Non-contiguous Select

Audacity 2.X

I record local classical music performances. I’d like to Normalize the tracks I record, but don’t want the applause fincluded in the Normalization.

Is there a way to select those portions of a track I wish to exclude (the applause), and then Normalize everything else? I don’t want to break up into separate tracks, because I’d like to preserve the relative volume, over the whole concert. (Some songs are softer than others, and I don’t want every song to be Normalized to the max volume.)

Thank you.



There are several approaches that you could take, depending mostly on how much trouble you want to go to.
One way:

  • Select each bit of applause in turn and add a region label to mark it - ensure that you include the very start of the track, even if it is silent or just noise.
  • Ctrl+A to Select All
  • Edit menu > Labelled Audio > Split Cut
  • Tracks menu > New > Stereo Track (assuming the original was a stereo track)
  • Ensure that you are at the start of the new (empty) track and paste the clipboard contents (Ctrl+V)

You now have the audience on one track and the music on another. To select one complete track, click on the panel on the left end of the track, taking care not to accidentally adjust the Pan or Gain sliders.
When you export your completed masterpiece, the tracks will be automatically mixed back together into a single file.

Thank you for your very quick and helpful response.

Sounds like exactly what I need.



A follow-up, please.

Suppose I had multiple stereo tracks of the same performance. For example, I might set up several different kinds of stero pairs, and record each of them.

How would I do the above, if I had four distinct stereo pairs, but each one covered the exact same time period?

Thank you.


P.S. The tracks are all time-synced.

Handling multiple tracks and multiple clips in each track can get quite tricky. There is no “one right answer” to this hypothetical question, other than “become thoroughly familiar with how to use the software” :wink: There are some features that can help:

There is also the Sync-Lock feature. This is quite an “advanced” feature - to be able to use this effectively you will need to spend some time getting used to it, but it can be incredibly useful for some jobs.

Things to watch out for:

  • New tracks are always created below all other tracks. This applies to creating a new track, importing a track, duplicating a track (or part of a track) and Mix and Render. To avoid confusion in large complex projects, name the track straight away and drag it up/down to a sensible position in the track order.
  • In large projects where there are too many tracks to fit on screen, scroll up/down very regularly to ensure that all audio clips are where you think they should be. If a track is off-screen it’s very easy to move one clip and forget about another clip that should be synchronised with it.

Thank you, again for a very helpful answer.

I will spend some time experimenting.


I just tried something, and I wonder if what happened is what I think happened.

I did the following:

  1. Imported 4 stereo tracks into a project.
  2. Sync locked them.
  3. Added labeled sections.
  4. Added 4 new stereo tracks.
  5. Moved the new tracks so they were all adjacent.
  6. Selected the entire label track.
  7. Edit–> Labeled Audio–> Split Cut
  8. Selected the top-most of the newly created 4 tracks.
  9. Edit–> Paste

It appears that the labeled sections of each of the four original tracks now are now in each of the four new tracks, respectively. That is, it seems that each of the original tracks’ identities is preserved, and the new tracks have the content of the non-contiguous labeled sections of each of the original tracks, respectively. I mean, no mixing of the tracks. I think I have successfully extracted the non-contiguous content of each of the four original tracks. It sounds that way from listening, but I want to make sure my ears aren’t playing tricks on me, and I achieved what I think I achieved (which is what I wanted to achieve).

If this makes sense to anyone, I’d be pleased to have some experienced Audacity user confirm that I achieved my goal.

From here, I plan to Normalize each of the four tracks non-contiguous tracks containing the content, while leaving the corresponding non-contiguous tracks (containing the applause) in their original condition. Then, I will combine each track’s normalized content with its non-normalized applause. At that point I will have the four original tracks, but with content normalized. Then, I can evaluate each one for mixing, without the bias of having different tracks have different loudness (which could foo my judgement in evaluating which tracks, and how much, I want to include in the final mix).

So, I need to know that I have successfully extracted and preserved the labeled sections of each of the original tracks.

Thank you for any comments.



Do you mean that you imported 4 new tracks, or you added 4 new empty tracks (Tracks > Add New > Audio track)

You’ve lost me. You moved them where? Adjacent to what?

Sorry for my lack of clarity.

I was experimenting with Audacity. I started by importing into the project 4 stereo audio tracks, each of which was a recording of the same concert, but with a different mic setup (spaced pair, ORTF, etc.), and then created a label track. Each of the labels identified a song, exclusive of applause. The labels thus contained all the song content, and everything else was applause, or otherwise to be ignored when normalizing. I figured I would process each track by split-cutting the labels, and pasting them into a new track. Thus, I would wind up with 8 stereo audio tracks (two for each of the original four tracks). One of each of these would contain the songs, and one the applause.

While trying to split-cut the labels on the first track, I observed that all four of the original tracks were being cut. I couldn’t figure out how to split-cut just one track. Whether I had all the tracks time-synced, or not, attempting to split the labels on one track resulted in all four tracks being split cut. At first, I thought I had reached a showstopping point, and I wasn’t going to be able to do the project.

Then, I thought, “Ahah, this is really a feature.” Since I ultimately wanted to split-cut the labels from all four tracks, I thought I might have actually found a short cut to doing this-- i.e., all four tracks would be done at once. I figured I would need four blank tracks into which to paste the labeled sections I had just split-cut from the original four tracks.

I wanted the destination tracks to be immediately under the original tracks (which would contain the detritus after split-cutting the labels). So, as I created each new track, I moved it up (above the label track, which was at the bottom). I then had for brand new, blank tracks, all adjacent to each other. (I observe now that I needn’t have moved them, since I would have had 4 adjacent tracks without any further action, other than creating them. Duh.)

Anyway, I then did the split-cut on the labels, which performed a split-cut on all 4 of the original tracks. I then multi-selected the four new tracks, and did a paste, and… Voila! The labeled sections of each of the original 4 tracks appeared to be in the 4 newly created tracks, leaving the applause in the original 4 tracks.

At least that’s what I think happened. The audio content seems to be that way. I just wanted to be sure that my desire to achieve that result wasn’t coloring my hearing, and that that is what really happened: Pasting the result of split-cutting the labels of 4 tracks simultaneously into 4 new tracks results in having four pairs of tracks; and each of these pairs has one track with the labeled content, and one with the remaining. Then I can manipulate to my heart’s content, and then re-assemble the processed content portion with the applause portion to get back to the original four tracks (but now with the content portion of each track processed as I wish), which can then be mixed as desired.

Am I communicating any better, now? I will gladly provide more detail.

Thank you.


Thanks, I understand what you mean. I was just a bit unclear what exactly you were doing in steps 4 and 5.

Yes you are correct, that is what is happening :slight_smile:

A couple of points that may help:

You don’t need to manually create the empty tracks. If there are no tracks selected when you paste, new tracks will be created automatically as required.
To toggle the selection of the “current track” on/off, press the Enter key.
The “current track” is the track that “has focus”. This is indicated by a yellow border around the track. You can change which track has focus using the up/down cursor keys.

Using your example:

  1. Imported 4 stereo tracks into a project.
    (it’s not necessary to sync-lock then for this)
  2. Add labels. (the label track is below the audio tracks)
  3. Click on the panel at the left end of the label track so that the entire label track is selected (and no other tracks).
  4. Edit > Labelled audio > Split cut (cuts audio from the labelled sections in all audio tracks above the label track (*1)
    (so far this is the same as you did before)
  5. Click on the panel at the left end of the label track so that the entire label track is selected (and no other tracks).
  6. Press Enter (toggles the selection so that now there are no tracks selected.
  7. Edit menu > Paste (Ctrl+V)
    Four new tracks are created below the label track to accommodate the copied audio. (*2).

*1) By default, “Edit > Labelled audio > Split cut” will cut from all tracks that are above the label track.
If you only want to cut from some of the audio tracks, use the up/down cursor keys to focus on each track at a time, and use the Enter key to toggle the selection on/off for that track. The audio will be cut from the selected tracks only, or all tracks above the label track if no tracks are selected.

*2) When the audio is pasted, by default it will be pasted so that the start of the audio is at “time = 0.0”.
If the first labelled section starts at time=0.0, then it will work as you want it with no additional action.
If the first labelled section starts at a later time position, then the pasted audio will be offset from the original tracks.
To re-align the new pasted tracks with the original tracks, they need to be aligned so that they start from the beginning of the first label. To do this:

  • Immediately after pasting, the new tracks will all be selected. (if not, click and drag across the new tracks so that there is a selection in all of the new tracks).
  • Click in the text area of the first label. This will move the selection so that the labelled region is now selected in all of the new tracks.
  • “Tracks menu > Align Tracks > Align with Selection Start”.

Thank you, once again, for your helpful, and most comprehensive reply.

Just what the doctor ordered.