Is there an existing way to make music in an open source way (similarly to developing software on Github with a public domain license) ? If not, is open-source music producing actually something that is possible?

I know that with Sonic Pi (or even MIDI) you can already program music, but could one theoretically use that as a base for collaborative, asynchronous music production?

My question to all you open source gurus out there is the following:

Can music be open sourced the same way code is open sourced, as in give it a MIT license or similar so that others can use, improve and build on your music?

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    While this question is little open-ended, I think it's focused enough to be answerable. As a starting point, one community for remixing Creative Commons music tracks is ccmixter.org, which supports tagging other tracks used in your track. This used-in relationship can be explored to create a remix history tree (ccmixter.org/api/query?t=upload_histogram&ids=62206)
    – apsillers
    Sep 17 '20 at 17:23
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    Of course, why wouldn't it be? There's lots of open source music. Sep 18 '20 at 0:31
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    The openscore project people haven't released all that many scores yet, but that's definitely open-source.
    – MadHatter
    Sep 18 '20 at 0:45
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    For instrumental music you could collaborate if everyone uses lilypond because it's text-based, although merging is still pretty messy because each instrument is separated. I don't know about midi though (unless you use a lossless converter to a text-based format).
    – Max Xiong
    Sep 18 '20 at 2:00
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    @Nico since musescore generates midi, modifying the musescore score allows generation of new midi. Is that what you meant by "modify the source of the music"?
    – MadHatter
    Sep 18 '20 at 9:44

It having been said that this question admits of an answer, it'd better have one. That said, questions which ask for lists of offsite resources are off-topic, so I'll answer accordingly. You ask:

Can music be open sourced the same way code is open sourced, as in give it a MIT license or similar so that others can use, improve and build on your music?

Yes, it can. Openscore is a project which releases classical music in freely-reusable editable score form, in the free musescore format. Although the underlying music here is out of copyright, the scores from which it is usually conducted, and the orchestral parts from which it's then played, generally aren't.

The musescore format allows a number of reuses which are only possible for third-parties because of the free licensing of the openscore scores. These include printing off a full set of orchestral parts, as well as more-transformative uses such as generation of synthesised audio recordings via MIDI, the generation of the cover images (which are images processed directly from the score), and the generation of freely-reusable Braille scores.

There is no reason why in-copyright music could not be similarly made available, given the permission of the rightsholder; but things had to start somewhere, so they started with the classics.

I have no doubt there are many other examples of open-source music on the internet, but you asked if it was possible, and indicated that this example met your criteria, so here it is.

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