As a musician, singer, and composer, I’ve long wished for desktop applications to help me record and even notate the music that I write. (Most of my pieces of music are still in my head, not notated anywhere because I hate hand-notating so much. LOL)
On a whim this week, I began a new search for music-creation and music-notation programs…and I came up with the following five programs, which can help musicians and composers of all types and experience levels. Not only are these programs helpful, but they’re all free!
For Generating Electronic Music on Your Computer
Psycle is music creation software, with less emphasis on recording and more emphasis on making music within the program itself. The open-sourced nature of the program also leaves users free to build plugins for it themselves, so it’s great for the music tinkerer who also loves to code. And, if you need help at any time, it’s got a lively, deeply-established online community built around it…which is also great for showing off your newest creations!
For Recording, Editing, and Converting All Sorts of Sounds
As one of the premier open-source audio recording/editing programs on the Internet these days, Audacity can help you record any kind of audio track, edit all manner of audio file formats, convert old tapes and records into digital form, and even change the pitch or speed of a recording! (Ooh, I might use this to see how certain songs sound in my favorite keys. “Titanium” by David Guetta in C-sharp minor, here I come!)
For Recording/Editing MIDI Sounds
If you can connect your MIDI musical keyboard to your computer, MidiSwing can help you record the music made through that keyboard. It can also help you edit MIDI files, as well as compose music from within the program itself. Best of all: it’s compatible with just about any system that can run Java 2. (I might look into this to record my music on my computer, since I <3 my digital keyboard. 😀 )
For Automatically Notating/Playing Back Music, and Making Sheet Music
A must for anyone who hates hand-notating music as much as I do. MuseScore can not only automatically notate the music that’s played into the program through a MIDI connection, but can play it back, and print out real sheet music, too! (DEFINITELY getting this–I’ve been wanting to get my music on paper for years!)
For Recording/Generating Music and Mixing It Yourself
A complete Java music workstation in one program, Frinika supports MIDI, sequencers, recording, and editing, among many other audio tasks. Pretty much, if you want to record/edit/mix it, Frinika can handle it! (This looks pretty technical, so this is probably for the more advanced music mixers among us, but it’s a great all-in-one program nonetheless.)
More Music Creation Resources
For a much more comprehensive list of free music-creation programs, visit Free Music Creation Software on Squidoo–options for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems are available, as well as more specific kinds of software for various musical and audio purposes.