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Famous Like Me > Composer > G > Martin Galway

Profile of Martin Galway on Famous Like Me

Name: Martin Galway  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 3rd January 1966
Place of Birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Martin Galway (born January 3, 1966, Belfast, Northern Ireland) is one of the best known composers of music for the Commodore 64 sound chip, the SID soundchip. His works include Parallax, Terra Cresta and Wizball's scores, as well as the music used in the loader for the C64 version of Arkanoid.


As a 17-year-old schoolkid in 1983, Martin Galway used to write music for the BBC Micro, while some of his friends made games. Soon Martin realized that they could even make money, and approached Ocean Software. They liked the game (a Pac-Man clone), and Martin offered his skills as a musician.

Ocean were so impressed with his tunes that they let him borrow a complete assembly language development system, and he started composing right away.

During the eighties, Martin made music for many of the popular Commodore 64 games, and became one of the most famous SID artists. Galway is best known for his soaring, anthemic compositions, for making heavy use of the SID chip's ring modulation feature, and for compostions which made unconventional changes to SID register settings while notes were playing (producing his trademark echoey sound). Perhaps his most famous song is the title-piece for Comic Bakery, a sweeping 3-voice masterpiece. This is also also one of the most pirated C64 songs, as it was featured in a number of demos (what crackers used to put before a pirated game to give shout-outs and brag) and on music discs. Another song that many Commodore 64 users remember is his adaptation of the Rambo II theme used in the game.

Martin also made music for one of Origin Systems' first adventure/roleplaying games, Times of Lore, with several tunes that were intended to suit the medieval setting. As he was also a programmer, he wrote an algorithm that randomized the chords that the guitar voice plays, making for a very long and varying piece.

He was also the first musician to get published with sampled sounds on the Commodore, with the theme for the Arkanoid conversion. When asked about how he did it, he answered: "I figured out how samples were played by hacking into someone else's code ... OK, I admit it ... It was a drum synthesizer package called Digidrums, actually, so you could still say I was the first to include samples in a piece of music. [...] Never would I claim to have invented that technique, I just got it published first. In fact, I couldn't really figure out where they got the sample data, just that they were wiggling the volume register, so I tried to make up my own drum sample sounds in realtime - which is the flatulence stuff that shipped in Arkanoid. [...] After the project was in the shops I gained access to some real drum samples, and I slid those into my own custom version of the tune. The one that's in the shops is kind of a collage of farts & burps, don't you think? [...] Later I was able to acquire some proper drum samples and by Game Over it got quite sophisticated."

Martin has said that he will never remake his songs, as they were made for the SID chip and would sound wrong on real instruments. However, he says that he could possibly start making music for real instruments.


  • "Well, [legend]'s a fitting term, because I'm probably not what I'm cracked up to be, just like a legend isn't."


  • Martin is the nephew of flutist James Galway.


  • Swag (Micrmania, 1984)
  • Daley Thompson's Decathlon (Ocean, 1984)
  • Yie Ar Kung Fu (Imagine, 1985)
  • Hyper Sports (Imagine/Konami, 1985)
  • Kong Strikes Back (Ocean, 1985)
  • The Neverending Story (Ocean, 1985)
  • Ocean Loader (The two different songs were actually used in several games released by Ocean) (Ocean, 1985)
  • Roland's Ratrace (Ocean, 1985)
  • Mikie (Imagine, 1986)
  • Ping Pong (Imagine, 1986)
  • Comic Bakery (Imagine, 1986)
  • Terra Cresta' (Imagine, 1986)
  • Green Beret (Imagine/Konami, 1986)
  • Helikopter Jagd (Ocean, 1986)
  • Highlander (Ocean, 1986)
  • Hunchback II (Ocean, 1986)
  • Match Day (Ocean, 1986)
  • Miami Vice (Ocean, 1986)
  • Parallax (Ocean, 1986)
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II (Ocean, 1986)
  • Short Circuit (Ocean, 1986)
  • Arkanoid (Imagine, 1987)
  • Athena (Imagine, 1987)
  • Game Over (Imagine, 1987)
  • Rastan (Imagine, 1987)
  • Slap Fight (Imagine, 1987)
  • Yie Ar Kung Fu II (Imagine, 1987)
  • Combat School (Ocean, 1987)
  • Wizball (Ocean, 1987)
  • Microprose Soccer (Microprose, 1988)
  • Times of Lore (Origin, 1988)
  • Insects in Space (Sensible Software, 1989)
  • Wing Commander 2: Vengeance of the Kilrathi (Origin, 1991)
  • Ultima VII: The Black Gate (Origin, 1992)
  • Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (Origin, 1992)
  • Strike Commander (Electronic Arts/Origin, 1993)
  • Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom (Electronic Arts/Origin, 1995)
  • The Kilrathi Saga (Electronic Arts, 1996)
  • Starlancer (Crave Entertainment/Microsoft, 2000)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Martin Galway