Gryzor87’s PXTone Manual

By: Derek Yu

On: December 26th, 2010

Gryzor87 PXTone

Merry Chrimbus, everyone! To coincide with the opening of his new website, here’s a gift for you from Gryzor87, the musician behind Locomalito‘s Hydorah and L’Abbaye des Morts: a full-color, 95-page manual on how to use Pixel’s free PXTone program to make your own game music. But the word “manual” doesn’t quite do the project justice – Gryzor87 not only walks you through the app’s features, he also provides a lot of excellent advice and examples on how to make music that sounds good and fits the theme of your game. The download comes with pxtone and plenty of sample songs, voices, and other examples, too.

In short, it’s a one-stop source for anyone looking to get into making their own game music, and a work of art in its own right. I’m definitely going to be using this. Thanks, man!

  • Vinnie

    one word: yes.

  • iffi

    Wow, I am impressed. I noticed a while back that there wasn't any truly comprehensive manual on PXTone (at least none that I could find), but this goes above and beyond the call. The only complaint I have is that Megaupload is an annoying place to download files from, even when it works fine (as it does for me).

  • Davioware


  • Aquin

    Oh man, this makes me one happy camper.

  • Gnome

    Excellent stuff. Happy holidays!


    videogame music: stupid bleeps and bloops for you to mute when you play a game. here's 95 pages about it.

    also, instructional manuals about any creative endeavor is useless (if its worth figuring out youll figure it out on your own) so the fact that this is a manual about something as retarded as videogame music is a double faggotry whammy!!

  • Blodyavenger

    I can make musique now! :D

  • bradf

    “double faggotry whammy!!”

    Oh you crazy thing, please could you stop this!? I had one of those and it was absolutely excellent. In the timeless words of Mary Poppins – “a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down”.

    But this manual is most welcome! I have wanted to mess around with PXTone in the past, but due to my lack of knowledge about trackers and music in general I was lost. I look forward to creating the musical equivalent of an (untalented) two-year old's drawing of a elephant. AND I SHALL ENJOY IT.

  • SSSSssss

    I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say you didn't even look at the manual.

  • anonymouse


    You don't have very many friends, do you? :(

  • Davioware

    This deserves a better host than megaupload.

  • anonymouse

    After having so many musicians flake out on me, I think it's about time for me to start learning how to do everything myself.

  • Michael Bacon


  • Amon26

    Ohh man oh man oh man! this is awesome!!

  • Landovers

    This guy must know what he's talking about, I was completely blown away by Hydorah's music. :D

  • Guess-T

    People who idolize the icycalm don't need friends.

  • blah

    Hydorah had good music, but it's obvious that he did not use PXTone to make it since it sounded like something from Konami's official OSTs. I'm assuming he used at least something like FLStudio. At least from what I remember anyway.

    PXTone really isn't a good program. It works great for the kinds of games Pixel makes, sure. But people need to get off the misconception that retro game music was all bleeps and bloops. Listen to the music from games like Journey to Silius or if you're more into the SNES, games such as Tactics Ogre both of which you would never be able to tell came from their respective consoles unless someone told you.

  • blah

    Also in the remake of Tactics Ogre for the PSP, they hardly had to change the music aside from having real instruments, which is amazing. It's incredible how close the SNES could reproduce the sound of an actual orchestra aside from its limitations. Some music by Square such as the FF series were also a good example of this to some extent.

  • C.A. Sinclair

    actually i think more people should dare to make less obviously “videogamey” music for their games.

    catchy chiptunes and “epic” orchestral stuff is nice and all, but indie games are supposed to have the freedom to experiment and do things differently and it's kind of a shame that, while they do things in terms of gameplay and presentation that you wouldn't see in the mainstream industry, they rarely break away from the mold in terms of music. some notable exceptions such as world of goo, braid and everyday shooter exist of course, but i'd love to see more of that.

  • Gazillion

    Thank you for this. If there's one thing I'm completely oblivious about, it's music. This could at least give me un apperçu so I can try and do it on my own :)

  • tung

    Does it really make a difference? It's only 10MB.

  • germano

    as someone just said, this is a cool music program (when you learn how to use it, it become so “fluent”) with some limits.
    the method used to make music is very intuitive: a note, its length, its pitch, its instrument, drawed on an sliding piano.
    when i was searching a software that use just this approach to making music, i just found this and an old cakewalk MIDI composer.
    because of the instrument limits of PXTone, i choose the second, which combined with your favorite soundfont bank, really deserve a try.
    sorry for my bad english.

  • Minyx Games

    I showed the manual to my brother who does the music/art in our team and he really likes it. (Well, at least the music theory part – he's not a fan of PXTone but rather uses renoise).

  • hepphepp

    Alternative one, you're just kidding. (Which I hope). Alternative two, you are just really really stupid. This is a page for gamedevelopers, why the hell are you here anyway?

  • Mark

    Not sure about video game music having to be differentiated from other music, but I am sure about the coolness of Tim & Eric references. Great job! :)

  • r13

    Wowowow!!! That's one huge after-Xmas present :)

  • DragonSix

    A great gift indeed, thanks.

  • field balm

    this is nice, but honestly getting everyone to use PXtone is just adding to the indie scene circle-jerk – there are hundreds of free programs which can make the exact same sounds but are more expandable and allow more creativity. The last thing the indie scene needs is MORE pixel art and chiptunes.

  • field balm

    In particular i would recommend trying Reaper, a fully featured DAW which has a never ending free trial and costs $50, if you want to pay for it. If you MUST make chiptunes for you game (please don't) there are several chiptune VST's (plugin instruments) you can download for free.

  • RolfL

    hear, hear. I wish more people thought like you did.

    I can only be shown a crude image of what people remember NES games to be like so many times before I get tired of it. And I already am getting tired of it.

  • iffi

    The 45-second wait time is several times longer than it takes to actually download the file on a good connection. It's nothing really major (I just switch to a different tab during the countdown), but it is an annoyance.

  • tung

    Derek just posted about something he found and liked; a far cry from “getting everyone to use PXtone”.

    The existence of PXtone, pixel art and chip tunes don't take away from other audio tools, other forms of game art or music. There's plenty of room for all sorts of tastes; they're not cut from some finite 'creative pie'.

  • sweet merciful crap!

    What's wrong, did chiptunes kill your dog or something?

  • MisterX

    You should totally listen to George & Jonathan's “The Best Music” at, made with PXTone. That music is still pretty “videogamey”, but also great fun :)

  • MazerRackham

    If pixel didn't made PXtone, and if this software wasn't oriented to retro videogamey music, but rather to any other form of synthetized music… I'm sure this blog entry would never have existed. Anyways, Its a set standard that the vast majority of the “indie scene” only borrows from the indie scene, or in better terms, eat their own shit.

  • Music

    Pretty much all pro music software lets you use the piano roll for composition. It is pretty much the standard.

  • Chip

    Chiptunes strike me as pandering to nostalgia to make up for a lack of compositional ability. I'm not saying there are not extremely talented composers making chiptunes, but it seems that video game audiences will let a lot of musical shit slide if it beeps and boops.

  • Blegh

    Pixel music is great because it allows for complex melodies while still being background music. While some games could expand their musical pallet beyond bloops and bleeps it doesn't make up for the fact that this music is necessary in most games. If every game sounded like Pornophonique or Daft Punk I wouldn't be able to focus on the game.

  • LG

    I'm not convinced that, as some have suggested, PXTone is an inferior niche tool that should be avoided because more complex and general alternatives are available.
    Compared with traditional trackers PXTone offers many of their advantages (frugal file sizes and high fidelity, easily embeddable playback DLL) with a superior user interface.
    Compared with traditional music editors, it lacks irrelevant features like MIDI and plugins, it is still general purpose enough by means of importing generic samples, it has a state of the art piano roll, and it is much more appropriate for games because it has an easily embeddable playback DLL (I already said that, but do you really want people to download tens of megabytes of rendered and compressed music if the actual game is 20 times smaller?).

    On the artistic side, maybe for some games traditional “bloops and bleeps” or “epic orchestral stuff” aren't the best choice, but composing really experimental music with really experimental tools is very difficult: a well mixed arrangement of a good tune with some original and unexpected element is a more reasonable objective, and I think traditional tools like PXTone are perfectly adequate for the purpose.

  • Orphansmith

    Uhh, guys…

    What's stopping someone from using PXtone, FL and Audacity? It's like saying “well, you shouldn't use graphics gale cause it's retro-pixel-bullshit” when anyone with actual experience would probably use GG and Photoshop.

  • Italo Felipe Capasso

    Well I am not an expert at all when talking about music, but you can change sound samples in a tracker can't you? so you can get a differente set of intruments other than NES style sounds?

    If you learn to use a tracker, and then apply that knowledge to a different set of instruments, couldn't you create something with a different musical focus? Just saying, learning pxtone, or any tracker in general doesn't make you an automatic obligatory chip-tune composer… I think.

    On a side note about pxtone, my only posible feautre request I woudl have wanted ofr the software was to be some sort of compatibility with .mod or .xm files, even if not a full compatibility,

    And talking about alternatives, how about something like OpenMT?

  • RazzRox

    I hate people who use the word circlejerk.

    Just throwing that out there.

  • Truly Wizard

    I was gonna say “inb4 people don't know the difference between “Indie” with “Different””

    but that already happened.

  • Aditya Dharma 09

    cannot download because megaupload is being blocked ……… any other source thanks

  • Reece Mitchell

    ehhh i’m new here and i cant find the link to download the program.. why? :(

  • fleskywood

    “if it’s worth figuring out you’ll figure it out on your own”
    like i’m ever gonna figure out key porta
    you know, sliding between two notes