Ardour seeking (loop-y) content

As some of you may already be aware, the next release of Ardour (7.0) will feature Ableton Live/Bitwig-style clip launching. To make that usable/fun/exciting/interesting “out of the box” requires that we include at least some “clips” with the program.

Those clips are nothing more than loops, either audio or MIDI. It is most likely that they would be essentially “grooves” (i.e. rythmic). However, non-rythmic ones are also fine: they could be even be single chords, but would more likely be chord progressions.

Unlike many/most other DAWs that can afford to license libraries of this sort of material, Ardour doesn’t really have the means to do that. So I’m reaching out to the community to see if we can put together a modest library of grooves and other interesting material to include with the program. That way, people can “get started” more easily.

Licensing is up for discussion, but I’d imagine CC-0 is the most likely (edited), but CC-BY would be an option (with limitations mentioned below).

The loops can be of any length, but 1-16 bars would be typical. For MIDI, keep in mind that unlike Live, Ardour is MIDI-channel aware, so you can put different instruments on different channels if that is useful or offers interesting possibilities.

Hopefully, because the loops are going to be short, it won’t be necessary to exercise too much aesthetic judgement about them. Please do make sure that they are “clean” (no clicks and pops) and also it is best to avoid the loop start being literally on the start of a transient if there’s a lot of broad-spectrum energy there. Somewhat obviously, but importantly, please make sure they are either your own creation or CC-BY licensed (with appropriate attribution) or truly public domain.

If you have material you’re willing to contribute, let us know below, and we’ll follow up with people as replies come in (if they do).


How will tempo work with audio samples? I would guess that they can be stretched to match different tempos. Is there a preferred tempo to use during recording?

We timestretch to fit (even a dynamic tempo map). Somewhere between 90 and 140 bpm is a good target. Ardour’s (and many other audio tools) default is 120bpm.

I’m back in the studio next week, in about 7 days and can start make content if needed. Is it mainly 3/4, shuffle and 4/4 stuff with variations and fills you primary are looking for?

5/8 … 13/7 … 9/21 … teental … [ 3+2 +3+3+2 ] … t’s all good.

Obviously for many folks 4/4 and 3/4 is more likely to be useful and/or

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If you choose CC-BY, consider adding an exception like the AV Linux Drumkit License:

The by-sa condition is imperative if you modify the samples
themselves or create new sample libraries with this licensed product.
However, produced music and other non-sample-library works can be
licensed freely.

It’s not a requirement though. If you want that your name must be printed on a CD leaflet or credited on a download site whenever a given sample is used, using CC-BY is perfectly fine.

Since the question came up on IRC a few times already, we are not looking for samples load into a [sf2, sfz] sample-player, but whole clips. As example, for Mixbus, Harrison licensed audio loops from goldbaby products and MIDI clips from We obviously cannot do that.

Ardour 7 will likely also bundle GitHub - ldrolez/free-midi-chords: A collection of free MIDI chords and progressions ready to be used in your DAW, Akai MPC, or Roland MC-707/101 (which are surprisingly useful), so you don’t have to reinvent that particular wheel.

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Freesound has a collection of (283334 ATM) CC0-licensed sounds:

I think some could be used. There are CC-By too but if an exception is needed…I think that in practice, CC-By (and By-SA) are hard to enforce.

Also, on reddit (r/gamedev in particular), people often share CC0-licensed loops:

Is there a naming convention of a sort of ?

I will try to make a few loops :slight_smile: Should audio clips be at specific sample rate?

I located this site, which appears to have a plethora of loops that the curator states are all in the public domain to the best of his knowledge. Perhaps it may be worth emailing him and asking if they can be packaged in Ardour? There are drum, instrument, and ambient loops. Per his site:

“Over the past 21 years, visitors have uploaded their own creations and rare finds for consideration in the collection. Canton personally listens to every upload, and decides which ones should be folded into the master collection. Every sample is trimmed, normalized, renamed, and organized by hand.”

If you open the loop folders via the download link below, you can preview them from the site to get a sense of what is included.

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Hi there,

I would gladly contribute some loops, sounds like a fun project! Anyway, some questions have been raised and I’ll add a whole bunch more:

  • Do you prefer a special upload site or should we just send a link from our own cloud services and post it in this thread?
  • Which file format, wav, flac and midi?
  • Any preferred range of sample rate / Bit size?
  • What’s the desired loudness range, do you want normalized files? Peak or integrated loudness?
  • Should we tag the files (rock, funk, metal, guitar, drums etc.)?
  • Any preferred musical key for the non percussive loops, like A minor/C major?
  • Any recommendations for effects, I suppose the loops should be relatively dry?
  • How you want the license included, a text file in the package would do?
  • Do you have a timeline in mind until when to submit?

Allright, that’s enough for now :smile:

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I give a try there : Stream Ardour7_Loop_Rock_Electric_Guitar_01_CC-0 by sebpcspkr | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

Here the export screen ( flac 24 bit/ 48kHz (but SoundCloud compressed it :wink: ) / 4 bar / 136 bpm)

Tell us if it could be ok (about LUFS …)

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The TidalCycles project has been collecting some CC0 licensed one-shot samples which may be of use GitHub - tidalcycles/Clean-Samples: Like Dirt-Samples, but cleaned up

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I want to contribute

Hola, me gustaría contribuír si puedo, I would like to contribute.

I will sit down and make some kind of a “full” MIDI package with drums intended for the GM synth included in Ardour, but it might take 2-4 weeks to do it. If I have time, then I will also do MIDI bass and chord bars in various music styles as well that fits in with the drums and that a user can transpose at will.

Some kind of collaboration is nice, but I believe that at the moment, it will be easier for me to be more consistent and effective if I work alone.

Audio stuff (bass and guitars) would also be nice, but I will not promise anything here. I believe that time stretching and pitching will demand that chord progressions (with at least !, IV, V, and vi) must be delivered in multiple keys (at least C/am, E/C#m, and A/F#m) in order to be really usable. I will look into it and experiment with it, but first look at MIDI.


As I’m diving into this, the following links in this thread and also some of the content that’s bundled in Harrison Mixbus and Mixbus32C (the free/public ones - built upon I realize that most, maybe everything is done already and that’s probably more a matter of collecting stuff that already exists.

What do you think about this? I’m prepared to make material, but realize that most or maybe all of it might be double effords. Can we have a discussion about it so we can make clear where the need is if any?

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There’s a lot of free material out there (looperman is outstanding, for example), but the ability to redistribute in most of these cases is either explicitly denied or completely ambiguous. That’s a problem.

If you come across free/public material where it is completely clear that we can redistribute, please point that out.

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I believe that the MIDI files generated by the free-midi-chords and MMA programs ( and ) can be redistributed. I think that if one does what Harrison did, then the resulting files should be “license-free”.

The audio files are another matter. I have found loads of gratis clips everywhere intended for loops, but as I can see so far, they do in general not have the basic and neutral style that this project needs, that’s the way I think of it anyway, and they might not be free to redistribute.

I would be good if Harrison could donate the MIDI files, or a basic portion of them, to the Ardour project. They are all generated by the software from “free-midi-chords” and “MMA” and have decent quality. With that in mind and when it comes to audio, I can record and make audio clips with good quality (bass, guitars, and other stuff that is not supplied by the MIDI files).

There are only thoughts from my side, I’m no expert in law questions but hope that what I say here makes some sense.

EDIT: I’m a long-time Mixbus32C user and have known about the clips from when they came but did not hear and saw them before yesterday. I think they are good for this purpose.