Free software

One of the explicit goals of CEMC is to incite users to develop their own working methods and creative procedures.  Part of this is accomplished through information provided in lectures and in your time engaging the software available in the studios.  But as time goes by you will want to build your own software toolkit.  Free software is an excellent way to do this and there are many powerful applications available.  Indeed, many represent unique compositional tools unmatched in the world of commercial music software.

Below is a recent compilation of recommended software for various operating systems.  All software is available for free to the user and most has source code available under the GNU Public License (GPL).  I tend to favor tools with cross-platform implementations.  This gives the user a further freedom, allowing them to use whatever operating system they choose (or are provided with).  Before listing items by operating system, it is useful to list tools which will “run anywhere”.  As this list grows, the list of system-specific tools can, hopefully, fade away.  A “*” denotes tools which are available for Unix systems only such as Linux, Mac OSX, Sun Solaris, etc.

First, a few quick links to downloads directly pertinent to lectures:

PureData installers (for pd-extended, all operating systems)
JACK audio connection kit for OSX

Ardour* (Multitrack recording/editing) —
Audacity (Audio editing/recording) —
Audicle (One-the-fly programming) —
Cecilia (Uber-app) — and
Ceres3 (Spectral editor) —
ChucK (On-the-fly programming) —
CLAM (Spectral modeling/editing) —
Csound (Uber-sythn) —
JACK* (audio signal control) —
JAMin* (audio mastering) —
Mplayer (play/view almost any file type)–
Praat (spectral analysis) —
PureData, PD (Modular audio programming) —
Sndtools* (audio visualization) —
SooperLooper* (Loops) —
Spear (Spectral editor; Mac and Windows only) —
SuperCollider* (real-time synth) —
Tapestrea (Sound design, analysis/resynthesis) —
VideLANClient , VLC (play/view/stream anything) —
Xine (play almost any filetype, nice GUI) —

GIMP (Photoshop replacement) —
GIMPShop (Photoshop replacement) —
Hugin (Panoramic image stitching/editing) —
Inkscape (Illustrator/Freehand replacement) —
OpenOffice (MS Office replacement) —
Scribus (High-quality publishing) —

Drupal (web management software) —
Firefox (web browser) —
Gallery (online photo gallery software) —
GAIM (multi-protocol IM) —
GoogleTalk (IM) —
Nvu (free WYSIWYG web editor) —

Other interests:
Celestia (a 3D celestial browser) —
Stellarium (a virtual planetarium) —

Mac-specific Recommendations (often Mac version of above apps):

Adium (IM) —
AudioMove (Audio conversion) —
Colloquy  (IRC client) —
ffmpegX (play/encode/decode anything) —
Fink (software management) —
Fire (multi-protocol IM) —
Gentoo (software management) —
Handbrake (DVD to Div/X) —
Hymn (iTunes DRM help) —
JackOSX  —
MplayerOSX (OSX GUI) —
OpenDarwin (Unix core) —
SoxWrap (Audio conversion)–

Windows-specific software recommendations:

Mobius (Loops) —
(others coming soon…offer your suggestions)

Linux Applications:

Unlike Windows and Mac, Linux is not an “app-by-app” world.  Installation is automated within the operating system.  WIth a base system in place, one can simply ask for applications and Linux will find them, download them, and install them for you.  This has led to application “bundling” (when it’s so easy to ask for one, why not create ways to ask for lots of applications at once?).  Below are several audio/video-specific bundles of this kind.  Follow the directions on these pages and you will have a full-blown music environment running under Linux (for free) in a few hours.  One or two even run directly off of a CDROM (see below), just pop the disk in the drive, reboot, and you are ready to make music.

Linux will run on any hardware (PC, Mac, Sun, Xbox, toaster, etc) so you might consider adding it to your machine alongside your curret operating system.

Audio Bundles (install on Linux)
Turnkey Linux Audio:
Thac pages:
64 Studio:
Dave Phillips Pages

Bundles which run from CDROM (no install required)
Studio to Go: (commercial)
Apodio: (in French)

Skip to toolbar