Invoking MusE
Window Reference Guide
Creating your setup
Getting Started
Software synthesizers coming with MusE
External Software synthesizers
Reference Information

Where from and where to go

There's a long history of sequencers. In the beginning there were only analogue synthesizers, which could only be played live. The classical example is presumably the Moog. After the introduction of MIDI, the first devices appeared where music data could be saved and replayed, in short: Sequencers. To program these devices, i.e. to record and process music can rather be compared with assembler programming of computers than with making music. But soon the first sequencers for computers were developed. At first, one could only process MIDI data, since the corresponding hardware capacities were missing. But those developed at high speed and thus the quality of hardware - and what is most important in this case: sound cards - improved that much, that one could even do without external tape drives. Now multi-track audio on-line recordings were possible and there were even astounding possibilities for the post-editing of large projects. Hard to believe, but nowadays computers can do even more. Software-synthesizers in combination with software sequencers (MusE for example!) offer apparently unlimited possibilities of variation. In fact, one can compose without even touching the wheel or the button of a "real" synthesizer. It will need time, however, until this software will be affordable, as the prices are immense. That's where MusE enters the game!

MusE and its competitors

Of course there will always be "better" programs or not! This decision is due to strongly subjective criteria. On the one hand, it depends on what one is aiming at. On the other hand, it depends on individual technical knowledge in the field of synthesizers/sequencers. To the time that I write this article, there are unfortunately no commercial sequencers for Linux, not to speak of whole studios like Cubase or Logic. So the Linux-user can only choose between a parallel installation either to Mac (if one has a PPC architecture) or to Windows (in case of IBM Hardware). But where do those programs actually beat MusE? Certainly not in their price because commercial, proprietary software is expensive. That's where programs like MusE become interesting because everybody can have it for free. Furthermore they are "open source", which is another important point, because thereby the users get the opportunity of finding bugs themselves and doing away with them.

Naturally, all projects start small. It's the same with MusE. With MusE, Linux enters a new dimension of MIDI and Audio processing. Together with Jack, even multi-track on-line recordings can be realized. In the the next few years MusE will certainly evolve strongly and with some luck there will be an easier installation and more comfortable manuals.

Features of MusE

A full list of features can be found here:

  • Mastertrack
Allows you to edit tempo changes and time signatures
  • Controller Editor
Not all controller types are in the list. There should be a configuration option to configure the list of controllers.
  • Midi Recording
Some recording modes (loop etc.) are not implemented.
  • Midi Configuration
There should be a midi device driver which implements some device specific functionality. Currently there is only some support for generic GM/XG/GS devices.
  • Wave Integration
You can create a wave track and import a wave file. The wave editor can currently show only a wave file. You can play waves in sync with midi, set left & right loop marks, etc. Only simple operations in the arranger are possible.


  • Werner Schweer who started MusE and wrote the initial plot for this manual.
  • Robert Jonsson who does most malinglist FAQ answering.
  • Joachim Schiele
  • Jan Koch (for the translation of the Introduction of the manual)
  • Frank Neumann
  • and many more!


Use the information in this document at your own risk.
I disavow any potential liability for the contents of this document.
Use of the concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely at your own risk.

All copyrights are owned by their owners, unless specifically noted otherwise.

Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before major installation and backups at regular intervals.

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