Best free programs for music composition and education
FractMus creates melodies using mathematical formulas. FractMus has sixteen-voice multitimbral polyphony. Each voice can be assigned to one of the sixteen midi channels (percussion channel is usually channel 9). Voices can be assigned instruments, dynamics, speaker output, algorithms, scales, note durations, etc, completely independent from each other. You can easily toggle voices on/off by pushing the voice buttons. FractMus offers 15 pre-defined scales to choose from and the possibility to create your own. Built in scales include: Major; Minor Natural; Minor Harmonic; Minor melodic; Lydian; Mixolydian; Dorian; Phrygian; Locrian; Acoustic; Octatonic 1; Octatonic 2; Pentatonic; Whole tone; Chromatic. You can also define your own note-duration. Just select “other” from the combo box. A dialog will pop up. Enter the value of the duration (1=thirty second, 2=sixteenth, 3=dotted sixteenth, 8=quarter (8 thirty seconds), 10=quarter + sixteenth, etc).
Jniz is a light, free and efficient program you can use to compose your music, if you prefer to edit your score in your PC, even using shortcut keys. The program supports any instrument you may like to use, from pianos and guitars to bass, winds, harps, violins, organ, percussion and much more…
SuperCollider is a free and convenient composition server and language that lets you write algorithmic music. The program provides code editing organized in several tabs.
Metronome Gadget will let you keep time or try to find the bit of your dreams. The gadget does not inlude only a tic tac standard metronome sound, but also bass drum, snare and disco drum sounds. It will let you easily increase or decrease tempo.
Guitar Chords Windows Gadget comes with 56 different chords for the guitar, a basic tuner (standard tuning only) and a simple metronome.
Piano desktop gadget features impressively realistic piano sounds. You can use it to tune your piano or test a song, or just play a while as you take a work break.
Organaut can emulate analog and digital organ sound. Features: 9 drawbars; Rotary cabinet emulation; Keyboard «click» emulation; Internal reverb; Octave shift; «Digital» / «analog» modes.
Note Attack will let you practice your knowledge of reading a musical score.
Perfect Pitch Trainer helps you train yourself in recognising musical notes. The program plays a note and asks you to identify it. It’s made up like a game with 25 turns and a maximum score of 25.
Power Tab Editor helps you create guitar sheet music, more commonly known to musicians as guitar tablature and bass tablature. The program provides the most commonly used symbols in tablature, including chord names, chord diagrams, rhythm slashes, bends, slides, hammer-ons/pull-offs, harmonics and palm muting. Power Tab Editor will help you learn how to play guitar, or, if you have some experience, it will help you transcribe your own music and/or guitar lessons. The software can be used by both acoustic and electric guitar players alike.
Blank Sheet Music presents blank sheet music formats for Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar, Choir, Drums, Violin, Mandolin, Saxophone and more musical instruments.
Mixxx features dual decks, co-operation with iTunes, Rhythmbox and Traktor files and playlists, BPM, Key Detection and Sync, automix and live broadcasting. A great tool you may like to know better.
Deca Dance will let you mix one or more different sounds or full tracks and combine them to record a new one. Volume and Panning control for each individual channel – Change volume for added emphasis on certain channels; move the panning from centre to right – Graphical sound location bar – Sound effects for each individual channel – Fade in and Fade out, Loop, Pitch control, and more.
Beatles Booklet includes: Beatles Album information, Beatles Song Lyrics, Filmography, Interviews, Song info, information on the instruments used in each song, and more.
LilyEditor is a GUI for Lilypond files, with previsualization, syntax highlighting, pdf integration, pre-parsing, etc. You can move back or forward one measure by hitting PageUp and PageDown; LilyEditor will save the current measure and load the next for you. LilyEditor has an integrated preview window, which will show you – as you type in – which notes / rests / clef, Lilypond would output. This happens as you write, so you can recognize errors very fast. This preview is clickable too.
SimplePercussion features 47 percussion instruments that can play together in a loop of up to 70 beats (depending on your screen resolution). SimplePercussion is very easy to use, but it can create even very complex percussion patterns. Just mark the boxes corresponding to the instrument(s) and the beat, and then press the play menu. You can save your percussion scheme in a file. You can change beats/second, beats/loop, and beats/heavy vertical accent lines. SimplePercussion also works nicely as a simple metronome, but you don’t need this for a metronome. If you are a percussion fun and you’d like to experiment on creating percussion patterns, then this program is for you.
Happy Note games will help you learn the musical notes. In the “Notes in Space” game, the duration indicated by a spaceship (whole, half, quarter) must match the duration of the note you’re shooting at. When you hit a whole note, it splits into 2 half notes; when you hit a half note, it splits into 2 quarter notes; When 2 quarter notes collide with each other, they turn into 1 half note. When 2 half notes collide with each other, they turn into 1 whole note. At the start of each game, you must answer a multiple choice mini-quiz on note durations. Your answer will determine how many lives you start the game with. You have the option to have the game display or not the duration of each note you hit.
Giada will let a DJ apply live several sound effects to audio tracks, even to record new ones. The built-in editor helps you adjust the volume, boost the input or normalize the file. Altering the pitch is also possible. In case you select a loaded waveform, you can silence it, fade in or out the sound, smooth edges and more.
FlexibeatzII FlexibeatzII will let you use any .wav files for sounds, but also offers editing and synthesis toolsets for each sound, with the ability to shape and sculpt sounds extensively and dynamically while the sequence is playing (at the same time not compromising the ease of use of the sequencer). Bram Bos’ Hammerhead Rhythm Station is also a great X0X drum sequencer application, but limited in the per-sound synthesis department (you can only sequence short patterns with it). You can have FlexibeatzII randomize sound and notes selection. This rather cool feature lets the application load random sounds (from the ‘data’ folder containing all your .wav files) into each channel, or randomize the notes set in the current measure for the selected channel, for that extra bit of inspiration.
DarkWave Studio allows users to connect various machines included with DarkWave Studio in addition to machines that adhere to Steinberg’s VST effect and VSTi instrument format in a virtual studio environment. A pattern editor with a piano roll interface is included to allow the creation of patterns of music for each instrument with ease. A sequencer allows patterns to be arranged into a song, allowing reuse of patterns to rapidly create a song with repeated elements. Recording can be synchronised with the start and end of a song by starting recording of all tracks simultaneously as playing the song by the click of a button in the sequencer. DarkWave Studio comes with the following machines: ES SpatialVerb: Room modelling reverb unit with advanced circulant feedback delay network to minimize ringing caused by most reverbs. ES DGenR8: Virtual analog drum module made to sound and function just like the classic Roland TR-909. ES AntiAlias: Up to 32 times oversampling digital filter to enhance the quality of the recording. And more.
Psycle Music Studio is a free open source modular music creation studio. Virtual instruments, sound generators, and effects can be used and combined in a modular way to create the end result of a complete musical composition. Pre-recorded tracks (a vocal track and a guitar track for example) can be inserted as well. Psycle has an Old-School Tracker interface, but it supports VST Plugins and VST Instruments in addition to samples.
Crescendo Music Notation Editor will let you arrange a professional quality sheet music, compose music for films, a band, a score, or just for fun. Crescendo allows you to create, save and print your music inventions on your computer. The wide array of notation symbols, time and key signatures, and text, all on a free-form layout, gives you control over your music arrangements. You can try it with TwelveKeys music transcription software to transcribe music recordings and make arrangements of your favorite music. Features: Change the key signature and time signature * Add whole, half, quarter, eigth and sixteenth notes and rests (semibreve to semiquaver). And more.
MP3Quiz plays excerpts of music from random MP3 files of your own collection or of a network computer. You then have to identify Artists and Title from a list of possible answers. If you get 3 correct answers in a row then you play the Bonus round. At the end of the quiz the total points for each Player / Team are displayed.
MuseScore will let you write a musical score on your computer, providing all the necessary tools for using musical notation. MuseScore incorporates even a sequencer and synthesizer to play your score. The Play Panel offers more controls over playback including tempo, starting position, and general volume. Features: WYSIWYG, notes are entered on a “virtual note sheet” * Unlimited number of staves * Up to four voices per staff * Easy and fast note entry with mouse, keyboard or MIDI * Integrated sequencer and FluidSynth software synthesizer * Import and export of MusicXML and Standard MIDI Files.
Quartz Audio Master will allow you to record, edit, mix, share and deliver your productions driving an integrated 4 tracks digital mixer, recorder, sound and time line editor in synch with a 16 tracks MIDI sequencer. Record audio, in sync with Midi, with any instrument or microphone or assemble already existing audio materials or music loops. Record Midi, as well, using a Midi keyboard or your computer keyboard. Cut, copy, paste, move, repeat your audio elements and Midi elements and mix your tracks applying real-time DirectX or Quartz plug-in effects on audio. Edit GS or XG synths. Print your Score. Mixdown to standard stereo files using many formats.
Musink lets you write music fast. You can use Musink to create orchestral scores, short-musical-snippets, exercise books… Musink is particularly useful if you are a publisher, drummer, or writing music for many voices. Notes are added by putting the mouse where you would like a note, and clicking. Musink automatically takes care of music rules and layout. You can change the entire look of a score in seconds, by choosing a different template (page layout). Musink can play back your music through any GM-compatible MIDI device. It can also export your work as MIDI and lets you export MIDI loops. Musink can publish your score as PDF or XPS document, or as a series of PNG image files.
FilterSynth is a free VSTi synthesizer or SoftSynth. You can also use it as a stand-alone instrument connected to a MIDI keyboard or sequencer and it will respond to the full range of MIDI commands.
Features: 4 oscillators with selectable waveforms, ADSR envelope stage, filter stage with selectable filter type, full preset management with 20 presets.
Guitar Chords gives all the basic and advanced chords, helping you learn how to place your hands to play them. Features: Over 40000 basic and advanced chords; simple environment; TAB notation of the chords.
Virtual Piano allows you to play your synth by making the computer keyboard into a 4-octave piano keyboard.
HammerHead Rhythm Station can create Techno loops, Jungle patterns or House beats, but it’s also suitable for Hip Hop, Triphop, Rap, Industrial and the like. HammerHead features six separate channels, 29 built-in drum sounds, six complete breakbeats and the possibility to import six samples of your own. You can save your patterns to noise-free CD-quality wave files to use them with your sampler, tracker or sequencer program.
TinyPiano will turn your computer keyboard into an electronic piano with 43 keys formed in two rows. It gives 15 tones max. simultaneously, fine pitch tunable and a metronome function. Features: The number of keys detected which are pressed simultaneously is limited by keyboard hardware. Record and replay functions. Output in a MIDI format available. Transposition (Shift in a piano keyboard) function. Fine pitch tunable. Metronome function (with M.M-Light). Key-assign remapable.
VizualSynth is intended to teach you about things like envelope shaping and equalisation in a visual way. You can see what your envelope and EQ shapes look like and use the mouse to alter them on-screen visually rather than just sliding controls up and down.
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