Music software doesn’t have to be expensive. There is a lot of good free and almost-free software on the web, you just have to know where to find it. On this page you’ll find links to legal versions of music programs that I use and recommend.
Finale Notepad – Free version of the professional Finale. Limited in features but still useful. Requires free registration before you can download.
LilyPond – Music engraving tool. It has no graphical user interface, so it is not as easy to use as other notation software (you have to type in everything) but its output looks awesome.
ScoreWriter 4 – Pretty good notation program. The best I could find for only $59. I use it a lot!
Transcribe! – Software to help transcribe recorded music. Not free, but worth every penny.
AmazingMIDI – Convert WAV files into MIDI files. Pretty good, though results may vary.
Audio recording and editing
Audacity – Great audio editor. Get the 1.3.4 beta version, it works well and has more features than the older version.
WavePad – The “Masters” version isn’t free, but the regular one is.
REAPER – Very powerful multitrack editor. Not free, but has an unlimited and unrestricted free trial period.
MIDI and VST
Red Dot Forever – Very simple MIDI recording tool, incredibly easy to use. I like it a lot but that’s because I created it.
Anvil Studio – MIDI recording and sequencing tool. It can be a little confusing to use, but it’s the only free one I know.
vanBasco’s Karaoke Player – MIDI player with on-screen keyboard, options to change speed and pitch, and karaoke!
Notation Player – MIDI player that shows the score in sheet music notation.
SynthFont – Play MIDI files using SoundFonts. This sounds better than your computer’s built-in synthesizer, but you’ll have to find and download SoundFonts separately.
Cantabile Lite – Easy to use VST host, MIDI recorder/sequencer and audio recorder. The “Lite” version is free.
VSTHost – Another VST host program. Render your MIDI files to audio using VST plugins.
WinLame – Very user-friendly MP3 encoder. Make MP3 files from your WAV files.
FreeRip – Rip your CD tracks to MP3 files.
MP3Gain – Analyzes and adjusts MP3 files so that they have the same volume. Very handy!
ASIO4ALL – Some audio software requires an ASIO-compatible soundcard. If your soundcard does not support ASIO, you can install ASIO4ALL to trick your software into believing it does!
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