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7.4. Editing a Song (Tutorial)

This section covers the basics of preparing "Here Is How." The focus is on trimming the regions and placing them in the right position on the timeline. Since the goal is to replicate the form of the original song, there is little room for artistic freedom.
To get the most out of this section, you should use the tutorial files provided above. By following the instructions with the tutorial file, you will be able to use real editing, mixing, and mastering techniques to create a real song. Instructions to get the tutorial files are available in Section 7.3, “Files for the Tutorial”.

7.4.1. Add Tracks and Busses

The program used to record these tracks was configured to record onto a separate track for the left and right channels, so Ardour will also have to be configured this way. It requires more setup, more memory, and more processing power, but it offers greater control over the stereo image and level balancing. We will use one track for vocals, clarinet, and strings, and two tracks for the marimba. This needs to be doubled to handle the stereo audio, so a total of ten tracks are needed. It might still be useful to manipulate the stereo tracks together, so we're going to combine them with five busses. This gives us the option of modifying both stereo channels or just one - you'll see how it works as the tutorial progresses. All of these actions take place within Ardour.
  1. There is already a master bus, named "master". All audio being outputted should be fed through this bus.
  2. Create five new busses:
    1. From the menu, select 'Track > Add Track/Bus'
    2. Adjust the options to add five stereo busses.
    3. Click 'Add'
    4. Five busses should appear in the canvas area, named "Bus 1" through "Bus 5", underneath the master bus.
  3. Change the busses' names:
    1. At the left-most side of the canvas area, each bus has a space with controls, including a box with the bus' name.
    2. To rename a bus, use the mouse to left-click inside the box with the bus' name.
    3. The box will turn into a text-editing box. Erase the contents, and write the new name.
    4. When you have entered the new name, press "Enter" on the keyboard to set it in Ardour.
    5. The box will no longer be a text-editing box.
      • Bus-marimba1
      • Bus-marimba2
      • Bus-voice
      • Bus-strings
      • Bus-clarinet
  4. Create ten new tracks:
    1. From the menu, select 'Track > Add Track/Bus'
    2. Adjust the options to add 10 normal mode mono tracks.
    3. Click 'Add'
    4. Ten tracks should appear in the canvas area, named "Audio 1" through "Audio 10", underneath the busses.
  5. Change the tracks' names in the same way as you changed the busses' names. Remembering that each track here will hold only the left or right audio channel, each one should be pre- or post-fixed with a "0" or "L" for the left channel, or a "1" or "R" for the right channel. They should be called something like:
    • marimba1-L
    • marimba1-R
    • marimba2-L
    • marimba2-R
    • voice-L
    • voice-R
    • strings-L
    • strings-R
    • clarinet-L
    • clarinet-R
  6. Finally, we'll re-arrange the order of the tracks and busses. This isn't strictly necessary, and you can user whichever order you think makes the most sense. You might choose, for example, to put the marimba at the bottom, since it will be playing through most of the song.
    1. Find the session sidebar, to the right of the canvas area.
    2. There are five tabs to choose: Regions, Tracks/Busses, Snapshots, Edit Groups, and Chunks. Select 'Tracks/Busses'
    3. All of the tracks and busses are shown in a list, along with a check-box that will show or hide that track or bus in the canvas area. Now you can see why it's a good idea to keep the word "bus" in the names of the busses.
    4. To change the ordering of tracks and busses, use the mouse to click and drag the name of the track or bus that you want to move.
    5. When you start dragging a track or bus, a line will appear in the list, marking where the track or bus would go. It can be helpful to move the track or bus that you are dragging to the side a bit, so that you can see the list itself.
    6. The interface makes it seem like you can move a track or bus on top of another track or bus. This is not the case. If it looks like a track or bus is going to be put on top of another track or bus, it will actually be placed into the list just above that track or bus.
    7. For editing, it is helpful to have each bus next to the tracks it will control. This can always be changed later.