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Making music on Linux

While the majority of home musicians and small studios use either Macs or Windows based PCs, there are a growing number of Linux users wanting to setup audio sequencing and editing software on their chosen operating system.

One of the leading audio and MIDI sequencers for Linux is, the rather oddly named, Rosegarden.

The main sequencer view of Rosegarden - similar to many sequencer layouts on other operating systems:

The notation view of Rosegarden:

Rosegarden is available for download for free. Due to the complexities of configuring audio applications across the many and varied flavors of Linux, they directly host only the source code for users to compile themselves, however several binary download versions are linked to for the various popular Linux flavors, such as Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, and Gentoo.

They also offer quite a clearly laid out tour of the various features of Rosegarden, including:

  • Editing
  • MIDI
  • Notation
  • Audio
  • Synths
  • Languages
  • Integration

Another section of the website which I'm sure virtually every Linux user attempting to properly configure this program will need at some point is the help section. I've dealt with Linux before, and while some of the powerful features and excellent ideas are a real plus, often simple installation and successful configuration of programs can be a challenge. I'm pretty sure this is likely to be the case for most musicians software on linux.

I notice that they mention that Rosegarden runs on ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) drivers. It might pay to check that your soundcard or audio interface is supported by ALSA drivers. The ALSA drivers do appear to be the most advanced and supported linux audio drivers I'm aware of, however some soundcard manufactorers refuse to cooperate with the open source community, and so do not make vital code available to Linux developers who are trying to make their cards usable by Linux users.

In any case I'd welcome any feedback or experiences that Linux musicians would like to share...


Comments

macness's picture

This is really awesome, I'm going to really give it a chance... I'm a very conflicted musician - I use Windows ONLY for ProTools and use Linux for everything else, I really am looking for any opportunity where I don't need to use Windows/Mac for creating music, although it seems that finding an alternative to ProTools and Reason is difficult.

matt's picture

Cool, make sure you let us know how it goes... if I know people are interested in hearing more, I'll be sure to post about further linux audio software packages that I've heard about too

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