Free Music-Making Software
Currently Available Online
Although commercial software packages such as Cubase, Reason, ProTools and Sibelius are both versatile and powerful, newcomers to music technology may not be in a position to purchase them immediately. To begin with, you can download ‘demo’ versions of the above software (in which saving is disabled) to try them out. Go to the Propeller Head website to download a demo version of Reason and the Avid website to download ProTools or Sibelius).
For those interested in exploring the possibilities of music technology without investing in commercial software, there are also a number of free, open-source music-making software packages – including virtual studios, audio recorders and editors, sequencers and music notation programmes – now available, and more are being created all the time. Here are some examples, in alphabetical order.*
|Audacity||An audio recorder and editor for Windows, Mac, Linux and other operating systems.|
|BandLab Cakewalk||Formerly known as Cakewalk SONAR, this was one of the first ever digital audio workstations and is still one of the best. Its owner Gibson halted development last year, but the cloud music creation platform BandLab has made it available to download free. For Windows only.|
|DarkWave Studio||A digital audio workstation for Windows. Features a modular virtual studio, pattern editor, sequence editor and multi-track recorder.|
|Finale Notepad||A freeware version of the famous music notation software. For Windows only.|
|Integra Live||Developed as part of an international project led by Birmingham Conservatory supported by the Culture programme of the European Union, this ‘software environment’ is designed for both composition and making music with live electronics.|
|Kristal Audio Engine||A multi-track recorder, sequencer and mixer – free for personal and educational use.|
|Let’s Make Music||A free, open-source digital audio workstation for Windows.|
|MuseScore||Full-featured music notation and composition software for both Windows and Mac. This is the most popular software used by Leaving Cert. Music students.|
|REAPER||A complete digital audio production application for both Windows and Mac, offering a full multi-track audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering toolset.|
|SyndtSphere||A very accessible software synthesizer for both Windows and Mac, developed by an innovative Stockholm based production company.|
|Temper||A fully functional MIDI composer/sequencer/recorder.|
* Waltons New School of Music does not specifically endorse any of the above software.