Top 5 Free Linux Music Creation Tools For The Artist On A Budget

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music creation softwareMac and Windows users have it good when it comes to laying down a rough mix, some vocals or a tasty bassline. With apps like Garageband, FLStudio, Sonar and Reason, the ability to create professional recordings is limited only to expertise and creative flair.

Linux musicians have to compromise. The industry does not see Linux as a money-spinning venture, and thus the best tools for the job happen to be free. Whilst you won’t need to spend a penny; you may have to compromise on features, support and plugins.

That said, there’s plenty of quality freebies to help you on your way. Here’s six tools to get your Linux music career off to a flying start.

Linux Multimedia Studio

One of the most feature-packed and up to date application on the list, the Linux Multimedia Studio is a free and powerful suite for both Linux and Windows operating systems. Providing some features usually reserved for paid software, LMMS gives you a complete set of tools for the job.

music creation software linux

The song editor can be used to compose, there’s a beat and bassline editor, a piano roll for creating melodies, effects (with 64 FX channels) and the studio is compatible with a large number of standards (including SoundFont2 and LADSPA).

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LMMS is compatible with MIDI keyboards (of course) and there’s plenty of built-in sounds and synths at your disposal. If you’ve done any production in the past, the ability to import MIDI and FruityLoops (FLP) files will probably be of interest too. Everything’s tied together in a clean, modern interface. An incredible package for the (lack of) price.

Rosegarden

Another suite with plenty of punch that’s similar to LMMS, but aimed mainly at composing. The powerful notation editor will please those who enjoy making music using a score, with quick and easy ways to share and print (using LilyPond).

free music creation software linux

Rosegarden boasts some fairly intuitive MIDI management, with over 100 devices supported out of the box. If your device isn’t supported you can manually configure and export the settings to help the community.

There’s also a capable audio editor and sequencer, piano roll, built-in synths and multi-language support.

Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK)

JACK is not a music creation tool, but a tool to facilitate the creation of music through the use of other software. It essentially acts like a big virtual mixer, allowing you to take audio from applications of your choice and re-route it into other applications.

If you intend to do any music creation and would like to use multiple applications in the production process, then you’ll want JACK. You might also just want it as a considerable amount of software supports it in some way or another.

Jackbeat

Primarily a tool for creating drum beats and loops, Jackbeat is a free audio sequencer for Linux, Windows and Mac. The application uses a drum machine interface that promises to cater to both composers and live performers.

free music creation software

Jackbeat functions best alongside other software and can be integrated using the JACK and OSC (OpenSoundControl) standards. The whole interface is intuitive and straight-forward, meaning you’ll be up and running in no time.

Be sure to check out the keyboard shortcuts on this page to speed up your Jackbeat workflow!

Muse

Another feature-packed offering, Muse is more than just a MIDI and audio sequencer combining recording and editing abilities into one package. The interface dictates that simplicity is key to this multi-track virtual studio which is only available for Linux.

free music creation software

There’s full MIDI import/export support, editing via piano roll, drum editor or list view, internal and external synth plugins and JACK support for integration with other programs.

Look out for the up and coming Muse 2 (pictured), which the development team have said will see a stable release in the near future.

The Rest

There were a couple of apps that didn’t quite make the top 5, and those were:

Hydrogen

A drum loop sequencer with a sleek interface and distinct lack of updates since 2009, which is why it didn’t make the list. Might be worth a look if none of the rest answers your drumming needs.

Audacity

music creation software for linux

A very simple audio editor and recorder which we’ve covered here. Perfect for small tasks such as sampling but lacks any of the major features that the other suites have.

Conclusion

The software on offer here hasn’t had thousands of dollars pumped into its production but has been crafted by volunteers in their spare time. Suites like LMMS give some of the paid virtual studio software available for other platforms a run for their money. If you’re interested in creating music on the Linux platform be sure to check a few of these out.

Have any readers created any music using these (or other) free tools? Will you try any out? What other software do you use for this task? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Comments (31)
  • Paul

    I was fond of LMMS but now it crashes all the time, very tired of it, need a good alternative…
    Xubuntu 14.04

  • Xeppepo

    Thank you, Sonicrust.

  • Liowec

      Okay, you’re a new player piano and you’re tired of playing the same old stuff.
    You want to be able to sit down at the piano and have some fun.
    With the skills you learned in learning to play the piano, you can listen to music and have fun doing.

    What type of music genre do you like? Country western, the oldies, today’s pop.
    Go out and buy the sheet music for your favorite music and practice.
    One reason people become discouraged in playing the piano is that they play the same music time after time.
    So pick up a few different types of music, not just one.
    Assuming that the first step of going outside the comfort zone and to invest in a different genre, soon to play in the situation if you keep it up.
    Practice the music that you have purchased.
    Yes, I’m sorry, I said the practice.
    As with trying to do anything well there is always practice involved.
    After all, you can really do at all with no practice at all? When you give a consistent effort needed to train, you’ll notice that there are many opportunities for you.
    Maybe you have dreamed of playing the piano in a piano bar, or maybe it was just playing in front of your friends.
    In any case, you would think the fun that music people happy and able to see people really love the music you play makes.

    If this is something that you would be interested in doing, be prepared.
    First, you need to know a variety of music and songs, but definitely not discouraged.
    You can play music and have fun too.
    So make sure any type of song that prepared right track requirements.

    How much fun could you have playing for family functions? And having your family to be proud of your hard earned accomplishments, to finally be able to do something that you love to do and have fun doing it.
    Music can bring so much joy to people and be one of the suppliers of music and have fun doing it can not be more profitable.

    There are so many people out there that would love to be able to play music that they love, especially in the world today, with all the stress and the way the economy is at present.
    The ability to play music and have fun, youre rewarded not alone, it helps to relieve tension and stress built.

    For all of us that had to take piano lessons and complained but kept at it, we really should thank our parents.
    They did not know who would be opening a whole new world for us, a world of music and fun.
    A world where we can not only play music for ourselves, but also share our ability to play and have fun doing it. To check out more http://howtoplaymusictoday.com for more information…….

  • Sonicrust

    Nice list but you missed quite a few excellent tools.

    Ardour is the killer app for recording and mixing in Linux:

    http://ardour.org/

    Hook it up with JAMin (JACK Audio Mastering) for professional quality mastering:

    http://jamin.sourceforge.net

    JACK is of course the glue for to it all, and QjackCtl adds a handy session-based patchbay:

    http://qjackctl.sourceforge.ne

    Several nice effects racks available:

    http://guitarix.sourceforge.ne
    http://rakarrack.sourceforge.n
    http://jack-rack.sourceforge.n

    If synth/DJ/tracking is you bag, other trackers and synthesizers available:

    https://bitbucket.org/paniq/ja
    http://home.gna.org/zynjacku/
    http://zynaddsubfx.sourceforge
    http://yoshimi.sourceforge.net
    http://terminatorx.org/

    And scads of LADSPA and LV2 effects plugins:

    ladspa-cmt-plugins.x86_64 : A collection of LADSPA plugins
    ladspa-blop-plugins.x86_64 : Bandlimited LADSPA Oscillator Plugins
    ladspa-calf-plugins.x86_64 : Calf plugins in LADSPA format
    ladspa-guitarix-plugins.x86_64 : Collection of Ladspa plug-ins
    ladspa-mcp-plugins.x86_64 : A set of audio plugins for LADSPA
    ladspa-swh-plugins.x86_64 : A set of audio plugins for LADSPA
    ladspa-amb-plugins.x86_64 : Ambisonics LADSPA plugins
    ladspa-autotalent-plugins.x86_64 : A pitch correction LADSPA plugin
    ladspa-caps-plugins.x86_64 : The C* Audio Plugin Suite
    ladspa-fil-plugins.x86_64 : LADSPA Filter plugins
    ladspa-rev-plugins.x86_64 : A reverberation plugin for LADSPA
    ladspa-tap-plugins.x86_64 : Tom’s Audio Processing plugin
    ladspa-wasp-plugins.x86_64 : Wave Sculpting Plugins
    lv2-EQ10Q-plugins.x86_64 : LV2 Plugin: Parametric audio equalizer
    lv2-calf-plugins.x86_64 : Calf plugins in LV2 format
    lv2-fil-plugins.x86_64 : Four-band parametric equalizers
    lv2-invada-plugins.x86_64 : A collection of LV2 plugins from Invada Records
    lv2-ll-plugins.x86_64 : Collection of LV2 plugins
    lv2-zynadd-plugins.x86_64 : LV2 port of the ZynAddSubFX engine
    lv2-vocoder-plugins.x86_64 : Add a robotic effect to vocals

  • Sonicrust

    Nice list but you missed quite a few excellent tools.

    Ardour is the killer app for recording and mixing in Linux:

    http://ardour.org/

    Hook it up with JAMin (JACK Audio Mastering) for professional quality mastering:

    http://jamin.sourceforge.net

    JACK is of course the glue for to it all, and QjackCtl adds a handy session-based patchbay:

    http://qjackctl.sourceforge.net/

    Several nice effects racks available:

    http://guitarix.sourceforge.net/
    http://rakarrack.sourceforge.net/
    http://jack-rack.sourceforge.net/

    If synth/DJ/tracking is you bag, other trackers and synthesizers available:

    https://bitbucket.org/paniq/jacker/wiki/Home
    http://home.gna.org/zynjacku/
    http://zynaddsubfx.sourceforge.net/
    http://yoshimi.sourceforge.net/
    http://terminatorx.org/

    And scads of LADSPA and LV2 effects plugins:

    ladspa-cmt-plugins.x86_64 : A collection of LADSPA plugins
    ladspa-blop-plugins.x86_64 : Bandlimited LADSPA Oscillator Plugins
    ladspa-calf-plugins.x86_64 : Calf plugins in LADSPA format
    ladspa-guitarix-plugins.x86_64 : Collection of Ladspa plug-ins
    ladspa-mcp-plugins.x86_64 : A set of audio plugins for LADSPA
    ladspa-swh-plugins.x86_64 : A set of audio plugins for LADSPA
    ladspa-amb-plugins.x86_64 : Ambisonics LADSPA plugins
    ladspa-autotalent-plugins.x86_64 : A pitch correction LADSPA plugin
    ladspa-caps-plugins.x86_64 : The C* Audio Plugin Suite
    ladspa-fil-plugins.x86_64 : LADSPA Filter plugins
    ladspa-rev-plugins.x86_64 : A reverberation plugin for LADSPA
    ladspa-tap-plugins.x86_64 : Tom’s Audio Processing plugin
    ladspa-wasp-plugins.x86_64 : Wave Sculpting Plugins
    lv2-EQ10Q-plugins.x86_64 : LV2 Plugin: Parametric audio equalizer
    lv2-calf-plugins.x86_64 : Calf plugins in LV2 format
    lv2-fil-plugins.x86_64 : Four-band parametric equalizers
    lv2-invada-plugins.x86_64 : A collection of LV2 plugins from Invada Records
    lv2-ll-plugins.x86_64 : Collection of LV2 plugins
    lv2-zynadd-plugins.x86_64 : LV2 port of the ZynAddSubFX engine
    lv2-vocoder-plugins.x86_64 : Add a robotic effect to vocals

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.