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Digital Audio Workstations for Linux

LMMS and Ardour


Originally Digital Audio Workstations were dedicated devices for creating music or any other kind of sounds. As a result of the capabilities of modern computers, a suitable software package can convert most computers into a Digital Audio Workstation.

The key functionality of a digital audio workstation is mixing or sequencing, which refers to the process of combining audio signals (which may be imported or generated through a variety of means) into a "song" or "recording", that is typically stored in a file and can be played by standard multimedia software.

Following traditional digital audio workstations, the user interface of computer software digital audio workstations is organized around a multitrack tape recorder layout. Key functions include transport controls, such as record, play, and rewind, a waveform display, a mixer, and track controls.

As computer software, digital audio workstations can now process soundtracks without additional devices and offer the musician powerful editing capabilities such as copy, past, and undo that make possible to reverse complex processing steps.


The LMMS software package makes it easy and fun to write music, even for novices. You can select from a wide range of instrument sounds, and compose melodies, cords, and beats using simple, intuitive editors.

Multiple tracks enable you to mix sounds in flexible ways. You can use MIDI keyboard input and apply a variety of effects to your compositions. The software includes an FX mixer that can merge up to 64 channels as well as an automation editor for automating things like panning or volume.

You can quickly get the hang of the basic functionality by following the online tutorials (look under "Help" in the menu bar).

LMMS is one of the better free music composition programs and offers an alternative to commercial software like FL Studio.

The latest release includes a lot of bug fixes and improvements. See the release notes for more information.


Ardour is an advanced audio software package for recording, editing and mixing audio signals. For example, if you have two or more sound recordings that you would like to combine into a song to be recorded on a CD, you can use Ardour's powerful mixing capabilities to improve or modify the tracks and then merge them into one signal. You can cut and paste sections of tracks to cover up imperfections, etc. Non-destructive editing facilitates unlimited undo/redo operations.

Ardour aims to provide an audio recording system with functionality and performance required by professional users. A flexible routing system makes it possible to connect "anything to anywhere," and can handle all physical I/O ports of your system. Ardour also supports various audio-for-video features, including video-synced playback and pullup/pulldown sample rates.

You can use the Ardour user manual to learn how to run the program and use its features.

Download information is available here here.

Music Compostion Software

There are a number of software packages specifically designed for composing music, although their expanding functionally overlaps more or less with that of digital audio workstations. Such music composition software includes editors for writing music scores. The have the capability to assign musical instruments to specified tracks and play the composition through the computers sound card. Some of the popular music composition programs available for Linux are Lilypond, Noteedit, Rosegarden, MuseScore, and MusE.

Audio-Visual Performance Software

Some software packages include video and visual effects composition capabilities along with music and audio output. Such VJ Tools can be used at events for real time performances. The list of such programs includes Veejay, FreeJ, LiVES, Amarok, and VLC
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