When I was in High School, I took a music theory class with Bruce McCormick. He was an inspiration to every single student that had an appreciation of music and one of the hardest working teachers I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. This class spurred me to compose a 111 measure 5-part piece for voice...but with no lyrics. I spent many hours at a macintosh computer using software called Nightingale and entering notes with an attached MIDI keyboard. Upon completion, I assembled a group of vocalists to perform the piece at the annual spring concert my senior year. It was a significant highlight and achievement in my life. There was a poor quality video recording of the event but I do not posses a copy and I never made a synth recording or even saved an electronic record of the piece (not that I would be able to find a computer that could access it today since I believe Nightingale is no longer in use anywhere). For a decade now I have retained a single hard copy of the music and I am frankly amazed that it has survived the 5 times I have moved in 10 years. Regardless, I've always wanted to reproduce the electronic copy so that I could at last hear the piece again. Finally with my UbStu Linux distro I have that opportunity!
Of all the various sequencers and recorders and notation editors I have come across so far, I'm most impressed with the completeness of Rosegarden. This software is incredible especially considering it is free! I have vowed to contribute to the authors as soon as I make some significant advancement in utilizing it to its greater potential...and as soon as I graduate and get a job.
Rosegarden runs on top of the Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK) which is still a bit mysterious to me. The learning curve on Rosegarden has also been somewhat steep and I've spent close to 3 hours just in combing though the manual and Michael McIntyre's very useful on-line tutorial. I'm nearly half way through inputting my 'masterpiece' (I've yet to give it an appropriate name but had originally named it "Fortune Cookie") using the notation editor and so far I've figured out how to assign each track a synth sound from pre-existing libraries so I need only my computer's sound-card (Sound Blaster Audigy).
At this point I've spent a couple-few hours trying to figure out how to record my piece without success. I would like to be able to just use my computer's sound-card without any additional external components/keyboards/etc. It seems from the tutorial that this should be possible but it is not carefully described here so I will need to start search for information elsewhere very soon.