.TH SCHISMTRACKER 1 "January 1, 2011"
.\" Disable hyphenation, it's awful
schismtracker \- tracked music editor based on Impulse Tracker
\fBschismtracker\fP [\fIoptions\fP] [\fIdirectory\fP] [\fIfile\fP]
\fBschismtracker\fP is a tracked music module editor that aims to match the
look and feel of Impulse Tracker as closely as possible. It can load most
common tracker formats, supports saving as IT and S3M, and can also export
to WAV and AIFF.
Audio device configuration. \fIdriver\fP is the SDL driver to use, e.g.
\fIalsa\fP (ALSA), \fIdma\fP or \fIdsp\fP (OSS); \fIdevice\fP is the name
of the device itself, for example \fIhw:2\fP or \fI/dev/dsp1\fP.
SDL video driver, such as \fIx11\fP, \fIdga\fP, or \fIfbcon\fP. Note that
this is different from the video driver setting within the program, and is
unlikely to be useful.
Specific YUV layout to use: \fIYUY2\fP, \fIYV12\fP, \fIRGBA\fP, etc.
This is probably best left alone under normal circumstances.
Set the size of the video display.
Fix the aspect ratio. (Probably does nothing!)
Specify path of OpenGL library.
Specify display depth, in bits.
Specify path to framebuffer. Typical value is \fI/dev/fb0\fP.
Enable/disable networking (on by default). Used for MIDI over IP.
Start Schism Tracker in "classic" mode, or don't. This is mostly cosmetic,
although it does change the program's behavior slightly in a few places.
X11 display to use.
\fB\-f\fP, \fB\-F\fP, \fB\-\-fullscreen\fP, \fB\-\-no\-fullscreen\fP
Enable/disable fullscreen mode at startup.
\fB\-p\fP, \fB\-P\fP, \fB\-\-play\fP, \fB\-\-no\-play\fP
Start playing after loading song on command line.
Render output to a file, and then exit. WAV or AIFF writer is auto-selected
based on file extension. Include \fI%c\fP somewhere in the name to write each
channel separately. This is meaningless if no initial filename is given.
Run the font editor (itf). This can also be accessed by pressing Shift-F12.
Run hooks. Enabled by default.
Enable some debugging flags (separated by commas).
You probably don't need this.
Display version information and build date.
Print a summary of available options.
A filename supplied on the command line will be loaded at startup.
Additionally, if either a file or directory name is given, the default
module, sample, and instrument paths will be set accordingly.
A detailed discussion of how to use Schism Tracker is far beyond the
scope of this document, but here is a very brief rundown of the basics.
Context-sensitive help can be accessed at any time while running the
program by pressing \fBF1\fP.
The \fBF3\fP key will bring you to the \fIsample list\fP. Press enter here to
open a file browser, navigate in the list using the up/down arrow keys, and
hit enter again to load a sample. You will likely want to get some samples to
work with. You can also "rip" from existing modules; see for example
\fIhttp://www.modarchive.org/\fP for a very large selection of modules. (Keep
in mind, however, that some authors don't appreciate having their samples
Now that you've loaded a sample, press \fBF2\fP to get to the \fIpattern
editor\fP. This is where the majority of the composition takes place. In
short, the song is laid out vertically, with each row representing 1/16 note;
to play multiple notes simultaneously, they are placed in different channels.
The four sub-columns of each channel are the note, sample number, volume, and
effect. A list of effects is available in the pattern editor help, but you can
safely ignore that column for now. Assuming a US keymap, notes are entered
with the keyboard as follows:
(Note) C# D# F# G# A# C# D# F# G# A# C# D#
| | || | | | || || | | | || | | | || || | | | || | |
| | || | | | || || | | | || | | | || || | | | || | |
(What you | |S||D| | |G||H||J| | |2||3| | |5||6||7| | |9||0| |
type) | '-''-' | '-''-''-' | '-''-' | '-''-''-' | '-''-' |
| Z| X| C| V| B| N| M| Q| W| E| R| T| Y| U| I| O| P|
(Note) C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E
(Octave 0) (Octave 1) (Octave 2)
.\" this .P is for elvis, which gets very confused by the preceding diagram
The "/" and "*" keys on the numeric keypad change octaves, and the current
octave is displayed near the top of the screen. Try typing "qwerty" into the
pattern - it will enter an ascending note sequence, and you'll hear the notes
as they're entered. (of course, assuming you loaded a sample!) Press \fBF6\fP
to play your pattern, and \fBF8\fP to stop.
Other important keys for the pattern editor include Ins/Del to shift notes
up and down within a channel, Shift-Arrows to mark a block, Alt-C/Alt-P to
copy and paste, and Alt-U to clear the mark. There are well over a hundred key
bindings for the pattern editor; it is well worth the effort to learn them all
Now that you have something in your pattern, you'll need to set up an
\fIorderlist\fP. Press \fBF11\fP to switch to the orderlist page, and type
0 to add the pattern you created. Now press \fBF5\fP to start playing. The
song will begin at the first order, look up the pattern number and play that
pattern, then advance to the next order, and so forth.
Of course, having only one pattern isn't all that interesting, so go back to
the pattern editor and press the + key to change to the next pattern. Now you
can write another four bars of music and add the new pattern to the orderlist,
and the next time you play the song, your two patterns will play in sequence.
You may wish to give your song a title; press \fBF12\fP and type a name in the
box at the top. You can also adjust the tempo and a number of other settings
on this page, but for now, most of them are fine at their default values.
To save your new song, press \fBF10\fP, type a filename, and hit enter. You
can load it again later by pressing \fBF9\fP.
This tutorial has deliberately omitted the \fIinstrument editor\fP (on
\fBF4\fP), for the purposes of brevity and simplicity. You may want to
experiment with it once you have a feel for how the program works. (Select
"instruments" on F12 to enable instrument mode.)
Storlek began studying Impulse Tracker's design in 2002, noting subtle details
of the design and implementation. Posts on the Modplug forums about rewriting
Impulse Tracker were met with ridicule and mockery. "It can't be done," they
Schism Tracker v0.031a was released in July 2003, though very little worked at
that point, and it was more of a player with primitive editing capabilities.
File saving was hard-coded to write to "test.it" in the current directory, and
there was no way to load a sample.
The first version that was more or less usable was 0.15a, from December 2004.
From 2005 through 2009, Mrs. Brisby did most of the development, and
implemented tons of features, including MIDI support, mouse support, and
Storlek "took over" development again in 2009, and incrementally rewrote much
of the code through 2015.
In 2016, Schism Tracker became a collaborative project between Storlek and a
group of users-turned-developers.
Program settings, stored in an INI-style format. Most options are accessible
from within Schism Tracker's interface, but there are a few "hidden" options.
~/.schism/startup\-hook, ~/.schism/exit\-hook, ~/.schism/diskwriter\-hook
Optional files to execute upon certain events. (Must be executable)
\fIfont.cfg\fP, and any \fI.itf\fP files found in this directory, are
displayed in the file browser of the font editor.
.SS Supported file formats
Amiga modules (with some obscure variants such as FLT8)
Composer 669 / Unis669
Scream Tracker 3 (including Adlib support)
Fast Tracker 2
Impulse Tracker (including old instrument format)
Doom engine (percussion missing)
Scream Tracker 2 (partial functionality)
UltraTracker (partial functionality)
Scream Tracker 3 sample
Microsoft WAV audio
Audio IFF (Apple)
Amiga 8SVX sample
Impulse Tracker sample
Headerless sample data
Gravis UltraSound patch
Fast Tracker 2 instrument
Impulse Tracker instrument
Schism Tracker is able to save modules in IT and S3M format, sample data as
ITS, S3I, AIFF, AU, WAV, and RAW, and instruments as ITI. Additionally, it
can render to WAV and AIFF (optionally writing each channel to a separate
file), and can export MID files.
Schism Tracker was written by Storlek and Mrs. Brisby, with player code from
Modplug by Olivier Lapicque. Based on Impulse Tracker by Jeffrey Lim.
Additional code and data have been contributed by many others; refer to the
file \fIAUTHORS\fP in the source distribution for a more complete list.
The keyboard diagram in this manual page was adapted from the one used in
the documentation for Impulse Tracker, which in turn borrowed it from Scream
Copyright \(co 2003-2016 Storlek, Mrs. Brisby et al. Licensed under the GNU GPL
<\fIhttp://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html\fP>. This is free software: you are free
to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by
They almost certainly exist. Post on
\fIhttps://github.com/schismtracker/schismtracker/issues\fP if you find one.
Agitha shares her happiness with benefactors of the insect kingdom.
.SH SEE ALSO
.\" No favoritism: this list is alphabetical, trackers then players
.BR chibitracker (1),
.BR milkytracker (1),
.BR renoise (1),
.BR ocp (1),
.BR xmp (1)