Why would I explicitly add a track?

Dear all,

I’ve just downloaded Audacity and am starting to use it for the first time. If a stereo or audio track is automatically added when I hit record, why would I want to explicitly add one by selecting Tracks > Add New from the menu?

In other recording software I have used you usually add an empty track and then ‘arm’ it to record to it. Is it possible to do this in Audacity?



You would add a blank track to have a place to copy/paste clips or effects and move them around and add filters or effects independent of the main show.

The only two recording options are Record which always starts a new track and Append Record (Shift-R) which jams a recording on the end of an existing track. Audacity will not classic tape Crash Record.


There are many cases where a user might want to do so.

You may have 2 or more “takes” and want to make one good take with the best parts of each track.
If you wish to generate audio into a stereo track it is necessary to select a stereo track.
If you want to add multiple effects to certain parts of a track it can be easier to move those parts to a new track.
You may want to use a muted track as a “clipboard” to hold temporary copies of a number of audio clips.

Yes it is possible.

  1. Add a new track
  2. Ensure that the playback cursor is at the position in the new track that you want the recording to start and that the new track is selected.
  3. Press Shift+R.
    However doing so is pointless. As you said, a new track is added automatically so there is no need to create the track manually and no need to arm the track.

I actually only see two cases:

  • An empty track to paste audio in it
  • An empty track to gather audio data (copy and paste)

Everything else is easier done with “Duplicate” and similar functions.
It is a pity that the track doesn’t hold at least a single sample.
This would be useful to use the Nyquist Prompt (for generating sounds or general calculations) without first be forced to generate a dummy tone.

A couple more cases:
If you want to use “Regular Interval Labels” before you have recorded or imported anything, then you will need to create a track so that you can select the desired duration.
If you want to generate a tone into an empty project with a start time greater than zero then you can add a new track and select with the mouse where you want the generated audio.

You don’t need to generate a dummy tone. You just need part of an audio track selected.
For mouse users this just requires adding a track and selecting part of it with the mouse.
For non-mouse users, the close square bracket key can be pressed to select an end time for a selection.

Yes, that’s a way to do it.
Although, you have to change the key assignments for a non-English keyboard, the normal key combination to create square brackets (Alt-Ctrl ü/¨) doesn’t seem to work for my Swiss kb layout.
However, I prefer the selection spin boxes (reachable by Ctrl-F6) because changes can immediately be checked with space.