Splitting Projects

I record my band’s practice sessions, usually just to do a quick and dirty mix & export as MP3 for distribution to band members so we can hear how we’re playing.

I usually record a small “sets” worth of data… perhaps 40 to 60 mins, containing 4 or 5 songs (with tons of idle chit/chat between)

It would be great if Audacity had a command to split the project up, similar to the “Export Multiple” command, splitting the project up according to labels – preserving all tracks, into smaller multiple projects, each containing only the underlying audio files pertaining to that smaller project.

As a relative newcomer to Audacity, I haven’t explored anything beyond Audacity stable, to see if any additional features along this line are planned already.

My apologies if something along this line is already “in the works”

I have moved thisto the Wiki Feature Requests - 9Jun08 Waxcylinder

At present the only way to do this is by trimming the tracks, then saving the project with a different name. You can “undo” the trim and repeat for another section as many times as you like. It’s easier in Audacity 1.3.4 as this allows you to “drag select” a section of multiple tracks.

When I do a “Save As” to a new project… does it only include the underlying audiofiles assocated with the trimmed selection, or would it save all the original audio files each time?

I would guess that it would remove any unused data from the project. You should be able to tell by looking at the size of the _data folder. If a “trimmed” project is substantially smaller than the original, then it has dumped unused data.

OK… so this is strange.

I had a partial band session tonight - with a couple of players missing - trying out a new female vocalist.

My setting is for 8 inputs, so 8 tracks were recorded… only 5 of which were used.

We played 3 takes of a song, and I saved the project - There were 1760 data/audio files.

I deleted the unused three tracks, and saved as a different project - There were now 1100 data/audio files in this project. Cool…

NOW… I selected the last song, trimmed outside the selection, aligned with zero, and saved as yet another new project.

There were now 2653 data/audio files.

What the F&%$???

I don’t understand this at all! Anyone hazard a guess?

Audacity will create new data files as needed to cope with your edits. If there is some data in both the old and the new files that is needed for the project, both will be saved in the project.

If you want to see what is actually going on, open a project file (.aup) in a text editor and have a look (to be safe, use an .aup file that you don’t need). It is the .aup file that keeps track of all the data in the project.

There are only around 300 simpleblockfiles defined ( .au files) in the third project’s .aup file. That mens that there are well over 2000 uneeded .au files orphaned if I understand things correctly.


The data structure of Audacity projects is a mysterious complexity - some of the .au files contain graphics (for the wave display) as well as audio. I don’t pretend to understand exactly how it works, I’m just glad that it does.

I find it easiest to save individual songs or “takes” as projects, rather than “sets”. It takes just a few mouse clicks to save and restart Audacity, and it saves a lot of time splitting up projects later (closing audacity empties its temporary file folder). Also, in the event of doing something wrong and trashing a project, it’s only one take that’s lost, not the whole session.