If you’re a musician of any kind, from beginner to professional, Linux offers a great range of free, yet powerful platforms and applications that will boost your productivity and help you show off your creativity.
Don’t let the fact that these apps are free influence your judgment. They are high-quality, professional applications that rival even the most well-known, expensive, commercial applications. These are 10 of the best Linux apps for musicians of all skill levels.
Audacity is arguably the most recommended Linux app when it comes to recording and editing audio. This completely free software can compete with expensive commercial packages used by professionals.
It includes features such as multi-track recording, effects editing, track splitting, spectrogram analysis and much more. Whatever you’re trying to do with audio on your Linux system, chances are Audacity can handle it.
Ardor is a complete solution for recording, editing and mixing. More than just an audio editor, it is specially made for artists who want to record from real instruments and produce their own music.
It supports multi-track recording, video synchronization and many other professional functions. In addition to what’s included, there are also hundreds of plugins available that allow you to tailor your workflow to what works best for you.
Denemo is designed to make the process of writing and composing music easier, however you do it. You can compose your own songs using the keyboard, via a MIDI sequencer or even directly from an instrument and microphone. You can create traditional music scores, tablature, chord diagrams, fret diagrams and much more.
As the authors put it, you can use Denemo for everything from a quick homework assignment for students to composing a full-sized opera. No matter what kind of music you compose, Denemo will make the process quick, accurate and fun.
MuseScore is another sheet music composition application. It offers powerful features but keeps the interface clean, intuitive and easy to use. This professional quality app allows you to write your music using the keyboard or via a MIDI interface.
Everything you need is there, plus there are tons of plugins available to extend the functionality of MuseScore. Within minutes, you can easily be writing for guitar, piano, bands, orchestra, choir, marching bands, or just about any other form of musical performance.
LMMS (formerly known as Linux MultiMedia Studio) is a complete digital audio workstation. It allows you to produce music in an almost unlimited number of ways. It comes with tons of instruments, synthesized sounds, samples, effects and plug-ins so you can start creating right away.
Mix, match and sequence everything from acoustic instruments to pumping electronic beats and everything in between. The software supports both standard and MIDI keyboards, giving you complete control over your compositions. If you’re looking for a complete, modern solution for creating electronic music, you’ve found it.
Hydrogen is a very user-friendly music sequencer and mixer. It is especially suitable for those who want to start creating their own electronic music based on samples, beats and synthesizers. It definitely comes packed with features that make music making easy and fun.
It includes a pattern-based sequencer with an unlimited number of patterns and up to 192 taps per pattern. You can also edit samples directly in the app to create new cuts and loops. Hydrogen will certainly prove to be a useful tool for all musicians across the spectrum from beginners to professionals.
MusE is a full-featured MIDI and audio sequencer with recording and editing functionality, complete with plug-in support and automation capabilities. It is a great alternative to comparable commercial software with high price tags.
Build your own compositions through an easy-to-use and intuitive interface that helps you create, edit, and master anything your imagination can throw at you. New users will find MusE easy to use, while professionals will immediately see the value of its wide range of features and powerful tools.
Mixxx is a full DJ production application. Not only does it enable recording and mixing, but it is also powerful enough and intended to be used as a complete solution for live performance. Mix, cut, scratch, crossfade and more, all in real time. Mixxx does it all.
BPM and music key detection help you find the perfect next song from your library. Use turntables with time-coded vinyl records to control playback and scratch your digital music files as if they were pressed onto vinyl. It also supports many kinds of hardware for DJ controllers. Take your DJ performances to the next level with this incredible free and open source music solution.
Guitarix is a fully featured virtual guitar amplifier. It takes the signal from your guitar, through your sound card, just like any real amp. Everything is handled by a main amp and a rack section. You can route each individually to produce a processed stereo signal.
You can use the rack to apply effects from over 25 built-in modules. From noise gates to wah-wah pedals or f/x-style flangers, you can transform your tones to get the exact sound you want. You can make simple recordings of your playing or record your new songs and input them into the audio software of your choice to create your own self-composed masterpiece.
Guitarix is perfect for those just learning to play guitar who want to experiment with effects without spending a lot of money on amps, pedals and other accessories.
Rosegarden is an environment for editing and composing music based on a MIDI sequencer with support for both digital audio and music notation. It is a somewhat unique software package that allows you to create and edit music in a variety of ways.
You can work with your creations in the form of standard sheet music or write and edit using the digital sequencer – or switch between the two as you please. The authors of Rosegarden have done an excellent job of creating a very user-friendly application that allows musicians to create and edit their own compositions quickly and comfortably without the typical learning curve required by more complex software.
Compose and create your way on Linux
If you are serious about music, one of the applications mentioned above can help you take your creativity and talent to the next level. Whether you’re working with one instrument or want to create an entire virtual orchestra, there’s something for everyone in these excellent free Linux audio apps for musicians. Dive in and discover. You will not be disappointed!