Beast is a powerful music composition and modular synthesis application. It offers multiple input methods like multitrack, piano roll, and pattern editing and supports skins. On the technical side, it has a wide range of abilities like sequencing, unlimited undo/redo history, real-time synthesis with multiprocessor support, full duplex 32-bit audio rendering, precise timing down to sample granularity, on demand loading of partial wave files, on the fly decoding of various sample formats, aliasing free oscillators, and full Scheme scripting support.
Sfront compiles MPEG 4 Structured Audio (MP4-SA) programs into efficient C programs that generate audio when executed. MP4-SA is a standard for normative algorithmic sound, which combines an audio signal processing language (SAOL) with score languages (MIDI and SASL). Under Mac OS X and Linux, sfront supports real-time, low-latency audio input/output and MIDI input. Under Mac OS X, sfront supports the creation of AudioUnit plug-ins. The documentation includes a book about SAOL programming.
Scheme Note is a Scheme-like music file format and MIDI conversion tool. It takes a text file, which is a representation of a song, loosely tied to a MIDI-like event structure, and outputs a corresponding MIDI file. It is hand-editable for simple songs, and should be very easy to parse for a GUI.
MidiKeys is a little application that displays a piano keyboard onscreen. You can click the keyboard or use the computer keyboard to play MIDI notes. The keyboard window can be made to float on top of other applications and supports transparency. Also, MidiKeys will optionally set up hotkeys for the computer keyboard so you can play notes in other applications (such as a sequencer) without having to switch back to MidiKeys. It works great on a PowerBook!
SynthTest is a somewhat simple application for OS X that allows you to pick a MIDI source, a MusicDevice AudioUnit, and an Effect or MusicEffect AudioUnit to play with. You can open an edit window for both the synth and effect. If they do not have a custom edit GUI, the generic editor view will be used. SynthTest has a reference implementation of preset support for Audio Units. It is primarily intended to be used by Audio Unit developers for testing purposes (the source is available), although it can be great fun to play with all by itself. It is complete enough to be used for live performances.
iabc is a graphical application for editing music. It uses the ABC music notation language to produce high-quality graphical notation or MIDI output. The music notation and the ABC notation can be updated in real-time, making the construction of tunes using the ABC language hassle-free (or at least hassle-resistant).
The Audio* Music Synthesis Project is music creation software. Currently it features Mojo Synth which is a polyphonic analog modelling synth that has a 64 step sequencer and can also be played from a MIDI keyboard. It attempts to emulate classic analog sounds from Roland M-100, Korg MS-20, and Mini Moog synthesizers.