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lecture: Music Production under GNU/Linux

Free Culture made with Free Software


talk will be about Free Culture
and Free
in the context of computer music production.
GNU/Linux is often used by musicians who want to share their music.

Cultural Works are defined by the same four freedoms that make free
software. This includes the freedom to redistribute copies, either with
or without modification. Under todays copyright
it is usually not allowed to redistribute copies of published works.
You will have to identify the author and then ask before redistributing
the work. This can be painful if there are many authers or if the author
is unknown. If you want to allow others to share your works you can
choose to apply a free Creative Commons license or the GNU GPL.

For software there is another requirement to qualify as free. You need
to have the practical ability to modify the software. Without sourcecode
it is nealy impossible to make changes in a computer program. The GNU
GPL, invented by Richard Stallman asserts that modified versions of a
program remain free for all its users by requiring anybody to release
the sourcecode if binaries are released. Today it is common that a free
program has thousands of copyright holders. The Linux kernel is just one
example, there are many other programs in GNU system distributions that
were contributed by different authors.

There are special audio distributions for making music, such as Musix.
These include programs such as Ardour for recording and mixing
audio. Sequencers such as Rosegarden are good to
compose songs. If you want to record real instruments, you will need
proper recording hardware. Not all soundcards will work with Free
Software but most USB devices will, as long they are class compliant.
Instead of using recording hardware you can use software synthesizers
such as ZynAddSubFX.
Finally it is possible to create synthesized singing using Free Software
such as Cadencii and
There are also many free plugins that you can use in the final mixdown
such as the calf
which provide reverb and equalization.

Once your work is finished, you can publish it through the internet in a
format that is DRM-free such as
or FLAC. Many online music services such iTunes and
Spotify do not work without non-free software, so these should be
avoided. Additionally it it impossible to upload your music to this
services without an agrregator. However some aggreators such as CD-Baby
support free formats such as FLAC. Many less known artists sell their
music as self-burned CDs. This way it is possible to to pay for music
anonymously using cash. Using self-burned CDs makes may thigs easier and
avoids burocracy with the GEMA. You can also include source code for
sheet music in free formats such as GNU/Lilypond on the CD. If you want
to to support free culture you can also join the C3S.