Playing Fasttracker 2 files in JavaScript

My first experiences with computer music were using “trackers” on the Amiga and MS-DOS PCs so this article takes me right back. A tracker is a combination of sampler, synth and sequencer with a distinctive user interface. All of the parameters and sounds are bundled together in a particular file format so they can be shared between musicians, or used in demos and games, for example. Andy Sloane has built a Web Audio based player for the popular Fasttracker file format and explained in some detail how he went about it. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Andy!

Web Audio BBQ Party in Barcelona

If you’re in Barcelona this weekend, how about meeting up with other Web Audio enthusiasts for a BBQ? I’m looking forward to the one day this summer in London when the weather will be good enough to hold our own!

* Using Web Audio API to decode and play an MP3 file

Learning how to play pre-recorded sounds is one of the first fun projects you can take on with the Web Audio API. In this 3-part series Nic Furgiuele shows how to take an MP3 file from the network, or the users file system, decode it and play it back.


A simple but visually impressive synth with mouse, keyboard and MIDI support. The best thing about this is that all of the code has been made available on CodePen to study and change - a wonderful learning resource.

* An introduction to Web MIDI

This is a great tutorial for getting started with the Web MIDI API. It provides a bit of background on what MIDI is and why, in 2016, we should care and then goes into detail on how to send and receive MIDI messages. The Web MIDI API is quite low level, mirroring as it does the MIDI specification itself. This makes it incredibly flexible, but also presents a bit of a learning curve if you just want to play around. This tutorial will get you up to speed quickly.

* Understanding AudioParams

A key concept in the Web Audio API is the AudioParam. This interface is applied to most of the parameters on Web Audio nodes and allows for the automation of node parameters - ramping the gain of a GainNode, controlling the filter frequency of a BiquadFilter node and so on. This tutorial introduces the AudioParam and gives you some pointers of things to be aware of when you’re getting started.

Singular Value Decomposition: The Movie

This 1976 Los Alamos film about the singular value decomposition algorithm, complete with squlechy-synth soundtrack, is surprisingly mesmeric. The SVD, used to decompose a matrix into parts, has applications for noise reduction in signal processing - but mostly I just like the retro computer graphics.