Text in Ardour

It would be nice to have a place to write text notes in a session, e. g. settings of syntizisers, amplifiers, configurations etc. so that a specific sound can be reproduced, if one forgets the facts of the recording. The idea is to have all important information at hand when you open a session maybe a year later…

Even further it would be good, if lyrics could be written to the tracks, so that the words could be displayed in a karaoke manner during recording. Although some information can be deduced form the wave form, words can better make you aware of the exact point where you are in the song, IYKWIM.

I have searched the forums and the manual (extensively), but I couldn’t find this.


I do agree. The text thing is a really good idea. If you do not need it for karaoke, so think in matters of designing song concepts, breaking a song story down into smaller parts and describing whats happening, what mood is desired, which gear is used, which settings are needed etc. Maybe one could think in a way as a kind of additional time line or markers area where you can place words or remarks.

I do this now with paper and pencil (unbelievebale but… that works !) but having it in Ardour would be great, making ardour more and more a producing and composing machine. Great idea ! And not to forget… great Ardour. With or without it.

Adding notes is allready possible in that every mixer strip has a comments button at the bottom.

@mixit: please file your lyric/word notation feature request in the bugtracker (http://tracker.ardour.org/) otherwise it will simply be forgotten.

Thank you for your replies, Paul and scg62. I will wait a while to see if anybody has anything to add, and then sum it up and file it.

I realise that this idea is a “nice-to-have” thing - and that it may take some time before it is implementet - if it ever is. It should only be added if there is a strong desire for it among the users - care should be taken not to bloat the code unnescesserily.
On the other hand, it could pull Ardour towards the center of the creative process as scg62 suggests…

Also thanks to the C.L.A.for making me aware of the comment button in the mixer window - I will be using that.



The lyrics thing would be a really neat feature. Very relevant to what I was doing to day. My little sister (14) wanted to record Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder and when we got round to doing the vocals, we had to keep switching between Ardour and Firefox so she could see the lyrics (we don’t have a printer available). So it could be useful in a lot of cases.

has the lyrics/text thing already been feature requested ? (couldn’t find something about in Mantis…)

if not I’d do that the next weekend (just didn’t want to get mixit in the way)

I’d picture it like this:

it would be nice, to have a kind of buttons you can place in the timeline (together with the location markers or maybe on a separate ruler). you can handle these buttons the same way like location markers (add, move, delete). Clicking a button (however) opens an editor window, like at the comments in the mixer stripe, where you can place text. As a “stage 2” feature: A button can have an “auto open” property, so it will open its correlated window when the playhead hovers over it. the time the window stays open is adjustable (in seconds). when the playhead hits the next button, the previous text window is closed. A stopping transport closes an auto-opened textwindow (maybe you can define that, just like the feature “Stop recording keeps arming”)

It needn’t be extra buttons, maybe the “text feature” could be a property of the location markers. (disadvantage here: you haven’t a separate ruler, maybe that’s confusing).

Well friends, additions, comments, corrections ?


FWIW, I don’t think a DAW is the place to have karaoke style lyric prompts. Session notes are a good idea - but I think you can already do that, as “the C.L.A” mentioned. If you need lyric / arrangement prompts, perhaps it would be better placed in some kind of dedicated notation software (using the jack transport API for sync in the same way that other applications can sync up to each other?). This more closely follows the general UNIX / LINUX paradigm of connecting specific tools together to accomplish the task, as opposed to making Ardour (or another application) the ‘does everything’ music program, (and maybe diverting developer attention away from maintaining the core functionality). Also, perhaps people shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that, although computers are great for making music and all, there are other ways - in the old days we used to just have written (or scrawled) lyrics on a piece of paper - or just “learn the song” :slight_smile: and that might still be a valid method today…

thanks for your comment, mike

I wouldn’t see it for Karaoke or lyrics, too. Maybe musescore (is it Jack aware ? I’d have to find out that) is the much better possibility for the lyric and harmony documentation

the “C.L.A. method” is really good for track documentation , but … it lacks a time relation.

I’d see that hole thing in an conceptual advantage, of course I work (exclusive) with paper/pencil (see my first post in this thread). But I thougt, especially using the timeline could bring some advantages here. (For that I use the markers now, but they are limited)

Well, it’s just an idea. Additionally it depends a lot HOW you compose/arrange, and of course which significance conceptual work has in the entirety of your work. Maybe one could compare it with “using MIDI or not”. (Concerning that, I love to follow the traditional way).



Thanks for your comments, scg62 and linuxdsp.

Well, I haven’t been in a big hurry to file the idea - realising that it may take years, before developers seriously begin to contemplate whether it is a good idea and should be implementet. First, all technical issues should be considered and resolved because they are much more needed.

scg62: Your description regarding stage 2 seem to be inspired by the way comments are displayed in the waveforms found in Indabamusic and doing it this way would be great too.

What I had in mind was an option to label specific parts of the waveform, so that text is associated with a specific position in the waveform. The purpose would be to make a certain part of the waveform instantly identifiable - you don’t have to listen to it first to verify what part you are dealing with. If you copy a part with a label, the label should be copied as well to the new position. This could be handy with heavy copying/editing and increase productivity. It could also be used to write lyrics to a track.

scg62, you are very welcome fo file this text feature. Then it is up to the developers to decide whether the matter is worth persuing. I, myself, would actually prefer that they attended to the “save as” feature among other things first, but after that - if it is piece of cake to implement it - it could be considered.

linuxdxp: The lyrics feature could be kept outside Ardour (and added to e. g. Rosegarden). But that would not help when editing of tracks inside Ardour with lots of copying as explained above. Then again, if very few users want to use Ardour that way, the desire for the feature request is not strong enough to justify the draw on resources for development and maintenance. I confidently leave these reflections to Paul and his team of developers.

I am a working musician and use Cakewalk Sonar on stage. The DAW has to perform several jobs in sync such as playing an audio track, playing midi to control the equipment, display lyrics for my typicaly blonde, forgetful female singer and a playlist so that songs can be loaded quickly with minimum effort. Sonar has all these attributes.

Being an ardent Linux fan I have searched high and low and not found any other DAW’s that can do all these tasks. I’m not alone in these requirements as I know many other musicians using Sonar on stage for the exact same reasons. I’m afraid if a lyrics view is not implemented soon in Ardour I may be forced to sack my singer and get one who is not as sexy but with a better memory for remembering lyrics. It would be such a loss.

Playlist are equally important in a DAW for us gigging musicians because most of us have our hands full holding our instrument (no jokes please), and find it quite difficult searching through time consuming file menus for the next song.

My personal opinion is that it is not the purpose of a DAW to be used in such a way, and that it would be a much better fit for other software. That isn’t to say it oculdn’t happen, but that those purposes are very much out of range of the primary purpose of a DAW. Of course this is my personal opinion so take it with a grain of salt.


Its important to note that you could not use ProTools or Nuendo for the task you have described. This makes it reasonably clear that what a DAW “must do” is subject to some reasonable debate. In Ardour’s case, the functionality you’re describing isn’t really up very high on the priority list of any of the current developers. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it means that there’s not much chance that it will happen any time soon.

The Ardour users I’ve seen using it live don’t “load” songs live - they queue everything up on the timeline as a single session. and then if necessary simply jump to the next marker etc.

I like the idea to add notes (producer’s notes) but I would do it a bit differently. I think we should display the notes in the area occupied by the summary. Adding notes can be done in the timeline bar via a context menu. We add an indicator to show the presence of notes. In the summary we have a means to go backwards and forwards through the notes, the playhead will jump the location on which a note is placed.

Hi folks

I felt free to put it in Mantis. Producer’s notes, that’s the way I’d see it too: