I have some friends who want to make the music for a game I'm developing. We have no idea where to start. I've seen software like Reason (way too expensive at $450). I've also seen stuff like GarageBand for $15. I'm happy to pay up to $50 for software, and I've seen some good quality free software like lmms. I just have no idea what each of them are good for. I'm also thinking of getting a cheap midi keyboard, since that'd be a million times easier than clicking a mouse trying to get the right notes in the right places. So,

1) What hardware is recommended for simple background music

2) What software is recommended for simple background music

3) Where can I direct my friends for learning more about music creation on a computer

I know that I'm being really general, and some people might want to know the "type" of music or what instruments will be used. I have no idea, so I'm just speaking basically.


2 Answers 2


If you're a beginner, I would say the following is required:

  • Computer
  • $100 midi keyboard from best buy
  • Garage band
  • very good headphones for mastering
  • Watch a bunch of youtube videos of people writing piano rolls and mixing in garage band

If you're just learning digital sound, I wouldn't rush out and buy logic, protools, and reason with $1000 studio speakers. Start out using garageband. Learn to create midi rolls, learn different ways of looping and mixing waves.

Obviously you aren't going to get near as much control using garageband, and you won't have near as many samples to work with unless you buy them. My sound guy went to college for audio engineering and still uses garageband for prototyping his ideas so it's probably a good place to be for digital audio beginners.

Note: this is all second hand knowledge, as I'm a developer on a developer's site, I'm giving you what I know ;)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you aware of any good enough alternative to Garage Band for Windows? \$\endgroup\$
    – orftz
    Dec 22, 2011 at 21:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Before we knew about garage band, we would use audacity for wave editing and fruity loops studio for piano rolls. that's painful though. other than that, no idea \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Dec 23, 2011 at 14:21

If you're willing to put the time in you should take a look at Reaper , it a fully featured music production suite, and it's free for personal use, very powerful software. It's fully VST compatible so you can add other software instruments as you need them. Personally I use an oxygen 8 keyboard, I don't play keyboards/piano so that is sufficient for my purposes. I do most of my music programming in the matrix/piano roll editor anyway.

http://www.kvraudio.com/ is a good resource for finding VST instruments.


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