Tips on building FluidSynth

Here you will find some information on building FluidSynth on various platforms from the subversion repository.

Ubuntu Linux

These instructions are specifically for Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) but also contains information applicable to other Linux distributions. In particular the package install commands are Ubuntu centric.

Install packages

If your system is not yet setup for building source code you'll want to run the following commands from a shell:

sudo apt-get install build-essential automake libtool 
sudo apt-get install subversion

Optional functionality can be obtained by installing additional development packages:

sudo apt-get install libasound2-dev               # For ALSA drivers (audio output and sequencer)
sudo apt-get install lib64asound2-dev             # Same as above but for 64 bit systems
sudo apt-get install libjack-dev                  # For Jack audio driver
sudo apt-get install lashd lash-bin liblash-dev   # For LASH audio application session management support
sudo apt-get install libreadline5-dev             # Readline command editing at the FluidSynth shell
sudo apt-get install lib64readline5-dev           # Same as above but for 64 bit systems

Tip: if you want all the development packages needed to build the latest released version of FluidSynth, try:

sudo apt-get build-dep fluidsynth

Checking out from subversion

Run the following command to checkout FluidSynth into a sub directory called fluidsynth:

svn co

Building the code

Running the following commands will build and install FluidSynth.

cd fluidsynth
sudo make install


Checkout the source from subversion (as described in the Ubuntu Linux section) or get a source tarball and extract it somewhere.

FluidSynth can be built in Windows either by using Visual Studio, Cygwin or MinGW+MSYS. There are likely other methods as well. It can be cross compiled from Linux too!.


FIXME This needs to be better documented and tested.

Note: It seems that the configure stage of FluidSynth doesn't result in a successful build. This will be remedied in future versions when we switch to using glib as a portability library.

Install Cygwin with the following packages (possibly others as well?):


Checkout the source from subversion or get a source tarball and put it within the Cygwin environment. Run the same steps as described in the Building the code section of Ubuntu Linux.

Visual Studio

A Visual Studio project file is distributed in the FluidSynth source code.

  • Install the glib Dev package from
  • Install the Microsoft DirectX SDK or alternatively some users have mentioned that the dsound.h header might work from Wine.
  • Checkout FluidSynth from subversion or get a source tarball.
  • Open the project file at the location: fluidsynth\winbuild\fluidsynth.sln
  • Add paths for Glib and dsound dependencies to the project build (includes and libraries)

Some temporary solutions, until properly addressed:

  • Edit src/fluid_aufile.c and change #include "config.h" to #include "config_win32.h"
  • For the release build: In Project Properties -> Linker -> Input -> Additional Dependencies copy the entry from Debug to Release builds. Do this for both Fluidsynth and Fluidsynth_dll projects.

Build it, at which point you should get a fluidsynth.exe command shell executable and shared FluidSynth library.


  • Install MinGW with g++ support (re-run installed C:\MinGW\MinGW-x.x.x.exe if g++ not installed initially)
  • Install MSYS shell environment
  • Extract the following packages to C:\MinGW\ from GTK+ Download For Windows:
    • pkg-config (Tool binaries)
    • glib (Binaries and Dev)
    • gettext (Binaries and Dev)
    • proxy-libintl
  • Obtain dsound.h and copy to C:\MinGW\include from:
  • Optionally build and install libsndfile (from within MSYS shell):
    • Download and extract sources to ~/ for example (C:\MSYS\1.0\home\USER)
    • cd ~/libsndfile-x.x.x
    • ./configure && make
      • If build fails in examples/ do the following:
        • cd src && make install
        • mkdir /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
        • cp sndfile.pc /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
      • If build didn't fail in examples, just do:
        • make install
  • Download and extract FluidSynth tarball to ~/ and build (from within MSYS shell):
    • export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/mingw/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
    • cd ~/fluidsynth-x.x.x
    • ./configure
    • make
    • make install

Mac OS X

Note: Extracted from the README-OSX supplied by Ebrahim Mayat and distributed with the source code.


  1. Edit the "/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig/jack.pc" file using your favorite Unix editor and in the "Libs" line, replace "ljack" with "-framework Jack"
  2. cd to the fluidsynth directory and in the configure script, substitute "-lmidishare" with "-framework MidiShare".
  3. Run configure with the following options (all on one line in a text editor, then copy and paste into Terminal):
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig ./configure --enable-midishare --disable-lash

This should result in

ALSA:                  no
OSS:                   no
MidiShare:             yes
JACK:                  yes
CoreAudio:             yes
LADSPA support:        no
LASH support:          no
LADCCA support:        no
Readline:              no
Debug:                 yes
Profiling:             no
  1. As root run:
make && make install

Solaris / OpenSolaris?

This platform is not officially supported, but it seems like just a small patch is needed for FluidSynth 1.0.9 to build correctly on this platform. See #52 for a link to this patch. After the patch is applied, you should rund