At the Sounding Edge: Introducing KeyKit


KeyKit's documentation exists in a collection of HTML pages in the docs directory of the source tree. A tutorial is provided for basic interaction with the program, but you'll simply have to experiment with the many undocumented tools to learn their uses and functions. Fortunately that's more fun than labor, and KeyKit is designed for hands-on experimentation.

A KeyKit mail list also is available. Participation is low volume but steady, and the developer always is ready to help with any KeyKit problems you encounter.

Until Next Month

KeyKit is developer Tim Thompson's gift to computer musicians who want to try things a bit different, maybe even a lot different. It has some bumps and it needs much better ALSA support, but its MIDI output is excellent and MIDI file load/save works. Besides, how can anyone resist a program with a toolkit that includes components named boomix, grab bag, snarf box and offset walker?

I love working with KeyKit; it provides an incredible amount of fun, but it's also a powerful application for serious music production. If you're a Linux musician looking for a different way of working with MIDI, you should check out KeyKit.

By the way, this installment completes my "brief" look at MIDI software for Linux. I hope you've enjoyed the view. Next month, I'll show off a bit of what's happening with Csound5, but right now I'm back to the hack. See you next month!

Dave Phillips is a musician, teacher and writer living in Findlay, Ohio. He has been an active member of the Linux Audio community since his first contact with Linux in 1995. He is the author of The Book of Linux Music & Sound, as well as numerous articles in Linux Journal.


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While it looks interesting, t

Anonymous's picture

While it looks interesting, the License Agreement does not give me warm fuzzies. As I am most definately not interested in using it for education or research (the acceptable use listed in the agreement), I'm interesting in using it to make noise and music.

keykit licensing is meant to allow use freely

Tim Thompson's picture

The license is only meant to prevent someone from making
money from distributing or selling keykit itself, or
from using it as the basis of some commercial product.
The license is not meant to restrict the use of keykit
by musicians and programmers for composing or performing
music (or noise), even things for which they get paid.
You own all music (or noise) made with keykit -
clause 3 in the license was specifically added to say that.
You're also free to distribute any keykit code you
write - as an example, see the Geomaestro system, which
is probably the most impressive and innovative use
of keykit -


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