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7.4.6. Arrange Regions into the Right Places

We're going to start by arranging the marimba, since it plays a relatively consistent rhythm throughout most of the song. It is a good idea to start with something like this, so that the following tracks and regions can be related to it.
All of the times here are given in minutes and seconds. The tutorial file is configured to use this unit by default, but if you have changed it, you will need to keep that in mind. Also, I have not cropped or trimmed the "Marimba_1" region, and it is located in the "marimba1" track, starting at 00:00:00.000. If you have modified that region, I suggest restoring it to the original size. Start with the Marimba Regions

  1. When you have made sure that the "Marimba_1" regions are not cropped or trimmed, and that they start at 00:00:00.000, we can lock it in place.
    1. Right-click on the regions, and navigate to the 'Selected regions' menu, then click 'Lock' from that menu.
    2. Notice that Ardour puts > and < around the name of the region, in the canvas area.
    3. Also notice that you can no longer move the region with the "Select/Move Objects" tool.
  2. Now place a marker to show the exact moment when it starts: six seconds into the session.
    1. Zoom in appropriately so that you can see where the six-second mark on the ruler should go (but you needn't see it yet). Hold the 'Ctrl' button on the keyboard, and use the mouse's scrollwheel to zoom in, or press the '=' button on the keyboard to zoom in and the '-' button to zoom out.
    2. Move the cursor to near the six-second mark (again, not important to be precise yet), and right-click in the "Location Markers" row. Select 'New location marker' from the menu.
    3. Click-and-drag the yellow-green arrow that appears, so that the yellow clock shows 00:00:06.000, indicating six seconds precisely. Release the mouse.
    4. Move the cursor over the marker, so it changes colours from yellow-green to red-tan (coral). Right-click and select 'Lock' from the menu, so that the marker will not be accidentally moved.
    5. Again, right-click while the cursor is over the marker. Select 'Rename' from the menu.
    6. A small window will appear. Write the name of the maker, "marimba-start," and click 'Rename' to set the new name.
  3. Since we will be adjusting the placement of regions in the timeline very precisely, we will need to use different "Snap/Grid Mode." Each setting is useful for a different kind of task.
    • We can change the mode using the toolbar just above the canvas area. The pop-down menu probably says "Magnetic," indicating that it's in "Magnetic Snapping Mode," but it might also say "No Grid" or "Grid."
    • No Grid: This mode gives the user full control over where they will place a region. It is useful for doing highly-precise alignment, as we're about to do.
    • Grid: This mode only allows the user to place regions where they will start on a grid-line. Unless you changed it, your grid is set to two seconds, so you can only start regions in two-second intervals - Ardour will not allow you to place a region so that it starts on an odd-numbered second, or anywhere in between.
    • Magnetic: This mode allows the user to place a region wherever they like, but when the start of the region is near a grid-line (an even-numbered second, in this session), the start of the region will automatically "snap" to that point. It behaves as if the start of regions were magnetically attracted to the grid lines.
  4. Adjust the snap/grid mode to "No Grid."
  5. Move the "Marimba_2" regions so that they are in the "marimba2" tracks, so that the sound in "Marimba_2" starts at about 15 seconds (00:00:15.000) on the timeline. You'll have to move the grinding of the chairs out of the way, if you decided to keep it. Move it to the "strings" tracks, before the "Strings" regions.
  6. Ensure that both the "marimba1" and "marimba2" busses are on solo mode, so you will be able to hear them both.
  7. Now here's the difficult part: you'll have to align the two tracks, so that they start together.
    • The sound in the "Marimba_2" regions should start at the same time as the second pattern in the "Marimba_1" tracks, which is at about 15 seconds on the timeline.
    • You'll need to zoom in - it helps to be able to see the wave-form shapes of the regions. More importantly, zooming in allows you to adjust the placement of the regions with greater precision.
    • You may want to select a range, and use the loop mode of the transport. This will allow you to hear the start of the regions again and again, ensuring that they are aligned.
    • If you feel like you've got it close, but not quite together, then try moving it far away, listening, then adjusting it closer again.
  8. Once you have aligned the first few seconds of this pattern, it will eventually become unsynchronized, which is okay. The beginning will be the most noticable part; when the listeners become accustomed to the sound of the two marimba tracks together, they will stop paying close attention. Furthermore, they are likely to be focussing on the words by the time the marimba tracks become unsynchronized.
  9. Remember to lock the "Marimba_2" region!
  10. Listen to the rest of the regions together. The end of the regions, at about 00:02:20.000, should be aligned, if you aligned the start correctly. The higher and lower marimbas will alternate.
  11. Move the "Marimba_3" regions so they start at approximately 00:03:20.000, with "Marmiba_3" in the "marimba1" tracks. We will find a final alignment later.
  12. Move the "Marimba_4" regions so they start at approximately the same time as the "Marimba_3" regions, but in the "marimba2" tracks. We will find a final alignment later.