"Scraping" over tracks

Is it possible, to “scrape” over a track back and forth, to find a certain position, by moving the play head?

I’m using Ardour to learn how to play guitar solos. To do so, I set markers at specific positions and loop over them. To connect start and end positions of this loop in a way that it stays in rhythm, it’s important to find the exact location, where to place the marker.

Currently I have to play the track, set a marker using the Tab key and then fine adjust the position, while looping over it, which is quite inconvenient.

I recall using this function in some other program and found it quite useful. Any idea, how I could achieve this in Ardour?

Nathan did something he called a “faux scrub”, which is not quite what you want, but maybe it will help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FbsK_EwBO4&t=143s

I personally use timestretch (TimeStretch Audio Player - 29a.ch), everyday, to learn/transcribe solos. Find something on youtube I want to learn, pull it down with youtube-dl, and then dissect and sub-dissect it with timestretch. Works great.

You might find this little slider in the top corner useful


If you have an OSC connected device you can also use the Jog mode to scrub through the audio as explained here - The Ardour Manual - Jog Modes

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Thanks for your quick and helpful replies!

M Aaronwalkder, the “faux scrub” by holding down the “p” key while moving around the mouse doesn’t work for me (v7.5.0, Ubuntu Linux). But repositioning the play head by pointing and hitting “p” works.

Will have a look at TimeStretch, but prefer to have everything in one place, plus learning about how to use Ardour. That being said, I use ABMT Player Trainer, when traveling.

DHealey, so that is, what this slider is for :slight_smile: . I’m certain that I only know a fraction of the functionality Ardour is offering…

The downside of the slider is, that the more you slow down the playback, the quieter it gets, plus the frequency (if this is the correct term) changes.

Nevertheless, thanks again for all your tips and wishing you all a happy new year!

You might like this little action script I made - https://github.com/davidhealey/ardour-scripts/blob/master/A7/play%20from%20cursor.lua

I map it to ctrl+space

My favourite application to do what you are doing is
I know it is commercial software, but to me it is an invaluable tool and much simpler and quicker to fire up than Ardour.

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DHealey, thanks for the link. I’ll check the script out, once I figured out, how to include a lua script :slight_smile:

Where do I find the documentation for this? One think I also miss dearly, is the option to right click on a marker and start a loop to the next marker. Would it be possible to add this option to the menu, when right clicking on a location marker?
Currently you first have to create a range to the next marker and then create a loop with this range. Using the range mode tool, I always move my location marker, when precisely starting the range on the marker, unless you lock the marker first.

tristan.tarrant, thanks. I already came across this great tool once. On my PC I already scripted the whole process all the way up to the desired session, which makes it a one click start. This became necessary, as I also include a midi connection for eDrums and a line in for a bass amp. So my scraping “issue” is more of a convenience nice to have, which I found so useful in the other software.

Just drop the script in ~/.config/Ardour8/scripts and then you’ll be able to assign a shortcut to it in the keyboard shortcuts editor window.


Right click on your marker and select Lock. You can also select the option to create a range to the next marker, if that’s useful to you.

I’m in the early stages of making a similar tool…

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Thanks for the explanation. In the screenshot you included, I can see lua scripts named “add loop start/end” and “Play at half/quarter speed”, which would be very handy. You wouldn’t happen to know, where I could find these scripts?

Same as the first link, just go up a level to the main repo. I think those particular scripts are in the A6 sub-folder, which means I haven’t tested them in Ardour 7/8

Thanks. Found it. Created a “scripts” folder in “~/.config/ardour7”, “chmod 755 *.lua”, restarted Ardour, but the scripts don’t show up in the “Keyboard Shortcuts” window under “LuaAction”. Any idea? And thanks for your patience…

Are you using the official build of Ardour or is it from another source?

I’m using the current package provided by Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS 64-bit.

Is that a snap package?

No. It’s been installed through the package manager. Checked the snap folder and there’s no indication for any Ardour installation.

I suspect that the scripts need to go in a different location for the package you’re using but I don’t know for certain.

I’ll try to figure it out. Thanks for all your help. This is an incredibly friendly and helpful forum.

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Managed to add the lua scripts. Here’s how:

First add the scripts:
Menu: Edit/Lua Scripts/Script Manager
Tab “Action Scripts”
Select “Unset” Action
Add/Set [Select your lua script]

Then add the keyboard shortcuts:
Menu: Window/Keyboard Shortcuts
Tab “Editor”
Select you lua script
Hit the desired shortcut

So far so good. Unfortunately, none of the shortcuts work. The “Play from mouse cursor” script for Ardour v7 doesn’t seem to do anything.

The four “Loop start/stop” and “Play at Quarter/Half speed” scripts for Ardour v6 lead to following messages in the Ardour log:

2024-01-01T18:48:03 [INFO]: LuaInstance: action "3":  bad argument #2 to '__le' (timecnt_t expected, got number)
2024-01-01T18:49:01 [INFO]: LuaInstance: action "4":  bad argument #2 to '__le' (timecnt_t expected, got number)
2024-01-01T18:49:17 [INFO]: LuaInstance: action "7":  bad argument #2 to 'request_transport_speed' (number expected, got boolean)
2024-01-01T18:49:19 [INFO]: LuaInstance: action "6":  bad argument #2 to 'request_transport_speed' (number expected, got boolean)

The timebase system was changed between A6 and A7 (which is the main reason why I separated the scripts). So those A6 scripts need to be updated to work with the new system. I probably won’t update those scripts myself until I need them for something. But if you want to experiment with scripting and make a PR to my repo that’s fine by me :slight_smile:

:grinning: Thanks for your kind offer! I’m no programmer, but will see, what damage I can do.

Any idea, why the script for v7 isn’t working? Do I have to place the cursor to a specific place?