Track Alignment Help

MacBook Pro with MacOS Sierra 10.12.2, Audacity 2.1.2.

I’m trying to align two different tracks, track #3 and track #4.

A bell rings in track #3 at 30.902 seconds. A different bell rings in track #4 at 42.943 seconds. I’d like to move the sound in track #4 so that the bell in track #4 sounds at 30.902 seconds, the same time as the bell in track #3.

I thought I could perhaps put a cursor in track #3 at 30.902, then put the cursor in track #4 at 42.943, then use the Time Shift Tool to drag track #4 to where the cursor marks aligned. But as you probably know, the cursor mark disappears from track #3 when I click on track #4.

Then I thought that maybe I could use the Add Label at Selection feature to mark the bell location in the respective tracks, then drag track #4 to where the cursor marks aligned. But as you probably know, the Label does not move when I drag the music in track 4.

Neither of the bell-sounding points in track #3 or track #4 are the beginning or the end of the music.

So my question is, how can I easily move the music in track #4 so that the bell in track #4 sounds at the same time at that bell in track #3?


I’d like to move the sound in track #4 so that the bell in track #4 sounds at 30.902 seconds

You could just sheer off 12.041 seconds at the beginning of track four. That portion of the show was going to vanish before zero with the Time Shift Tool anyway.


I’d like to fade out track #3 beginning just as the bell sounds, and fade in track #4 ending just as the bell sounds, so if possible I’d prefer to not cut off the music entirely before the bell sounds. What other options are there?

[Puzzled Puppy Look]
Oh, I see. Delete 12 seconds from track four at time zero—at the beginning of the song.


If you have audio between 0 and 13 seconds in track 4 that you want to keep, then you’ll have to drag all the tracks to right by 13 seconds.

You only need one label, nor do you want it to move. But I would do it by clicking in track 3 at 30.902 seconds, press DOWN arrow on your keyboard to extend the editing cursor into track 4, then switch to Time Shift Tool and drag the bell sound at 42.943 back to the cursor.


Ah, “at time zero.” Being a nuub, I thought I could only delete within the music. I didn’t realize I could delete within the track itself. Duh.

Great thanks, Koz!

When I drag track 4 music to the left, is there any kind of indicator showing how far I have dragged it? Otherwise, how can I know that I have aligned the bell in #4 (which does not have a cursor marking its location) with the bell in #3 (which has the cursor marking its location)?


How accurate do you want it to be? Your question implies that whatever method by which you marked the start of the bell is highly accurate, but how do you know that to be the case? If you zoom in, place the cursor at the start of the bell and find that playing the audio from the cursor sounds correct, then zooming out, dragging track 4 close to where you want it, then zooming in to make final adjustment to the track 4 position should also sound correct.

I don’t think we have any boundary snap guides that would help. But if you feel you want to see them, click in track 3 at the start of the bell sound then COMMAND + I to create a “Split Line” there. Note that on Windows and Linux you would use CTRL instead of COMMAND for all the shortcuts given here.

Double-click after the end of the split line to select all of that “clip”. COMMAND + ALT + I to “Split New” that clip to a new track.

COMMAND + I to split at the start of the bell in track 4, double-click to right of it, then COMMAND + ALT + I to Split New.

Draw a large selection over the two tracks that contain the track 4 audio, including the track in-between. SHIFT-click above Mute/Solo in the “in-between” track to deselect it.

Drag inside the selection in the track that has the start of the “track 4 bell sound”. This drags both tracks that contain the track 4 audio. When you reach the “track 3 bell sound” you will see a yellow vertical boundary snap guide.

Is it worth that extra effort? I agree we might allow more snapping, such as Labels to Labels, Split Lines to Split Lines, Split Lines to Labels.


It seems there’s always several ways to accomplish a task in Audacity.

The OP wants to align a specific event that occurs in two different tracks. Gale has suggested a method of marking the event using a split line. Here’s my take.

Do Tracks > Add New > Label Track three times.
Drag one of the label tracks to just above Track 3
Drag another of the label tracks to just under Track 3.
Drag the other label track to just under Track 4.
Enable Sync-locked tracks.

You have created 3 track groups. The label track above track 3 puts the tracks above track 3 into one group, the label below track three defines a group consisting of track 3 and that label track. Similarly the label track below track 4 defines a group consisting of track 4 and that label track. The label above track 3 is to prevent tracks 1 and 2 from being part of the “track 3 group”.

In Track 3 place the cursor at the start of the bell sound. Do command+B (creates a label) and type something meaningful into the label.
Do the same for track 4, labeling the bell sound.
Now use the time shift tool to move track 4 back until the labels just about line up (they won’t snap). Note that because you have enabled sync-locked track groups the label track moves with the audio track.
Click in the bell label in track 3, then click in track 4 (still with the time shift tool) – the cursor should appear in track 4
Zoom in and fine-tune the drag, lining up the label under track 4 with the cursor.
– Bill