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OpenMPT v1.18.01.00 in Windows 7
Original author(s) Olivier Lapicque
Initial release 1997; 20 years ago (1997)
Stable release / September 27, 2017; 22 days ago (2017-09-27)
Written in C++
Operating system Windows
Platform x86, x86-64
Available in English
Type Tracker
License BSD (since OpenMPT / GPL, partly public domain software[1]

OpenMPT is an open source audio module tracker for Windows (with intended Wine-functionality for Linux). It was previously called ModPlug Tracker, and was developed by Olivier Lapicque in September 1997.[2]

Computer Music magazine listed OpenMPT among the top five free music trackers in 2007.[3]


MOD Plugin and ModPlug Tracker[edit]

OpenMPT was initially developed as a browser plug-in called MOD Plugin, [4] which enabled users to play music and other sounds encoded in module files. ModPlug Tracker, along with a player application named ModPlug Player, evolved from this plug-in.[5]

In December 1999, Olivier Lapicque sent the module-playing parts of ModPlug Tracker's source code to Kenton Varda, under the GPL, to write a plugin for XMMS based on the code. The source code was in 2001 released in the public domain,[1] and the mod-playing code was split off into a separate library, libmodplug, maintained as part of the ModPlug XMMS Plugin project. This project lay dormant from late 2003 until early 2006, when it was picked up again. Today, libmodplug is included in many Linux distributions as a default audio plugin for playing module files and is a part of the popular OpenSource multimedia framework gstreamer.[6]

Due to lack of time, Olivier Lapicque discontinued development of ModPlug Tracker itself, and in January 2004, he released the entire source code under an open-source license. The ModPlug Player source code is still closed as of January 2017.


Lapicque's MPT code was taken up by a group of tracker musicians/programmers and is now known as OpenMPT. Also based on the ModPlug code is OpenMPT's "sister project" Schism Tracker which contributed several backports of bugfixes to OpenMPT.[7]

OpenMPT is distributed as free software and is, as of November 2015, under active development. Until May 2009 (v1.17.02.53)[8] OpenMPT was licensed under the Copyleft GNU General Public License and then relicensed under the terms of the permissive BSD license. Since OpenMPT 1.23 (March 2014), OpenMPT is also available as a 64-bit application.[9] This allows musicians to use 64-bit VST plugins and make use of the entire physical memory on 64-bit systems. For this purpose, OpenMPT provides its own plugin bridge, which can be used to run plugins with a different bitness than the host in a separate process, or to run plugin in a sandbox and prevent them from crashing the host application.


OpenMPT's main distinguishing feature is its native Windows user interface. Most trackers, even newer ones such as Renoise, have interfaces modelled after the older DOS trackers such as FastTracker II. OpenMPT makes use of features common to Microsoft Windows programs, such as context menus for effect selection, "tree" views (for files, samples, and patterns), drag and drop functionality throughout, and the native Look and Feel of the Windows platform.

It supports both loading and saving of IT (Impulse Tracker), XM (FastTracker Extended Module), MOD (Protracker and similar), S3M (Scream Tracker 3) and MPTM (its own file format) files, imports many more module and sample file formats, and has some support for DLS banks and SoundFonts.[10]

OpenMPT was also one of the first Trackers to support opening and editing of multiple tracker modules in parallel. OpenMPT supports up to 127 tracks/channels, VST Plugins, VST instruments and has ASIO support.[10]

MPTM file format[edit]

Due to limitations of the various mod file formats it is able to save, a new module format called MPTM was created in 2007.[11] However, the format is still in experimental stage and is expected to be changed in the future.[12]

OpenMPT had previously introduced non-standard additions to the older file formats. For example, one can use stereo samples or add VST Plugins to XM and IT modules, which were not supported in the original trackers. Many of these features are gradually removed from IT and XM files and made only available in MPTM files.


libopenmpt is a cross-platform module playing library based on the OpenMPT code with interfaces for C, C++ and other programming languages. To ensure that the code bases do not diverge like in the case of ModPlug Tracker and libmodplug, libopenmpt development takes place in the same code repository as OpenMPT. Official input plug-ins for popular audio players (XMPlay, Winamp and foobar2000) based on libopenmpt are also available from the website. FFmpeg also offers an optional module decoder based on libopenmpt.[13] libopenmpt can also serve as a drop-in replacement for libmodplug and thus offer up-to-date module playback capabilities for software that relies on the libmodplug API.[14]

Reception and users[edit]

Nicolay of the Grammy-nominated The Foreign Exchange has revealed that ModPlug is his "Secret Weapon".[15] Movie and video game music composer Raphaël Gesqua also revealed to use OpenMPT in an interview.[16]

Peter Hajba and Alexander Brandon used OpenMPT to compose the soundtracks for Bejeweled 2,[17] Bejeweled 3[18] and other PopCap games.

Electronic rock musician Blue Stahli has mentioned that he used ModPlug Tracker and other trackers in the past.[19]


  1. ^ a b ModPlug XMMS Plugin - News on "27 October 2001: ModPlug-XMMS v2.0 (including libmodplug v0.7) - Changes: [...] License changed to public domain."
  2. ^ ModPlugTrackerv1.00alpha5.7z - from
  3. ^ "Top Trackers". Computer Music. Future Publishing (113). June 2007. 
  4. ^ Christe, Ian (1997-10-30). "A Cheat Sheet for Internet Sound". Archived from the original on 1998-12-06. Retrieved 2011-02-05. MOD: The lingua franca of the Internet's large network of Amiga musicians, MODs are ingenious self-contained sound files that include raw audio data and sequencing information.(Link to modplugcentral) 
  5. ^ "MODPlug Central - Technical Support Features". MODPlug Central. 1998-02-22. Archived from the original on 1998-02-22. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  6. ^ GStreamer Bad Plugins 0.10 Plugins Reference Manual
  7. ^ storlek (2011-02-01). "Modplug". Retrieved 2011-02-05. Schism Tracker uses a highly customized version of the Modplug library, [...]. Many of Schism's fixes have since been back-ported to OpenMPT [...] 
  8. ^ History
  9. ^ "OpenMPT released". 2014-03-29. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  10. ^ a b "Features". 2011-02-05. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  11. ^ ModPlug Central Forums
  12. ^ OpenMPT developer board
  13. ^ libopenmpt demuxer in libavformat
  14. ^ libopenmpt-modplug1 in the Debian package repository
  15. ^ Inside The Producer's Studio on
  16. ^ Interview with Raphaël Gesqua at
  17. ^ Bejeweled 2 Soundtrack on BandCamp
  18. ^ Bejeweled 3 Soundtrack on BandCamp
  19. ^ Blue Stahli twitter profile

External links[edit]