7.1 Glossary

Here is a list of terms used in LMMS with their meaning. There can also be found few musical terms. When communicating with other musicians and developers, please use the correct terms as this will be more efficient and easier for both parts.

7.1.1 A

7.1.1.1 Automation

Setting the position of a knob or other control in LMMS over time by a manually-drawn envelope. Automation is edited in the Automation Editor for individual controls.

7.1.1.2 A Capella

Singing a song without instrument accompaniment.

7.1.2 B

7.1.2.1 Bit Depth

The resolution of each sample. The number of volume steps in each sample. The number of bits in each sample.

7.1.3 C

7.1.3.1 Compression

Making a file smaller. It can be done in two ways:

  1. Lossy compression makes the file smaller by loosing (unimportant) information (bits). Ogg and mp3 are examples of lossy compressed audio files.

  2. Lossless compression makes the file smaller by writing it in a smarter way (like zip files), thus no information gets lost. Flac is an example of lossless compressed audio files.

7.1.3.2 Compressor

Reduces the dynamic range by amplifying quiet sounds and reducing the volume of loud sounds. This is a science in itself, with a lot of possibilities, thus you should read more about compression to understand why the first sentence isn't necessarily true.

7.1.3.3 Controller

Setting the position of a knob or other control in LMMS over time by a generated envelope such as an LFO. This differs from automation because automation is drawn manually by the user and is often not a repeated effect such as a sine, square or saw wave, whereas controllers use such waves to give a regular pattern to a control.

7.1.4 D

7.1.4.1 Damping

How the sound is decaying. A knob controlling damping controls how the decay sounds, e.g. how fast it goes silent.

7.1.4.2 Dry

When about music/sound: dry sound is a term used on sound without reverb or echo.

7.1.4.3 Dynamic Range

The ratio between the strongest and weakest sound in a song. A song with high dynamic range have very weak and very strong sounds.

7.1.5 E

7.1.5.1 EQ

Abbreviation for equalizer. An equalizer adjusts the balance between frequencies (by adjusting the amplitude of audio signals at particular frequencies). Equalizers often appear as frequency-specific volume knobs.

7.1.5.2 Envelope

An envelope is a way to control how the sound changes over time. From when the sound starts, while the note is held to when the note ends, you can control with an envelope. The ADSR envelope is perhaps the most common, it consists of ways to control the attack, decay, sustain and release.

7.1.6 F

7.1.6.1 Filter

A filter alters the frequency spectrum of a sound coming out of an oscillator. Common filters are low-pass (meaning low frequencies are let through), high-pass (allowing high frequencies through), notch (blocking a narrow range of frequencies), and band-pass (allowing only a narrow range of frequencies). Filters, even in the digital world, cannot be truly linear, i.e. the graph of the filter's response over frequency shows a curved "knee" dropping rather than a vertical line. This means that a low-pass filter set to 100Hz will let some frequencies lower than that through, although the lower the frequency, the more it will be cut. The steepness of the drop in a filter is called it's Q parameter. Historically, some analog filters also introduced "resonance" or amplification of frequencies around the "knee" point in the filter. This effect has been used in much electronic music and is included in LMMS

7.1.6.2 FX

Short for effects.

7.1.7 L

7.1.7.1 LADSPA

It's an acronym for Linux Audio Developers Simple Plugin API. It is a standard for handling filters and effects, licensed under the GNU LGPL. It was originally designed for Linux through consensus on the Linux Audio Developers Mailing List, but works on a variety of other platforms. It is used in many free audio software projects and there is a wide range of LADSPA plugins available.

7.1.7.2 LFO

Acronym for Low Frequency Oscillator. This typically refers to oscillators whose usual frequency is in the 0.1 - 10Hz range, i.e. from one beat every ten seconds to ten beats every second. Above this frequency the oscillator is generating frequencies in the audible spectrum and the "low frequency" prefix is not used. LFOs are typically used to control things such as filter sweeps and amplitude oscillation ("vibrato").

7.1.7.3 LMMS

Originally acronym for Linux MultiMedia Studio. Today it runs on Windows and Mac as well, and therefore is an abbreviation of your choice.

7.1.8 O

7.1.8.1 Ogg

Ogg is a free, open standard container format by the Xiph.Org foundation. Similarly to MP3, it is designed to provide efficient streaming and manipulation of high quality digital multimedia.

7.1.9 P

7.1.9.1 Peak Controller

A Peak controller is similar to a noise gate, but with greater flexibility. Peak controllers are commonly placed on a percussion track, and then use the output signal to control the volume of another sustained sound. This results in the sustained sound being chopped up in time with the percussion.

7.1.9.2 Project

The entire package of instruments, tracks, patterns and settings that comprise the whole performance of the song. This is what you save and load from the Project menu.

7.1.10 Q

7.1.10.1 Q

  • The steepness of the cutoff of a filter

  • In the Automation Editor and Piano Roll assumed short for Quantization: the "resolution" of notes and automations

7.1.11 R

7.1.11.1 Reverb

Short for reverberation. Umbrella term for an echo effect.

7.1.12 S

7.1.12.1 Sample

An individual audio file, used either in an instrument (see AudioFileProcessor plugin) or a Sample track.

7.1.12.2 Sampling

Measurement.

7.1.12.3 Sample Rate / Sample Frequency

How many times per second the signal is measured.

7.1.12.4 Sample track

A type of track that is designed to take audio files. Multiple different samples can be placed in one sample track, and they can overlap.

7.1.12.5 Segment

A block in a track that contains a simple (in the case of a sample track), notes in a piano roll or repeats of a beat/bassline. Each type of track uses one type of segment. See Song Editor.

7.1.12.6 Song

The overall combination of tracks playing simultaneously that makes up your composition. See Song Editor.

7.1.12.7 Spectrum

A term used to describe all the different frequencies in a sound. The effect plugin Spectrum Analyzer displays the different frequencies present in that FX-channel.

7.1.12.8 Step

  • 1/16 of a bar in the Beat+Bassline Editor

  • A single "tab" or "tombstone" in the pattern display

7.1.13 T

7.1.13.1 Template

A .mmpz file with either preloaded instruments, samples and/or automation tracks. By clicking new project you load the default template with a TripleOscillator track, Sample track, BB track and Automation track in the Song Editor, and a Kicker instrument in the BB Editor.

7.1.13.2 Track

A row in the Song Editor containing an instrument, sample track, or beat/bassline.

7.1.14 V

7.1.14.1 VST

Acronym for Virtual Studio Technology. Programs or plugins which tweak or produce sound. They use the .dll extension and are supported by LMMS. VSTi (Virtual instrument) is a common name for VSTs which generate sounds and signals, like any other instrument plugin. These are loaded through VeSTige. VSTfx (VST effects) is used to describe VSTs which tweak or change signals, like any other effect plugin.

7.1.15 W

7.1.15.1 WAV

Waveform Audio File Format. A cross-platform uncompressed audio standard.

7.1.15.2 Waveform

A waveform describes the shape of a sound. Different types of waveforms include:

  • Sine: the simplest waveform, it will only produce the fundamental frequency of a note, without any harmonics

  • Triangle: produces sound similar to sine, but with some harmonics. Triangle waves in LMMS are symmetric.

  • Saw: produces a large amount of harmonics and is used in the synthesis of a large number of sounds. Somewhat nasal.

  • Square: a symmetric pulse wave, sounds very digital/buzzy

  • Moog-like-saw: less high-end frequencies than a normal saw wave

  • Exponential: similar to a triangle wave, but with more high-end frequencies

  • Noise: random, produces every frequency

7.1.15.3 Wet

When about music/sound, used to describe sound with reverb or echo.

7.1.15.4 Width

When about music/sound, describes how stereo it sounds. Effects which increase the stereo are commonly called stereo wideners. To achieve this effect various techniques can be used, the most easy being delay between right and left channel.