Separating tracks on the fly

V2.0.2; windows 7 64 bit SP1: dont know whether I used zip or exe installer.
while recording an LP into Audacity (32 bit/96K) -
any way to create a track separator on the fly, while listening to the LP?
I’d be happy to mark the track, then go back and label it later.


I think so. You can add a label (Tracks > Add Label…) and I think even type a note in there. You’re shortcut keys will be different from mine.

Ctrl+M to create a label while recording.

As Steve says you can type CTRL+M to mark the current recording )or payback) position.

Or you can position the cursor while recording and press CTRL+B to place a label at the cursor position

You can move the label position while playing or recording - drag on the white circle - take care not to drag on the white < or > that surround the circle or you will make a range label and overcomplicate matters.

And as Koz says tou can type into a label while playing or recording - just make sure that you retain focus on the label otherwise typing a blank space between words will stop the recording. Don’t ask me how I know :blush:


Hi rhkrhk and anyone else interested in this subject,

Started just a few weeks ago with the conversion of my old vinyls using Audacity and had the same idea as you: Audacity should have a way to create track separators on the fly, while listening the LP.

After downloading the Audacity source code, I added some code and some buttons with which you can make a list of track separators and with which you afterwards can create the accessory selections for writing them to disk.

It’s a Windows executable and if you or any one else are interested, contact me and I will send you a zipped copy to test and play around with it.
It’s not an official Audacity beta, it’s only the latest stable windows version 2.0.2, extended with this track separator facility.
Unfortunately the zip is too large to be attached to this post.

regards, jerome42

I’m not too clear about the difference between such a thing and CTRL + M and ENTER (which creates an empty label). Is the difference that you want a button to do this?

Audacity labels are listed at Tracks > Edit Labels… .

If you want the developers to consider it, please attach an SVN diff (patch).

Are these separators visible markers in the waveform?


Many questions, long answer, sorry!
I made a solution, where one button adds consecutive positions on the fly to a wxChoice, and a second button which per stroke, converts any two consecutive points stored in the wxChoice into one visible selection and then proceeds to the following pair. By doing so, you circle around through the selections. ‘My’ separators are not visible as markers in the waveform, but as numbers in a wxChoice. Buttons and wxChoice reside on the selection bar, see attached screenprint.

I tried the CTRL + M solution but found it, although much more sophisticated, too laborous (two hands needed plus postprocessing) for just recording a whole vinyl and then separate it in about 10 to 20 tracks at most. My solution uses the mouse only. But indeed, strictly speaking, Audacity has already a solution.

In my post jerome42 » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:06 pm I listed the following coding actions with increasing complexity (at least for me) I had in mind at that time:

  1. a small modification of Repair.cpp as explained above.
  2. adding the possibility to store audio positions on the fly while recording, for breaking down the recording in separate tracks afterwards.
  3. applying the Least Squares AutoRegressive Interpolation in the frequency domain as indicated above.
  1. and 2) are finished and learned me a lot about wxWidgets and the sourcecode structure of Audacity, and that was the purpose of them.
    I will soon start with what is my main goal: the third point.
    Once that is done I will make and send in a SVN diff, but have no experience with that sofar.

Not on my PCs it doesn’t: Ctrl+M certainly creates an empty label at the current playback/record position - I use it all the time.

But using ENTER while playing or recording does strange things that I don’t understand - it toggles any selection on/off and it blabks out the little clock icons in the TCP for sync-lock but doesn’t turn sync-lock off - but most certainly it doesn’t create a label :confused:


I think Gale meant:

  1. Ctrl+M Create a label.
  2. Enter Close the label.

Thanks, Steve - yes, to clarify CTRL + M creates the empty label, and ENTER closes (confirms) the label.

But ENTER is pretty important, without which SPACE to stop playback merely adds spaces to the label. :wink:

I wasn’t suggesting using ENTER except once after CTRL + M.

But yes if you use ENTER when the yellow focus border is on the audio track, it intentionally toggles selectedness of the track ( see ) . This is how visually impaired users select a track (as opposed to sighted users who click in the Track Control Panel, in any space between controls).

If you have Sync-Locked Tracks enabled, then deselecting a track does remove the Sync-Lock Icon from that track if there are no other selected tracks in that track group (where a label track defines the bottom track of a track group).

The decision was made that the Sync-Lock icon in the track was not a state indicator for when Sync-Locked Tracks is on, but an indicator that the track is sync-lock selected. This means that an action on a selection in any tracks in that group also affects the selection in that track, even if that track is not selected.

Not everyone thinks this was a perfect solution, because if you Time Shift one track in a Sync-Locked track group, all the tracks in that group move, even if no tracks are selected (and hence there is no sync-lock-selected track icon).

The only indicators that Sync-Locked Tracks is on is the “tick” against Sync-Lock Tracks in the Tracks Menu and the “Sync-Lock Tracks” button in Edit Toolbar.


If even the specialists are debating with each other on how to separate tracks on the fly, how should simple users like me know?

There is no debate. waxcylinder misunderstood what Gale meant, that’s all.
Ctrl+M creates a marker (label). The label is “open” and you can optionally type in some text into the label, then pressing Enter confirms (closes) the label.

Well, you can just use [ to move the editing cursor to the playback position, then when you hear the place where you want the selection to end, use ] to draw a selection between the editing cursor and the current playback position. Then you can use CTRL + B once to label that region.

For the use case of just determining where track splits on an album go, you only absolutely need one point label per track, because Audacity exports the audio to right of the label for that track, until it encounters another label.

You can change CTRL + M to a single key shortcut for ease of use, but you may then stumble into .

Even if we wanted a new box like you have, it would not be accepted in Selection Toolbar because that is already full at the minimum supported width of 800 px if you change the Selection Format to hh:mm:ss + samples.

There is definitely some “demand” for a “mark in” and “mark out” button that puts permanent markers in the waveform (and which unlike CTRL + I for Split, would work while playing or recording). However since [ and ] are already very similar to that, there has never seemed a highly compelling reason to do it. If we did do it, it would probably need some kind of box like you have if it was to be accessible to screen readers ( for visually impaired people).


Even if we wanted a new box like you have, it would not be accepted in Selection Toolbar because that is already full at the minimum supported width of 800 px if you change the Selection Format to hh:mm:ss + samples.

The total width of the commands in the Selection Toolbar could be made a bit smaller, just so that both ‘my’ buttons always can be used in the 800px mode.

The main purpose of my mod is not the play mode, but the record mode, in which you need the possibility to define up to 10 or more splitpoints during ONE uninterrupted fly. I wasn’t able to realize that satisfactory with CTRL+M etc, but that could be my fault.

I don’t think the problem is that severe, given you can assign a single key shortcut to CTRL + M or can use [ and ].

If you were to make buttons for CTRL + B and CTRL + M (so if you want to keep your hand on the mouse, you can) I think there could be interest in that. There may be debate where those buttons would go.