Article from Issue 226/2019

This month Graham dives into LMMS, Name Generator, Heaptrack, Binaural Audio Editor, Meshroom, Palapeli, and much more!

Music-making application


The great thing about Linux Music Making Studio (LMMS) is that it doesn't have a steep learning curve, and it can make music production fun, even when you have no idea what you're doing. LMMS is able to do this by also being capable of professional results, albeit in an electronic or loop-based pop genre. LMMS has been around for a long time, but without a major release, it's been difficult to justify its addition here. Fortunately, this changed with the release of LMMS 1.2.0, its first major update in four years.

In many ways, the LMMS workflow is very similar to old versions of an incredibly popular Windows application called FruityLoops Pro. Your music's basic building block is a pattern. This can be constructed out of a rack of drum or percussion sounds being triggered from a matrix, from a single sound in the rack being programmed from a MIDI keyboard, or from the onscreen Piano Roll editor. These are all very standard ways of working with notes, and LMMS makes them immediately playable and clickable as you load a template and start adding and removing notes. When you have a pattern you like, you can copy, paste, and edit to make some variations before using the Song Editor to sequence in which order, and when, each pattern is triggered.

Each instrument has its own uniquely configured sound engine that can be controlled just like a sampler or synthesizer. With the sampler and a few samples, you can use LMMS to create all kinds of sounds, from modern percussive loops to retro strings with modulated filters. You can play and edit at the same time and program the notes and chords as you go along, automating changes in the sound, volume, and panorama in the Song Editor. You can even record or import your own audio, just as you would with a traditional digital audio workstation (DAW) like Ardour.


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