From GameBrew - a wiki dedicated to Video Game Homebrew.

Author(s)TheRain (Collin Meyer)
TypeMusic Application

dSTAR is the first MIDI sequencer for the Nintendo DS. dSTAR aims to be an x0x style sequencer with unique music programming capabilities.

With drawable modulation tracks and quick tap beat entry, dSTAR takes advantage of the Nintendo DS's touchscreen to become a tactile user experience.

User guide

When start dSTAR, you are greeted with a blank sequence. Don't be afraid to tap around and observe what happens.

The four gray sections are "mod sequences". The upper three are assignable to any MIDI CC, for instance CC #1 for Mod Wheel. The up/down arrows to the left of each mod sequence will select which CC# is controlled by that track.

The mod sequence tracks are drawable, so to set values for each step, just run your stylus across the track! The bottom track (the longer one) controls the velocity, or volume of each note in the note track, which is located just below it.

The note track is the set of squares below the mod sequences and just above the soft keyboard.

To turn a note ON, tap a note on the soft keyboard and then just tap the step you want! To select a different key value for the note, just tap the key you want on the soft keyboard and turn the note step you want off and than back on!

Remember, whatever note is selected on the soft keyboard, that is the note that you will be using when you create a new note step on the note track.

The BPM control in the upper right simply sets the speed of the pattern you are creating. BPM stands for Beats Per Minute. Each pattern, as you'll notice, is divided into 16 steps. Musically, these are 16th notes. Beats Per Minute actually means every fourth note Per Minute.

The four digit displays at the top of the screen which all read as "16" when you first start dSTAR control the length of each track. The first one corresponds to the upper track and the last corresponds to the note track and it's associated velocity track. By changing the length of playback for each individual track you can achieve interesting and unexpected results. It is a good source of creativity and variabilitiy in an otherwise simple composition scheme. Also, it is the key to making patterns with odd time signatures.

In the upper left of the screen you can see numbers 1-6... these select the different tracks in the current pattern. The current track is selectable by DPAD left or right, or by tapping the number on the screen.

Tips and Recommendations

dSTAR is meant as a live groove device. You can create rythmic complexity and creatively improvise the way patterns are played back with a few buttons.

Try creating a pattern and copying it to different pattern locations. Then make slight, or dramatic variations of the pattern in the different slots then use the pattern switching controls (RTRIGGER + RIGHT/LEFT) to play them back in interesting ways.

Combine this with spontaneous reverse play, double time and half time controls, and you can start creating live grooves right away!


A - Play/Pause

B - Stop

X - Reverse Play (while held)

Y - Jump back will jump to the beginning of the sequence and continue playing

Right - track up

Left - track down

Up - double speed (while held)

Down - half speed (while held)

R+Right - pattern up (selected pattern becomes active when released)

R+Left - pattern down (selected pattern becomes active when released)

R+Start - save global (saves all patterns)

R+B - copy current pattern

R+A - paste last copied pattern to current selected pattern


Beta 05072007

work with your homebrew enabled DS!

Beta 8292006

  • 6 Tracks, organized in pages, selectable from upper left on screen, or LEFT and RIGHT DPAD (track up/down).
  • MIDI Channel assignment per page.
  • 16 Pattern save slots selectable (RIGHT TRIGGER + DPAD LEFT or RIGHT) pattern switching durring playback.
  • Global save function using Chism's FAT library (RIGHT TRIGGER + START).
  • Copy and paste from pattern slot to pattern slot (RIGHT TRIGGER + B for copy, RIGHT TRIGGER + A for paste).
  • Groove feature- double speed and half speed while holding DPAD UP or DPAD DOWN respectively.
  • Default pattern bank in dstarpatterns.bin file.

Beta 8112006

  • 3 drawable, freely assignable MIDI CC "Modulation Sequence" lines.
  • 1 note (beat) track with drawable per note velocity.
  • "soft" keyboard for assigning notes.
  • Individual track length for complex beat generation.
  • "Play effects" allow reverse sequence play and jump back on the fly.


Special thanks to 0xtob for libdsmi ( and to natrium42 for dserial! (

NOTE: dSTAR uses libdsmi ( for MIDI output over WiFi. See the dsmi website