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For the background music played during gameplay, see Music Tracks.
Starbound Songbook.png

Music is a game mechanic that allows the player to play songs using instruments. Songs can be imported into the game using ABC notation. This lets players share songs, or search for songs others have composed online.

Using instruments don't affect game background music, but notes made by instruments are categorized as sound effects rather than music, so muting background music does not mute instrument music.


Instruments are items that can be used to play songs. They produce unique sounds when played, and the same song can be played using different instruments. Some songs may even be intended to be played on a specific instrument. There are a large number of different varieties of instruments (listed below). Tiy stated in a stream that they intend to give each race a unique instrument as well, which appears to be more or less fulfilled.

Instruments can be acquired through a variety of means. Tenants have 0.5% chance of giving an instrument as a gift, chests have around 1% chance of containing an instrument, quests have 3% to 5% chance, challenge rooms have around 5% chance, and the rare golden chests in the fossils minigame have 10% chance to contain an instrument.

In multiplayer, different players can play different instruments together to play songs as a band.


Instruments in total have 31 types.

Instrument Description
Accordion Icon.png Accordion An accordion. Get those arms working!
Acoustic Guitar Icon.png Acoustic Guitar An acoustic guitar. Perfect for campfire songs.
Banjo Icon.png Banjo A banjo. Get ready to duel!
Bass Guitar Icon.png Bass Guitar A bass guitar. Lay down some rhythm.
Bright Piano Icon.png Bright Piano A bright-sounding piano. Great for performing more upbeat songs!
Clarinet Icon.png Clarinet A clarinet. Try not to squeak.
Drum Kit Icon.png Drum Kit A drum kit. Better warn the neighbours.
Electric Bass Guitar Icon.png Electric Bass Guitar An electric bass guitar. Lay down some rhythm.
Floran Bone Xylophone Icon.png Floran Bone Xylophone A bone xylophone. Produces a killer sound.
Flute Icon.png Flute A flute. But is it magic?
Hammered Dulcimer Icon.png Hammered Dulcimer A hammered dulcimer. Bash out a tune.
Harmonica Icon.png Harmonica A harmonica. Favourite instrument of grizzled space captains.
Harp Icon.png Harp A harp. Plucky.
A microphone. For all the soulful divas out there.
Koto Icon.png Koto A koto. For that oriental sound.
Lead Guitar Icon.png Lead Guitar A lead guitar. For those who like to showboat.
A microphone. How low can you go?
Music Box Icon.png Music Box A music box. Is this a wind-up?
Nylon Guitar Icon.png Nylon Guitar A nylon guitar. It gently weeps.
Oboe Icon.png Oboe An oboe. It's pretty dusty.
Ocarina Icon.png Ocarina An ocarina. Make sure you have time to practice.
Overdrive Guitar Icon.png Overdrive Guitar A guitar. For those who like distortion.
Piano Icon.png Piano A piano. Truly a key instrument.
Reed Organ Icon.png Reed Organ A reed organ. Don't blow this performance.
Rock Organ Icon.png Rock Organ A rock organ. A real stadium-filler.
Saxophone Icon.png Saxophone A saxophone. For when you've got the space blues.
Steel Drum Icon.png Steel Drum A steel drum. Let's make some noise.
Space Synth Icon.png Space Synth Far out, man.
Square Wave Icon.png Square Wave Perfect for adding that synthetic feeling to your performance.
Trumpet Icon.png Trumpet A trumpet. Try not to blow your own horn.
Violin Icon.png Violin A violin. Don't bow out just yet.

Adding your own songs

Songs need to be added to the game directory. Place them in the folder path:


Starbound uses .abc files to play music. Search online for .abc compositions to add in game!

Place the file into the \songs folder, you may need to restart after adding them there.

Suggested websites

Songs in .abc Format

Programs to listen to and/or edit .abc Songs