Four reasons we need open source beat making software

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The Beat Making Lab is back, with Pierce Freelon and the Apple Juice Kid. In this video, the music-making duo walks us through why the world needs open source beat making software.

They first shared their idea and vison to create free and open source software to take to youth of the Congo with us last year after they attended and were inspired at the Rio+Social conference held by the United Nations.

So, why do we need open source beat making software, anyway?

#4 — It doesn't exist (yet)

When the Apple Juice Kid, like many others, goes to make a beat he needs many things to make that happen: a drum machine, synthesizer, sampler... This doesn't exist as one, free, downloadable package. Yet.

#3 — It's free

Beat making is expensive; unfortunately, it's not something everyone can engage in. To allow people of all types, from all backgrounds and walks of life to have access beat making, we need free, open source software.

#2 — Bootlegging isn't sustainable

It's llegal. It's frustrating. And, it can be dangerous.

#1 — Pamoja

This word in the Congo refers to a way of life, a mentality and philosophy of being "in solidarity." Free, open source beat making software is an opportunity to bring the world closer together, connecting people and cultures, through music.

To be part of this open source software movement, join the Beat Making Lab mailing list for news and ways to participate. Watch their latest video here.

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16 Comments

fabrax's picture

Are you forgetting Hydrogen...? http://www.hydrogen-music.org/hcms/

Jen Wike's picture
Open Source Sensei

Thanks for bringing up Hydrogen! This article focuses solely on the Beat Making Lab project, but I wrote an article interviewing a musician who uses Hydrogen here: http://opensource.com/life/12/9/open-source-music-making-software-helps-...

Unidentified's picture

Is Congolese a language, guys?

AfricaIsBigger's picture

C'mon, guys, is Congolese a language?

Jen Wike's picture
Open Source Sensei

Congolese is something of, from, or related to the Republic of the Congo. As there are many languages in the country, this was what I was trying to convey; I have updated the wording to be more clear.

Janusz's picture

This software will be useless without proper drivers for audio/MIDI equipment. It's not a problem to create music on Linux with Renoise, EnergyXT2 and TAL (I only miss Synth1 and a good sampler - the one in EnergyXT was perfect but not implemented in EnergyXT2 - but this covers somehow Renoise). But no ability to fully run most of those audio/midi things (not mentioning programmers for modern synth) really limits you down to "before W98" era.

Cheers.

speakingcode's picture

ardour, hydrogen, rosegarden, lmms, LADSPA/DSSI/LV2, milky tracker, and so many more... many available via ubuntu studio or jambuntu.org
The unix/linux philosophy is do one thing and do it well, and provide a common interface for usability. Jack is the common interface that allows midi and audio connectivity between the myriad of options available in the open source audio production world.

speakingcode's picture

ardour, hydrogen, rosegarden, lmms, LADSPA/DSSI/LV2, milky tracker, and so many more... many available via ubuntu studio or jambuntu.org
The unix/linux philosophy is do one thing and do it well, and provide a common interface for usability. Jack is the common interface that allows midi and audio connectivity between the myriad of options available in the open source audio production world.

Homer's picture

What we have here is another example of people with knowledge only of the commercial windows/Mac sound making eco system coming along thinking they can "do it better" with open source.

If they'd bother to look they'd have realised that there is a myriad of software already here (including everything on their list), as mentioned in other posts, and the jack audio connection kit is a better implementation of midi/audio mapping than in any other os. Open source already has it all. What these clowns don't realise is that we don't need them to "fix it"... LOL...

and the dude complaining about midi compatibility obviously has never tried. Everything from my Roland gear, my virus, drums machines, keyboards, mixers, sequencers all talk happily and without issue with Linux midi implementations (and without drivers needing installation) Inclusive of all USB standards compliant devices. If you ain't using standards compliant hardware, then don't bitch when it only works with proprietary drivers written to coral YOU into a commercial OS that scratches their backs, allowing them to drop support for your hardware in the next OS release forcing you to buy the next supported device.... LOL..

Israel's picture

Lmms. Seriously. So do they actually use open source software day to day? Lmms is incredible. Beat making synth and vst support

danboid's picture

LMMS and Ardour have already been mentioned but my fave opensource DAW is qtractor.

Another FLOSS DAW (apart from LMMS) that includes integrated instruments is MusE, although like qtractor its Linux only.

TAL-Noizemaker is an excellent FLOSS subtractive synth available as LV2 and VST plugins (and as a standalone JACK app) from DISTRHO. It competes well with commercial synths.

qsampler handles pro-quality sfz and gig samples whilst samplv1 is perfect for more basic sampling needs.

KXStudio and AV Linux are the leading Linux distros that make using all this superb software simple.

speakingcode's picture

ardour, hydrogen, rosegarden, lmms, LADSPA/DSSI/LV2, milky tracker, and so many more... many available via ubuntu studio or jambuntu.org
The unix/linux philosophy is do one thing and do it well, and provide a common interface for usability. Jack is the common interface that allows midi and audio connectivity between the myriad of options available in the open source audio production world.

jhibbets's picture

Hey folks, let's keep the conversation upbeat and productive here and make sure you're familiar with our Community Behavior Rules. We will not tolerate offensive comments.
Jason

nserwich's picture
Newbie

Has anyone taken a closer look at Creative Commons? http://creativecommons.org/music-communities

Nano Serwich
@nanoserwich
Global Awareness Campaign Manager @ Red Hat

Janusz's picture

I have posted twice and both posts are missing - even though were not offensive.

Answering on:
"and the dude complaining about midi compatibility obviously has never tried."
No - I haven't. But the list of unsupported or not fully working equipment on official ALSA site is enough to say it. Also I not complaining about midi implementation but about equipment drivers/software. My midi keys work out of box with my Ubuntu. But many features require external software not available on Linux. Your Virus may work fine but Mashine will be a bit limited right?

cheers

Ted's picture

Don't forget the excellent FLOSS DJing app MIXXX.org.
http://mixxx.org/
Unlike many open source DAWs (which tend to feel subtly outdated and overly fidgety), Mixxx has a nice set of professional-feeling features and first class UI that help you have a successful experience on the first try. Match it up with some simple hardware controllers and some samples (or your favorite MP3s) and you're in business!