Fast forwarding, etc.

I’m terribly sorry for what I’m sure is a very stupid question, so I will understand if you click away. I looked through FAQ and did a few searches. (that I was unsuccessful is probably an indication of how antiquated I am.) So, please help.

The last time I messed with audio was in the stone age. To edit tape, we put it on a reel-to-real editing deck and fast forward to the point we selected. To narrow in, we could simply move the r-t-r by hand and listen to the “chirps” to find the exactly correct place for the cut. It was a cumbersome process but it offered great accuracy.

I’d like to do the same thing with Audacity. I want to open a file, listen to it, then “fast forward” to the general area of a cut. I can’t seem to figure out how to do so. The >> simply takes me to the beginning of the next track. I tired selecting and moving with the I-beam, but that only allows me to move a selected clump of sound. The cursor doesn’t move, or at least I haven’t found a way to make it happen.

Once I’ve narrowed in on the general area of my cut, I’d like the digital equivalent of using my figure to turn the r-t-r back and forth until the exact point of the cut has been found. Simply looking at the waves doesn’t offer much exactitude. I’d like to hear the chirps.

But, assuming I’ve targeted the exact spot with the time cursor, I’d then like to have the ability to select up to the point of the cut or after. The only way I’ve discovered to do so is by eyeball with the select line. Again, this isn’t very accurate. Is there a button that will allow me to place that line directly on the cursor? (I see there is a way to select all before the cursor or after, and I guess that will have to do, but I’d perhaps like to cut between two points.)

I hope you can help. I if you can’t, thanks for listening.


Don, this is not a stupid question at all - it is one of the great weaknesses of Audacity. If you read the Feature requests section I think you will find more than one post about this. For one of our major contributors to this forum, Kozikowski, it is his common cri de coeur.

Hopefully the developers may pay attention to this at some time, as so many people comment on this - it’s not in the latest Beta version 1.3.3 though.


Edit: I just read a very recent posting from Koz on this matter from a different thread - copied here for you.

Re: slowing down tracks for editing
by kozikowski on Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:44 am

We’ll put that down to somebody else who wants scrubbing.

Scrubbing is when you pull your cursor back and forth with the mouse and the song plays at that speed. If you drag really slow, the sooooooong plaaaaaays reeeeeeeeally sloooooow.

The short answer is no because it’s really hard to program scrubbing and it takes a lot of machine power to do it. What you’re suppose to do is get in the rough area of your edit and then use the magnification tools to look close at the blue waveform. After a while, you get so you can see the edit points and know what they’re going to sound like.

Next you’re going to want to set one edit point and then go looking for the other one. No, you can’t do that, either.

I posted about adding these features to Audacity here:


Thank you for your time.
I appreciate it.