8th June, 2022
Rosegarden 22.06 released
8th December, 2021
Rosegarden 21.12 released
9th July, 2021
Rosegarden 21.06.1 released
2nd June, 2021
Rosegarden 21.06 released
9th December, 2020
Rosegarden 20.12 “Altissimo” released

Origin of a Legend

Chris Cannam and Andy Green began Rosegarden in 1993 while working together at the University of Bath under the tutelage of John ffitch, of Csound fame. Andy was responsible for the MIDI sequencer, and Chris the notation editor.

Rosegarden was originally written for the SGI® IRIX® platform. Richard Bown got involved in late 1995, and began work on a port to Linux. Richard took over responsibility for working on the Linux sequencer engine, which was written using the OSS/Voxware drivers. Not long after, Guillaume Laurent showed up with a big patch of code and a lot of enthusiasm. Rosegarden (the version now known as "X11 Rosegarden") began moving along quite quickly from there.

After a few years, the project started to show its age. Its dated user interface and a lack of internal organization meant that a rewrite was inevitable at some point. After a few false starts, Guillaume got the project restarted, and designed most of the GUI using KDE and Qt. Guillaume kept the project spurred on with his admonition on June 2001 that "If we lose focus again, [Rosegarden] is dead. It has already been brought back from limbo a couple of times, there won't be a next one."

Thus encouraged, the current incarnation of Rosegarden clawed its way out of limbo. Chris worked on notation again, and Richard continued working on the sequencer, eventually adding support for audio playback through JACK. The first public alpha release was in October of 2001. Ron Kuris, the first outside contributor, came in with some cleanups that nobody can quite remember, and Randall Farmer provided some chord labelling code. Then Hans Kieserman stepped in with the idea of writing an engine to export Rosegarden's internal music notation to LilyPond, and he began work on internationalization.

In 2002, D. Michael McIntyre became a member of the project when Chris addressed his complaints about MIDI applications on the Linux Audio Users list, suggesting that most of Michael's problems were due to a lack of documentation. Chris suggested "What might be more handy would be a tutorial from someone other than the developers...." Thus what eventually became Rosegarden Companion was born with about 600 lines of HTML and 36 images. Michael had never written a tutorial before, and had no idea what he was doing. Some would argue that he still doesn't, but that hasn't stopped him yet.

Guillaume added Michael as a developer so that he could continue to work on his tutorial. He began as a documentation writer, and eventually outlasted everyone except Chris to become the project's most outspoken and visible personality, and the longest running contributor who didn't have some tie to the original X11 Rosegarden. Pedro Lopez-Cabanillas came along right after Michael, and and began to help and contribute actively, bringing about countless improvements to MIDI handling, in particular, though he has been involved in many different aspects of the application, including putting together two build systems, help with the translation framework, and pioneering the entire concept of track parameters.

Together these five, along with a long list of contributors, carried Rosegarden through to a 1.0 release in 2005.

Shortly thereafter, Heikki Junes showed up out of the clear blue sky, and demanded developer access. He went on to transform the LilyPond export code from something useful but quirky to something that just works most of the time, and he continued the trend of sorting out the final few details the rest of us missed.

French translator Yves Guillemot revealed that he had been hiding his programming skills all along, and began to embark on increasingly ambitious projects, beginning with the notation editor track headers feature, and continuing right along to be surprisingly and quietly effective over the years.

Many people have come and gone in the years since the project's humble beginnings, and together the Rosegarden development team have brought the application from a fun bit of schoolwork all the way to the world-class application before you today.

Key Personnel

Photo of Chris Cannam.

Chris Cannam

cannam at all-day-breakfast dot com

Chris has been working on one incarnation or another of Rosegarden since the end of 1993.

Chris has worked on nearly every aspect of Rosegarden at some point, having been responsible for most of the notation rendering and editing, some of the file and data representation, and much of the audio and MIDI sequencing, recording, plugin, and MIDI studio management subsystems. He lives in London.

Photo of D. Michael McIntyre.

D. Michael McIntyre

dmmcintyr at users dot sourceforge dot net

Michael lives in Christiansburg, Virginia, in the United States of America. He has been doing computer music since the TRS-80 Color Computer. He began as a documentation writer, and has evolved over the years to become both a core developer and project manager, as well as the Spanish translator.

Michael has tried his hand at an assortment of different things over the years, but continues to earn his living as a truck driver. He currently drives a gasoline tanker on night shift, and works up to 70 hours per week.

Photo of Ted Felix.

Ted Felix

Ted started working on Rosegarden in May of 2010 and pretty much hasn't stopped since. He is now the current maintainer. His key contributions have been bug fixes and performance improvements.

Ted started coding when he was 11. He has worked as a software engineer on various military and commercial projects including GPS. He currently codes war games for the US Navy. Ted lives in Adamstown, Maryland.


There have been a handful of interviews with Rosegarden developers published over the years:

Friends of Rosegarden

An ever-growing list of people are helping and have helped with coding, documenting, translating and testing Rosegarden.