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OSS Music Composer Gaining Attention 116

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the sounds-like-fun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following in the footsteps of Psycle, VioLet Composer is a completely GPLed music composer for Windows that has slowly but surely been gaining attention. In an interview at Laptoprockers the author covers not only the program itself but the his reasoning behind choosing to open the source using the GPL."
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OSS Music Composer Gaining Attention

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  • And now with link (Score:5, Informative)

    by tcdk (173945) on Monday February 19, 2007 @10:21AM (#18067054) Homepage Journal
    The actual project:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/buzz-like [sourceforge.net]

    The screen shots looks kind of nice, but I don't know enough about making music to be able to evaluate it's worth.
    • by fifedrum (611338)
      downloading it now, and trying under wine...

      oh well, must have version 2 or higher of the .net framework, guess I won't get the opportunity to evaluate it
    • by taupter (139818)
      FOSS project for Windows written in C#.
      Sometimes I think there's a ploy from MS to "taint" the FOSS community by writing "free" code tied to a de-facto closed platform.
      I have a feeling this thing doesn't run with Mono. Even if it runs, it's aways on a platofrm _tolerated_ by MS before it gains widespread use, and then sue or menace to (as we've seen soooo many times).
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by aybiss (876862)
        I can assure you I've got nothing to do with MS, in fact I hate everything about them *except* C# and their free development environments. To be clear though, the only thing that doesn't work in C# under Linux is Windows.Forms, MS's windowing library, which only an idiot would expect to find a Linux version of. I mean, they're evil and all that, but to give away the core of your OS as part of a free and open language specification would be commercial suicide, and they're not stupid.

        If you are serious about
  • Backups (Score:5, Funny)

    by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @10:21AM (#18067056) Homepage Journal
    FTFA:

    This guarantees that in the future it will *always* be possible for *anyone* to pick up from some point in VC development and continue it or to make their own flavour of it. The GPL also guarantees that VC will always be available for free, even if I or someone else decides to make a commercial derivative later on.

    The day the source code to Buzz got lost was a very sad day and there was absolutely nothing anyone could do. We'd just had an updated version of Buzz released and suddenly everyone realised there would *never* be another one. By publishing not just the application but also all of the files that go together to make it, I'm making sure this can't happen to my little corner of the scene again.
    "Real men don't use backups, they post their stuff on a public ftp server and let the rest of the world make copies." - Linus Torvalds
  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @10:23AM (#18067068) Homepage Journal
    FTFA:

    I relieve my stress by working on other things such as my duplicate picture finder (for all those hundreds of thousands of pictures of... stuff... that I have)...
    I need a copy of that. No, not that, that.
  • I hope he stays under the radar of any RIAA swat team.
    • by CapitalT (987101)
      Huh?

      What does the RIAA have to do with it? does it go after guitar makers too?
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I hope he stays under the radar of any RIAA swat team.

      Hopefully not.

      If this is program which allows you to do composition, and he's not providing any way of doing anything explicitly with copyrighted works, then hopefully he won't run afoul of the *AA's. (ie. this sounds as if it has "significant, non-infringing uses" and is hopefully safe from such things.)

      I mean, you can still buy a guitar or a piano even though you could play music which is copyrighted. I can't see how this would be potentially any mo

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Gentlemen, we must find a way to plug the analog instrument hole. Only pre-approved instruments with prerecorded and approved music will be sold. With our new patented `like-playing' technology, customers can feel like they're actually playing. Any fair-licensed author-play instruments detecting the play of copyrighted works will immediately call home to beat those pirates and keep sales cost low!

        • Even better, if it detects a series of copyrighted notes being played by the user, it automatically charges them the appropriate liscensing fee. So now they can fiddle around, secure in the knowledge that they are legal!
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Only pre-approved instruments with prerecorded and approved music will be sold. With our new patented `like-playing' technology, customers can feel like they're actually playing,

          So that's why MTV bought Guitar Hero. It all becomes clear, now.
  • Don't forget ModPlug (Score:5, Informative)

    by MindKata (957167) on Monday February 19, 2007 @10:26AM (#18067076) Journal
    Its great there are some good OSS music editors. I've not heard of VioLet Composer until now, but I'll check it out.

    One great OSS music editor I've used is ModPlug.
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/modplug/ [sourceforge.net]
    • Since you have some experience, could you please recommend an F/OSS MIDI sequencer? I'd like to do some work on my Yamaha Clavinova, but I'm having a hard time finding a decent sequencer that works under Kubuntu (Edgy) and/or XP.
      • by RailGunner (554645) * on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:35AM (#18067566) Journal
        Since you have some experience, could you please recommend an F/OSS MIDI sequencer? I'd like to do some work on my Yamaha Clavinova, but I'm having a hard time finding a decent sequencer that works under Kubuntu (Edgy) and/or XP.

        apt-get rosegarden
        • by shish (588640) on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:59AM (#18067786) Homepage
          If you're going to reply to a question with a command line command, at least make sure it's the right one... (you want "apt-get install rosegarden")
        • by mgiuca (1040724)
          Yes I've been planning to get Rosegarden for a long time - it does look spectacular. Does anybody else recommend it? Also can anybody tell me if it will work (through Linux) with a Yamaha keyboard? (PSR-550 to be exact) The keyboard required its own driver under Windows, does Linux have some generic MIDI keyboard driver or am I screwed?
          • by High Hat (618572)
            Well, it surely has standard Midi In / Midi Out connectors? If so you should be able to connect it to a standard MIDI interface (available from 20 upwards) or even to a bulk sound card with MIDI/Gameport connector using a special cable.

            So recording MIDI from the keyboard or sending MIDI to the keyboard (to have the notes played back with the keyboard's synthesizer / sampler) shouldn't be the problem. Only thing you might need the windows drivers for is if it supports loading samples from the computer into

            • by High Hat (618572)
              So Slashcode munched up my euro sign. This site is just sooooooo US-Centric!

              Well anyway, that was supposed to say "available from 20 EUR upwards", but I think you can safely s/EUR/\$/ for small amounts of money...

              • by jrumney (197329)

                This site is just sooooooo US-Centric!

                That's a long standing bug in slashcode. Though I did think they'd made a special case for the Euro at the same time as they did for £

            • Standard MIDI interfaces are slowly dying out, since the USB specification includes a MIDI device class [usb.org]. Any device implementing the MIDI profile can be used with any operating system that supports it. This works beautifully on OS X (as you'd expect, since most MIDI users went the Atari ST to Mac route and ignored the PC). Support is under development for Linux, but I don't know what the current status is.
            • by mgiuca (1040724)
              Yeah it has a standard (I assume) MIDI-to-serial cable. So it should work. I don't know what the Windows drivers are for since it doesn't upload samples to the computer. But in Windows IIRC the drivers were needed to get MIDI programs to recognise it (but perhaps I could have installed a generic driver).

              Pity my newer computers don't have serial so I can't try it out without digging up the oldies.
          • Any particular reason you can't just try it yourself?
            • by mgiuca (1040724)
              Yeah my MIDI cable is serial and I don't have any active computers with serial ports ;) I'll dig out an old computer one of these days and give it a go.
    • by arth1 (260657)
      I was confused at first. How could anyone possibly use "music" and "oss" in the same sentence? That means they don't know jack! Then it dawned on me that they weren't talking about the old Open Sound System for Linux... :-)

  • Ruling the World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalhermit (113459) on Monday February 19, 2007 @10:35AM (#18067138) Homepage
    OK, I'm a Linux user (geek, dork, whatever), but bias aside, there's a lot to said for Open Source and Free software. Right now many of the tools may not be as good as commercial counterparts (though many are better). But the powerful thing about OSS is that it tends to get better. Sometimes improvements are slow and dependent upon a particular developer, but more often there's rapid change. The music software right may not have all the needed features of a pro or semi-pro package, but it may be just "good enough" for a lot of folks. In a few months it becomes "good enough" for a few more. At some point it crosses a threshold where it's not only good enough but something of a standard.

    Take OpenOffice for example. MS Office power users will miss some features, but the vast majority of students and home users can now use it for all their tasks.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      But the powerful thing about OSS is that it tends to get better. Sometimes improvements are slow and dependent upon a particular developer, but more often there's rapid change.

      The same can easily be said of closed source. Or are you trying to tell me that Adobe Photoshop has always remained the same and that this is the side effect of closed source?

      At some point it crosses a threshold where it's not only good enough but something of a standard.

      Standards are easy. Anyone can write up a standard. It's a
      • The same can easily be said of closed source. Or are you trying to tell me that Adobe Photoshop has always remained the same and that this is the side effect of closed source?

        Except for an unrelated point about OpenOffice being "good enough", I never implied that closed source, proprietary software is not improving. Are you trying to tell me that Canada is evil? It makes as much relevance as your post. The obvious difference is that OSS can be downloaded and used without cost. Of course, OSS helps drive the
    • by paaltio (978687)

      Take OpenOffice for example. MS Office power users will miss some features, but the vast majority of students and home users can now use it for all their tasks.

      I've often pondered the subject of open source in very specialized, relatively niche software like audio. It seems that, for obvious reasons, open source development works the best in areas where there is strong general public interest and as such more people interested in helping develop the software. OpenOffice seems to be a good example of an app,


      • However for audio the situation is a lot different I think. There are many remarkable open source audio software projects that I don't want to discount in any way, but on the other hand I'm also a working as a composer for a living in film, TV and video games both in Hollywood and in my native Finland, and I can pretty much say that in 99% of the cases the professional composers are sequencing with Logic Pro (OS X), Digital Performer (OS X), Pro Tools (OS X + Windows), Cubase (OS X + Windows) or Sonar (Wind
    • Take OpenOffice for example. MS Office power users will miss some features, but the vast majority of students and home users can now use it for all their tasks.That isn't really a good example. All OpenOffice does is attempt to copy MS Office, and it does it rather poorly. It is slow and bloated, and still doesn't have the entire feature set. It is lagging a few versions behind, and the .doc support isn't perfect. There is no reason anyone would want to switch (on Windows), besides cost.
      • Should have previewed:

        Take OpenOffice for example. MS Office power users will miss some features, but the vast majority of students and home users can now use it for all their tasks.

        That isn't really a good example. All OpenOffice does is attempt to copy MS Office, and it does it rather poorly. It is slow and bloated, and still doesn't have the entire feature set. It is lagging a few versions behind, and the .doc support isn't perfect. There is no reason anyone would want to switch (on Windows), besides cos

  • Moo (Score:3, Funny)

    by Chacham (981) on Monday February 19, 2007 @10:35AM (#18067142) Homepage Journal
    He made it OSS? Why, that's music to me ears!
  • Though I work as a web developer right now, I have a long past of involvement with music. I will definitely start back up with it at one point or another. I'm sure when I do, stuff like this will be really useful. My hats off to the developers on this project. I'll definitely check it out when the linked page is no longer dead.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have been keeping an eye out for a digital music workstation app that fits in between GarageBand and Logic, and runs on one of the BSDs or Linux. This is promising but doesn't appear to be there yet. IMO it appears in the screenshots to be a little heavy on the geek factor. For composition or improvisation you expect to see a timeline horizontally, and a stack of instrument voices vertically, and some kind of panel or pane in the UI , a library from which to choose instruments.
    • For composition or improvisation you expect to see a timeline horizontally.

      For a Logic Pro / GarageBand / Cubase clone, you're right that's exactly what you need. The site for this thing is slashdotted, so I can't look at it, but I hope it's something different. (Having said that, plenty of people would like an OSS Logic clone).

      I've only dabbled in music software (Cubase ages ago, GarageBand more recently) and the convention you describe doesn't really gel with me. It just seems to linear. What I'd *like* to do would have multi-instrument phrases which you could manipulate in an

      • by Peeteriz (821290)
        Try looking at Ableton Live's interface (they have a demo available on their site) - it pretty much does things in the way you are describing them.
        • by slim (1652)

          Try looking at Ableton Live's interface (they have a demo available on their site) - it pretty much does things in the way you are describing them.
          I knew it was a good enough idea that someone else would already have done it.

          Will definitely try the demo when I'm at a loose end one day.

    • by soliptic (665417)
      This isn't attempting to be an alternative to GarageBand or Logic. It's coming from a different ethos of music altogether. It's "family tree" consists of the likes of Octamed / Fasttracker / Buzz / Renoise, not Cubase / Logic. See my post here [slashdot.org] for a fuller explanation.

      From what I've picked up reading slashdot and many music production forums, the closest OSS to what you're looking for is Rosegarden. I haven't tried it myself though - no point really, as I'm happily (yes, really) running XP (no, it doe
    • by agg-1 (916902)
      Well, this isn't designed to be like Logic, it's advanced tracker software instead. You probably want a sequencer software like Rosegarden: http://www.rosegardenmusic.com/ [rosegardenmusic.com]
  • Like Buzzle? I guess making it Open Source means that they can't lose the source code when a drive crashes, like when Jeskola lost the original Buzz source... Sad day that was.
  • Hey Frequnknown, looks interesting!

    Honestly, i did not expect the VC project to outlive so many other clonez, keep that good luck going! Kudos btw for leaving that gloryfied macro assembler (c++) behind, looks like quite some pioneering work that you do.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:11AM (#18067368)
    Some free end-user feedback for you guys ('cause I know you're reading). I'm running this under Windows 2003.

    On the config dialog:
      - Why don't you read the default sound card selection off of the "Control Panel"? (Audio panel)
      - What's up with the "(fix bad sound)" labels? (Audio panel)
      - Why do I only have "Desktop" or "MyDocs" as choices for "Recording Directory". (I'd like "D:\Music".) (Audio panel)
      - Don't put the "HELP" button in red text. It's 2007 - if people need help, they'll know to look for a help button or just as likely, hit the web. (Same thing for the doc; if you think you have to write the text in red to get people to understand it, it's probably because the doc wasn't that clear in black.)

    Next screen:
        - What's up with the "Learn about stuff!" titlebar?
        - No, it's not true that "You've Upgraded!". I just installed the software for the first time.
        - Why is the "show next startup" box checked by default? I don't know any other software program that shows me the release notes with each launch. (Especially when I'm supposed to be relaunching the program several times to check audio settings.)

    The actual program:
        - Don't bug me with the "Violet needs testers and developers" prompt. WTF do you think I'm doing?
        - OK, I loaded a sample. Where's the "play sample" button? (Also, why not tie the sample to the "keyboard" at this point so I can see which pitch I want to play the sample at.)
        - Why don't you start with at least one track in a new pattern?

    Looks like a good start. I'll try to write something in it over the weekend. (I should also tell you that my favorite tracker is something called "OctaMed" so you know where I'm coming from.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm running this under Windows 2003.
      You are coming to a sad realization; cancel or allow?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by aybiss (876862)
      Thanks for the feedback, although I wish you'd posted it at sourceforge. ;-)

      Why don't you read the default sound card selection off of the "Control Panel"

      That's not a bad point. It's just that when you're using ASIO things like that aren't available.

      What's up with the "(fix bad sound)" labels? (Audio panel)

      Well, it's basically that surround and 3D sound output have yet to be tested, and when you ask for more channels than are available you can sometimes get a working audio chain that spits sta
  • by Agram (721220) <ico@TIGERvt.edu minus cat> on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:21AM (#18067466)
    ...there is also a cross-platform Buzz-port titled Aldrin which is actually comparable if not more mature than this software. It has already a majority of Buzz objects ported over and has gained some momentum among the Buzz community. And yes, it does run on Linux...
  • ... when Timbaland rips off one of its built in tracks to make a new hit song.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What makes violet Composer so special? There is already a lot of free or even open source software, that allows hobby musicians to have (nearly) as many possibilities as professional musicians.

    Jeskola Buzz has been around for a while (it is free but unfortunately not open source... well, the developer lost the source anyway). There is a very vivid community around it (see for example http://www.buzzmusic.de/ [buzzmusic.de]) and many people have already created a lot of nice music with it. Now there are even efforts make o
  • Mono (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chemicalscum (525689) on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:51AM (#18067702) Journal
    Anyone got his running on Linux using Mono yet?
  • As much as I 3 FOSS, I had to install the VST dssi wrapper and install some Windows commercial plugins. I have always found that pretty much every single OSS audio synth/fx unit just doesn't sound half as nice as the commerical ones :-(
  • This is digital sound synthesis and manipulation, but not music

    Finale http://img470.imageshack.us/img470/7861/screenshot 1lx3.png [imageshack.us] is software for composing music. There is nothing equivalent in the OSS world, and there's no finale for linux either.

    • by joshpar (955632)
      Neither is Finale. Finale is horrible at dealing with sound that doesn't fit neatly into the 12-note, even time division based world of sound.

      Why isn't synthesis, sampling and manipulation music?
    • by soliptic (665417)
      Finale (and Sibelius) are essentially for "composing" scores (ie, traditional notated sheet music to print out and put in front of musicians).

      I am interested to know what universe you live in where "music" isn't "music" unless sheet music is involved. I mean, whilst the "if it's made electronically and not played on 'real' instruments, it doesn't count as music" attitude is utterly ridiculous, it's at least... almost... nearly... sort of... possibly... barely... understandable.

      But your definition wo
    • by sorabji (1066020)
      Lilypond is the OSS music notation software, and has been around for a long time. It's code-based, and I guess it's closer to Score than to Finale or Sibelius. But it produces pretty impressive stuff once you wrangle with it enough. There are some GUIs for Lilypond, including a Win32 plugin for jEdit, but I've never used them. Lilypond, the gnu project music typesetter [lilypond.org].
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by David Greene (463)

        Thank you! I switched to Lilypond several months ago and never looked back. It is so much more flexible than Finale and its ilk due to the fact that it isn't constrained by a graphical representation. I also find that writing music in text is a lot faster than point-and-click or even recording and going back to adjust all of the quantizing problems.

        I love the ability to use music variables to hold repeating sequences. I love the programmability (even better with the new streams model). It's extremely

      • by Petrushka (815171)
        Thank you. That's something I've been looking for for a long time. It looks superb, and I'm looking forward to giving it a try. Very interesting essay on engraving they've got, too.
    • by agg-1 (916902)
      There are other ways of composing music than scribbling notes on score paper or its virtual equivalent. Ever heard of algorithmic composition? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithmic_compositi on [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    check THIS out:

    http://www.rosegardenmusic.com/ [rosegardenmusic.com]

    and paired with audacity for chopping and converting samples you would have everything you need to make your own music:

    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    A nice drum machine:
    http://www.hydrogen-music.org/ [hydrogen-music.org]

    use ardour to mix it all!
    http://ardour.org/ [ardour.org]
  • As much as I think OSS is cool adn all, I still haven't found any OSS that comes close to matching the features, speed, and/or ease of use of the commercial applications I use like Pro Tools, Sound Forge, Reason, Live, Vegas, etc. I have tried pretty well every app I could find and they were either lacking in features or the UI was so unruly that it would take months to be comfortable enough to work at a decent pace. For applications like this OSS programmers/designers are really going to have to work hard
  • People have already mentioned Rosegarden, Ardour, etc as alternatives to commercial apps, like Logic Pro, Cubase, Reason, etc, but I should also mention that there are several distributions, such as Ubuntu Studio (mentioned previously on /.) and Demudi (the inspiration for the former) that are specifically built around supporting these apps. Personally, I think it's all a lot more flexible than the commercial apps, despite being harder to use.

    In any case, it's a pity that Violet isn't available for Linux u
    • by DaveCBio (659840)
      Please explain how the OSS apps you mentioned are more flexible than say Pro Tools, Vegas or Sonar? The OSS apps are missing support for some sound cards, file types, and other things like ReWire, etc. Sure, you could prgram your own features in, but that is fraction of the percentage of the market for apps like that. So, in the end they are harder to use and have less to offer. Not really a good choice in my opinion.
  • Damn it Slashdot, now I am going to need to find a zip drive to pull my old samples off to fill the sample library. I like how you are able to see the code that the effect modules or "Machine" (this with the binary installer too). So good job, I had some fun. It even sounds better than rebirth (don't ask it was a long time ago).

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