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Nick Westgate
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Yes, it's possible to effectively change the volume if you're using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), although the timbre of the note is also affected depending on playback hardware and psycho-acoustics. Dr. Blake Troise, who makes chiptunes under the moniker Protodome, describes how in a recent paper:

The 1-Bit Instrument: The Fundamentals of 1-Bit Synthesis, Their Implementational Implications, and Instrumental Possibilities

Even though the amplitude is a constant 1-bit waveform, the narrower pulses provide a way of varying volume. These narrower pulses have incrementally less power overall to the listener; as the duty cycle approaches 0% (or, by inversion, 100%) the perceptual volume decreases with it, even though the amplitude remains the same. This effect is not a consequence of the reduction of the pulsing signal's actual, electronic, or kinetic power. Instead, the reduction in volume is a product of bandlimiting—the effect whereby frequencies beyond a particular value are not heard. [...] Thinner pulses are constructed from more powerful high-frequency harmonics than lower ones. Accordingly, as the pulses get thinner, with extremely small or extremely large duty cycles, these higher frequencies increasingly fall outside the limits of what can be replicated by the speaker. Since these elements are not present, the result is a reduction of the waveform's overall power.

Some of the earlier uses of PWM on the platforms you mention were programs from around 1980 by Paul Lutus including Electric Duet. He states:

Decreasing the duty cycle of the generating waveform increases the amplitude of high-frequency components while reducing the overall volume.

Nick Westgate
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