Ardour saving even though I tell it not to

Ver 6.2 Linux KDE

Does activating auto backups also do an auto save? Ardour seems to want to save the session even when I tell it to just quit. It’s really messing me up.

Most irritating on midi tracks.


Where do you find this option?

Ardour only does periodic backup saves (every 2 mins). Those are written to a dedicated file (with a .pending suffix), which is only used for crash-recovery.

There are however some operations that implicitly save the session e.g. at rec-stop after recording.

The checkbox to do auto backups:

I must be inadvertently doing something to trigger a save. Is there a list of what triggers a save?

“periodic backups” don’t save to the default session file (only the .pending file).

There is no list of what triggers an “auto-save”, but it’s generally related to recording and audio-files (rec-stop, remove last capture, cleanup unused sources).

Periodic backups do appear to save to the session file. Here are the steps to recreate problem.

  1. Create new session
  2. Add midi track using default midi instrument
  3. Create a midi note
  4. save session
  5. reopen session
  6. change midi note
  7. wait 2 minutes
  8. close session without saving “Just Quit”
  9. reopen session
  10. midi note is in changed position
  11. turn off periodic backups
  12. repeat 1-9
  13. midi note is in original position.

The periodic backup feature is actually acting like auto save.



Oh, MIDI data.

Yes, that’s always flushed to disk by various operations, unrelated to saving the session.
But yes, periodic session saves syncs MIDI file, even though the session itself is not saved.

Hmmm… I don’t think I like that behavior. I had a midi track in Cmaj and wanted to hear it in Cmin. I changed the required notes, didn’t like the result so I closed the session without saving to avoid having to change all the notes back. When I reopened the file it was still in Cmin so I had to manually change the notes anyway. Kind of a pain.


tl;dr: You may want to use snapshots for doing experiments.

Ardour was designed for non-destructive editing. Audio files on disk never change, and the session file only contains meta-data. In this case everything works as designed: pending-saves are volatile.

Enter MIDI. Editing MIDI is destructive. So far Ardour only maintains separate copies of MIDI files for each session-snapshot. The more common issue is that edits to a MIDI file are lost, which motivated flushing files to disk.

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