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I'm one of those frustrated wannabe musicians. I'm continually composing songs and lyrics in my head, but I'm a total dev/null when it comes to muscianship: I can't play an ...
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  1. #1
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    Music Composition and Performance Tools for Non-Musicians?


    I'm one of those frustrated wannabe musicians. I'm continually composing songs and lyrics in my head, but I'm a total dev/null when it comes to muscianship: I can't play an instrument (despite hundreds of piano and guitar lessons), and I don't "get" music theory (despite taking a class, reading several books, and trying some online tutorials). Let's assume, for the moment, that my inability to play an instrument or understand music theory is due to an incurable brain defect.

    Not all is hopeless: I can sing fairly well, but can't sight-read. I have perfect pitch and a good "ear", but can't reliably name the notes. Which means I learn songs only by rote memorization. I can learn a song in one key and sing it back in another key (transpose it), but I can't tell you what the keys are. I can find and sing harmonies, I but can't tell you if it is a 3rd or a 5th, or major or minor. And, again, I have these fully arranged original songs running around in my head. I even dream new music.

    I'm looking for Linux software to help get my music out of me and into the world. Since I can sing and hear OK, that's what I'll need to rely upon to create my music.

    Here's the process I'm imagining:
    1. Record a hummed or sung melody.
    2. Software performs pitch recognition, then replays the recognized notes in parallel with my original audio input to correct errors (sort of an audio version of assisted OCR).
    3. Once pitch recognition is complete, software helps detect time signature, again with playback assistance to make corrections (find the rhythm).
    4. Once pitch and time are recognized, software helps assign keys and detect key changes using an audio-based iterative approach ("I'll know what's right when I hear it.").
    5. After the above are done, a basic score should be created (melody + chords, and/or a guitar tablature).
    6. Next comes assisted arrangement for multiple instruments (guitar/base/drums/keyboard, piano/violin/cello, vocal harmonies, etc.), and the creation of more complete scores.
    7. Finally, instrument assignment and orchestration. (Via a basic MIDI synth?)
    8. Record and mix one or more vocal tracks.
    9. Cut a record, go on tour, get a contract, achieve world-wide fame.

    Aside from that last step, do Linux tools exist for the rest of the process? Do the tools "play nice together"?

    I've found links to many Linux music tools: Synthesizers, sequencers, samplers, audio recorders/mixers/playback/streaming, MIDI, scripting/programming and more, but I'm so "musically challenged" that I don't even understand what the more complex ones are intended to do, or just how I can map them to the process I've described above.

    Specific questions:
    A. What Linux/FOSS tools exist for each of the above steps?
    B. Have those tools been integrated into a single "Music Composition and Performance for Dummies" suite?

    Sorry for the long post, but I've been researching this off and on for years, and have finally given up trying to do it on my own. Help!

    -BobC

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer
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    Nov 2004
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    Hydrogen can make the drum beats, Audacity or Rosegarden can mix together the different things into a song, but other than that I'm not sure where else to go.

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