3/4 Music Hack (also works for 5/4, 7/8, etc)
By default, music patterns in PICO-8 are 32 notes long. This makes writing music in time signatures other than 4/4 quite difficult. So writing in 3/4 can be quite difficult as 3 doesn't go evenly into 32.
Luckily, we can use the loop function in the sfx editor to cut 32 notes down to 24.
but this will loop the first 8 notes again if we play it by itself.
The trick is to use a "empty master" pattern set at so that it plays its 32 empty notes in the time that our 24 actual notes play. Doing some maths, this just requires an empty pattern of SPD 12.
Adding in more parts, etc, we end up with something like this:
That's it! This trick does use up one of our channels with an empty track, but since we probably need one channel for actual SFX anyways, this is okay.
You can also use this trick to get 5/4 or 7/8 using 30 or 28 notes respectively with a master of SPD 15 or 14. Experiment! The sky's the limit when it comes to weird time signatures!
Here's a 13/8:
Let me know if this comes in helpful, and/or if I should write this up a bit more for the PICO-Zine!
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