Beast is a digital synthesizer and music creation system, released as Free Software under the GNU LGPL-2.1+. It has support for Linux Audio Plugins (LADSPA), multi-track editing, unlimited undo, real-time synthesis, MIDI and various audio formats like WAV, AIFF, Vorbis, Soundfont 2, Gus Patch, FLAC and MP3 files, 32bit audio rendering, full duplex support, multi-core audio rendering, SIMD utilisation, precise timing at sample granularity, FFT spectrograms and MIDI automation. The project is translated into a variety of languages.
Beast’s core is written in C++ to yield maximum performance, especially on multi core systems. As of late, a new UI is being developed (background article) based on the latest web developments. The project is primarily developed on Linux, supporting 64-bit and 32-bit platforms. A Windows port has been started but is looking for volounteers. Contributions to support other platforms are very welcome.
Beast releases are available as source code tarballs and binary packages. The source code is licensed LGPL-2.1+, and the project uses Git for distributed source code development.
Beast on Github:
Beast provides reference documentation, introductions, further readings and has been covered at conferences and in a number of articles:
API Reference documentation: PDF
Jack support in Beast (released 2019): Beast-Jack-Howto
Further readings on synthesis (2006): Synthesis Links
A Beast presentation at LAC 2005: Music Synthesis Under Linux (PDF)
Beast presentation at LinuxTag 2003: Beast Overview (German)
A Linux User magazin feature on Beast 2003: Beast Workshop (German)
Beast at the LAD Conference 2003: Linux Magazin LAD 2003 (German)
Beast on kuro5hin 2002: Trackers and Linux
Beast in Linux Journal 2000: About the Mod
Help around Beast and contact to the community can be accessed in a variety of ways:
Contributions are always welcome, graphical artists, musicians, translators, programmers can all help the project, just contact the Beast mailing list.
The Beast development source code and issue tracker are hosted at github. The Beast project is split into two components, the user interface, currently implemented in Gtk+ and the Bse library. BSE is the Beast Sound Engine, it implements all the neccessary synthesis and music processing logic needed for Beast. A new user interface version is in development, using W3C technologies based on Electronjs.
Here is a collection of development related resources:
Tuesday 05th November 2019
Beast 0.15.0 is released (Beast 0.15.0 announcement).
Most importantly, this release supports Jack as PCM driver. In addition to that, lots of new UI developments made their way into the still experimental version of Ebeast. Styling was improved, Space works as playback/stop key and indicators were added for the song position.
Beast now provides the API reference in PDF format and various ependencies were updated.
Tuesday 02nd July 2019
Beast 0.14.0 is released (Beast 0.14.0 announcement).
The experimental UI has seen significant improvements, styling was improved, projects can now be loaded and saved. The entire build system was rewritten, which resulted in major build and testing speed ups, CI integration now takes approximately half the time.
Config files are now stored in an XDG compliant location and Beast now provides a single coherent manual. Various dependencies were updated and other improvements include regression fixes and optimizations.
Thursday 28th March 2019
The Beast source code repository is currently undergoing several major changes. For instance the IDL layer is currently being rewritten to use simplify the cross-thread communication primitives based on C++14. The CI setup was just recreated to facilitate parallel builds. Also the build system has just been rewritten from scratch to remove autotools and rely on GNU Make.
During the process, the various pieces of Beast documentation were converted to Markdown, structured, updated and merged into a single cohesive document. Formulas can now facilitate Latex (and Mathjax) and syntax highlighting was introduced. The manual is rendered in HTML and PDF output formats and the CSS was adjusted to closely match the Latex based PDF looks.
Friday 08th February 2019
Beast 0.13.0 is released (full announcement).
This is the first release featuring an AppImage build of Beast. After downloading and making the AppImage executable, it can run on any Ubuntu-18.04 or Fedora-27 compatible Linux system.
Monday 20th August 2018
Beast 0.12.0 is released (full announcement). This release removes the Rapicorn dependency as well as the runtime dependency on CPython.
It brings a number of optimizations and bug fixes, but most notably, this is the first release that installs the new ebeast UI. A tracks view, piano rolls and dB meters are already implemented, but not much beyond that as it’s still in pre-alpha stage.
The Beast binary package (DEB, now without Rapicorn) is provided together with the release tarball to install Beast directly on a recent Ubuntu.
Sunday 6th August 2017
The new and much simpler Beast website is now live. The site uses a completely new theme, has lots of updates, is more comprehensive and loads faster. Now we also feature new material like video and instrument links.
Tuesday 27th June 2017
Beast 0.11.0 and Rapicorn 17.0.0 are released: Announcement.
The Beast 0.11 release brings a truckload of new stuff like Soundfont support thanks to Stefan Westerfeld,
true multi threading for the DSP module calculations, faster startup times and a number of optimizations
and bug fixes. Notably the packaging scheme has been adapted so that Beast now installs everything in its
own directory under
Also new is a Beast binary package (DEB, including the Rapicorn dependency) provided together with the
release taraballs to install Beast right away.