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

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intro4   Top 5 Free Linux Music Creation Tools For The Artist On A BudgetMac 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.

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

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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).

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).

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

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.

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

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.

muse2   Top 5 Free Linux Music Creation Tools For The Artist On A Budget

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

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

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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45 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Oldgoat1957

I’ve used LMMS on both Linux and Windows, and it works really well for my purposes (i.e. my own amusement). I have been able to create a few things that actually sound like, well, music – which impresses me no end.

Aibek

thanks for the feedback

Reply

James

I use ardour, a really powerful mixer full of effects, works on GNU/Linux and OSX and ardour 3 I think will have midi support. Ardour is made by the people who bring you Jack (Sound Server).

Reply

Cassiano Leal

Did you really miss Ardour out?

Reply

Lazza

I don’t agree with your preamble about a supposed free software low quality (free as in freedom) by the way I would like to link some very nice Linux distros for these kind of jobs (they all have a lot of more software!). :)
http://musix.org.ar/en/index.h
http://www.artistx.org/site3/
http://www.bandshed.net/AVLinu
http://ubuntustudio.org/
http://www.64studio.com/
Sorry for the long list. :)

Reply

Lazza

I don’t agree with your preamble about a supposed free software low quality (free as in freedom) by the way I would like to link some very nice Linux distros for these kind of jobs (they all have a lot of more software!). :)
http://musix.org.ar/en/index.html
http://www.artistx.org/site3/
http://www.bandshed.net/AVLinux.html
http://ubuntustudio.org/
http://www.64studio.com/
Sorry for the long list. :)

Lazza

PS: try to use a realtime kernel on Windows or Mac and then write a tutorial on how to do that. :P

Tim Brookes

If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know how much I love free software. I don’t believe it is low quality, but it’s easy to overlook how hard it can be to create a product with just sweat, blood and tears rather than selling a few commercial licenses then splashing out on marketing, developers and so on.

Lazza

I find it difficult to remember every post on a multi-author blog like this one, so usually I don’t read the name of the author, sorry. :) You’re assuming FLOSS means no money at all, but if you look at some of the links (especially 64studio) you’ll see they actually do business in hardware integration and so on. ;)

Tim Brookes

That’s pretty cool actually, thanks for sharing.

Reply

Alaukik

“Whilst you won’t need to spend a penny; you may have to compromise on features, support and plugins.”

you are a sucker.
can you specify what plugins,support andfeatures we have to miss?the feature to catch two-horned unicorns?

Reply

Alaukik

“Whilst you won’t need to spend a penny; you may have to compromise on features, support and plugins.”

you are a sucker.
can you specify what plugins,support andfeatures we have to miss?the feature to catch two-horned unicorns?

Lazza

Actually, that is going to being implemented in the next version of Rosegarden. XD

Pingalot4

UAD cards. Waves, Sonnox, Ivory II, Guitar Rig, Control Surfaces, Many interfaces especially firewire ones and so forth. Want me to continue?

Tim Brookes

I was simply pointing out the obvious – free software hasn’t had the investment that commercial software has had put into it. This doesn’t make it automatically inferior, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Linux Multimeda Studio isn’t going to be quite as hot as the massively commercial products available like Reason or FLStudio or Garage Band or…. (I could keep going all day)

Lazza

Ahem… RT kernel… :)

Reply

Trump6

you forgot Ardour

Reply

IronHedge

What about Tuxguitar

Reply

Aibek

Excellent article Tim, thank you!

Reply

Pat

Hi everybody,my name is Pat & have made a meager existance as a b.u.m.(back-up musician)for the last 30 odd years(some odder than others).I am now retired off the road and now have time to fiddle with these wired(yes I mean wired)machines called computers.I was wondering if someone would steer me in a good direction to start.I’m a complete newbie with puters and the amount of stuff out there is both intimidating and mind numbing.All of my experience is on guitar & bass from classic rock,jazz,any thing a bar would hire me to play.Will some one please guide me to a decent starter music program that’s free?By the way,I love this forum,www.make use of,Keep up the great work guys.you are loved more than you know.

Aibek

Hey Pat,

Thanks for the comment and kind words about MakeUseOf. To make sure you
are pointed in the right direction I suggest you ask this a question on
MakeUseOf Answers. Point out what are the features you’re after and some
things about the program as well as that you’re a beginner when it comes
to working with such tools.

MakeUseOf Answers: http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/

Aibek

Reply

Aibek

Hey Pat,

Thanks for the comment and kind words about MakeUseOf. To make sure you
are pointed in the right direction I suggest you ask this a question on
MakeUseOf Answers. Point out what are the features you’re after and some
things about the program as well as that you’re a beginner when it comes
to working with such tools.

MakeUseOf Answers: http://www.makeuseof.com/answe

Aibek

Reply

phoenixstormcrow

I’ve tried all of these programs, and Ardour as well, and none of them worked, and most of them just crashed. With one exception: Audacity. I’d put that in the top 5 any day of the week. For what it does, it is simple to use, fast, and effective.

Reply

bubu

For Windows user, Forte Free is good too!

http://www.forte-notation.eu/e

Reply

bubu

For Windows user, Forte Free is good too!

http://www.forte-notation.eu/en/free.htm

Reply

Pdro74

You got paid to not putting ARDOUR there?

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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…….

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