Beat Detection

Although beat detection is generally rather hard, Eric Schierer (MIT) wrote a fairly good paper on the subject. His source code, somewhat modified to actually run on my computer, is here. I also found an email with his notes.
The paper has much good advice on using the `tapping' program provided.

A different attempt is pitchtrack. Source code (again slightly modified to ease compilation) can be found here.
Pitchtrack requires the fftw package. Debian users can 'apt-get install fftw-dev'. Dave recommends the "compact ascii form" of output, enabled with the -f -c flags.

Sound Card Support

  • Commercial OSS Sound Drivers - a set of proprietary drivers completely compatible with the OSS-Lite modules normally in the kernel. A powerful config utility can autodetect and configure most sound cards. A license costs $20-$50 depending on which cards it will control. A free trial license lets users try out support for their cards at no expense. Multiple sound cards made easy.
  • ALSA Sound Drivers - a set of kernel modules and utilities designed as a more powerful alternative to the standard sound card modules. Features backward compatibility with OSS-Lite and old /dev/dsp devices. Multiple sound cards supported.


  • Midi controllers available from various manufacturers.
  • More links to midi controllers.
  • German page of alternative midi controllers.
  • Do It Yourself midi controllers, introduction and links.
  • Huge list of computer input devices. Many of these devices would make great hardware for gdam, if a simple driver were written.

Sound Quality and Latency

  • Linux Audio Quality HOWTO.
  • The Low Latency HOWTO includes links to patched 2.2 kernel sources.
  • Linux Scheduling Latency "contains a collection of notes and tools related to an effort to decrease the typical scheduling latency of the 2.4.x kernel."
  • Experimental Realtime and Preemption Kernel Patches from MontaVista. Exciting work on improving realtime performance. Patches for 2.4.0-test6, info files, and general scheduling-related utilities.
  • Tips on reducing sound card noise.

Audio Resources

  • LADSPA is a simple plugin format. GDAM can create and load ladspa plugins.
  • hosts various sites related to linux audio, including the linux-audio-development mailing list.


  • Suggestions from Adrian Freed on "Improving Music GUIs".
  • Free Music Philosophy

Related Links