a moment of time - notes on the same row will happen simultaneously. A number of rows form a pattern (in FMC, always 64), more than one of which can be arranged sequentially to form a song. A cell can also contain a number referring to the instrument to use, and an "effect" (this means not a DSP effect as "effect" is commonly understood to mean in computer music parlance, but more generally something that has an effect on the song), plus its parameters.

Notes are entered with the keys on a standard computer keyboard (QWERTY - I am not sure how well the tracker behaves with AZERTY, Dvorak, etc). Notes are represented on the keyboard positionally, rather than symbolically - C does not enter the note C, but in fact the note E. The keyboard is laid out like a piano keyboard (two on top of each other, in most cases), usually with Z to M and Q to P representing the natural ("white") notes and A to L and 2 to 9 representing the sharp ("black") notes. The vast majority of trackers make no distinction between sharp and flat, and the vast majority of these have chosen to display all "black" notes as sharps. This keyboard entry system is quick to learn and quick to use, particularly for anyone has used a keyboard instrument before.

General keys:

F1music editor
F2instrument editor

Music editor - F1:

General music editor keys:

tabswitch between song data and pattern data
cursornavigate song data/pattern data fields

Song data keys:

Tset song name
Lload song
Ssave song
spaceplay song from cursor/stop song
insertinsert order
deletedelete order
<remove last track
>add new track
shift-f3cut pattern
shift-f4copy pattern
shift-f5paste pattern
f10"zap" - wipe patterns, instruments or both

Pattern data keys:

ZSXDCVGB etc.enter a note!
spaceplay from start of pattern
enterenable/disable editing
< and >select instrument
+ and -select pattern
insertadd row
deletedelete row
f3cut track
f4copy track
f5paste track
shift-f3cut pattern
shift-f4copy pattern
shift-f5paste pattern
f7transpose track up
f8transpose track down
numpad 0 to 6set keyboard octave (numlock must be on)
f10"zap" - wipe patterns, instruments or both

Song data commands:

Rrepeat (go back to start)
Hhalt (stop)

Effect commands:

0xyarpeggiox = 2nd note, y = 3rd note
1xxslide upxx = speed
2xxslide downxx = speed
3xxtone portamentoslide from last note to current note, xx = speed
4xyvibratox = speed, y = depth
500note offtrigger instrument's release phase of envelopes
Axyvolume slidex speed up, y speed down
Bxxorder jumpjump to order (refers to the fixed top row in SONG DATA)
Cxxset volumeset volume for current note - 00 to 3F
D00pattern breakjump to next pattern in SONG DATA
E9xretriggerretrigger current note after x ticks
EDxnote delaydelay current note by x ticks
Fxxset speedset speed to x ticks per low (higher = slower)

Instrument editor - F2:


cursornavigate screen
Lload instrument
Ssave instrument
<previous instrument
>nextious instrument
spacetest instrument
enterstop instrument test
+increase test tone
-decrease test tone
Tset instrument name
Xswap carrier/modulator


Instrument numbernumber by which instrument will be referred to
Instrument namename - for your sake only
Freq. modenable FM? "Y" to enable, "N" to disable
Feedbackmodulator feedback - 00 to 07, higher = more
Pitch shiftpitch bend - 00 = off, 01 to 7F pitch bend up, higher = faster, 7F to FF pitch bend down, lower = faster
Attackvolume attack rate, 00 to 0F, higher = faster
Decayvolume decay rate, 00 to 0F, higher = faster
Sustainvolume sustain level, 00 to 0F, higher = louder
Releasevolume release time, 00 to 0F, higher = faster
Volume00 to 3F, higher = faster
Level scalescales volume by pitch (higher pitch = lower volume), 00 to 03, higher = more
Multiplierfrequency multiplier, 00 to 0F, higher = higher
Waveformwaveform, 00 to 03, higher = more harmonics
Sustain soundenable Sustain? "Y" to enable, "N" to disable
Scale envelopescales envelope by pitch (higher pitch = faster envelope), "Y" to enable, "N" to disable
Pitch Vibratovibrato, "Y" to enable, "N" to disable
Volume Vibratotremolo, "Y" to enable, "N" to disable