The 10 Best Linux Apps for Musicians

If you’re a musician of any kind, from beginner to professional, Linux provides an amazing assortment of free, yet powerful, platforms and applications that will boost your productivity and help you to show off your creativity.

Don’t let the fact that these apps are free wrongly influence your judgment. They are high-quality, professional-grade applications that rival even the most well-known, high-priced, commercial applications. These are 10 of the best Linux apps for musicians of all levels.

Audacity is, perhaps, the most recommended Linux app when it comes to audio recording and editing. This completely free software holds its own against expensive commercial packages used by professionals.

It includes features such as multi-track recording, effects editing, track splicing, spectrogram analysis, and much more. No matter what you’re trying to do with audio on your Linux system, chances are that Audacity can handle it.

Ardour is a complete recording, editing, and mixing solution. More than just an audio editor, it is made especially for artists who want to record from real instruments and produce their own music.

It supports multi-track recording, synchronization with video, and many other pro-level features. On top of what’s included, there are also hundreds of plugins available that will allow you to customize your workflow to exactly what works best for you.


Denemo is designed to make the process of writing and composing music easier no matter how you do it. You can compose your own songs using the keyboard, through a MIDI sequencer, or even directly from an instrument and microphone. You can create traditional music scores, tablature, chord charts, fret diagrams, and so much more.

As the authors put it, you can use Denemo for anything from a quick student homework assignment all the way up to composing a full-scale opera. No matter what type of music you are composing, Denemo will make the process fast, accurate, and fun.

MuseScore is another sheet music composition application. It provides powerful features but keeps the interface clean, intuitive, and easy to use. This pro-quality app will allow you to write your music with the keyboard or through a MIDI interface.

Everything you need is there, plus there are loads of plugins available to extend MuseScore’s functionality. Within minutes you will be able to easily write for guitar, piano, bands, orchestra, choir, marching bands, or just about any other form of musical performance.

LMMS (formerly known as Linux MultiMedia Studio) is a complete digital audio workstation. With it, you can produce music in a virtually unlimited number of ways. It comes bundled with loads of instruments, synthesized sounds, samples, effects, and plugins to allow you to start creating right away.

Mix, match, and sequence anything from acoustic instruments to pumping electronic beats and everything in between. The software supports both standard and MIDI keyboards, giving you complete control over your compositions. If you’re looking for a complete, modern, electronic music creation solution, you’ve found it.

Hydrogen is a very user-friendly music sequencer and mixer. It is especially well-suited for those who want to get started creating their own electronic music based on samples, beats, and synthesizers. It comes absolutely loaded with features that will make the music creation process easy and fun.

It includes a pattern-based sequencer with an unlimited number of patterns and up to 192 ticks per pattern. You can also edit samples directly within the app to create new cuts and loops. Hydrogen will most certainly prove to be a useful tool for all musicians across the spectrum from beginners to professionals.

MusE is a full-featured MIDI and audio sequencer with recording and editing functionality, complete with plugin support and automation capabilities. It is a wonderful alternative to similar commercial software with high price tags.

Build your own compositions through an easy-to-use and intuitive interface that will help you to create, edit, and master anything that your imagination can conjure up. New users will find MusE easy to use while professionals will immediately see the value in its rich set of features and powerful tools.

Mixxx is a full-on DJ production application. Not only does it allow for recording and mixing, but it is also powerful enough and intended to be used as a complete live performance solution. Mix, cut, scratch, crossfade, and more, all in real-time. Mixxx does it all.

BPM and musical key detection help you find the perfect next track from your library. Use turntables with timecode vinyl records to control playback and scratch your digital music files as if they were pressed on vinyl. It also supports many types of DJ controller hardware. Take your DJ performances to the next level with this incredible free and open-source music solution.

Guitarix is a fully functional virtual guitar amplifier. It takes the signal from your guitar, through your sound card, just as any real amp would. Everything is processed by a main amp as well as a rack section. You can route each separately to produce a processed stereo signal.

You can use the rack to apply effects from more than 25 built-in modules. From noise gates to wah-wah pedals or f/x like flangers, you’ll be able to transform your tones to get the exact sound that you’re looking for. You can make simple recordings of your playing or take your new tracks and feed them into the audio software of your choice to start putting together your own self-composed masterpiece.

Guitarix is perfect for those just learning to play guitar who want to experiment with effects without spending a lot of money on amps, pedals, and other accessories.

Rosegarden is a music editing and composition environment based on a MIDI sequencer featuring both digital audio and music notation support. It is a somewhat unique software package that will allow you to create and edit music in several different ways.

You can work with your creations in the form of standard sheet music or write and edit using the digital sequencer—or flip between the two as you see fit. The authors of Rosegarden have done an excellent job creating a very user-friendly application that enables musicians to create and edit their own compositions quickly and comfortably without the typical learning curve required by more complex software.

Compose and Create Your Way on Linux

If you’re serious about music, any of the applications listed above will help you take your creativity and talent to the next level. Whether you’re working with one instrument or looking to create an entire virtual orchestra, there’s something for everyone in these outstanding free Linux audio apps for musicians. Dive in and explore. You won’t be disappointed!

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