Toggling Automation Play/Stop externally

Disclosure: subscribed to Ardour for 6 months, but barely started climbing the learning curve of using it properly: a little bit of MIDI i/o with hardware, ditto with audio hardware, some editing of MIDI notes and automation, not much more.

I’ve got to a point in current project that I’m hoping someone can help me facilitate with Ardour. Thanks in advance
Here’s a somewhat detailed run-down with embedded questions:
0. Still on 6.8 on Mac OS X 10.12.6

  1. I’ve recorded some CC# curves along with some stacked MIDI notes as a first draft
    (Q1:can I relabel the automation lanes to be more easily identifiable? [1])
  2. the notes & CC are playing out through hardware playing a FM (phase-mod) patch. Crucially, one of the modulating “operators” has a “fixed” frequency. This is initially controlled by CC# to get the resultant ‘beating’ audio frequency into the right ballpark. The hardware control however allows for super-fine control (manually; unfortunately no NRPN i/o) which is where subsequent takes come in.
  3. what I want to do is :
    3.1 record multiple audio takes
    (Q2: can I record within a loop with stopping whereby each pass adds a new take to a (?) playlist? Or do I need to stop, set a new playlist and rearm rec? (or merely copy/paste the midi note/CC loop and do multiple versions within one take?))
    3.2 with each take I will be, at points, manually fine-tuning the fixed frequency. At these points, I want to be able to send a mapped CC message to disable the pre-existing automation lane
    (Q3: can I map a CC to toggle between Off & Play on a given automation? [2] Or failing that, map or Mute a track when I’d then have to keep automation and notes on separate tracks?)

[1] I’m guessing labelling must be possible cos I see Track Dropdown>Automation>ProcessorAutomation>Dexed>Params shows nice list of named cc#
[2] I’ve looked at Generic MIDI Binding Maps but don’t see either midi_maps sub directory in the Ardour configuration directory or anything that looks like toggle automation in the control addresses. Don’t want to put my scripting hat on if I’m just barking up the wrong tree.

Regarding your first question:

These are plugin automaton parameters. The labels are provided by Dexed.

Even though Ardour shows CC as automation lane, they are discrete events really part of the MIDI data. The labels are set from a MIDI-Name document (MIDNAM – an official midi org standard).

In Ardour you can select those using the dropdown in the track-header:

(some synth plugins come with a MIDNAM and directly provide it, in which case you do not have to manually select it).

OK, Robin, I think I get that. These midi-names are custom, however, set up via MIDI-learn on the device. So If I look up the MIDNAM syntax and write a file, where do I drop it so’s Ardour includes it in the drop down? Presumably any ‘fields’ I don’t rename is filled in with the default?

I do not have good answers for your other questions, perhaps someone else does.

Q2: Playlists can not be changed while recording. Loop-recording creates stacked layers. See Ardour Manual - Layering Display

Q3: No. Automating automation-controls is not supported. However for the case at hand,
you could add a “MIDI event filter” plugin, and then automate that.

Other than that, yes Mute can be automated as well.

Given I may end up splitting out each note to separate track so I can fine-tune frequencies on a per note basis, I may as well have a copy with no notes at all but just the CC data.
So I’d set up a binding map for that?
(Am I looking in the wrong place on OsX for the midi_map dir or do I just create one ?)

There is sadly not a lot of documentation on the subject. The Ardour Manual is pretty sparse.

You can can start by modifying any of the existing ones: ardour/share/patchfiles at master · Ardour/ardour · GitHub

Be sure to change the <Manufacturer> and <Model> in the file.

On macOS, custom files can be saved in your user’s preference folder $HOME/Library/Preferences/Ardour6/patchfiles/*.midnam – The folder may not yet exist