I first learned about tracker / mod music on my Amiga in the early 1990's. I remember fooling around with Protracker, listening to mods with Intuitracker, and coming to the realization that all those awesome demos, crack intro's and trainers were generally using the same technology to create those iconic soundtracks.
Winding the clock back in time, I've been reconstructing a Commodore 64 ML program I wrote when I was about 15 or 16 that plays a basic beep-beep tune I was developing for a video game. I've recently disassembled my original code, loaded the assembly into CBM .prg Studio and spent some time doing refinement and cleanup. What I discovered along the way, was that my approach was eerily similar to how I now understand trackers to work, and also how I would have expected SID files to work, albeit a much more primitive implementation.
This leads me to wonder about SID files on the C64. Was there a de-facto editor for the C-64? Something that might be considered the definitive tool every crack team's audio-guy reached for to whip up a new tune for their next release? If so, was the file format ever published or documented (by now it must be, right)? And finally, is publicly available assembly available for playback (assuming a C64/SID architecture)?
Applying 20-20 hindsight, it seems a modern developer doing a retro project would expect to simply download the editor, author some awesome music, export the data and spark up some boiler-plate assembler for playback.
Please note, I'm interested in the technology as it existed on an actual C64. I realize there are modern editors that run on Windows and what not, but if it was 1987 and you wanted to make some Chiptunes on your Breadbox, what tools would you reach for?
Brian H kindly pointed me back to this question, which is chuck full of SID file goodness, but doesn't really tell me what the leader of the pack was back in the 80's. It does mention that what I refer to as a tracker/mod were actually called SID files, and that they bundled the playback code with the data into a single file.