Record a midi track in Ardour and then play that back and improvise over the recorded track (on a different track)

Hi, I may be totally at odds with how others do this, but what I want to do is essentially have a looped keyboard part say, and them play back over that without recording. When I am satisfied I have the part, I then record the take.

At the moment, all the input and output is muted when I’m playing the loop, I can’t try stuff out over the loop. I seems the only way is to already know exactly what you are going to play and go straight to record.

It kinda kills improvisation for me, it’s the way I have done MIDI since Cubase 2.

I’m hoping it’s a simple routing issue.

Xubuntu Linux
Ardour 5.3.0.

It isn’t fully clear what you want to do. Is the second (improvised) track also MIDI? Is the first (pre-recorded) track MIDI or audio?

The first track is MIDI as is the second, they are triggering external hardware synths.

I’m guessing you have only 1 MIDI input device (e.g. keyboard) ?

Yep, just running a small Akai over USB

Normally during playback, Ardour will ensure that tracks send data from disk through the track’s channel strip, since that is what playback is: delivery of pre-recorded data.

You can override this very easily to do what you want.

You need to ensure that you can see the mixer strip for both tracks (either simultaneously - i.e. the mixer window - or sequentially via the single strip in the editor).

For the track you want to listen to, press the “Disk” button in the strip. This will force the track to always send data from disk (i.e. what is already recorded) to the track outputs rather than use the normal logic that works for recording.

For the track you to play, press the “In” button in the strip. This will force the track to always send data based on the input signal (MIDI in your case) to the track outputs.

You may also choose to enable/disable the MIDI input button in each mixer strip (it looks a traditional 5-pin MIDI plugin) as appropriate, since otherwise, your playing is being sent to both tracks.

Yep - that did it, I’m going to have to get into this a lot deeper. Thanks a lot for the help.