10 Best Free Music Composition Software In 2022-2023
One of the essential tools in every musician’s arsenal is their music composition software. They’d be unable to write any song or track. Even though some pieces have been composed using traditional instruments and methods, and others entirely by ear, most of today’s songs are written using programs designed to allow musicians to create music in the digital age.
Here are 10 of the best free music composition software in 2022-2023, including some new programs and an old classic that you may not have heard of before.
Tracktion is a virtual studio developed by Sonic Charge. It is a complete platform for producing, recording, and performing music, inspired by traditional mixing boards and modern DAW interface designs. It’s also one of the most innovative free music composition software available today.
Tracktion is geared towards songwriters and musicians who record their work on the computer; it’s simple to use, has integrated drum loop libraries with room for importing your loops or sounds, supports VST plugins, and comes with bundled instruments such as synths and drum machines.
- Tracktion is a popular yet simple DAW for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
- You can use it to record, edit and mix audio files or as a MIDI sequencer.
- Other key features include automatic quantizing (nudge), advanced editing functions such as pitch shift and time compression/expansion, a timecode control mode for editing in response to SMPTE (the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers format that allows you to sync project playback with videotape) and AAF import/export.
- The latest version includes an embedded synthesizer called PLUMMET3.
- It supports VST effects and has three oscillators per voice with 32 waveforms per oscillator, frequency modulation options, plus synth filters, including vocoding and FM synths.
Apple’s GarageBand is a nice, simple place to start for aspiring producers and musicians. The program comes preinstalled on most Apple computers and offers an easy way to record audio and MIDI. While some DAWs (digital audio workstations) are used primarily for recording live instruments, GarageBand is a great tool for layering tracks of prerecorded sounds like drum loops or vocals.
The software provides almost all you need to start creating your beats and tracks — but lacks advanced features that musicians need as they progress in their careers. A major downside of GarageBand is its lack of support for third-party plugins; However, Apple opened up its iOS platform to outside developers a few years ago, but OS X remains tightly controlled by Apple.
- GarageBand is a remarkably powerful piece of recording and editing software.
- It’s a full multi-track digital audio workstation at its core, allowing users to record from multiple inputs simultaneously.
- (e.g., vocals and guitar) as well as process and mix those tracks in different ways
- (e.g., lowering vocal frequencies by an octave). It also has a sizable built-in library of sounds (drums, basses, guitars, keyboards), loops, and one-shots.
- For example, You can play a drumbeat from GarageBand’s collection on top of your song or use it to punch up drums you recorded yourself.
3. Ableton Live 10 Lite
Free music composition software. Professional Recording and Composing Software For Free. Ableton Live Lite is a stripped-down version of Ableton Live 10 that allows users to create and produce complete songs with preloaded sounds, loops, and instruments.
The program’s interface is relatively simple compared to other digital audio workstations (DAWs) on our list. It has limited functionality, but you can’t beat it for those looking for a DAW that can help them produce full projects without shelling out money.
Garageband: free music composition software: Apple’s GarageBand isn’t an industry-standard DAW like Pro Tools or FL Studio, but it could be close if they wanted it to be.
- Create professional sounding tracks with dozens of built-in synthesizers and effects.
- Manage your projects, store samples, and create instruments on a comprehensive library of virtual rack devices.
- Live 10 Lite’s audio content selection helps beginners get started quickly. At the same time, experienced users are given access to complex tools that will continue to challenge them for years to come.
- The program’s interface has been revamped with minimalist design elements so you can stay focused on your work without being distracted by excess clutter.
- Ableton Live 10 Lite makes creating top-notch quality music easier than ever before.
Ardour is a professional-level digital audio workstation application on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. It allows extensive audio manipulation with unlimited tracks, dozens of effects, and virtual instruments. Users can also record various devices and apply dynamic processing to existing tracks.
Ardour also supports MIDI input from devices like keyboards, drum pads and controllers, and sound fonts that can be used as sound sources. The software comes with a detailed manual that helps users understand its features. Ardor costs $0 to download or use indefinitely on noncommercial projects;
- Music tracks are made of layers. Ardor allows you to stack audio tracks on top of each other and adjust their volume, panning, mute, and solo statuses.
- You can change any or all of these settings for as many or few layers as possible.
- This makes it possible to create complex, multilayered compositions from a single session.
- Your computer’s hardware power only limits the total number of tracks.
Reaper is one of today’s most popular, if not most popular, paid DAWs available on the market. And to be honest, there is a good reason for that. Reaper offers an extensive list of features at an extremely affordable price, which isn’t something you often see these days. In addition to that, it has a very dedicated community around it.
It is one of the nicest interfaces I have ever seen. That might be enough reason to give Reaper a try, even if you are on a tight budget or don’t want to shell out too much money for DAW.
- Large collection of virtual instruments and effect plugins: Reaper comes with an impressive variety of premium quality FX, MIDI, and VST plugins.
- For example, it has Reason’s Thor synth built-in and many other synths made by Image-Line.
- If you’re looking for a more ‘out there’ sound, there’s plenty to choose from, including Reaktor and U-He DIVA.
- Whatever your instrument of choice is, Reaper will do everything to give you detailed control over its parameters.
- You’ll have a lot of fun digging into these sounds but don’t forget to make some music!
LMMS is a cross-platform open-source audio sequencer and musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) editor designed to sequence and records MIDI data. Its features include creating, editing, playback, and arrangement of musical instruments; samples, loops, and sound effects are also included.
The program is suited for simple tasks such as creating piano accompaniments or synthesizing basic sounds. It can handle more complex tasks like analyzing score input from sound files or live performances through audio plugins. It is also possible to use third-party VST plugins to extend functionality. LMMS supports LV2 plugins as well as its plugin format by default.
- Avid users of Linux might feel a little sad about the lack of professional audio editing software under Linux.
- LMMS is among the most popular and widely used digital audio workstation.
- It can also be a very efficient tool for creating high-quality audio tracks.
- Its interface and working procedures are similar to some other famous DAWs. Even if you have never worked with it before, it won’t take much time to get adjusted to its basic functions.
- You can compose your digital music tracks with LMMS.
- The most amazing thing is that all these tasks will be completed free of cost!
7. DarkWave Studio
DarkWave Studio is an open-source and cross-platform digital audio workstation focusing on music creation. It is based on a powerful sound engine (DirectX, DirectSound, and ASIO), making it possible to load VST plugins.
DarkWave Studio was included in repositories of Debian Linux distribution in 2010 and Ubuntu Linux under the name darktable-studio since 2011. DarkWave Studio is an open-source and cross-platform digital audio workstation focusing on music creation. It is based on a powerful sound engine (DirectX, DirectSound, and ASIO), making it possible to load VST plugins.
- DarkWave Studio is a virtual studio that helps compose music by using wavetables.
- The wavetables are similar to oscillators and can be used to control filters, effects, etc.
- The program also has support for DAW plugins and VST instruments and effects.
- The interface of DarkWave Studio is well designed and easy to navigate through, with options like session manager, score editor, and browser available on its dashboard so that you can easily choose what you want to work on next.
- When you’re working on an audio project or a score section or just jamming out ideas, click on it, and it’ll take you right there.
- Another great feature of DarkWave Studio is that it supports multiple midi tracks where different instruments can be placed.
Musicians often find themselves short on time but still want to write and record their compositions. Mu.lab is a great option for musicians looking to use free music composition software and who don’t have too much time on their hands—developed by Wizoo Software, Mu. The lab is an audio editing suite with built-in tools and resources for studio recording sessions and live performances.
- Mu.lab is an intuitive and easy-to-use application for music and multimedia creation, designed for people with little or no musical knowledge and experience.
- You can choose from various audio loops, samples, and virtual instruments available within Mu.Lab itself or even load your files to compose a song quickly.
Hydrogen is a cross-platform, open-source drum machine for digital audio workstations. It uses MIDI to control and play digital instruments (software or hardware synthesizers).
Hydrogen is one of several projects that make up an integrated digital audio workstation called Hydrogen Audio Studio (or H2studio), consisting of Hydrogen, a mixer application, and a sequencer/DAW. The key feature of H2studio is its unique patching system, allowing modular routing between modules and easy patch sharing via zipped XML files. This allows for unlimited possibilities when creating your patches and sound design.
- Hydrogen is a free and open-source music sequencer that uses a MIDI keyboard as its main input device.
- Hydrogen runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and other platforms.
- Its design focuses on user-friendly and efficient for creating music (rather than more general MIDI sequencing).
- Its features include:
- MIDI input support.
- Real-time audio rendering via GStreamer.
- LADSPA/VST plugin support.
- Direct WAV export.
- Advanced plugin support using JACK.
- Most plugins are instrument-specific; some synths also have audio effects for use within Hydrogen.
- There is a strong focus on playability: it’s designed to be fast and easy to enter notes from a MIDI keyboard.
Audacity is one of the most popular digital audio editing and recording programs. It’s a user-friendly program that lets you edit and add effects to many types of audio formats, including MP3. It also supports multiple channels and multichannel sound files.
It can record live audio from your computer’s microphone or other sound sources. To top it off, Audacity has an easy learning curve, so even beginners can create original sounds without much effort. Not a bad deal for one of our favorite free music composition software in 2018, right? Which are versions for both Windows and Mac!
- Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
- Audacity can be used to record live audio. Tapes and records can be converted into digital recordings or CDs.
- Sound files in Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV, or AIFF format can be edited. Cut, copy, splice, or combine sounds.
- Change the pitch or speed of a recording. And even more!
- Some key features of Audacity are Multitrack recording: Recording multiple tracks at once.
We’re always looking for new ways to express our creativity. Music composition software is a great way to create your music and learn other music theories while you’re at it! We hope this blog post has helped you find the best music composition software for your needs!