16 Best Open Source Music Making Software for Linux

Are you a music producer and use Linux as your primary operating system, then music production is going to become easy for you after reading this article.

There is good music production software in Linux just as it is in Windows and Mac OS, though a few features may vary, but the underlying functionalities mostly are the same.

Music Making Linux Tools

8 Music Making or Creation Linux Tools

Here, I will look at some free and open-source software that you can use for music production purposes or music creation.

1. Audacity

It is a free, open-source and also a cross-platform application for audio recording and editing. Therefore it can run on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and other operating systems. Audacity has some of the following features:

  1. Records live audio through a microphone, a mixer or from other media.
  2. Import and export files from and to different sound formats.
  3. Copy, cut, paste, delete options for easy editing.
  4. Large range of keyboard shortcuts.
  5. Add sound effects.
  6. Extensible with various plug-ins and many more.
Audacity Running on Linux

Audacity Running on Linux

Visit: Audacity Homepage

2. Cecilia

It is an audio signal processing software that allows users to do sound exploration and music composition, and it is intended for use by sound designers. It can run on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.

It allows you to create a customized GUI by following a simple syntax. Cecilia has in-built modules that allow users to add sound effects and also for synthesis.

Cecilia Running On Linux

Cecilia Running On Linux

Visit: Cecilia Homepage

3. Mixxx

This is a music mixing software that can help you become a professional DJ. It is available on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. It can help you test your audio after complete production by mixing it with other audio files while listening to it.

Therefore having it in a studio can be so helpful just in case the user is also a sound producer.

It has some of the following features:

  1. Four decks with advanced controls.
  2. In-built sound effects.
  3. Quad sampler decks.
  4. Designer skins.
  5. Record and broadcast functionality.
  6. DJ hardware support and many more.
Mixxx Running on Linux

Mixxx Running on Linux

Visit: Mixxx Homepage

4. Ardour

It is available on Linux and Mac OS X and allows you to record, edit, mix and master audio and MIDI projects. It can be used by musicians, soundtrack editors, and composers.

Ardour has some of the following features:

  1. Flexible recording.
  2. Unlimited multichannel tracks.
  3. Importing and exporting audio files of different formats.
  4. Extensible through plug-ins and In-line plug-in control.
  5. Automation and many more.
Ardour Running on Linux

Ardour Running on Linux

Visit: Ardour Homepage

5. Hydrogen Drum Machine

It is an advanced drum sampler developed for Linux and Mac OS X operating systems though it is still experimental in OS X.

Hydrogen machine has some of the following features:

  1. User-friendly and modular
  2. Fast and intuitive GUI
  3. Pattern-based sequencer
  4. Multilayer instrument support
  5. Jack audio connection kit
  6. Import and export drum kits and also export audio files to different formats plus many more
Hydrogen Drum Machine

Hydrogen Drum Machine

Visit: Hydrogen Drum Machine Homepage

6. Guitarix

This is a virtual guitar amplifier and is available on Linux but can be built to work on BSD and Mac OS X. It runs on the Jack audio connection kit and works by taking a signal from a guitar and processes it mono amp and a rack section. It also has in-built modules to allow you to add effects to the rack.

Guitarix Running on Linux

Guitarix Running on Linux

Visit: Guitarix Homepage

7. Rosegarden

It is a music composing and editing application available on Linux and it is intended for use by music composers, musicians can be used in a home or small scale recording environments.

Great understanding of music notations makes it interesting for users who know and understand music notations. Furthermore, it also has some basic support for digital audio.

Rosegarden Running on Linux

Rosegarden Running on Linux

Visit: Rosegarden Homepage

8. Qtractor

It is an audio Audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer designed specifically for personal home studios. It runs on Linux as the target operating system.

It has some of the following features:

  1. Use of Jack Audio Connection Kit for audio and Advanced Linux Sound Architecture sequencer for MIDI as multimedia infrastructures.
  2. Support for different audio formats such as WAV, MP3, AIFF, OGG and many more.
  3. In-built mixer and monitor controls.
  4. Loop recording.
  5. MIDI clip editor.
  6. Non-destructive and non-linear editing.
  7. Extensible through an unlimited number of plug-Ins plus many more.
Qtractor Running on Linux

Qtractor Running on Linux

Visit: Qtractor Homepage

9. LMMS

LMMS (Let’s Make Music) is a free, open-source and cross-platform software for making music on your computer, made by musicians, for musicians. It comes with a user-friendly and modern interface.

LMMS also comes with playback instruments, samples, and plugins. It is bundled with ready-to-use content such as a collection of instrument and effect plugins, presets and samples to VST and SoundFont support.

LMMS - Digital Audio Workstation

LMMS – Digital Audio Workstation

10. MuseScore

MuseScore is also a free, open-source and easy to use, yet powerful tool for creating, playing and printing beautiful sheet music. It supports input via the MIDI keyboard and also supports exporting to and from other programs via MusicXML, MIDI and more.

MuseScore - Music Notation Software

MuseScore – Music Notation Software

11. Smart Mix Player

Smart Mix Player is a free and configurable auto DJ player for Linux and Windows. All you need to do is configure it let the player mix songs automatically.

It plays audio files as a non-stop mix; unlike other commonly used music mixing software out there that mix song at the end, Smart Mix mixes like a real DJ.

Smart Mix Player - Auto DJ Player

Smart Mix Player – Auto DJ Player

12. Renoise [Not Open Source]

Renoise is a premium, powerful, cross-platform, and fully-featured Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) with a unique top-down approach.

Renoise features a wide range of modern features that allow you to record, compose, edit, process and render production-quality audio using a tracker-based approach. Importantly, it comes with Redux, a powerful yet affordable sampler and sequencer in the VST/AU format.

Renoise - Digital Audio Workstation

Renoise – Digital Audio Workstation

13. Virtual DJ [Not Open Source]

Virtual DJ is a premium, powerful, widely used, feature-rich and highly-configurable music mixing software. Many DJ hardware devices such as those from ‘Pioneer’ include built-in support for ‘Virtual DJ’. Unfortunately, the Virtual DJ is designed to run on Windows and Mac OS X only.

To run a Virtual DJ on GNU/Linux, you can use Wine, a tool that lets you run some of MS Windows software on GNU/Linux.

Virtual DJ - MP3 and Video Mix Software

Virtual DJ – MP3 and Video Mix Software

14. Aria Maestosa

Aria Maestosa is a free and open-source midi sequencer and editor for Linux, that enables you to compose, edit and play midi files with a few easy clicks in a user-friendly interface providing a score, keyboard, guitar, drum and controller views.

Aria Maestosa Midi Editor

Aria Maestosa Midi Editor

15. MusE

MusE is a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and Audio sequencer with support for recording and editing capabilities created by Werner Schweer now developed and maintained by the MusE development team. It aims to be a comprehensive multitrack virtual studio for Linux operating system and it is released under the GNU General Public License.

MuSE - Open Source Sequencer

MuSE – Open Source Sequencer

16. Reaper

Reaper is a powerful and popular digital audio production tool for editing music, recording, processing, mixing and other audio projects. The application is also cross-platform and is created by Cockos. It acts a vital role in most of the industry-standard plugin formats such as VST and AU.

Following are some key features:

  • Productive and loads fast.
  • Install and run the application easily from a portable or network drive.
  • Simply drag and drop to import, arrange, and render.
  • It is fully customizable.
  • Easily switch between the layouts as needed for different tasks.
  • Simple nested folder system allows group editing, routing, bussing, all in one step.
REAPER - Digital Audio Workstation

REAPER – Digital Audio Workstation

Summary

There are a lot of music-making and mixing software out there for the Linux operating system, we have just looked a few. You can let us know what you are using by leaving a comment or make give some additional information on the ones we have looked at.

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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36 Responses

  1. Martin Verlaan says:

    Try Smart Mix Player and create your own mix tapes or broadcast an endless mix to your radio station. GUI is not so beautiful (yet) as applications mentioned in this article, but it does a great job.

  2. Zach Yates says:

    Ubuntu Studio is a great place to start. Many of the listed programs are preinstalled. :)

    https://ubuntustudio.org/

  3. Windows user says:

    One of the Best DJ Softwares and Mixers which I know are:

    1. Virtual DJ
    2. Mixxx
    3. Cross DJ
    4. ZULU DJ
    5. PartyCloud Online

  4. ZenG says:

    Hey I’m using Audacity, Mixxx, Ardour, Hydrogen and Guitarix (from the list) on Linux to create Metal music and Goa Trance as a composer and music producer and play Goa Trance mixes on parties as a DJ!

    It’s suffering, but I’m getting the programs working better and better. Using only Linux is like starting from Nothing, using only the pure power of the mind to create Something out of the void. You don’t get much support from anyone in exchange for your money, (for there is no money involved) so it’s a rough start, but the best learning process! and if you “break through” … well you’ll get far.

    • Aaron Kili says:

      @ZenG

      Absolutely true, this is what using Linux has also taught me, no much help especially when cash is not involved, so you have to learn on your own but it is the best learning process. As you have clearly stated, “if you “break through” … well you’ll get far”.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Garret C says:

    LMMS!

  6. Julie says:

    What if you don’t want FANCY? I only want to edit my sound files. Nothing super fancy like the above. Audacity doesn’t work. I can’ t clip my sound files with it for some reason. I only want to trim off the beginning and the end. I think audacity is corrupt so I can’t even clip my files. I am looking for a very very simple alternative, nothing super fancy like these. These are way, way too much. Thanks.

    • Aaron Kili says:

      @Julie

      Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, we will perhaps try to find out something that works for you; simple and easy-to-use. And give you feedback soon.

    • knight says:

      Audacity does work and you can cut bits off a track and join them with others and do lots more. It can be a pain to get off the ground first time but once you get through that, its a great tool.

      I’ve used it to make ringtones for my phone off of bits of songs i like. If you need more info, just hola

  7. denniz says:

    Renoise should be in there too

  8. RongBai says:

    I was browsing for audio editors and came across ocenaudio. Just downloaded it a minute ago but haven’t installed it yet as I like to see alternatives and reviews. Just looking to amplify an ogg recording and a voice-mail from my smart phone.

    Used Audacity in the past and may do two applications for testing purposes. OcenAudio is just about a year old and my thought is that some older programs aren’t really intuitive on GUI. Not that they are bad but some are better, easier to use. Simple and quick for this project, not looking for midi studio and complexity at this time. Let ya know how it goes.

  9. MartyS says:

    Muse is another great open source audio tool – http://www.muse-sequencer.org

  10. Shamil says:

    You forgot about LMMS (https://lmms.io). An FLstudio clone. Really great software…

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