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Music Contest #9 - Steampunk

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Level 16
Feb 28, 2016




Participants should create a song that fits the steampunk retro-futuristic aesthetic.


  • No submission may violate any of the site and contest rules.
  • All submissions must follow the current theme. If any musical piece does not fit, a moderator will tell you as soon as possible as to avoid confusion.
  • Your submission must be posted before the deadline. Your post must include the music in an accepted file Format (MP3, OGG, or MIDI) and an accompanying explanation of the song (i.e. explain how it fits into the theme).
  • Your submission may not be started/made before the official launch of the contest.
  • Judges may not participate.
  • Teamwork is not allowed.
  • You may not include long periods of silence in your song - rests are allowed but using 30 seconds of continuous silence simply to fill up space is not allowed.
  • Songs shouldn't contain only a single instrument soloing.
  • You must post at least 1 WIP (Work-In-Progress) before the deadline so your final work can be verified as your own.
  • Minimum length is 1 minute, there is no maximum length (please keep it reasonable, 20 minute entries may create the necessity for a maximum length).
  • Any method of music production is allowed, including using sequencers, virtual instruments, sound samples and standard recording.
  • Vocals can be used, though the part being judged is the overall sound. Essentially the Vocals are being treated as if they were instruments. Since this is a music contest, the sound is the product being judged, not the lyrics.
  • Though sampling is allowed, it must be within reason:
  • If you use an instrument sound sample for a Sampling VSI (basically if you just use the sound for the instrument, and make it play your music) you must provide the source of the sound, be it a website or an individual.
  • Sampling copyrighted material without the consent of the owner is illegal and will not be tolerated.
  • You may use Royalty free sound samples - but you must provide the source of the sample.
  • The final song must be at least 75% of your writing - In essence, you can use a royalty free drum loop (or other form of sampled material) in your song, but if you chose to you must create enough of the other material or use in such a way that it can be said that you wrote 75% of the song. Samples of instruments are simply to be used for a sequencer (like building a drum line out of specific drums or using a pitch altering sampler to make a melody out of a sound sample from an instrument) are exempt from the 75% rule.

  • First Place: 40 reputation points and your entry on the award icon
  • Second Place: 25 reputation points and an award icon
  • Third Place: 15 reputation points and an award icon
  • Participants: 5 reputation points
  • Judges: 5 reputation points


* Slot 1
* Slot 2


CriteriaThe judging criteria for this contest.
Theme (/15)
How well does it demonstrate the feeling of the theme
Creativity/Originality (/10)How original is the piece? How creative are you with the theme/instruments/etc.
Production (/10)Basically, how well does it flow? Are accents used to good effect? Do overall levels make sense? etc.
Composition (/15)How well is it composed? Do the key changes make sense?
  • Judgement: 70%
  • Poll: 30%
FinalScore =(30*PollVotes/POLL_VOTES_TOTAL) +(70*JudgeScore/100)


- The contest shall begin on December 5, 2017 and conclude on January 14, 2018


Here are some free to use resources that can get you started:

  • Audacity: Free Audio recording program - though you have to start a new track every time you record (cut and paste across tracks to deal with this), this handy audio program has nearly no latency (non-noticeable) and is a great start for people recording actual instruments.
  • ModPlug Tracker: A tracker composing program. Pretty easy to use and powerful. Doesn't come with very many instruments although more are easy to get.
  • FL Studio (formerly known as Fruity Loops): Another powerful composer. Has a bit of a steep learning curve and also is not free but there is a trial version you can use.
  • Switch Audio Converter: Free audio file changing program - can convert to less commenly used audio file types like RAW's and Orggis Vorbis along with the big ones like MP3's (Can convert iTunes locked format too).
  • Psycle: A free sequencer type program - similar to Mod Plug. Has a bit of a learning curve, though it's pretty powerful when used correctly.
  • Mp3 Direct Cut: Simplistic audio editing program that allows you to edit Mp3 directly, from their original file (don't forget to back up the original).
  • Krystal Audio Engine: Similar to Audacity, though this program is tooled more towards people editing or mixing music - recording can generate some terrible latency. (Essentially its more powerful then Audacity, but much more difficult to record a sound directly to it)
  • Hammerhead Rythm Station: A free drum machine that has built in sounds geared towards Electronica and Dance music. Also supports importing your own drum sounds via userbanks (some userbanks are provided on the site) and the entire sound library can be edited if you get more advanced with it - Drum parts can be exported as wav's and then used in your music. You will want to use Switch Audio engine if you plan on importing your own sounds as it only supports the RAW format.
  • Guitar Pro 5 - A popular Tab program that is capable of producing MIDI works. When used with the RSE plugins it can produce some realistic guitar/bass/drum parts. There is a trial version that allows for 15 days free - RSE can't be used in the trial version
  • Acoustica Beatcraft a drum machine that works similarly to Hammerhead but with more power (like the ability to use triplets). The free trial can be downloaded multiple times
  • FamiTracker: Sequencer for producing old school Nes/Famicon music. Music made from this can be played on an actual NES or Famicon (if you happen to know how to transfer such works to a game cartridge)
  • Suggest some more!
  • Cockos REAPER: REAPER is a complete digital audio production application for Windows and OS X, offering a full multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering toolset. Has a 60-day 100% functional trial and can still be used after that.
Additionally, this page can help some new composers to create better music if they don't have any good workstation to work on:

The 10 Best Free DAWs Available - RouteNote Blog

Extra two here as well:

SAVIHost – Standalone VST host for Windows
Ohm Studio - this might be paid by now.

Download Free Digital Audio Workstation plug-in: Podium Free by Zynewave its in the DAW list but i feel its better than most options,FL Studio is good but not being able to save a project is a big minus
Komplete : Samplers : Kontakt 5 Player | Products Very good and comes with a bunch of good stuff already,plus just googling ''Free Kontakt player libraries'' and you'll find a lot of stuff no doubt
Ultimate List of Free Kontakt Libraries A list of free libraries for kontakt.Be aware though,not all kontakt libraries will play on the kontakt player,some will play in demo mode as they require the full kontakt version,others will play normally
bigcat Instruments This guy makes a lot of good stuff for kontakt,free.

Assigned Moderator: @Naze
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Level 4
Jan 12, 2010
Here's a snippet of my early WIP. Most of it is subject to change but I figured I should post it before I cram every plugin under the sun in there and crash my DAW. :D


  • Siege on Compoundville (early WIP).mp3
    3.8 MB · Views: 208
Level 17
Apr 3, 2010
In all seriousness. Wtf actually is steampunk in relation to music. All i know is of the fashion, with all those call gadgets and hats. }

really struggling to understand this genre in the musical sphere. Is it basically Gothic Music with a few random metal influences?
Level 28
Nov 12, 2007
Updated the entries post with deepstrasz' WIP.

Still trying to get my head around this genre xD.
Well does resemble something steampunk-ish! Sincerely all your entries fit the theme, because steampunk in music has no characteristic sound, it's more of a... thematic.

If we search for steampunk music on youtube we'll see things ranging from regular orchestral music (with titles like Steam Airships or whatever) to some alternative rock bands. There's also some 19th century-inspired stuff (like dark cabaret, as I mentioned the other day).
Level 9
Jul 22, 2010
Heya guys! So I honestly haven't done too much here except for some fun little terraining story-telling type stuff. But Veronnis (my brother who you may know better) told me about the music contests on here and I dig makin' music so I wanted to enter something here since Warcraft is life lol. Here is my WIP called "The Grand Tour". It's made in FL Studio 12 using the EastWest Sounds Online sample library and depicts the more adventurous and light-hearted portions of the steampunk "feel" (whatever that's really supposed to be). It's been real fun to make! =D


  • The Grand Tour (WIP).mp3
    2.2 MB · Views: 111
Alright, I am officially in this. Here's my wip. I've also attached my current project, just in case anyone wants to see what it's like.

Guitars and bass are recorded by me, and I am typing in the drum midi, not using beats.

This is just a start so a lot is bound to change. I will probably keep the theme of a beating machine heart. I want to make the composition very percussive, with a lot of asynchronous rhythms, to simulate a machine workflow.

EDIT: I posted a new WIP, raper can increment file names, so I can keep multiple versions. Machine Heart.mp3 is the first version I posted, Machine Heart-001.mp3 is the second.


  • Machine Heart.mp3
    500.8 KB · Views: 96
  • wip.png
    174.1 KB · Views: 121
  • software and gear.txt
    323 bytes · Views: 74
  • Machine Heart.zip
    19.8 MB · Views: 119
  • Machine Heart-001.mp3
    500.8 KB · Views: 99
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Level 22
Jul 25, 2009
I hope ya'll like death metal. It's not thematically steam punk, but I briefly imagined the possibility of a macabre and retrofuturist black market organ trade. Something in the vein of Repo! but more vulgar and philistine.


  • The Organ Dealer 12.30.17.mp3
    5 MB · Views: 100
Level 4
Jan 12, 2010
@RiotZ Sounds wicked! Now I'm in the mood for some Bolt Thrower!

Also, here's my second WIP. I'm still having fun with it.


  • Siege on Compoundville V2.mp3
    5.5 MB · Views: 102
Level 16
Feb 28, 2016
Hey there

So, Me and Naze are planning to extend the deadline to 14th since there are only two finished entries in current.

Also, finding judges is hard, and I can't find some music makers experienced in judging.

EDIT: Deadline extended to January 14. Keep them coming guys!
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