Ardour 3 midi editing - frustrating is an understatement

Recently i have started to get back into making music electronically since i dont have any instruments appart from an old acoustic guitar and a few pieces of percusion, not to mention i dont have an interface with multiple inputs or a selection of mics.

Having just recently recorded the beginning of a song and recording it into ardour i had an idea from a drum part.

Rather than use hydrogen, since ardour does midi, i thought id do it straight in ardour using calf fluid synth as i have some nice sound fonts, and its easier than having to connect up multiple programs and sync them.

I’ve spent 3 hours

what do i have to show for it.

2 bars.

How things are done, are done in a round a bout and complicated way.

Within most midi editing progroms, you pencil in a track of desired length double click and a new window opens with the editor.

ARdour does not want to do this, thats fine, you create regions and pencil your notes in.

Well thats where the fun begins, theres something wrong with how regions are created and modified. I now have a region that somehow been reseized and moved back a half beat, and cannot be changed or moved.

I cannot even copy what i have done to a new regeion, i can create a new region which is 2 bars long, but not paste what i have copied. Probably because the regiom im copying from is slightly bigger than 2 bars, but i cannot resise it back down to exactly 2 bars. Notings in the way of it being resized, thers no note there just empty space.

ive tried all sorts of grid settings, no joy.

Im about to through my computer out the window.

ardours midi editing is too complicated, too many tool selections.

You only need 2 tools, pencil, and selection.

Then theres velocity, velocity defaults to 64. Too quite even with just my acoustic guitar track which isnt even hitting 0 or the meters. 127 is perfect, when im playing the track to check, i discover cant hear them, so i manually change the notes, then as i add the notes i have to change them.

If i select them all, if 1 of the notes is different value, it wont change, if you want to change multiple notes, they have to have the same value to all be changed at the same time.

So im stuck with 2 bars that i cant do anything with but delete and try again from the beginning.

oh and creating regeions ontop of regions ive done multple times due to not having the right tool selected. im not sure why you would want to do that in a midi track.

You need regions to enter notes and from my understanding, the region is supposed to be like in other midi programs.

Is there any way to improve or change how midi is edited in ardour in future versions so that people done spend hours trying to do stuff. Im not a midi novice.

just found the shrink/stretch region, another tool that could simply be combined into the selection tool and then ardour crashed!

finally found the problem, theres a note level editing button!

Now i have found a problem, if i have a midi note thats right at the start of the region bang on the beat, and the region starts bang on the beat, those notes disapear and also disapear in all regions that i have copied, only by having the first not just infront of the beat will the notes stay in place.

I think this may be a bug but i will have to create a new track to confirm.

oh dear

next problem.

If you copy a region and paste it, anything you do to any of those copied regions effect the original region that it was copied from, thats great, im copying a 2 bar drum pattern and putting a fill in but now its put the fill in the original and theres not enough undo levels to fix it.

@veda_sticks At the very least you should be bringing this up in IRC, it probably would help you find the tools that exist in Ardour much faster. And you should be reporting bugs on Mantis, as they will get lost here. I am not up to date on MIDI editing, but IIRC there are two different ways to copy the region, and I suspect what you are looking for, again IIRC, is called FORK, which will create a new region that is not ‘linked’ to the original.

Also make sure you are actually reading the manual sometime, for instance the information on copying MIDI regions may come in very useful for you as it likely answers some of your last post…


Disappearing notes on the start of a region is actually a bug that I often encountered. But it doesn’t happen always… Just move the note I small amount to the right to work around this.

To make a copy of a region not refer to the same MIDI-data like the original, just invoke “Unlink from other copies” in the MIDI-menu of the copy.

thanks for the link to a more usefull manual.

Ardour links to here within there program.

So theres 2 different manuals.

I dont have time to go registering yet another place or to go finding people on irc, having already spent 2 hours because there was a button that should be pressed.

Theres a region bar under the midi track, so instead of having to press note edit to edit the notes, and click again to go out of edit to be able to modify the region, why not simply be able to move resize by draging the bar under the drag, no more need for that note edit button, because you can do both at the same time… Clicking the bar will select the hole region, thers no need for as far as i can see. its just an extra step to trip you up if you forget what mode your in

Ok reading the proper manual i can see how region links can be usefull, this should be disabled by default.

This is the manual that shoulld be loaded from within ardour instead of the manual its currently linking to.


That manual you linked to is for Ardour2 actually, and yes it could likely at this point be considered a bug that it links there if that is the default in A3 and no option exists for the one I linked to above. So again I point you to Mantis(Well LeatusPenguin beat you to it;) However the one I linked to above is linked to in the support section of this website, the first link in fact, and the second link is the one to the tutorial with a section describing it’s history as well:)


ive submitted a bug report, yet another account accumulated.

Not sure if its ardours fault or a library somewhere or the plugin im using, but ardour just quits without warning and 9 times out of 10 no data since the last save gets recovered.

ive probably lost a few hours of painful penciling in notes and adjusting velocitys due to ardour just disapearing and leaving me on my desktop.

ardour-3.3: …/libs/evoral/src/Sequence.cpp:1216: typename Evoral::Sequence::notes::const_iterator Evoral::Sequence::note_lower_bound(Time) const [with Time = double]: Assertion `i == _notes.end() || (*i)->time() >= t’ failed.

This we would need more info on to figure out what exactly the problem is.

Make certain this information goes into Mantis as well.


I think this is related more to ardour 3.3, i managed to get 1 particular note edit to consistantly crash ardour and it was when i was moving a midi note to the beginning of a region and moved it back a little to far which would have been before the region. it would only do this consistantly in 1 part of the file however it would sometimes do it in other regions but more randomly.

i went back to ardour 3.0 that came with av linux and didnt have any more problems.

im having a look at the debugging page aswell and will see what i can do to provide more details.

thankfully ive managed to get my project to some form of demoable version.

Until these bugs are worked out id suggest sticking with earlier versions if your wanting to get stuff done. Ive finatlly got my head round how ardour works with editing midi and can build up songs. And with the quality of some sound fonts availible for free you can get some nice results.

heres what i have so far.

The only live instrument is 2 acoustic guitar trakcs, the rest is midi using calf fluidsynth using a nice dry drumkit sound font and a really good bass guitar sound font. The bass guitar sound font has really really long decay which posed a bit of a problem since the if there are any gaps between notes it stops abruptly and i dont think you can set any decay settings in fluid synth. As long as you have no gaps between notes you get a really nice thick bass sound with a bit of low end boost and lowmid cut to get an even thicker sound.

Bug report has been updated with debugging information which can be found

If anyone else has issues with crashes during moving notes beyond regions or notes disapearing when resizing regions to the start or end of notes please report add information to this bug report

here we go again with un explained behavoiur.

this time in ardour 3.0

for some odd reason i can no longer copy and paste regions of midi, like to copy a drum part to repeat it.

Also i can no longer move regions, and now exporting problems and then ive had 2 midi regions shifted themself a bar ehead and wont move back without getting messed up if i move them.

ok never mind, splice mode.

I’m trying to figure out how to bring up the velocity track so I can contour dynamics into my passages. Is there such a thing in Ardour, or a way to do it?

That - manually adding humanlike expression and eventual mastering - is the man reason I use a DAW after composing a score in MuseScore.

There is no velocity track in ardour. You can edit the velocity values by moving the cursor over the notes and move the mouse wheel or by hitting ‘v’ and enter the values numerically.

or by clicking on the “a” (automation) button in the track header, and making the Volume controller track visible. Then graphically edit or record CC #7 data. This will control volume BUT not velocity, which is not quite the same thing (the difference depends on the target instrument).

@Paul I’m glad you recognize they are not the same thing. A delicate cadenza passage played on a concert Steinway D, for example, demands control over each note. Unfortunately for Ardour, that’s the type of music I compose.

It sounds like we need an additional automation lane called “velocity scaling” or “velocity offset” which allows you to adjust playing dynamics across a range, without having to edit individual notes.

I think Paul’s point is that some smart plugin manufacturers use the “Volume CC” for this purpose, since the track usually has an audio fader that provides “real” volume control.