Good tool for loop-based composition?

I’m looking for linux, open-source software for loop-based composition. Is it easy to use ardour for this kind of project?

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Current Ardour isn’t really the tool for this. I’m not sure what 6.0 will bring.
You might wanna look at LMMS, which is kinda similar in workflow as FL Studio but can’t really compete tbh. But at least it’s open source.

not open source but working great on linux is bitwig-studio, if you need some ableton live equivalent. but as i said, it s not open source…

but then also depends a lot on what your actual workflow is, maybe tell us more about your music production so you can get better hints. …

I really appreciate your suggestions. I have a teenager who is already good on flute, piccolo, and saxophone. She’s trying to get started with music composition. I’ll consider any software that runs on Linux, but yeah, with preference to open-source.

With loop based I assumed you were talking about EDM types of music. Now I read your daughter is like a “proper” musician, I kinda doubt that. Although I’m a classically trained musician and like making edm too.
Which I do in Ardour btw. So it’s certainly possible but not the typical tool people use for that type of music.
Ardour can certainly copy loops, use plugins, automate parameters and so forth.

Oh and if she reads sheet music, MuseScore is must.

Oh sure, we’ve used MuseScore. We’ve used MuseScore to turn sheet music into audible music to help her learn it by ear. However, to compose in MuseScore, you need to have a pretty detailed idea of what you want to compose. My daughter has mostly learned to play music written by others and done very little improvisation. If I put her in front of MuseScore, she has no idea what to write. So I figured that EDM type music would be easier for her to get started, get something to gradually build on, get some experience with composition. She doesn’t feel like she can compose. I’m looking for software that makes it easy enough that she can enjoy some success with her very modest skills.

if she just wants to create some loops and improv over them I’d recommend if its not overly complex/intimidating. Its a very powerful multi-channel looper. Here’s a little tutorial:

There is also Luppp which is in a similar vein though I believe it actually has projects you can save and load again to work on later.

If she wants more long term projects, then perhaps Giada would be an option that makes sense to her

So there are quite a few open-source loop based programs, but I personally prefer ardour and do everything “offline,” meaning I build songs measure by measure, track by track rather than layering loops live like these tools lend to. LMMS is a good suggestion that is easy to throw together projects, but I think a serious musician will soon find it limiting. The principles learned there are fairly applicable to other DAWs so its not a bad place to start.

Or maybe have a look at Patroneo.

Workflow summary: You have tracks with one pattern each. Turn on steps in the pattern to play musical notes. Switch the patterns on and off in a sequence to create a song structure. Connect external synthesizers and samplers to create sounds.


I know the developer is educator (professionally) and created this to introduce students to composition and arrangement.

Thanks for your suggestions. I will explore these options.