Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library


LMMS - Bring the Beat Back

Sam Link
Oct 18, 2019

Software Name: Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMMS)

Cost: Free under the General Public License

Available In-Library:LMMS is available in the Columbia County Library Makerspace

Summary: Drop the bass, sequence your beat, synthesize some inhuman sounds, read Drummond & Cauty’s The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), profit.

Disclaimer: Read more than just The Manual. Familiarize yourself with the entirety of the KLF/JAMMs mythology. Learn about the Spiral Tribe and Arthur Brown. Destroy the system. Kick out the JAMMs.

MuseScore, if I can backtrack, is like an orchestra having a free concert series to introduce everyone to the world of traditional music. Jazz, pop, classical, and even rock are the domain of MuseScore, and you sit down in the public amphitheater to enjoy, perhaps with some cheese.

LMMS is a party being thrown in an abandoned warehouse with two turntables, a microphone, and a keyboard someone bought at Goodwill where one of the keys doesn’t work. A temporary autonomous zone has been declared. You are the party and the party is you. There is no cover charge, and everyone is now your best friend.

I like MuseScore and it relates very strongly to my musical background.

I love LMMS.

LMMS is a digital audio workstation. There is no sheet music, there’s a sequencer. You create tracks and musical sections. You apply filters and equalization. You sequence a drum machine. You sequence another drum machine. You manipulate a synthesizer. You import a sample of your best friend singing a line of Bohemian Rhapsody. The overall feel is less “I am writing music” than “I am taping together segments of reel-to-reel audio into something other”. It’s amazing and, if you have traditional musical training, kind of liberating. DAWs use a standardized plugin system, and accordingly you can use some amazing, professional-grade plugins in LMMS.

Which isn’t to say there are no downsides. LMMS is a very powerful piece of software that likes to eat resources at a high rate of speed. It’s really meant to be used with a keyboard, as there’s no simple way to manually input notes. Also, the synthesizer plugins have a high learning curve to master, even if the software itself does not.

However, when you put together sixteen bars of intense drum-and-bass or house music?