Etterna Charting Competition 2021 Part 1 - Voting Thread

The time is here, voting has begun.

Below you will find the groups and a zip file containing all submissions for that group, I have also provided a zip of all groups if you prefer.

You may not vote on any file in your own group.
If you are going to critique files in comments, keep it polite and constructive.
Votes are hidden until the voting process ends, but I can see who voted for what - so don’t try to vote for your own file or mass vote another person with ill intention.


Pipe Dream

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

0 voters


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

0 voters

Done with Everything, Die for Nothing

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

0 voters

Rabble Rouser

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

0 voters


It’s Tricky

  • 1
  • 2

0 voters


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

0 voters

Da Art of Storytellin’ Part 2

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

0 voters

Here is the link to ALL groups in a single zip for your convenience.

Voting will end in 2 weeks.

Have fun playing the charts and voting, I look forward to the results!


gl 2 every1

Dump Group 2: Sh!t

Chart 1:
Good overall. Bursts are well patterned, and reflect variation in the vocals while still having the same “snappiness” to them. The middle section is also pretty well done, was only slightly disappointed by the lack of 32nd trill to the tounge trill. Only thing I was confused about is some of the 24ths in between the bursts in the burst section. I can’t really tell what those are supposed to be going to.

Chart 2:
This kind of just plays like random really hard patterns thrown together. There’s no real consistency, the same vocals in the same style get charted as pure streams, trill bursts, chordjacks, and handstream all in the same section. There’s also absurd difficulty spikes, like the 48th handstream bit.

Chart 3:
This one just kind of goes. Very random patterning that basically just feels like I’m wiggling my fingers to rainbows for 3 minutes. There’s no difficulty spikes, but that’s because there’s also 0 variation in the file. It’s just rainbow bursts all at roughly the same speed.

Chart 4:
Layering in the hi-hats as 48ths is an interesting concept, but I don’t think it was executed well. The difficulty of the 48th patterns are very random, with some of them being very rolly and some of them having very nasty one hand trills in them. Verse 2 is also a bit of a difficulty spike, since it has all of these 24th minijacks and snap changes that verse 1 didn’t for some reason. Verse 2 also has the hi-hat bursts going on, which only adds to the difficulty.

Also, there’s not really any breaks in this file in terms of density. Once the file starts it just kinda keeps on going, even in parts like the second chorus, where there instrumentation is more sparse. It kind of makes the whole chart blend together, which is an issue only compounded by the fact that this is the only chart that isn’t cut of this song.

Chart 5:
Well structured, but I personally disagree with how much the chart uses filler streams. I feel like the chorus would’ve felt much better to play if there was no filler in between the streams, as it would’ve put more emphasis on the bursty nature of the vocals. I also disagree with how the bursts themselves are patterned, with the longer vocals being 32nds and the shorter vocals being 48ths. It sounds like it makes sense, but it doesn’t really reflect the variations in intensity well.

Overall, I think 1 is definitely the best. It’s consistently structured, and the patterning of the vocals reflects the flow the best, and I think that’s what matters the most for a vocal dump.

tl;dr 1 > 5 >>> 4 >>>>>>>>> 3 > 2

Dump Group 1: It’s Tricky

Chart 1:
Very well done chart. Consistent, but never feels dull due to all of the justified snap changes to intensity in the vocals. The jumpstream itself is also well patterned, big fan of how the 32nds always start with a 16th minijack and become more rolly. The chorus is also pretty clever, with the stream patterns that go around the mines to the around in the vocals. Very solid, no complaints.

Chart 2:
This chart takes a much different approach than the other chart, being much more burst and jack oriented. I respect the rather unique dumping style done here, as most dump charts nowadays tend to be much more focused around constant streams, with changes expressed by changes in stream patterning or speed. However, I don’t really feel like it fits here, as the rhythm of the vocals is rather constant and the vocals also flow into each other nicely. There’s also some other nitpicky things I don’t like, such as the snare being quads when they’re 8ths, but completely ignored otherwise. I get that it’s less more emphasized in the 8th sections, but I feel like quad -> ignored is too big of a change. Conversely, I also don’t like how the vocals get ignored in favor of putting straight 8th quads to the snare.

On a side note, I feel like the approach done with this chart would’ve been perfect for Sh!t.

While I focused more on the negative in Chart 2’s review, I feel like both of these charts are very creative and well made. I could see the voting here being very split based on what kinds of patterns people like. However, I feel like Chart 1’s approach is more fitting for the song, and has better internal logic versus Chart 2.

tl;dr 1 > 2

1 Like

Posting some first impressions on tech groups

Pipe Dream 1 – Wouldn’t have been out of place in SMG packs but not in a good way. Way too many LNs. Feels like the artist painted themselves into a corner and was forced to use them for the bulk of the file’s melody to keep consistent.

Pipe Dream 2 – I really like the minijack detail in this one. This one captures much of the song’s variety. There’s room for a bit more, but the choice between the three is pretty obvious imo.

Pipe Dream 3 – Awkward cut makes the file feel unfinished. A better spot would have been maybe the first chime, if you still wanted to cut at all. Otherwise this is a pretty basic chart that doesn’t fit the music’s complexity very well imo.

2 >>>>>>>>>>> 1 >> 3

Ozo 1 – The rigid structure of this file is understandable but not very fun to play and contributes to a pretty uninteresting file overall. The trill is the worst decision here, especially with the whole thing being an anchor.

Ozo 2 – Pretty solid overall. I’d be happy with playing this one a lot.

Ozo 3 – Random colours pop up for sync here and I think detracts from what is otherwise a pretty well done file.

Ozo 4 – The cut is okay, I guess. But it feels more unfinished than deliberate cut. Similar issue to 3 for colour. I get it; choosing between sync and “proper colour” isn’t always easy. As personal preference I’d prefer proper colours as much as possible when not using colour theory.

Ozo 5 – Risky. I think the gimmicks really work well in this one. A slightly different approach than others in terms of the actual chart, but I do like it.

This group comes down to 2 vs 5. The question is whether you like 5’s gimmicks or prefer the solid structure of 2. I voted 5 because I really like the gimmicks.

5 = 2 >>>> 3 >>>> 4 >>>>>>>> 1

Done with everything, die for nothing

(My Group) It’s interesting to see other takes on this one. That’s why these events are so interesting. I’m excited to see what people think about the files in this group.

Rabble Rouser 1 – I really like the mine use in this one. Bonus tappies are great. This is a very well constructed file, one I’ll probably replay a bunch.

Rabble Rouser 2 – It’s not bad. There’s just so much more that could have been done instead to make a more interesting file.

Rabble Rouser 3 – Same issue as 2 but with some better execution in places.

Rabble Rouser 4 – Has some pretty good ideas but is clearly unfinished. Boo.

1 >>>> 3 > 2 >>>>>>>>>>> 4


Reviewing tech group 2 at the request of Nixo <3

1 - 7/10
The themes were pretty consistent and solid, structurally well done. Difficulty balance is also quite smooth. However, the very rigid focus on drums can sometimes feel a bit dry, and the color theory, while cute, I felt was a bit messy in the beginning. The polyrhythm sections you get props for good pattern control in terms of avoiding same hand polyrhythmic issues, but it was a tad messy to follow what was going on. Overall, it’s kind of hard to describe, like it’s objectively well-organized but yet still feels kind of messy? Still has a couple of very cute and interesting ideas though, a good attempt. I have a feeling that in terms of popularity, this wouldn’t perform very well.

2 - 7/10
It’s so incredibly straightforward. Take the most obvious lines in the song: vocals, drums, piano, and occasionally some other small thing like the organ. Straight layer them. Give vocals holds, give snares and strong kicks doubles. It’s objectively not bad, the difficulty is reasonably balanced, it respects the song structure and is organized well, but it’s just got nothing particularly creative going on in it. The patterns in and of themselves flow incredibly smoothly, but on the bigger picture, has the classic problem of sacrificing technical transcription accuracy for flow, and it freely rotates pattern choices at whim. This is like the roast chicken that is cooked perfectly and seasoned well, but just has zero spices or any other flavors. It’s just chicken. That being said, this is a popularity contest, and in that respect I think this would get more votes than 1.

3 - 6/10
I do appreciate that you attempted to actually pay attention to the details, like the piano line. You accurately transcribed some details that 1 and 2 missed. So I can see the effort and the attention to detail. Unfortunately, beyond that, the chart is just crazy messy. The density of the notes don’t respect the intensity and structure of the song due to inconsistent layering choices, the hypersyncing of the vocals make everything flow like weird polyrhythms, the miniholds littered throughout are hard to track, the color theory while pretty is quite confusing, the whole thing just doesn’t flow right and feels very very messy.

4 - 7.5/10
And this pays even more attention to detail than all of 1 through 3. Not only noticing rhythmic variations but also transcribing the piano with no mistakes. While this is also organized well, it flows a bit more organically, minus the fact that it also suffers from the hypersynced vocals creating weird polyrhythmic flow. The chorus climax is also incredibly underwhelming. Despite that, the ideas and flow it creates, while maybe not the best in concept, is executed better than 1 while being more interesting than 2, which just barely nudges it over them. Don’t think it will get as many votes though.

5 - 8/10
Without question the strongest submission. It doesn’t fall for the obvious trap that the other submissions have, which is to layer the vocals. The vocals are prominent enough that they don’t really need any emphasis, which allows a lot more breathing room for patterns that flow better but can account for some of the more interesting details in the instrumentals. The bass guitar, piano, etc can all get some attention in the limelight when they come in at different points in the song. The difficulty overall is extremely well balanced, it utilized jacks to build intensity and pressure very well, and it’s structured excellently, making it very easy to follow what is happening. The gimmicks aren’t obnoxious and add a nice touch to the whole thing. Overall, it demonstrates a superb ear, good sense of judgment, a clear mind, and self-control. Would’ve easily been 8.5 or even 9 had some of the slightly more bland sections been slightly more interesting and a couple other details were polished just a bit more.

My ratings are what they are, but here’s my vote rank prediction:
5 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 1
Could be a bit off depending on the demo of players who vote.


As an old player and charter from the old days of pre-2005 stepmania my opinions may be biased, but some of ya’ll try way too hard to be expressive with colored notes while simplicity and careful pattern placement will serve you much better overall. I have tried pipe dream and ozo, will give some feedback soon :slight_smile: Overall my impression is no chart is perfect and a combination of the 2 or 3 best charts in the contest, depending on the category, would be truly ideal!


Reviewing tech group 4 at the request of Mika <3

1 - 6.5/10
The [12] and [34] theme you have going on is cute, but does get really stale after a while because there aren’t a lot of interesting things happening around it. The miniholds that go to the synth melody feel more distracting than emphasizing that melody. Mines are pretty tight, and the hold lengths overall are quite long. The melody synth feels pretty laid back with a relatively soft attack and low sustain, so to me this is quite unfitting. The color notes in the beginning are a bit difficult to follow, and as a consequence it feels a bit messy. Overall, it’s just a bit too rigid and tight for my tastes.

2 - 6/10
The beginning section difficulty is way too high, and is one of the most obvious cases of difficulty imbalance, along with some fill in the middle that also spiked hard. The patterns are just incredibly bland, as they are freely rotated and chosen at whim. 16th streams (and in general, following hi-hat sounds) completely cover any of the fun punchy rhythms that make this song catchy. There are a couple of redeeming ideas, like the double holds on the vocals, but ultimately they are far from being enough to save the rest of it.

3 - 7/10
While the difficulty distribution is balanced for what it is, I think there were too many notes. Similar to 2, the 16th streams drown out the catchy rhythms, but it does slightly make up for it with the introduction of like the jacks. The short 32nd bursts aren’t bad, I can see what you’re going for and they are kind cute, but then from a design perspective it pressure you to ramp the difficulty of the other sections of the song, and while your concepts are fairly clear, I’m not sure this is the best way to go about it. For instance, the climax chorus section had some longer 32nd bursts, and those did not feel right. At that point, I felt like I was playing a dump. It still has a lot of redeeming qualities and cute moments, but ultimately far too dense. Organized and structured well, but just missed the mark and, in my personal opinion, misguided.

4 - 6/10
The difficulty imbalance issue is still there, due to the 16th sections filling in the vocal parts. The chorus has a better grasp of appropriate rhythms, but lacks some more accurate pitch relevance and phrasing ideas, such as rotating between two sets of patterns between the two chords in the progression. The roll usage here was actually good. Some of the rhythms felt strong, but others felt quite weak, so it made them feel a bit ambiguous. Unfortunately, organization and polish is what keeps this from getting a higher score.

Vote rank prediction:
3 > 2 > 1 > 4


Da Art of Storytellin’, Part 2

This group was a nice surprise because I was actually stuck on what to vote on. I played chart 1 and even though I failed it was nice to see someone put a lot of effort into flow and how the rapper followed the beat. Chart 2 didn’t stray from 24ths to represent the vocals, and 3 didn’t seem like a coherent chart. However after playing 3 I wasn’t very sure which one I preferred, so I’ll highlight the differences and you can come to your own conclusions.

Mainly what 1 has going for it is creativity and truthfulness to the vocals. The middle part, which has a complex flow and which would be hard to chart, is executed quite well. Also, the expression in style choice, like certain repititions, color contrast with anchors, hold usage and the polys all complement this chart. The conciseness and accuracy of notes to the cadence of the rapper makes it feel like a fun chart, compared to 3 which is quite difficult with its spikes in the middle part, especially on the tight trills. It’s also more neatly organized and doesn’t feel like it’s trying to throw you for a loop.

On the other hand, chart 3 has something very important on 1 that the latter doesn’t quite get right: it’s true to the feeling of the whole song. The crushed vocals, which feel like a constant beam of suppressed thoughts, are accompanied by the prominent instrumental which is way better represented in 3. What it lacks in vocal accuracy, it makes up for in making you feel like you’re actually listening to the whole song. The anchors feel in the right place, the spikes in the middle section, which, if you can play them, do actually go to the brief and short-breathed flow, the transitions feel natural, and so on.
The end is my favorite part, it perfectly emulates how the listener would feel the instrumental be drowned out by the long, droning voice plastered on top of it, while also not neglecting it by substituting the percussion usually snapped to 8ths with grey notes during these “singing” parts.
Basically, it uses the extra space it gets by going for a higher difficulty to represent the whole song instead of only a part of it, even if it results in a disorganized chart at first glance. However, the charting itself isn’t very deep; the unsnapped streams and bursts are accurate to the more general feel of the song but they neglect more specific parts of it.

Probably won’t review any other groups, except if someone wants me to ofc :stuck_out_tongue: See ya in 2 weeks

1 Like

Tech 1

[heck ye] 1: Really nice isolation of the copious amounts of sounds going on using a wide variety of tools. Layering that doesn’t overdo it while still “feeling accurate”. Lots of interesting color theory. Nice difficulty curve/variance. Weirdly kind of a reading challenge which maybe doesn’t fit the song too well. Outside of a few nitpicks I have here and there the overall package is well thought out well executed.

[2nd] 2: Some fun minijacks. Accentuates some of sounds with those minijacks a little better than 1, but lacks 1’s depth of expression. That said it is certainly far from lacking expression (in the business we call this foreshadowing). Certainly plays a lot more like what I expected out of this song. A nice chart by it’s own merits, but not better than 1.

[3rd] 3: Okay cut. Don’t have an issue with where it starts, but it feels like it ends oddly with there still being interesting tidbits of the song left to explore. While I understand the layering, I don’t understand the choice of layering at all. Why are chords almost exclusively used for percussion and nothing else in such a layered song? It’s far, far too straightforward. This chart badly lacks the expressive layering that either of the previous two charts use well. IMO, this is the kind of song that calls for exactly that when limited to 4 columns.

Tech 4:
[1st] 1: Kind of risky, but decently well executed risk. I don’t think I can properly judge the difficulty of the mines as I’m a minelet, but they are for the most part used to appropriate sounds. A lot of cute expression here, ranging from the rolls to the hand bias and some mineart. Bit of fun (and sound appropriate) minijacks too and pretty good representation of the “drunk rhythm” drums. That said, it’s defintely flawed. There’s some weird filler streams a lot of the time (an issue all entries here suffer from). The slower sections tend to be charted with incorrect rhythms and are usually under or overcharted. Despite issues, I still feel this has the best execution and layering of the bunch, along with being an interesting control challenge.

[3rd] 2: The beginning gave me a decent first impression, but by the drop it got very straightforward and very generic. Why were the synths almost completely ignored past the intro and buildup? The drums are prominent yes, but not that prominent. Along with all the other charts, also has an issue with filler 16ths charted to nothing. Difficulty spike so prominent the NPS graph is yelling about it. Call this reading into it too much potentially, but I have a sinking feeling the charter actually wanted to do their best effort layering and then gave up after the first measure of the drop. You can physically see where it happens as they did actually chart the synths and then didn’t do it again for the entire rest of the chart. It shows up later down in the line as other sounds get inconsistently charted as well. Not sure if laziness or pushing to make the deadline, but underneath it all it does genuinely look like this chart could have been good if more love was put into it.

[2nd] 3: I actually don’t mind the dumped sounds honestly, they’re mostly executed well. Though they tend to overpower the rest of the sounds too much. The breakdown section leans really heavily into it, making me wonder if this even a tech chart at this point. The layering also makes me ask this question as it keeps on making me ask “what is that charted to?”. The filler 16ths, the trill section, some of the minijacks, on and on. Some solid ideas in general, some cool expression and fun to play, but not a fitting tech chart for this song.

[4th] 4: Cut seems more like the chart was unfinished than it being a proper cut, especially with where it ends. Lot of weird pattern choices here. The vocals are dumped as 16ths for some reason. A few pattern inconsistencies like the synth arpegio going from stair-like streams to trills (despite being the same sound). Inconsistent usage of minijacks that didn’t follow throughout the chart. I don’t understand why the drop is the least intense part of the entire chart (outside of the intro). Also, whats with the drums being ignored so much? Bunch of snares and other hard drum hits being charted as single taps is a little offputting when there’s jumps being used for less intense sounds. I really like to point out the things that I do like about something even if it’s not to my tastes, but I unfortunately can’t find anything here. To the charter in question, take this not as a chance to feel guilt, but to self-reflect and improve for the future. The absolute best advice I would give you is to work on your “charter” ear. Listen carefully to whats going on in the music, find out how to best appropriately layer all the various sounds going on and figure out what to prioritize.

1 Like

Tech 3
[3rd] 1: Overcharted. Really needs way more single taps here and there. Can’t feel much differentiation between drums and guitar notes a lot of the time, they all just kind of blend into the amalgamation of jumps. Some not great filler 16ths are strewn about in the actual 16th sounds. Not sure how I feel about the difficulty curve, but hey those anchors are fun to play at least even if they might not be balanced. The hold section was kinda fun. Structurally sound, but a foundation was built too wide for the house that was going to use it. (Can too large a foundation even cause problems for building a house or did I just make a terrible analogy?)

[2nd] 2: Strikes a nice balance in layering density between 1 and 3 that I think works very well for the song. That is, outside of the difficulty spikes that plague the last third of the chart. The layering choices themselves are also questionable at times, though it at least managed to avoid having filler 16ths where there shouldn’t have been any. This chart contains the same jump amalgamations 1 has, though is a bit more reserved at times. I wish they showed that restraint more and listened to the song more carefully because they would have easily stolen my vote if they did.

[hey pretty cool] 3: An exercise in doing more with less. This chart lessens the layering density to something more reasonable, though in a few spots a little much. That said, the spots that tend to become a spike in the prior charts are handled pretty well here. Somehow, this is the only chart of the three to recognize the blatancy of the offbeat snare. I enjoyed the minor amount of color theory with the half bpm, it’s a small but welcome touch. I was surprised at how well the holds flowed for the most part, they look like they should play awkwardly but don’t. Definitely had the best difficulty curve. Best of luck to this charter, please keep honing your craft and aim for higher.

I don’t feel as qualified to judge dumps as I don’t think I have as good a grasp on them, so I’ll keep my thoughts brief.
Dump 1: 1 was kinda straightforward, but emphasized the constant rhythm of the vocals much better. Fun to play. I also appreciated the “around” with that mine in the beginning, made me laugh. 2 was much more freeform but kinda ignored the vocals at odd times and tried to fit in quads where they didn’t feel they belonged. Minijacks to represent these vocals going at a constant 8th rythm felt weird.
Dump 3
Similar dynamic between 1 and 2 here with the constant vocal rhythm being better represented in 2. Though 2 didn’t vary up its rhythm choice for the middle section which felt kind of odd. 1 and 3’s interpretation of the ending section felt more or less equally apt. 3’s charting of the middle section was really nice, but their intro felt pretty filler (constant vocal rhythm probably shouldn’t equate a constant stream). Vote goes for 2.
Dump 2
Very fun jacks from 1, well structured overall and fun to play. 2’s jacks on the other hand felt rough and not very representative. The choice to fill the empty space in intro vocals with 32nd streams was just a bad call imo. Did appreciate the mines though. 3’s middle section felt off, but they did represent the chorus with the kind of flow 1 did. 4 and 5 kinda felt like they had some of the same “filler” feeling problems 2 did at times, but not nearly to the same degree. 1 is a clear winner for me.

1 Like

but I have a sinking feeling the charter actually wanted to do their best effort layering and then gave up after the first measure of the drop.

You didnt read too much into it, I had it charted to a more “skip” pattern like the beginning and switched to fill shortly before I ran out of time, I wanted to do more but got sick and rusted so I couldn’t test it anymore and kinda gave up.

Thank you all for the feedback!