Whether you have recently approached the world of music or are an expert on 7 notes, if you are a fairly “technological” type, you absolutely must use software that allows you to create your compositions in the best possible way. If you want, therefore, I can give you some advice in this regard.
In the following lines, in fact, I’m going to show you those that, in my opinion, represent the best programs for composing music currently on the market. There are both for Windows and for macOS and Linux, both free and paid, simple to use or more advanced. In short, whatever your needs and your degree of experience you will see that, in the end, you will be able to find bread for your teeth.
How do you say? Would you like to know if I can give you some “tips” also regarding the mobile front? Of course yes, there would be more! Precisely for this reason, at the end of the article I have inserted a chapter dedicated to the apps for Android and iOS/iPadOS which you can use to create your musical compositions directly on the move, with a “tap”. Oa, however, enough chatting and let’s move on to action. Happy reading and have fun!
Programs for composing music: PC and Mac
Would you like to understand which are the best programs for composing music currently available on the market? Then keep reading, you will find them reported right below, both for Windows and for macOS and Linux.
The first solution I want to tell you about is Audacity . It is undoubtedly the best audio editing program available for free. It works on Windows, macOS, and Linux, so it falls into the Linux music-composing category as well . It is open source and with its very simple user interface completely translated into Italian it allows anyone to produce music with their own computer. It is not a tool specifically designed to create musical creations from scratch, but thanks to its numerous functions and filters it allows you to cut, split, mix and perform many other editing operations on digital audio tracks.
To download the program to your computer, go to the download page on the FossHub website and click on the links Audacity Windows 64-bit Installer (if you are using 64-bit Windows), Audacity Windows 32-bit Installer (if you are using 32-bit Windows) or the Audacity macOS DMG (if you’re using macOS).
When the download is complete, if you are using Windows , open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that appears on the desktop, click on the Run , Yes , OK , Next (four consecutive times) and Install buttons . To conclude the setup, press the Next and Finish buttons again .
If you are using macOS , however, open the .dmg package obtained, drag the program icon to the Mac Applications folder , right-click on it and select the Open item from the menu that appears. Then click on the Open button in the window that opens, in order to start the software by circumventing the limitations imposed by Apple on applications from non-certified developers (an operation that must be performed only on first start).
Now that, regardless of your operating system, you see the Audacity screen on your screen, click OK to close the welcome window and start using the commands and functions available to make your musical creation.
At the top are the file control menus, the list of effects that can be applied to the audio tracks and the functions for generating silences, noises, etc. Instead, immediately below the menus there are buttons to control the multimedia playback of the songs imported into the program and to perform basic editing operations such as.
Further on there are the graphs relating to audio input and output, further down there are the volume adjustment bars, the buttons for cutting and pasting portions of audio tracks and setting the zoom level of the graphs. In the last line of the toolbar you will find the menus to select the source of the incoming audio and the outgoing audio and to choose the number of audio channels to use.
At the bottom of the above window, on the other hand, there are the menus and commands for adjusting the frequency of the project in Hz and for setting the start and end points of a selection. For more details, you can refer to my specific guide on how to use Audacity.
In an article on the best programs for composing music it is practically impossible not to mention the name of Accordion . It is a small free software, which is why it also falls fully into the category of programs for composing free music , which allows you to compose music on your PC by simulating various musical instruments, from piano to guitar via drums. It doesn’t allow you to record the songs produced directly, but it has a tremendously clear and simple (although not very accurate) interface. It is a cross-platform solution, available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
To use it, first connect to the program’s website, then click on the SetupAccordion-x.xx.exe link (if you’re using a Windows PC) or on the Accordion-x.xx.dmg link (if you’re using macOS) to start downloading the software to your computer.
Once the download is complete, if you are using Windows , open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that opens, click on the Yes , Next and I Agree buttons . Afterwards, click again on the Next button , on the Install one and, finally, press the Finish button .
If, on the other hand, you are using macOS , open the .dmg package obtained and drag the program icon to the Mac Applications folder , then right-click on it, select the Open item and press the Open button in the window that appears on the screen, so to launch the software bypassing Apple’s restrictions on unauthorized developers.
Now that you see the Accordion window on your desktop, all you have to do is press the keys on your computer keyboard to start creating your musical composition. In fact, the program associates a musical note to each key.
If you then want to change the instrument used, you can do so via the Instrument menu , while the adjustment bar next to the Volume item allows you to adjust the volume level. The drop-down menu next to the Key item , on the other hand, allows you to select the key to use.
Then selecting the Notes box you can choose to make the notes visible on the on-screen keyboard, while ticking the Reverse box you can reverse the sounds.
FL Studio (Windows/macOSOS)
FL Studio is one of the most popular music composing programs in the world. It is essentially a very complete virtual recording studio through which it is possible to create music, remix or edit existing songs and record MIDI using digital instruments. The program has a very neat user interface and also allows you to make mixes in real time. It is available for both Windows and macOS. It is paid (with prices starting from 89.00 euros), but you can download the free trial version, which works without limitations for 30 days.
To download the program to your computer, connect to the relevant website and click on the Download button located next to the logo of the operating system you are using.
When the download is complete, if you are using Windows , open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that you see appearing on the desktop, click on the Yes , Run , Next and I agree buttons . Then decide whether to install the program just for you or for all users of the computer and press the Next and Install buttons .
Once the installation is finished, click on the Next button again , in order to also install ASIO4ALL , which is the driver that allows you to have low latency both in the recording phase and in the listening phase. Therefore, select the I accept the terms in the license agreement option and press the Next , Install , Finish , Next and Finish buttons again , to complete the setup.
If you are using macOS , however, open the .dmg package obtained, double-click on the .pkg file inside it and, in the window that you see appear, press the Continue and Install buttons . Then type the password of your user account on the Mac, press the Enter key on the keyboard and complete the setup by clicking on the Close button .
Once the FL Studio window appears, you can start making your musical creations using all the tools on the screen. In the top toolbar you will find everything you need to record, save, cut, define times and so on.
In the center, however, there is the console with loops and musical instruments and on the right is the editor. On the left you will find the library with projects, plugins, recordings, etc. For more information on using the program, I recommend reading my tutorial on how to use FL Studio.
Music MasterWorks (Windows)
Music MasterWorks is one of the most popular programs for composing professional music. It features a convenient user interface with dynamic scores through which music professionals can create, play, edit and print their own music. The software is only for Windows and is paid for, but is available in a free trial version (the one I used to write this step) which allows you to test its functionality for a period of 35 days. Unfortunately it is only in English.
To use the program, connect to the relevant website and click on the Download the free full version now link , to start the download of Music MasterWorks on your computer.
When the download is complete, open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that you see appearing on the desktop, click on the Run buttons , then on Yes and then presses on Next . Select the item I accept the agreement and click again on Next three times in a row, then on Install and finally press on Finish .
Now that you see the program window on your desktop, you can start composing your songs by clicking on Open a new song and then compiling the score displayed in the center of the screen, clicking on the points where you want to insert the notes. In the upper part of the window you will find the toolbar for selecting the type of note, changing the instrument used, etc.
In the lower part of the window there are buttons for recording, playing the piece, going forward, backward etc., while at the top there is the menu bar for editing, saving and performing various other operations on the score.
Programs for composing music: Android and iOS/iPadOS
As anticipated at the beginning, in addition to the traditional music programs, there are also various apps for Android smartphones and tablets and for iOS/iPadOS that you can consider using to create your musical creations on the go. If this interests you, I have drawn up for you a list of what I believe to be the best solutions in the category, you can find it below.
- Caustic 3 (Android/iOS/iPadOS) — “very popular” app for what concerns the composition of music on the go. It integrates a large set of tools able to satisfy all tastes. For Android it’s free (to unlock all the functions, however, you need to buy the Unlock Key, at a price of 6.99 euros), while for iPhone and iPad it is paid (it costs 10.99 euros).
- Audio Evolution Mobile (Android/iOS/iPadOS) — for money is a miniature professional-grade recording studio. It’s a perfect app for multitracking external instruments and imported sounds that can then be edited with the various options and effects available. It is paid (on Android it costs 8.99 euros, while on iOS / iPadOS it costs 10.99 euros).
- Walk Band (Android) — free app that allows you to play piano, drums, drums and guitar to compose your own music even without being an expert in the field. Note that it offers in-app purchases (at a basic cost of 75 cents) to unlock additional features.
- GarageBand (iOS/iPadOS) — does it really need an introduction? It is practically the most powerful and renowned Apple app for making music on iPhone and iPad (actually it is also available in the form of computer software, which I told you about in detail in my guide on how to use GarageBand). It’s free, it provides users with many tools of all kinds and also offers the opportunity to use Live Loops to create music in a very simple way.
For more details about the above apps and to learn about others, you can refer to my tutorial dedicated specifically to apps to create music and to my post on apps to create backing tracks.