Linux Audio and Music Making Tools
High-end music software is probably right up there with high-end graphics in being some of the most expensive around. Any CuBase, Rebirth or Reason users will know just how expensive good music software can be.
Apple came along with Garage Band recently which is a nice low-end product that comes with iLife (and generally free of cost with a new Mac). Not full-on professional software like their SoudTrack or Logic Pro software, but good enough for the budding home musician.
Interestingly enough, Nine Inch Nails have recently released their entire latest album in Logic and Garage Band formats! Good news for people who want to mix them up: http://www.nin.com/current/
Linux Audio software is on the move. Certainly not a replacement for the big commercial players just yet, but I was pretty gobsmacked the other day when I had a look to see how far they've come in the last few years.
In no particular order...
Jack: http://jackaudio.org/ Network audio format. Just like in a real music studio where you would have inputs and outputs from various bits of hardware, Jack is a software version of that. Network based it means that any program that "speaks jack" can connect to any other program. Have your MIDI program talk to your software synth, which outputs to your software mixer and into your software multi-track editor that's also taking input from your software drum machine. Whether they are all on one computer, or on a network of machines, it doesn't matter. Create yourself the ultimate recording deck, all in software!
Ardour: http://ardour.org/ Massive professional multi-track editor with gobs of features. Talks Jack (see above), so it plays nice with other software.
Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ Smallish wav editor. Great for just recording some sounds/samples/voices, or a single track for input into other software later.
Jamin: http://jamin.sourceforge.net/en/about.html Jack mixer, equaliser and audio kit. Handy for making sure all your different inputs play nice with each other.
Jokosher http://www.jokosher.org/ "Garage Band for Linux" is about the best description. Multi-track editor with all the usual features including Jack support. This one is getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so from what I can see in the feature list.
Rose Garden http://www.rosegardenmusic.com/ Another big powerful multi-track editor and MIDI sequencer aimed squarely at the CuBase users. Looks quite poerful, and talks Jack as usual.
CSounds http://csounds.com/ One for the software nerds! Program your own music in C++!
ffado http://www.ffado.org/ Not music software per se, but a project aiming to get all firewire devices talking to Linux happily.
Hydrogen: http://www.hydrogen-music.org/ Linux drum machine. Doof doof! And of course, it talks to Jack like everyone else should.
Jahshaka http://www.jahshaka.org/ A few of you will be saying "hey, didn't he talk about this over in the video editing section?". Yes, I did. But Jahshaka actually started life as a multi-track audio editor and sound compositor for laying down soundtracks over movies. Despite being able to do video, it also does some audio stuff that can come in handy. And you guessed it, it talks Jack.