Types of music editing software include professional music editing software, freeware music editing software, disc jockey (DJ) software, digital composition software, and notation software. Each kind of software allows a user to handle sound and music editing in a different way. These programs are used for sound recording, music creation, sound editing, and mastering. Some programs offer musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) capabilities that allow a digital keyboard to record editable programmed sequences into a software program.
Many beginning composers use DJ software or beat making software to compose simple background music for songs with vocals, including hip hop and rap vocals. These programs usually include a simple interface that allows a computer user to choose from a variety of pre-made sounds or song snippets called "loops" to construct an original composition out of the sounds supplied by the program. Common software programs used to make beats include FruityLoops®, Reason® and Garageband®.
Professional music editing software includes Pro Tools® and Cubase®. Each software package handles sound differently. Pro Tools® is an internationally recognized professional software suite. It is the software most frequently used by professional sound engineers in the United States. Cubase® is also a multitrack sound program used by professionals, but it is more commonly used in the United Kingdom. Both Pro Tools® and Cubase® help a sound engineer record, edit, mix and master audio for professional use.
Low-budget and aspiring recording artists can use free editing software to record and edit sound without the cost of a professional recording suite. Professional music editing programs often have more features and stability than free music editing software programs, which offer a basic set of functions that allow a user to record and edit sound. Common free music editing software programs include Audacity®, Kristal®, and Linux Multi Media Studio® (LMMS). A user downloading freeware music editing programs must take care to get a clean program that has no viruses, spyware, or malware.
Though they are more commonly called notation software or music composition software, a program that helps a composer edit notation is also known as music editing software. Notation is the print that appears on music and musical scores read by musicians and composers. Using this software, a composer can put notes on a staff and listen to the computer play back the melody. She can also use tools in the software to alter the feel, speed, and key of the notes in the piece. The most common software packages for notation editing include Finale and Sibelius.