Playback of current MIDI instrument

I have found Ardour very helpful and capable when working with MIDI. However there are a few things that I’m finding awkward. For context, I’m using Ardour’s MIDI capabilities for composing for orchestra. I have about 20 MIDI tracks connected to a MIDI keyboard.

When I arm and record a track I only hear the sounds of the currently armed MIDI tracks (as I would expect). However, as soon as stop recording I hear sounds from every instrument in the orchestra instead of just the currently armed instrument that I’m working with. While I understand why, it makes it awkward to switch from experimenting with a part to recording it:

  1. Arm current track
  2. Solo current track
  3. Practice/make up a part using the current instrument
  4. Unsolo current track
  5. Toggle record on the main transport bar
  6. Press play
  7. If you want to experiment further, return to step 2

It would be nice for my workflow if Ardour ignored MIDI input from tracks that are unarmed (even when not recording). Or maybe there’s already a better workflow in Ardour that I’m not aware of.

Some other things I have found awkward in Ardour when working with MIDI instruments

  • Lack of ability to quickly switch between a general overview of the tracks and a detailed MIDI view for the current instrument (that includes (1) the MIDI grid lines, (2) a range that includes all the existing pitches, and (3) existing automation). The more MIDI tracks in a session you work with, the more helpful this is.
  • Lack of ability to move automation with the MIDI notes (e.g. damper pedal, etc.) Currently I have to select and move the MIDI notes, then select the damper pedal up points, then pedal down points (since it isn’t really possible to drag select all the way from 0 to 127), then move the damper pedal points.