Effects for Drama

Any amateur dramatic people out there?
I am helping out at our local drama club and I have a series of firework sounds which I need to play at relatively short intervals, each on a particular cue. At the moment I am doing this by opening 5 Audacity windows on my laptop, each with a different sound clip in it which I can start with a press of the space bar. Using my mouse I then navigate from one window to the next, initiating the relevant sound at the required time. Sometimes there is insufficient time available to switch from one window to the next. Is it possible to have all of the clips on one track with space between them so that with a single key stroke I can move from one effect to the next. (both foreward and backward)
Hope someone can help.

You can stack the explosions one above the other and use the Solo and Mute keys to the left of each track to select the appropriate one. Spacebar, of course, plays the track.

In Audacity 1.3; Track > Add Stereo Track until you get enough tracks. Then paste the effects in. That allows you to save one Project which will save all the tracks so you don’t have to start over at the top of each performance.

If you go that route, change Audacity Preferences to: “Always Copy All Audio into Project (Safer).”

The Audacity AUP file is not a sound file and if you decide to make a backup of your show, save the AUP and the _DATA folder.


Another option if you have 1.3.9 is this.

Put all your effects on one track. Make each effect a separate clip.

Now you can double-click on a clip to select it then click Play and just that clip will play. When it’s done double-click on the next clip and hover the mouse pointer over the Play button (or hover your finger over the spacebar).

– Bill

And, correct me, you can use the Labels to put a little tag on each one to remind you which one’s where.


Yes. Nice touch!

– Bill

Thanks Koz & Bill,
Koz, I’ve given your suggestion a go but am having difficulty switching from mute to solo. Sometimes it works, others not. I like the idea of the label though.
Bill, your idea sounds a distinct possibility if I can get it right. I can cut and paste the effects onto one track but when I play they just run one after the other . How do I make them separate clips?

You need Audacity 1.3.9. When you cut and paste into one track they should automatically show up as separate clips which you can drag independently of one another.

Another option if you don’t have or don’t want 1.3.9 is to use Koz’s suggestion of multiple tracks but drag each track so the audio in the tracks does not overlap - then you won’t have to worry about muting tracks, just getting the selection right.

– Bill

And if you have labelled the clips as suggested above then you can Tab forwards from clip to clip provided you have the focus inside the track label.


Thanks Bill and WC,
I’ve taken both your comments on board and hopefully all should be well for our first performance tomorrow.