How to anchor a region to time instead of music?

Question: how do I anchor a region to a time (relative to the beginning of the session/timeline), rather than to measures/beats?

Background: I’m a long-time pro musician working on my first ever film scoring project. I’ve used DAWs occasionally over the years, but I’m new to Ardour. I’m using version 8.2.0 on Windows 10.

Explanation: I’ve created music for a part of the film, starting several minutes in; let’s call it part G. It includes a tempo change just before it starts. Now I want to create music for an earlier part of the film; let’s call it part F. It will have a different tempo, and I know I’ll have to tweak F’s tempo several times before it’s done; it may even need several tempo changes.
The problem is that, whenever I change or move a tempo that precedes G, G moves in time – that is, its starting time or timecode changes. G is apparently anchored to a location defined in measures and beats, but I need it anchored to a time or timecode that isn’t dependent on any tempo.
I saw that each tempo has a Lock Style, but when I try to change it from “music” to “audio”, it silently reverts back. (This is a bug: it should either (a) stay changed, (b) give me an error message, or (c) be disabled so I can’t change it.)

I’m probably missing some vital piece of understanding about how Ardour works, or how I should work with it. Help, please?

Film scoring/foley work is the one likely use case that we’re aware of where “MIDI locked to audio time” is important.

As of version 8.2, Ardour does not support this.

You could theoretically go back to Ardour 6.x or earlier, which does offer the possibility, but that comes with the cost of losing all the fixes and features we’ve added since then. Hard to recomend this.

Those lock-styles on tempos are not supposed to be there.

Now, one alternative with 8.x that you might want to investigate are what we call BBT markers. They have a variety of uses, but one of them is that tempo changes do not “propagate through” them. That is, if you change the tempo before a BBT marker, the BBT marker (and by implication, everything that comes after it) will not move.

They are not currently described in the manual (AFAIK). You can create them much like tempo and meter markers by right clicking in the BBT ruler. I would suggest creating a scratch session and just play around with them to get the feel of how they work, feeling free to ask questions here. These are a relatively new feature of Ardour, and I sadly can’t be quite as confident of their functioning as other parts of the software, but it’s a power feature not possible in any other DAW (AFAIK) that is pretty well suited for your use case.

We actually came up with the idea when thinking about a regular music session that has multiple songs, and so you want multiple 1|1|0 points in music time (at the start of each song, or in your case, each section).

Very interesting feature, definitely going to check it out !

Thank you very much for the suggestion, I’ll give it a try.
What does “BBT” stand for?

Any plans to add it?

BBT => Bars Beats Ticks (musical time)

Yes, but doing it properly is made more complex by the fact that you need MIDI events to use non-musical time too, and right now libsmf, which we use to read/write MIDI files, cannot handle such timestamps (actually, video timecode, because, you know, video developers …)

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