python-rtmidi uses a modern PEP 517 compliant Python build system based on meson and meson-python and can be installed from the Python Package Index via pip. Since it is a Python C(++)-extension, a C++ compiler and build environment as well as some system-dependent libraries are needed to install, unless wheel packages with pre-compiled binaries are available for your system. See the [Requirements] section below for details.

From PyPI

If you have all the [requirements], you should be able to install the package with pip:

$ python -m pip install python-rtmidi

This will download a pre-compiled binary wheel from python-rtmidi’s PyPI page, if available, and install it in your active Python installation. If no fitting binary wheel is available, it will download the source distribution, compile the extension (downloading all the build tools needed in the process) and install it.

python-rtmidi also works well with virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper. If you have both installed, creating an isolated environment for testing and/or using python-rtmidi is as easy as:

$ mkvirtualenv rtmidi
(rtmidi)$ python -m pip install python-rtmidi

If you want to pass options to the build process, you need to compile python-rtmidi from source manually. See the From Source section below for moe information.

Pre-compiled Binaries

Pre-compiled binary wheels of the latest python-rtmidi version for Windows, macOS and Linux are available on PyPI for all supported Python versions. If you install python-rtmidi via pip (see above), these wheels will be selected by pip automatically, if you have a compatible Python and OS version and processor architecture.

  • Windows binary wheels are compiled with Windows MultiMedia API support and are available for x86_64 (aka amd64).

  • macOS / OS X binary wheels are compiled with CoreMIDI support and are available for OS X intel (10.9+) and arm64 (aka M1/M2/Apple silicon, 11.0+).

    If you need JACK support on OS X, you need to compile python-rtmidi yourself (see the [macOS] section below for details).

  • Linux binary wheels are available for x64_64 and aarch64 architectures and come with support for ALSA and JACK. They require the library to be installed where the dynamic linker can find it, i.e. somewhere in the standard system library locations, but the come bundled with their own copy of for better compatibility.

From Source

To compile python-rtmidi from source and install it manually without pip, you can either download a source distribution archive or check out the sources from the Git repository. While the steps to get the sources differ, the actual compilation and installation steps consist of the same commands in both cases.

From the Source Distribution

To download the python-rtmidi source distribution archive for the current version and extract it, use the following commands:

python -m pip download python-rtmidi
tar -xzf python-rtmidi-1.X.Y.tar.gz
cd python-rtmidi-1.X.Y

Then follow the commands shown in the section [buildinstall].

From the Source Code Repository

Alternatively, you can check out the python-rtmidi source code from the Git repository and then install it from your working copy.

(rtmidi)$ git clone --recursive
(rtmidi)$ cd python-rtmidi

Then follow the commands shown in the section [buildinstall].

Build and Install

Using meson directly

If you can’t or don’t want to use the standard PEP 517 build method, you can also use meson directly, but then you’ll need to make sure all the required build tools are installed.

If you are installing from a Git repository checkout, since this does not include the C++ module source code pre-compiled from the Cython source, you’ll also need to install Cython >= 0.29, either via pip or from its Git repository. Using virtualenv / virtualenvwrapper is strongly recommended in this scenario:

Make a virtual environment:

mkvirtualenv rtmidi
(rtmidi)$ cdvirtualenv

Install meson and ninja and, if neccessary, Cython from PyPI:

(rtmidi)$ python -m pip install Cython meson ninja
meson setup --prefix=/usr -Dbuildtype=plain builddir
meson compile -C builddir
meson install -C builddir

On Linux or macOS, if you want to install python-rtmidi into the system-wide Python library directory, you may have to prefix the last command with sudo, e.g.:

sudo meson install -C builddir

The meson setup command recognizes several options to control which OS-dependent MIDI backends will be supported by the python-rtmidi extension binary it produces, plus other options to control compilation of the RtMidi C++ library:










Don’t compile in support for ALSA backend.





Don’t compile in support for JACK backend.





Don’t compile in support for CoreMIDI backend.





Don’t compile in support for Windows MultiMedia backend.





Don’t suppress RtMidi warnings to stderr.





Set name (or path) of Python interpreter.

Support for each OS dependent MIDI backend is only enabled when the required library and header files are actually present on the system.


Naturally, you’ll need a C++ compiler and a build environment. See the platform-specific hints below.

If you want to change the Cython source file _rtmidi.pyx or want to recompile _rtmidi.cpp with a newer Cython version, you’ll need to install Cython.

RtMidi (and therefore python-rtmidi) supports several low-level MIDI frameworks on different operating systems. Only one of the available options needs to be present on the target system, but support for more than one can be compiled in. The script will detect available libraries and should use the appropriate compilations flags automatically.

  • Linux: ALSA, JACK

  • macOS (OS X): CoreMIDI, JACK

  • Windows: MultiMedia (MM)


First you need a C++ compiler and the pthread library. Install the build-essential package on debian-based systems to get these.

Then you’ll need Python development headers and libraries. On debian-based systems, install the python-dev package. If you use the official installers from you should already have these.

To get ALSA support, you must install development files for the libasound2 library (debian package: libasound2-dev). For JACK support, install the libjack development files (if you are using Jack1, install libjack-dev, if you are using Jack2, install libjack-jackd2-dev).

macOS (OS X)

Install the latest Xcode version or g++ from MacPorts or homebrew (untested). CoreMIDI support comes with installing Xcode. For JACK support, install JACK with the macOS installer provided on the JACK web site or build JACK from source.


Please see the detailed instructions for Windows in install-windows.

User Contributed Documentation

The python-rtmidi wiki on GitHub contains some user contributed documentation for additional installation scenarios. Please check these, if you have trouble installing python-rtmidi in an uncommon or not-yet-covered environment.