What are the extra labels when Exporting Labels

OS: Ubuntu 20.04
Audacity: 2.3.3

I am trying to generate labels when using Audacity, and for some reason it outputs extra lines.

What I expected was to see something like

0.388556	1.450353	A
2.250547	3.797077	A
4.801168	6.424639	A
6.501581	7.694179	B

However, as I looked further, it had segments like below

11.202724	12.479958	A
12.841585	14.441974	A
14.726658	15.511465	B
\	393.916809	393.916809
15.896174	16.542485	A
\	393.916809	393.916809
17.173407	18.004379	A
\	393.916809	393.916809
18.127485	19.243141	B
\	393.916809	393.916809
19.581685	19.927923	A
\	393.916809	393.916809
20.905084	21.751444	A
\	393.916809	393.916809
21.828385	22.259259	B
\	393.916809	393.916809
22.782464	24.690620	A
24.798338	28.953195	B

with a format of

\   {float}   {float}

Do you know what are these and why are they appearing?

Thank you very much! Below is a screenshot of Audacity

Those extra parameters are “spectral selections”. I have no idea why anyone would want them but this is what they are: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/spectral_selection.html#labels

Unfortunately it is not yet possible to turn this feature off. You just have to be aware of it and avoid creating “spectral labels” if you don’t want them.

Actually you can turn it off the ability to make spectral selections - and that would avoid spectral labelling …

Just go to Spectrograms Preferences and un-check “Enable Spectral Selection

Please see: Spectrograms Preferences - Audacity Manual

I too have no idea why anyone would want or need spectral selections retained and noted in their labels.

What they are there for is so that if in future you select that labelled region (in Spectrogram view or Multi-view) by clicking on the label then not only does the temporal part of the selection get restored so does the spectral part - and just why anyone would want or need that is beyond me.

An note carefully if you are in spectrogram view and make a Spectral selection and then switch to Waveform view the spectral selection remains extant (and effectively hidden) as can be seen by switching back to Spectrogram view. And note too that this spectral selection range still persists (hidden) if you make a different temporal selection in Waveform view - do this and switch back to Spectrogram view and see what happens …

For my money it would be much better if when switching to Waveform view from Spectrogram or Multi-view where a spectral selection exists that the spectral part of the selection was cleared.


You’re right waxcylinder, I should have been more precise. Yes you can turn off spectral selections, but even then there may be an invisible frequency selection, and any labels that already have frequency selections will retain that additional data even when spectral selection is turned off.

Even worse, if you make a spectral selection at any time, and then turn off spectral selection, new labels will still have the frequency data added from the last used spectral selection.

(this is already logged on the Audacity bug tracker as bug 2081)
Frequencies added to labels by “invisible” spectral selection

I have added a link to this new Forum post in the bug thread.

I note that the bug, although a P3, still does not yet have a Release Note or Workaround.

And I’m not sure that we document this odd behavior - I’ll have to check.