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7.4.4. Cut the Regions Down to Size

Now it's appropriate to cut some of the regions down in size. We're going to do this by removing some of the nearly-silent space before and after the material that was intended to be recorded. There are a few special cases, so first there will be specific instructions on how to do this to a region, and then general instructions for each region.
Let's start with the clarinet:
  1. First, set the clarinet bus to "solo" mode by pressing the 's' button on the bus' control space. This will allow us to hear only the clarinet bus.
  2. Listen to the first clarinet region by pressing "Home" on the keyboard to set the transport's playhead to the beginning, then pressing the space key to start the transport.
  3. There is approximately 20 seconds of near-silence before the clarinet starts to play. If you listen carefully, you can hear the room, and somebody counting measure numbers.
  4. If the channels aren't synchronized, you'll need to adjust their placement in the timeline. Use the yellow clock that appears when you drag regions - it's set to the same units as the secondary clock, and shows you the time of the beginning of the file. It's important to get it synchronized before the next step!
  5. Choose either the "L" or "R" region. If you're using edit groups, it doesn't matter which you choose, because Ardour will realize that the regions in both tracks are "group equivalent" (that is, they're basically the same, so they probably belong together).
  6. Use the mouse to click in the coloured bar of the region, close to where the clarinet starts.
  7. Ardour will automatically move the start of the region in both tracks.
  8. Move the playhead by clicking in the rulers at the point where you want the playhead to be, so that you can listen to the regions to ensure that you didn't cut out any of the useful audio.
  9. If you want to adjust the beginning of the region, carefully move the mouse cursor to the start of the region, in the coloured bar. The cursor should turn into a double-ended left-and-right arrow. If you happened to accidentally remove some of the useful clarinet sound, you'll notice that it's still there. In fact, the beauty of trimming regions in this way is that it's "non-destructive," meaning that the entire original region is still there!
  10. Notice that when you made the first adjustment, Ardour put an arrow beside the region name in the region list of the session sidebar. If you click on the arrow, you will see that there is another copy of the same region underneath, but it's white. Ardour wants you to know that the white-coloured region is a modification of the blue-coloured region. If you drag the white-coloured region into the canvas area, you'll notice that it starts at the same time as the region you just modified. It can also be dragged out to the full size of the original region, which would create another modified version of the original. While it seems like Ardour stores multiple copies of the region, it actually just stores one copy, and the information required to make it seem like there are many.
  11. Adjust the end of the region so that there isn't too much silence after the clarinet. Be extra careful with this, so that you don't cut out any of the clarinet, which gets very quiet at the end of the region. There isn't much to cut off! Note that you cannot click in the coloured bar when adjusting the end of a region, so you'll have to click-and-drag.
Here are the instructions to edit the rest of the regions. As you trim the regions, you may find it helpful to move them all towards the start of the session. Remember to change the bus that's in "solo mode" when you move to different tracks, or else you won't be able to hear the tracks you're trying to edit You may also notice that some of these regions contain identical or nearly-identical music, which we'll deal with later.
  • Clarinet
    • Clarinet_2:
      • Starts with sound, but it's not useful, so cut it out, along with the silence after it.
      • End has a good chunk of silence to cut out.
    • Clarinet_3, Clarinet_4: the silence at the beginning and end can be removed, but leave the silence in the middle.
  • Strings:
    • Strings_1: Starts with grumbling noise, which was not intended to be captured. You can keep it or discard as you please - Esther decided to keep it in, and so will I.
    • Strings_2, 3, 4: Silence at the beginning, but only a little at the end. You can cut out the talking, or deal with it later.
  • Voice:
    • Voice_1, 2, 3, 4: Simply remove the silence from beginning and end, leaving the mistakes, which we'll take care of later.
    • ens-Here_Is_How-1, 2, 3: It's too difficult for now to trim all of the extra noise, so just get most of it. The breating and shuffling can be removed later.
    • ens-Create_the_Inconceivable: For now, keep both of the attempts. Later, we'll choose which one we prefer.
  • Marimba:
    • Marimba_1: Don't trim the beginning of this region; we'll use it to time the start of the session. You can trim the silence at the end, but be sure that you don't clip it while the sound of the marimba is still ringing.
    • Marimba_2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7: Trim the silence around these as desired, still being careful not to clip the marimba while it's still ringing. This may require cautious listening at high volume settings.
Now that we have roughly trimmed the silence surrounding the portions of audio that we really want, we'll have an easier time putting them in the right order.