8-bit Bohemian Rhapsody

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/07/8-bit-bohemian-rhapsody.html


Oh how awful.


I enjoyed that. Quite musical.
Bit-rate experts, do you think it’s legitimate 8-bit or is it cheating in some way?

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How long until the Youtube content matching algorithm marks this as “infringing?”

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Bohemian rhapsody sounds 8 bit enough to me.

If I had a spectrogram of it, I’d be able to tell you with much more confidence if there is “cheating”.

If the original wav file is available you could know with certainty.


Depends on what you mean by legitimate 8-bit. As far as the bitrate goes, it’s irrelevant: they’re unrelated factors (or close to it). What you might mean is the sample size, that is, there are only 256 possible values for each sample to be (bitrate is sample size * samples/second, you can get a 1 bit (sound on/sound off) sample to be at any bitrate you want just by having enough samples.) In that sense, it may be.

What people normally mean however, is “does this conform to the rules of some 8-bit computing platform”, and the answer to that is no, not for any platform people think of as being 8-bit. The generated waveforms are pretty clearly meant to sound like the NES, although its use of samples, actual recorded sounds, are too numerous but their quality is about right. For a good feel for how the music that made the best use of the NES sampling abilities sounded like, look up Sunsoft titles, particularly Blaster Master and Journey to Silius. Sunsoft was really the only company to make full use of it, everyone else just used the PCM channel to get better sounding drums, basically.

However there is one 8-bit system which fits the bill here! The only problem is that it was marketed as, and generally seen in the public consciousness as a 16-bit system: the TurboGrafx-16 (PC Engine for non-Americans.) This system had an 8-bit CPU but a 16 bit GPU, and audio capabilities more in line with the 16 bit consoles; I see no reason why you couldn’t create this song using its sound hardware (look up the L-Dis soundtrack for a good example of what the console can do.) Of course, the TurboGrafx was also one of the first consoles to feature a CD addon, so you could always just burn the music to a CD and play it back that way :slight_smile:

Sorry! The game that I picked to plug for the TurboGrafx-16 example is actually a CD game. Here’s a compilation of HuCard games, ones which used the internal sound synthesis:


It’s just a standard MIDI composition. I used to download tons of MIDI music files in the 90’s before MP3 was a thing.

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@tekk pretty much covered it very well. The bit in 8 bit gaming systems refers to the graphics not audio.
But apparently the Nes did have sampling capabilities.

Anyway, the sounds used for the bohemian rhapsody arrangement here remind me of the Sega genesis, a 16 bit system.


Regardless of actual use of 8-bit technology, this makes me believe 8-bit Sound should be a genre on Spotify. I’d listen to that.

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Good points all.

I’m more familliar with graphics, and wasn’t sure how to judge 8-bit sound.

Apparently some people have already got there:


I think I would have been very happy to get those sounds out of an AY-3-8910. (Arcade game chip mid-80s.)

Now someone needs to make an 8-bit graphics version of the pool cue scene from Shaun of the Dead to go along with Track #7

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