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Putting the song together

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The Song Editor is used to link together various sounds, rhythms, and melodies into a complete performance.

The song editor

Track types

The main unit that you work with in the Song Editor is a track. Each track is a horizontal row in the Song Editor window. For example, the Song Editor in the picture above has 4 tracks: an Instrument track, a Sample track, a Beat/Bassline track, and an Automation track; this is the default “New Project” configuration. The left part of the track controls the type of track and the right part (the grid of gray rectangles) displays a timeline of sounds that are going to be produced by that track. There are several different types of tracks, and each type has its own way of functioning.

Sample Tracks

Sample tracks are usually used for playback of long sound recordings. Use a Sample track when you want to playback a sound file exactly as it was recorded. This allows you to have live prerecorded instruments within LMMS. Currently there is no functionality to trim the start of the sample, tune it, or scale it to fit in your LMMS projects. These tasks should be done beforehand in an audio editing program such as Audacity. Sample tracks are the simplest type of tracks because they only have volume control and an FX chain. Sample tracks can however also be used in a very different way. Here the Sample-track is used as a loop-track-controller! This is somewhat technical, but works absolute perfect! If you like to use looping samples eg seamless-loops in a project, Sample-track is what you need. You can learn how to use Sample-tracks for seamless-looping, in this video:Link

Automation Tracks

Automation Tracks allow you to control the value of any automatable control at any point in time during the song. This allows you anything from very simple effects like turning up the volume of an instrument at the start of the song, to very complex manipulation of envelopes or instrument filters. Automaton Tracks are edited in the Automation Editor.

Beat/Bassline Tracks

Beat/Bassline Tracks (BB tracks) are created in the Beat + Bassline Editor, the tracks are shown in the Song-Editor as blue blocks. You can see only the timeline blocks for a BB track in the Song-Editor. If you want to change something in the track, you have to do it in the Beat + Bassline Editor. The benefit of BB tracks is that they loop continuously. In the Song-Editor, a BB track can be dragged to any length and the pattern will be repeated. BB tracks are used mostly for percussion and repeated basslines.

Instrument Tracks

Instrument tracks are used for holding Instruments and their note patterns. They are shown in the Song-Editor by cyan blocks with a scaled down representation of the note pattern. The note patterns are edited in the Piano Roll Editor. Unlike Beat/Bassline patterns, note patterns can't be extended, to repeat them you have to duplicate them (Ctrl + drag). Patterns can be also copied across instruments.

Reuse of elements

Some likes to have 'scratch-books' with parts that they like in other projects. For you to be able to use tracks or notes from other projects, LMMS has cross-project methods!

Reuse whole Tracks

You can copy whole tracks with all notes, and all preset settings

We will work with 2 projects:

1) Donor, That is the project that has the elements that we like to copy to the other project

2) Recipient That is the project that we want to paste elements in

We need a pc that can manage to open both Donor and Recipient!

Here is a tip, in that respect:

LMMS uses almost NO resources if the project isent replayed!

So loading 2 or even more projects, but NOT playing any at all, that is most often not a problem, but it depends on which instruments, and especially VSTs that is used !

When both projects are open, arrange the 2 project-windows with song-editor opened and easy access to both -A wide screen is a benefit.

In Donor:

  • Hold Ctrl
  • Place and press left-mouse on the move-track-area Grip Handle.
    • That is the left-most 'rubberish' part of the track-button

Track op grip.png

  • Hold Ctrl and left-mouse, and drag the whole track into Recipient
  • Release mouse.

You will now not only have an exact copy of the Donor-preset, but also all notes in that track, inserted into Recipient.

  • Save Recipient, Close Donor.

You can do this as many times you like, and you can even drag tracks to B&B-editor. Here you need to press and hold Ctrl+Sh.

Reusing Notes

You can use your std clip-board for notes. This is how. Here we do not need to have 2 projects open at the same time. The transient buffer is the pc-clip-board, so even if you struggle with the fore-mentioned method, because of low resources, you should be able to use this method.

  • Open the note-block you like to reuse in a different project
  • Use ctrl+a to mark everything, and ctrl+c to copy it, iow std. windows copy/paste.
  • Close the project.
  • Open the other project.
  • Open an empty note-block.
  • Make sure play-head is at bar 0, or place the playhead in any bar of your choice.
  • Paste clip-board-notes with ctrl+v.
  • Save project.


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