Montage/collage in several tracks


I would like to do a montage of different ambient sounds (i.e. rain, birdsong, distant thunder etc) from samples I have aquired (BBC). I would like to have the entire clip run for, say, two hours and be divided into four or five ‘channels’ such that the rain drizzles steadily throughout, the occasional rolling thunder or thunderclap I add at random intervals (for instance at 22, 68 and 92 minutes - whatever) and I’d have the birdsong appear for some minutes, going silent for a while then coming back, crickets chirping…you get it. And then I’d loop the whole shebang in my audio player for relaxation purposes.

How do I realize this in Audacity 2.0.0? My main issue is to have the tracks independent of each other; I can’t swing that. When I do something on track 2 it messes with track 1 and “vicy-versy”.

Thank you.
Installed Audacity from the .exe installer off SourceForge
Program build date: Mar 3 2012
Windows 7

Two hours is starting to get a little concerning for computer space and speed. Show data gets seriously large around there, what with UNDO, and Effects and Filter layers.

Anyway. I don’t know of any way to do random. Computers hate that and they’re very difficult to make work right when you don’t have clearly defined events.

I am concerned that you can’t make your tracks behave. Your longest track should be on top since that makes the management of shorter ones a little easier. Then Import a second track, say birds, and using the Time Shift Tool (sideways black arrows) to push it around wherever you want it. Copy and Paste more birds and push them around. Repeat for all your effects.

You are warned that you need to actually do random or your head will find the rhythm about the second or third pass and from then on, it will drive you nuts. This is what makes department store workers suicidal. No matter how big the music reel is, you get used to it and then it’s like stabbing ice picks in your ear

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…”

When you find a tall, multi-track project to your liking, Save it as a Project. This will make it enormously easier to open it up and make little changes here and there later.

When you’re happy with a show, Export an MP3 (or file of your choice) and move it to your Personal Music Player. You’re also warned that MP3 is going to put a gap at the loop point, so do a very graceful Fade-Out and then Fade-In so you don’t notice it. You might also put fades in ad. lib through the show. The rain let up.


Thanks Koz for your insightful, comprehensive and funny reply: “…department store workers suicidal.” rofl…point well taken though. However, I don’t intend to listen to this for long, such sounds/noises put me to sleep kinda quick like so I figure if I can get together two hours of ambience with no discernible pattern I’ll be OK.

“…data gets seriously large around there…” Yes, so I had noticed much to my surprise - I can better understand how video editing would be taxing on the old resources but sound? Obviously.

“When you find a tall, multi-track project to your liking…” say what? You mean I cant cut-and-paste my own? I was thinking something like this:

it is so easy to do it in Designer but how to accomplish that in Audacity. Are you saying it can’t be done as suggested in above sketch?

In what way does it “mess”?
Perhaps you have accidentally enabled the “Sync Lock” mode:

Like that? That’s a bunch of Tracks > New Track and cutting and pasting different audio clips and segments.

The top, long track is “rain” (noise SHSHSHSHSHSH) and the others are various drum beats, tones, etc.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 9.55.18 PM.png

Yes Steve, Audacity was in “Sync Lock” mode all along and that was it. I wondered what the clock images were…but not enough
to check out the manual…:blush:
Koz - your example looks just like what I’ve been trying to do. I think I’ll be able to do it now and I promise henceforth not to trouble
you good folks before I read the manual. :slight_smile: