The IT filetype stands as a classic format within the digital audio community, known mainly for its association with tracker music. The Impulse Tracker Module file, designated by the .it extension, was developed by Jeffrey Lim in the mid-1990s as a sequence of patterns or tracks that align to produce music. IT files are a successor to the MOD and S3M formats, popular among amateur and professional musicians for creating complex audio compositions.
Emerging during the era of home computer revolutions, the IT format captured the creativity of a generation experimenting with digital sounds. The format allowed users to manipulate note patterns, instrument samples, and effects, all within a compact file, encouraging the sharing of music across the burgeoning internet.
Understanding IT Files
IT files work by storing note data, samples, and other musical information in a manner that resembles traditional music sheets, but with a digital twist. They are renowned for their lean storage approach, allowing for high levels of compression without compromising sound quality. This attribute made them particularly attractive for video game development and online distribution.
Programs like ModPlug Tracker, OpenMPT, and Schism Tracker offer native support for the IT format, providing extensive tools for editing and playback. Various modern digital audio workstations (DAWs) also allow for IT file importation, enabling integration with advanced music production workflows.
Alternatives to IT Files
While the IT format had a tremendous impact, today, newer formats like MIDI, MP3, WAV, and project files from professional DAWs (e.g., Ableton Live, FL Studio) have largely superseded it. These newer filetypes offer more extensive support across devices, higher sound quality, and more comprehensive editing features, meeting the demands of today's music production industry.