LMMS A Music Production App For Linux


Table of Contents

​LMMS is an audio workstation for audio designers and hobbies (yes that’s right). Still better it’s FOSS + it’s available for multiple Operating Systems and that gives you the great opportunity to recommend your music pals this great piece of tool.

Setting it up:

​Fire up your terminal emulator and key in this command to install LMMS on your Ubuntu.
sudo apt install lmms
​…done? Now to open LMMS you need to press this key combination alt+f2 then type in LMMS (and the rest depends upon your Desktop Environment you are in).

Brief tour:

​On the left-hand side, you can see the tools ordered for you and on the main window body, you have a workspace to arrange sub-windows (and that will come later).In the chronological arrangement of the tools you have this:

Instrument plugins:

​Plugins extend the functionality of LMMS by adding more custom features like a sound emulator, synthesizer, etc.

My project:

​Contains all the songs you’ve created. Plus you get to listen (and learn) to the songs created and contributed by others.

My samples:

​They are pre-defined sounds so you could create one and reuse it when you need it again on one of your projects.

My presets:

​Need your own taste? Well, you can pre-define it, save and then use them again and again.

My home:

​Browse your home directory.

Root directory:

​Browse your root directory.


​That’s where your main sub-window is and where all your demos, clips and basic sounds, beats, etc are organized together to make a concert. Simply put, that’s your platform.

Beat-Bassline Editor:

​Dub-Dub-Dub. And all those fancy sounds (boom-boom too..) comes in this sub-window. But that’s what it is, best used to keep your song in rhythm.

The rest…

FX-Mixer is what an artist would turn to for adding his/her final finishing touch to his/her song. Controller Rack contains all the controls created by you while writing your project and is a tad-bit advanced for me to yabber about it 😛

Pros and Cons


  • ​It’s free as in free beer
  • It’s easy


  • You need basic music knowledge
  • Poor synthesizing sounds for certain instruments
  • Don’t expect it to be superior to Sound Forge Pro

Crash course:

​Let’s spice it up a bit. What’s the point only to mention the program and end the story when a little more can be done; and in our case, I’ll be teaching you a basic task that’s being done on daily basis.

Piano layout:

​For piano players and experts, you can skip this topic so you don’t have to scrutinize my theory here. Plays guitar but have no previous knowledge of this instrument? Well, I was once that guy too. If you know your strings EADGBE then you are okay with the screenshot below:

piano layout

Observe the gaps between two notes E _ _ A _ _ D _ _ G _ B _ _ E. If you’ve correctly guessed it, that’s right, it’s in this order E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E. And those black keys (what are they for? You ask) are for sharps and flats. For instance, take the high E note, preceding it is a D note and between them; the black key is flat and sharp for E and D respectively. Whew!

Setting up your piano roll:

​Open LMMS and on the My Samples options select instruments then click and drag piano01.ogg to the Song-Editor. See the illustration below:

setting up your piano roll

And then, double click the first bar of piano01.ogg segment.

double click piano first bar

Finally, you get a piano roll like the one below:

play note in lmms

Copying and pasting:

​Suppose you wrote a verse and chorus came later, then another verse which is sung the same as the previous verse had to be written… It’d be time-consuming if you’ve to write it again in whole.

Unfortunately, unlike traditional copying and pasting the most reliable method is to select the area of notes you wish to copy then press the shift key while dragging them; you get the exact duplicates.

Let’s play:

​A very good exercise is to play a common song: “Mary had a little lamb”.
By the way, play along in quarter note (1 beat) except those that have subscript h (half note for 2 beats) and w (whole note for 4 beats).
E  D  C  D
E    E    Eh
D    D    Dh
E    E    Eh
E  D  C  D
E    E    Eh
C    D    D
E    D    CW


​Well, you’ve written the song and it’s not moderate enough for you… or you want to accelerate the play time a bit faster. Stupid and nonsensical guys like me had to reduce the note duration which was a tedious task and error prone. Also, which is not the appropriate way!!! Darn computers had to make a fool out of me…

The correct way is to increase your tempo (You can see it in the toolbar area). Simply double click LED indicator of TEMPO/BPM and re-edit its value. Then play the song again to check your speed.

lmms tempo

Project notes:

lmms project notes

This is more like your Scratchpad, a tool that allows you to store some ideas or credit yourself for the created work. Probably one day, you might also modify someone’s song, in that case, this tool is reliable as it allows you to credit the person who originally wrote it and mention what changes you made to his/her song. To enable project notes press f10 or click this icon on the toolbar.


Download LMMS


LMMS is a great tool if you want to create music on your computer. Personally, I use it to check my timings on musical notation while playing guitar (still a beginner). You could use it to your own advantage. Maybe create a whole new song and impress your friends and families. Or you could write a plugin to customize it to your needs and do that Abra-ka-dabra thing 😛