Open Source Audio Projects

How many open source audio projects are out there? Let us take a minute to get an overview of the open source audio software and hardware communities.

Awesome Lists

Whenever I explore a new technical field, I like to search for “awesome-” lists in github. These lists can give an incomplete and at times biased overview, but there is always something that I have not heard of before.

Searching for music related awesome lists, I found these three lists:

  1. ciconia/awesome-music
  2. ad-si/awesome-music-production
  3. faroit/awesome-python-scientific-audio

They do not only contain open source projects, but give a general overview of existing projects. Usually, awesome lists are community curated, so if you find a dead link or remember a fitting project that is not listed yet, open a pull request!

These lists cover a lot of ground. Projects range from digital audio workstation software, over music programming languages and libraries, general learning resources to hardware devices.

Another awesome list I found gathers lots of open hardware projects: Synth DIY/List of open-source music hardware projects.

Cherry Picking

I am not looking for something specific, so let me mention a handful of things that seem exciting:

  • There are a lot of web based libraries like midi.js, band.js, .
  • I was not aware by the amount of music programming languages. Many of these explore areas like algorithmic composition and real time performance. Let me randomly pick alda, chuck, faust and csound. There is much more and this definitely seems like a fun field to explore!
  • As everywhere, machine learning is a buzzing topic in music as well. magenta, for example, is a project I always wanted to take a look at since a friend mentioned it in a conversation. Speech recognition, mixing helpers and music classification are very popular successful examples where machine learning developments actually lead to useful tools.
  • VCV Rack is a popular open source modular emulation that is a good alternative to NI Reaktor.
  • There are open hardware projects, e.g. this midi controller or OTTO.

Audio Programming

I want to give a quick shout-out to the The Audio Programmer discord channel. This community is gathering around the corresponding YouTube channel. I am more of a Lurker in this community, but the discord seems to be a very great resource in itself.

Dip your toe into the lake of open source audio communities. Maybe there is a place where you would like to stay and take part?
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